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Korean War: Victory or Defeat?
On paper and in history, the Korean War was considered neither a victory nor a defeat. A ceasefire and a peace treaty were written between them instead. The battles lasted 3 long years. On July 27, 1953, both sides signed an armistice and a new border was established a few miles from the original 1950 border. In my opinion, the Korean conflict/war was successful in other ways than the initial objectives set by the United States.
The war ended in a draw. Both sides agreed to a ceasefire and signed an armistice. The Korean War did not end with a total victory for the United States or anyone else. Instead, the two sides settled for an uneasy peace that still exists to this day as this 12-24-15 article is written.
Has the United States suffered its first defeat? The answer to this question is perhaps more in the minds of people who study what really happened and what is happening today. From my point of view, the end result was a victory when you compare what is happening today in South Korea to what was happening before the attack, before one of the bloodiest wars our world has ever had. never known, and in comparison with North Korea today.
Why did the United States enter this war? Many people felt and might even still feel today that the United States did not belong there. I myself have heard this even in this year of 2015. People complain saying, “We don’t belong to Korea.
I strongly disagree. My own father fought in Korea from 1950 to 1953. He was just a young boy of 16 entering the army at Fort Knox, a military base in Kentucky for a military career. He was sent straight into a violent and gruesome bloody conflict during one of the most difficult times imaginable. He spent much of his time there in tank battles. Short recreational breaks were spent in Japan.
One of his greatest memories is of course the time he was injured trying to save another soldier and he saved him. He repeated again and again as if he was delighted: “They covered me for dead, but I was still alive”.
It was a technique used by his fellow soldiers by moving the tank over his wounded body to hide him from the enemy while he was then pulled into the tank to wait for MASH units.
He was taken to a hospital in Japan where they placed a steel plate in his chest which he had no idea even existed until he found out he had lung cancer more late in life at the age of 56. He died of lung cancer.
The specialists said “we want to know more about this steel plate that we found on an x-ray in your chest”. Dad didn’t even know he had a steel plate. He must have been placed there during the Korean War in a hospital in Japan. He received a chest wound. Think about it, and I do it very often now, just 16 years old lying under an army tank, not knowing if he would survive or not.
I still strongly disagree. Dad made it out alive, was injured once, received a purple heart for bravery, and was one of those who returned to the United States, found a job, and tried to “forget” that he was there, but have never forgotten him. He watched every war movie he could find and never missed an episode of “The Big Picture”.
I was born in 1956 and I remember much of his youth after that war. He would wake up in the middle of the night “reciting orders” over and over, sometimes screaming and crying. He suffered from memories of that war, but never said he was sorry for going there. He said that the worst part of all this for him was seeing the little children who were suffering. Many of the victims of this war were innocent civilians.
Why was the United States in Korea from 1950 to 1953?
The United States responded to the defense of South Korea after the invasion of North Korea. The initial objectives were to restore the international border along the 38th parallel and to eject North Korean forces from South Korean territories. Everyone actually thought the conflict was over until the Chinese came on the scene.
American leaders also wanted to show North Korea that this type of aggression would not be tolerated. As of 2015, North Korea continues to show hostility towards South Korea. There was no longer a conflict equal to what there was in the 1950s. For this reason among others, I believe that the decision to enter the conflict ended in more of a victory than of a defeat. It seems obvious to me that all those who entered this conflict in opposition to communism have put an end to the horrible aggression against innocent people.
Additional reasons why I consider this a victory for the United States:
When you compare the economy of North Korea to the economy of South Korea today, we find that the war brought about a rebirth of South Korea. Since the end of the conflict/war of the 1950s and the cessation of extreme hostilities, South Korea has become a dynamic and powerful republic.
People all over the world are now profiting from South Korea’s economic success. South Korea’s capital, Seoul, has become an international center of commerce and industry. Today, South Koreans enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world.
None of this would have happened if the Communists had succeeded in their invasion of the South.
By contrast, North Korea is one of the best examples of the failure of communism. The United Nations reports that North Korea’s economy ranks much lower than South Korea in the world. North Koreans suffer much more starvation and malnutrition.
Meanwhile, South Koreans are thriving. Companies like Daewoo, Hyundai, LG, Samsung, Kia Automotives are among the largest business conglomerates in the world and have become household names in family rooms, garages and offices across the United States.
Every day, I see more and more Kia cars on the road. I have been considering buying a Kia Soul automobile for years and will probably buy one if I need another vehicle. My old Chevy is still driving! But when I need a new automobile, I always look to the Kia to buy one. At first I had no idea Kia was actually based in South Korea.
Without the United States and those other nations that joined in the fight against communist aggression in the 1950s, nothing about South Korea would exist today. Today, we would not benefit from economic growth in South Korea. It’s also a good thing that the President stopped the atomic bombing efforts as well, because it would have taken over 100 years for any type of civilization to be in this area again.
As our story tells, there were mistakes made as there are in any type of war, many innocent people were killed, but the positive results of this war still tell me that it was definitely a victory, not defeat, for the United States in terms of “long-term events”.
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