Whilst it is sometimes seen as a watershed in the development of the Cold War, a more compelling analysis is that it was a catalyst which accelerated the tensions between world superpowers in the wake of WWW and origins of the Cold War which were already gaining impetus. With hardening lines since 1 948, mounting fears of the enemy and fears of espionage within, the events in Korea set a template for the development of the Cold War. The Korean War set the precedent for a new way of fighting, not only in the Cold War, but for future conflicts to come.
This comes through indirect military intervention from larger powers to back smaller countries with similar policies to the larger nations. This is known as a proxy war. The root of proxy war stems from paranoia in the American-Soviet leadership. For Truman, the ‘Domino Theory, the idea that change of ideology in one country may be replicated in other neighboring countries, allowed him to justify US intervention to prevent the spread of world wide Communism (containment).
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One could argue that a ‘mirror image’ argument can justify Soviet intervention in Korea. Being one of the only Communist states in the world, the soviets felt encircled by countries influenced by the West. Therefore Stalin and the USSR felt any country facing a Communist revolution should have the backing of the USSR. This would not only give the USSR more allies around the world, UT would also reduce world-wide US influence. Because the Korean War was the first ‘hot war’ of the Cold War, it was the first time this concept of a proxy war could be used.
The events in Korea were significant in the development of the Cold War because it allowed the IIS and USSR to use their military resources to defend their own interests, without direct conflict. With both sides now possessing nuclear arms, any direct conflict may have led to a new type of warfare, nuclear war. However, because there was no direct attacks to either side in Korea, the use of nuclear weapons would not be justified. Total actors was unattainable. Proxy wars in Africa, Latin America and other Asian battle grounds, would allow both sides to defend their interests, without mutually assured destruction.
Despite the absence of nuclear weapons in Korea, the war led to an unprecedented level of militaristic throughout the Cold War. Fearing further Soviet aggression around the world, the IIS carried out measures to heighten their military strength. Examples of this are increasing the number of troops in Europe, strengthening NATO, placing nuclear warheads in countries neighboring the Soviet Union and most notably, passing NCSC -68, rippling the US defense budget. The actions of the US forced the USSR to become embroiled in massive military spending.
The size of the Red Army grew from 2. 8 million in 1950 to 5. 8 million in 1955. However, although military spending was cut in 1955 in Russia, funding was continued for the development of nuclear weapons . This extortionate spending on weapons resources would mean the magnitude of fighting would become even greater, with the possibility for unprecedented levels of casualties in future battles. The events of Korea were significant because as Secretary of Defense Johnson said before Congress “communism is willing to resort to armed aggression… NY free nation… When it believes it can win”. For the US, the need to increase military spending was seen as necessary to act against the ruthless USSR. For the USSR, it was this exact view of America, along with US militaristic, which led to increased military spending. The events in Korea played on the underlying hostility between the two super-powers in the origins of the Cold War and caused hardening lines and increasing suspicions which accelerated the inevitable arms race against the other. The Korean war also globalizes the Cold War. P until the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, the Cold War was previously centered around Europe, in particular Germany and the Soviet Satellite States. Fighting in Korea means that the conflict between the LISA and the USSR spread to Asia. Although the Korean War opened up another potential battleground in the Cold War, the result of the war alone did not prove to be significant in the development of the Cold War. The fact the ceasefire remains intact today and has been stable since the signing of the armistice emphasized how the US and the USSR did to need to intervene in Asia afterwards to protect neighboring countries from war.
Fifth CSS and the USSR were to abandon foreign policy in Asia after Korea, one could certainly make the point wars such as in Vietnam may have never occurred. Despite this, the results of the Korean War, as well as the US and USSR belief that the world was divided into pro-communism and pro- capitalism camps, gave each side the justification to intervene and protect their own interests in countries under threat from the other side. This can be seen through US intervening in other Asian areas which appeared crucial. The two best examples of this are Japan and Taiwan.
During and after the Korean War, the US rebuilt Japanese society and military to protect US interest in Asia. This would give them a secure ally and a base to attack the Communist threat. Taiwan was also important as the Americans didn’t want it to fall to the Communist Chinese. .Len addition the Korean War demonstrated a shift in focus from fighting Soviet Imperialism, such as in Europe, to resisting strong Nationalist movements such as that of Ho Chi Mini in Vietnam. The events in Korea introduced China as a player in the Cold War..
When the UN troops pushed the North Korean Army back to the Yale River, China became increasingly concerned about a us-backed democratic state near their borders. This then gave Chairman Mao the justification to back the North Korean Army by sending troops to re-establish the buffer state between China and South Korea. However, by backing the North Korean Army to satisfy their own interests, they entered a war which associated themselves with the USSR. At face value, this perhaps made the US feel like the Chinese were legitimately backing the USSR in the Cold War.
Having signed the Sino- Soviet Treaty of Alliance in 1 950, the fear of a Sino-soviet duopoly in Asia became an increasing concern for the US. The fact that China now backed the North Korean Army, also backed by the USSR, convinced the US that they faced a Communist sphere of influence, not only in Asia but the rest of the world and set the tone for US policies in Asia to defend any other country from a Communist threat. Although the Pantaloon amnesty was signed, this did not cause Sino-American relations to improve. ROR to the war, the IIS had been hesitant to invest themselves in protecting Taiwan. Yet the end of the war saw the US promise to defend the island. By defending an island ran by an opposing government to the ICP, this angered Mao and led to worsening relations after the war. The actions of China may have also led to increased hostility towards the USSR by the US. However, tensions between the two sides had already developed long before the Korean War. Events in Tibet in 1950 saw the US condemn the PRE for using ‘expansionism’ at the cost of many lives.
Therefore one could argue that the Korean War did not completely change Sino-American relations but accentuated the already resent hostility between the two sides. Nonetheless, the Korean war still led to increased hostility between the two sides in the development of the Cold War. Although the Korean War saw the beginning of strong national Communist movements in Asia, the monolithic view implies that actions can be traced back to the USSR. Therefore, this would imply that the actions Of China intervening in North Korea were derived from influence from the USSR.
This can potentially be seen by US reactions towards this alliance being formed. The IIS State Department referred to the treaty as “Moscow making puppets UT of the Chinese”. This suggests that the US felt the USSR were using the Chinese as a means to fight for the Communist movement in North Korea, whilst trying to disguise their involvement. The way in which the State Department reacted to the treaty suggests they understood the actions taken by Russia, leading to even more hostility between the two sides.
Therefore, the signing of the treaty, as well as Chinese involvement, may have led to even more hostility towards the USSR by the US as they were tying to take an expansionary stance in the world without direct involvement, playing on US ears of a world wide Communist Revolution. Chinese actions during the Korean War which changed the dynamic of fighting against the I-SIS. During the 1 sass and early 1 sass, the consequences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed the destructive power of the US atomic bomb. In the early years of the Cold War , this gave the US a major advantage over the USSR and other nations.
If anyone was to challenge the US, the threat of a nuclear attack Was an effective method of maintaining US interests worldwide. However, it was Chairman Mayo’s defiance of the US atomic bomb which reduced the effectiveness of US deterrents. Mao realized that the IIS would not use the nuclear bomb on any nation because of its destructive nature and referred to it as the “paper tiger”. Mayo’s loss of awe for nuclear warfare and this defiance of the US demonstrates how the threat of nuclear warfare had become less effective.
This became more significant when the USSR expanded their arms race with the US and Mao utilized this build up of Soviet arms to engage in brinkmanship with the ASSAI. This changed the dynamic of cold war later as the fear of nuclear warfare was not not an effective way of reaching a compromise or preventing conflict from arising. What appeared to be an effective deterrent in the asses and 1 9505 was now ineffective, proving China’s actions in Korea to be significant in the development of the Cold War.
The most significant event in Korea on the development of the Cold War was the use of indirect military intervention to defend either sides self interest. By fighting a proxy war, it allowed both sides to defend their interests in these countries. What is vital though is the ability to do this without being directly associated with with nationalist movements. This prevented either side from being able to justify using their military arsenal on the other because there as never a direct attack on the other.