Why did the Korean War break out? Reasons as to why war broke out in Korea can be debated due to the fact that a number of factors contributed towards the war. The viewpoint of North Korea starting the war can be seen as Kim ill sung had the intention of reuniting Korea under communism, however there was hostility within South Korea as Syngman Rhee also aimed to reunite Korea under his nationalist views. The two superpowers of the time can be seen as responsible for the outbreak of war because the Korean War can be viewed as a product of the cold war as the USSR backed the north and the USA helped fight with the south.
The view of war breaking out as a result internal conflict within Korea can be seen due to both Kim’s and Rhee’s intent on reuniting Korea under their leadership. North Korea’s aggression towards starting the war is due to the fact that Kim aimed on bringing communism to the south and unite the whole of Korea; Kim’s intent on starting war can be seen in the fact that he had multiple visits to Stalin in order to receive both permission and support for invading the south.
Kim was able to persuade Stalin to let him invade by stating there would be no US intervention and that he would have control over the South within a few weeks. North Korea’s actions can also be seen as to why war broke out because they did pass the 38th parallel and invade the south, therefore acting as the aggressor as they had had military equipment supplied by the USSR with an army 135,000 men who believed in what they were fighting for as supposed to South Korea’s unprepared smaller army made up of conscripted men.
Regardless of the fact that the north was first to invade the south, blame can still be put on Rhee for the outbreak of war. This is due to the fact that South Korea did launch small scale attacks on the north prior to the invasion and this can be seen as a form of instigation for war. The outbreak of war can also be seen as the result of internal Korean conflict as Rhee had the same intentions as Kim to reunite Korea by invading past the 38th parallel, only Kim was able to do it first as he had soviet support making him the dominate power whereas Rhee had no US support at the start of the North’s invasion.
The war between North and south Korea was regarded as a civil war by the British yet when we look closer into why the war broke out we can see that the superpowers were behind it and that the Korean civil war can be seen as a product of the cold war occurring between the USA and USSR at the time. The USSR can be seen to have responsibility for the outbreak of war as it can be argued that Kim would have not invaded the south without Stalin’s support and permission because without Stalin’s military support Kim would not have been powerful enough to achieve his goal of gaining total control of Korea within a few weeks after his invasion.
The USSR can also accept responsibility for the war because of fact that Stalin aimed to spread his communist sphere of influence across the world. Stalin had initially rejected Kim’s request of invading the south but in 1950 he granted Kim support and permission to invade, this was most likely due to the fact that communism was established in china at the time giving him incentive to spread his communist support throughout Asia and also he had successfully detonated the atom bomb giving him more reason to believe that the US would not repeat their use of the atom bomb on Stalin out of fear of retaliation.
China’s contribution towards the outbreak war is slim as their only initial contribution to the start of the war was to allow for soviet supplies to pass through china and reach the North Koreans. The involvement of the USA can be seen as the reason why the conflict within Korea transformed from a civil war into a fully recognised war. US aims during the cold war was to contain the spread of communism so that the “domino theory” would not occur therefore when they were alerted that the North Koreans invaded the south they went to the United Nations in order to get involved in the war.
Other reasons for US involvement include the fact that elections were coming up and Truman believed that taking action in Korea would boost his support. Although the US originally intended to help prevent the north spreading communism to the south McArthur found that he was having great success in fighting the north Korans within South Korea gave him reason to pass the 38th parallel and attempt to take completely remove communism from Korea.
The US doing this created outbreak of war in Korea as china decided to get involved out of fear of the US approaching the Yalu River, therefore Turing a civil war into the Korean War Overall the outbreak of war can be blamed all factors that contributed the war. The war breakout can be seen as the result of aggression with Korea with both Kim and Rhee launching small scale attack on each other and sharing the intent of uniting Korea however the superpowers are responsible for the actual outbreak of the Koran war.
This is because both sides of Korea would not have been strong enough to start a war without the influence of the superpowers. The USSR gave permission and supplies to Kim allowing him to invade the south and America got involved in Korea creating a war as it caused a form of retaliation from the south that would have lost against a soviet fueled invasion from the north. Therefore the Korean War was a product of the cold war between America and the USSR.