Korean War And Limited Warfare Essay

813 words - 4 pages

After World War II and prior to the Korean War, the general thought was that no foreign national leader in his right mind would dare attack the United States (or any of its satellite states), following its emergence as a super power after its victory in WWII and the U.S’s willingness to use nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are regarded as absolute weapons and having them was a deterrence to other countries of going to war with the United States out of fear of total annihilation. The Korean War challenged the assumption that having nuclear weapons meant total deterrence of war or guaranteed total victory in war for the United States.
Between 1945 and 1949 America was the only nation to ...view middle of the document...

If a conventional war must be fought, it should be as limited as possible in respect to forces involved, war goals, and casualties. The Korean War is a perfect example of this. In the Korean War both sides, North Korea (Soviet Union and China) and South Korea (United States and UN Forces) were limited by either their own political/economic constraints or by the constraints placed upon them by their partner.
North Korea may have been committed to waging an all-out war against South Korea and South Korea the same, however neither of their allies would commit to it. The Soviet Union supported the Northern invasion of the South but only under certain conditions, one of which was the promise of Chinese support. The Soviet Union was not prepared to commit to another drawn out struggle only five years after World War II that had all but devastated them. Soviet military commitment took the form of mostly World War II surplus weapons and a few military advisors to provide moral and tactical support to the North.
American military commitment was limited by a variety of factors, mainly the fact that the Americans had dramatically downsized their forces after World War II, Americans were tired of war and few felt an immediate threat from the spread of communism. In addition Truman's refusal...

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