Twentieth century has witnessed the most cataclysmic civil struggle in history, the Korean War of l950 which developed in the partition of Korea after World War II. When North Korean forces supported by the Soviet Union, attacked South Korea on June 25, 1950, the United Nations, headed by the United States along with other countries, joined the schematic war on the side of South Korea. Soon the People’s Republic of China entered the war on the side of North Korea. In l953, the war ended with the signing of the cease-fire agreement which resulted to millions of casualties on both sides (“Korean”, 2006).
History revealed that the attack in l950 was the idea by North Korean leader Kim Il Sung supported by the Soviets and the Chinese. It was said that Stalin joined the war for his own interest. China’s motive in intervening against the UN forces was the apprehension that US forces would endanger national security of the recently constituted People’s Republic of China. This motive was revealed in a letter by Mao Zedong (Mao Tse- tung), Chairman of the Communist Party of China, to Zhou Enlai (Chou En-lai), Premier of the People’s Republic of China in October of l950 when China decided to join the war (“Motive”, 2004).
New data uncovered that the U. S. decision to advance to North Korea, was made by President Truman with a thought of extending the war to China. The West looks at the war as a unifying act of the U. S. with the division of the Korean nation, acceded by the Soviet. To the South Koreans, it was a war for the retrieval of lost territories, whereas, to the North Koreans it was a move to resist American ideology and reunification of the nation (“Korean”, 2006). Pre-Event Actions
North Korean leader Kim Il Sung was eager to unify Korea through invasion, but he was not ready in l949 as a great number of his best soldiers were still fighting in China, however in the early part of l950, thousands of his men returned and Kim Il Sung settled these soldiers at the 38th parallel. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin who, throughout the past year refused to support Kim Il Sung’s design for offensive war due to fear that invasion by North Korea would start a war with the Unites States, however, in early l950 gave his endorsement to Kim.
Stalin even suggested asking support from China which responded by sending back the combat troops to North Korea (“Schnabel”, l992). A large military group remained in South Korea even after U. S. troops left Korea in l948. However, looking at Korea as crucial in reviving trade with the Japanese, America privately committed itself to control communism in South Korea, although it had maintained a policy of non-intervention in case an invasion of the North by the South (l992).
The Event On Sunday morning of June 25, 1950, North Korea amazingly attacked the South Korean military forces, followed shortly by a massive barrage transversely at the 38th parallel, thus, started the three-year Korean War. Obviously, South Korea was not prepared for the war. It had no tanks unlike the North Korean forces that are equipped with Soviet T-34 tanks supported by air force and navy with ten divisions of 223,000 troops. North Korea had the support primarily from the People’ Republic of China and military pilots, weapons and combat advisers from Soviet Union.
American troops, weapons, aircraft and naval support with threat of nuclear weapons by the United Nations Command forces supported Korea. After three days, Seoul was occupied by the North Korean forces. (“Democratic”). Five days earlier before the attack by North Korea, the U. S. Congress was informed that no war in Korea was plausibly to take place, thus the attack of South Korea came as a surprise to the United States and other western powers. On June 27, with United Nations resolution to support Korea, the United States and other western countries joined the war.
The resolution was questioned by the Soviet as illegal because Russia, as a permanent member was absent when it was voted upon. North Korea also repugned that the hostility was a civil war, hence not within the ambit of the UN. Although the American people showed strong support on the intervention, nevertheless, President Truman was criticized for not seeking the approval of the U. S. Congress before sending military support to Korea (“Korean”, 2006). In ground support action, American air power came in great numbers, devastating not only the North Korean forces but also civilians and cities, destroying major facilities and structures.
When the US forces forced back the North Koreans on the far side of the 38th parallel, the US forces advanced into North Korea denouncing an American foreign policy of only containing communism in South Korea. It also added psychological effect on the issue of destroying a communist country (2006). China, worried that the UN forces would not stop to advance to the border between North Korea and China, warned that it would intervene to protect its interest. President Truman did not take seriously the warnings and assumed that China could not afford to take heavy casualties.
Unprepared for the Chinese attacks and military tactics, resulted in the longest military unit retreat in history. Thus, the start of the People’s Republic of China’s intervention against the US forces which resulted to ravaging destruction and casualties and worst, could have forced the use of nuclear weapons. Missed Indicators America’s defensive scheme in the Far East excluded Korea. It was perceived as an opportunity to occupy Korea by the Communist countries.
With the exclusion of Korea from the U. S. defense plans, Korea received less attention which led to intelligence failure and caught America by surprise when South Korea was invaded on June 25, 1950 (“United”, l992) Intelligence report that no war would likely occur in Korea was learned five days before it did happen. The U. S. did not exert effort to verify the reliability of the information. The fact that the division between North Korea and South Korea was a product of two different and conflicting ideologies, war could likely to happen.
The idea that each division is backed up by powerful forces, war outburst is not remote. China’s intervention was a product of presumed incapacity of China to wage an all out war with a powerful country, the United States of America and with all its allies which were also militarily equipped to face any adversaries. America failed to assess the existing environment and the enemy’s real capabilities and intention. Lessons Learned Intelligence must draw out significance from data that is equivocal and of unknown sources and dependability.
America failed to evaluate the situation in Korea and the capacity of China to intervene. It failed to identify exactly the vulnerability and soberness of the enemy. Intelligence is more on insight into the impalpable prospects of one’s adversary, his objectives and motivations than the quantitative aspect of information (“Intelligence”, l997). The most important fundamental right of a state is the right to exist and to take measures to protect that right. No disputes can possibly arise if this were all that it should mean.
However, international relations show that because of self-preservation, violations have been repeatedly committed upon the territorial integrity of weaker states. China intervened for fear of threat of its territorial integrity. For the exercise of self-defense, the extent of the measures that may be taken is limited by the necessity. The necessity must be present, actual and should leave no choice of means. If any means is left, or the threatened action can be prevented or redressed through some other means, no state is justified in violating the territorial integrity of another state.