The Korean War marked the first military conflict in the Cold War and is thus, in itself, a turning point as it depicts that the conflict between communism and capitalism has reached heights that would cost millions of lives in the future. The Korean War is closely linked with the way relations between China and the USA had turned out prior to the Korean War, partly leading to a communist China and thus the domino effect as seen with Korea. For the USA, it had been appalling to view China being taken over by communism as it had always been considered a protégé in Asia and especially since Roosevelt had even promoted China as one of the four policemen after the Second World War. The USA also lost money from US Companies investing into China and churches losing ‘spiritual capital’. It was due to this “loss” of China to communism that attitudes of US politicians hardened on communism. They could no longer be “soft” on communism as shown though Republicans even being harsh with any communist empathisers and communist agents in the States Department in the USA itself.
When Korea split along the 38th parallel the North became occupied by communist leader Kim IL Sung supported by the Soviets. The South became occupied by Kuomintang leader Syngman Rhee supported by the Americans. Each side thus established their relative Republic in 1949; The Democratic People’s Republic in the North and the Republic of Korea in the South.
Just one year later the North crossed the line, literally. By moving over the 38th parallel and advancing southwards an act of war was displayed. Kim IL Sung had asked Stalin in 1949 if he were to give aid for the Southern invasion but failed to obtain aid. When he asked again in 1959 Stalin agreed given that there would be quick success, no US intervention and no escalation into a world war he sent military aid and drew up a plan for the offensive. Again, we see how the Communist takeover of China was significant. Without it, Stalin would perhaps not have had the courage to take this action. It is actually quite possible that Stalin would otherwise not have aided for the first Southern invasion in 1950 given that he did not want to hold back the revolution in Asia by restraining Kim IL Sung especially when Mao Zedong might have taken the lead. Now he had a Country with which he could share the risks of the Korean War.
It could be argued that it was not careful of United States for publicly stating, in 1949, that the US defence perimeter in fact excluded Korea as this gave Stalin ample reasons to believe that there would be no US intervention. US Secretary Of State Dan Acheson even reinforced that while speaking to the press. On the 25 June when north moved over the 38th parallel southwards, the USA disbanded all these statements and intervened in Korea at once.
The USA had adapted a different strategy for intervention contrasting their known tendency to act drastically in history, one example being the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima during the Second World War. Now they conducted a series of steps rather than a single drastic decision. Truman ordered US air supplies to South Korea and General McArthur was instructed to send air and naval forces to participate in the fighting. What Kim IL Sung had reassured Stalin to be a ‘quick success ’ had turned out to be a large scale war lasting 3 years that resulted in around 1.5 soldiers, mostly Koreans, losing their life.
The USA then used the United Nations in order to ‘legally’ pursue what was in their interest. After the North Korean attack a Security Council meeting was set up to call for a cease fire of North Korea behind the 38th parallel. Though the USSR could’ve vetoed this decision, it was absent due to a boycotting of the Security Council because China, under communist rule, denied a permanent seat in the council. It was indeed a mastery of timing.
South Korean capital Seoul was liberated on 15