Before WWII started the world was divided in some groups of countries, ones that were democratic, with USA at the head, others that were communists, with the USSR leading them, the nationalists, with Hitler and Mussolini as examples, and the neutrals ones, as the British; that were the country after USSR and US economically superior, and that was the one that equilibrated the balance of power among the other blocs of powers. After WWII, the extreme difference of ideologies, by one side communism and by the other capitalism (nationalism had almost completely disappear after the fell of Germany) started a new kind of conflict, one in which the people didn't play a big role, one in which the threat of a nuclear war mean the whole destruction of the world. This conflict was called Cold War and principally was played by two superpowers USSR (communist) and USA (capitalist).
These countries could have used their potential allies' territories to fight their ideological war.
A NONSOLVED CONFLICT
With the end of WWII, not all finished, Europe was almost devastated and US was still fighting in Asia against Japan to maintain the balance of power in the Pacific, where the Japanese troops were attacking all the islands that they believed they could get. In this moment, US asked for help to their allies during the WWII principally USSR, to attack Japan by other side opening another front in the West, the condition to do that was that all the land that the Soviets gave freedom would be retained for them. The US agreed although they didn't trust in the Soviets.
When Japan was encircled, the US gave them the chance to surrender but the Japanese were not going to accept that, they were the descendants of the traditional samurais; they couldn't surrender they would fight until death, so the US President Harry S. Truman took the horrific decision to drop the first atomic bomb, made by scientists refugees from the WWII as Einstein. This decision was taken twice, once in Hiroshima and other in Nagasaki, but finally with the demonstration of power the Japanese government surrender. The drop of these bombs doesn't only mean that the war was ended, it also meant that the US had the most powerful weapon ever seen, so they became the World Power.
The US left some troops in Japan to prevent a conflict and to installed democracy as the way of government in the island.
As they didn't trust in the USSR they made a couple of important decisions. One was the Truman Doctrine; created to stop the spread of communism; and the other was the Marshal Plan created to recover Europe economically. At the same time they put the Europeans in the capitalist side because as the people in Europe was poor, physically or mentally sick, and didn't have mood to rebuild Europe, the US help would put them in Americans side.
THE KOREAN WAR
The Japanese took Korea when they were attacking this zone and with the end of their control, when they surrender to the Allies after the drops of the Atomic bombs, they became divided by the 38th parallel. The North called Popular Democratic Republic of Korea was communist and was under the rule of Kim II Sung and the South, Republic of Korea, under Syngman Rhee.
The conflict derived from the fight stabilised South of the parallel and the growing opposition to the Korean president that made Kim II believed that he could get South Korea appearing as the liberator and unifier of both Koreas.
Kim II tried to convinced Stalin to support him by saying that this war was going to be so fast that the US could not have enough time to became involved, from the beginning, Stalin didn't want to help N. Korea, but something made him change his mind. Why did him change his mind??
The different possibilities are those:
Stalin believed that after the U.S.A. deserted Chiang Kaishek “to his own fortunes” in the internal Chinese conflict they would not risk a participation in a Korean-Korean war as well.
The Soviet Union had declared the creation of its own nuclear bomb, which according to Stalin's calculations deprived Americans of their nuclear monopoly and of their ability to use the “nuclear card” in the confrontation with the Soviet Union.
Stalin perceived weakness of Washington's position and of its will to get involved militarily in Asia.
The war started on June the 25th 1950 when the North Korean Army passed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea. US immediately sent supplies to South Korea and soon it increased its implication in the war. On June 27th, the Security Council of the UN, with the volunteer miss of USSR passed a resolution presented by US that imposed military sanctions to North Korea. Three days later President Truman ordered that the troops left in Japan moved to Korea. The US, South Korean, Australian, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canadian, Colombian, Ethiopian, French, British, Greeks, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippine, South African, Thailand, and Turks troops with medical assistance from Denmark, India and Sweden were under the direction of the US general Douglas McArthur.
Although the UN sent those troops, the war was in North Korean side, their troops had reached Seoul and the US and South Korean troops had been moved from the perimeter of the port city of Pusan, at South. The UN army broke up this perimeter using the invasion of General McArthur in the city on Inchon, and the moved the North Koreans to the 38th parallel.
Feeling a chance, not only to stop communism also to eliminate it, President Truman passed orders so the UN forces cross the parallel and move the enemy toward the Chinese frontier. Although the Chinese had warned that they would enter the war if the US troops crossed Yalu River, the UN troops crossed to North Korean territory in October 7th and conquered Pyongyang, its capital. On October 25th some UN troops reached Yalu River where they met with Chinese troops that had crossed the frontier. The communist recovered the capital on December 5th and took Seoul on January 4th 1951.
Afraid of a war against China and the USSR, President Truman forgot his objective of unify using the weapons Korea and remember his original objective, stop the communist aggression in Korea.
The UN forces recaptured again Seoul on March 14th and on April 22nd they had positions near the 38th parallel. While, General McArthur had been embossed because he defended from the beginning a direct attack on China, his successor was General Matthew Ridgway.
On June 1951 the Soviet advisor in the UN proposed that the belligerents started Peace Conversations to stop the war. On July 10th 1951, in Keason (North Korea) these conversations started and continued for two years. These conversations broke up on October 1952 and didn't restart until April 1953; the reason was the anti communist feel to give the war prisoners back to their country if they didn't want.
Soldiers waiting for Lte. General Walton Walte orders
Finally on July 1953, the Peace Treaty was signed in Panmunjom. The Korean War supposed the lost of more than 4 million of deaths in more than three years and that left after it a huge economic and social hurt.
The sides of this war were the communists countries as China and USSR supporting North Korea, helping it to conquer the South and spread in this area their ideology, and the UN forces with US heading them helping South Korea to maintain its independence. The final winner of this war apart of the South Koreans, that kept their independence, was US, because they felt that they won USSR a battle in the first years of the Cold War. That's the reason this war was so relevant in the History, because developing countries with a common past were fighting. One was trying to unify both under a communist regime, and the other trying to stay democratic. So this war hadn't become as popular as it had without the intervention of the others. And these others intervene to show which one was the powerful, in this case the winner was the capitalist system, but in the previous one, China, the winner was the communist.
THE VIETNAM WAR
During 1900's, all Indochina's area was under French control, but when Japan started its conquers some years before the WWII started, they took it. In the zone of Vietnam, a guerrilla, the Vietminh of communist tendency created and headed by Ho Chi Minh was fighting to achieve independence. They first sent out the Japanese, after their surrender, the Vietminh took Hanoi and forced emperor Bao-Dai to abdicate; the new country was called Democratic Republic of Vietnam. First the French accepted it, but then economic and political problems made a confrontation among the North with the French, and with the French help, Bao-Dai created the Kingdom of Vietnam (South) and chose Saigon as capital.
Meanwhile the French were fighting against the North Koreans, the US sent military advisors to the South and they forced the march of the emperor. They put in the head of the country Ngô Dinh Diêm, a catholic closer to the US ideology; this movement put a big part of the population, the Buddhists, against him.
A Buddhist burned himself.
Some people that had moved to the North started to come back to South Vietnam, and some of them created the Vietcong (Vietnam Congnam, meaning Vietnam Red), when that was happening, the French had already moved away from Vietnam. The Vietcong started to attack US military installations and in 1959 they started to attack the government. They also formed the National Liberation Front (NFL) with the goal of overthrowing Diêm and reuniting Vietnam. With the increase of Vietcong's attacks, the Americans also sent more help and in 1961 US signed a friendship treaty with South Vietnam in which they said that they would help them to maintain their independence, and a year later 11.200 US soldiers were in Vietnam. In 1963 the South Vietnamese government was overthrow by a “coup d'état”, the political stability didn't appear until 1965 with a Council leaded by two generals Nguyên Van Thieu and Nguyên Cao Ky. In the 1960's the violence increased as well as the supplies sent by Soviets and Chinese by the Ho Chi Minh's trail. The American bombardment started after the confrontation of Tokin Gulf, when North Vietnamese torpedoes attacked US destroyers. President Johnson sent planes to drop bombs in North Vietnam as reprisal.
B-52 bombing North Vietnam
During the next years the droppings were stopped trying to start peace conversations among the implicated but the North Vietnamese refused all kind of negotiation. The war continued and the humans and economics lose made the public opinion started to be against this war.
With the end of the Presidency of Johnson, and began the era of Nixon, it began a process of Vietnamization.
In which the US started to give all the war control to the South Vietnamese. All this process started not only because the American people were asking for an end of the war, but also because the US knew that they couldn't win the war and they moved away trying to defend their honour in the world. At the end of March 1973 all the American troops had left Vietnam. With the fugue of the US troops, the South Vietnamese stayed under North Vietnam and Vietcong mercy that helped by the Soviets and by the Chinese had surrender on April 30th, 1975. Vietnam proclaimed its unification on July 2nd 1976 under the name of Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
The third confrontation among the capitalists and the communists ended again with communist victory, and the reason why the US had entered this war, stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, didn't work at all, Vietnam's neighbours, Laos and Cambodia, fell on communism too.
This war not only showed the poor strategy that the US used to fight against the guerrilla, but also that some of their actions showed the quality of some of their officers. As the incident that happened in the city of My Lai, where the US soldiers killed all the people among them, old people, women and children, the excuse that they put was that they believe that those people were communists from North Vietnam, is that a good excuse? , Is the murderer of hundred of people were or not communist fair? this city was not the only way that the US leaders showed their personality for example when they exaggerated the use of napalm that mutilated and killed thousands of civilians and using defoliants, used to eliminate the vegetation, that devastated the environment of a country essentially agricultural. So maybe we should ask some of the soldiers that fortunately are alive nowadays that are living confortable in their houses. But… what about the generations that are now in Vietnam trying to survive in the poverty of a land destroyed not only physically but also in a land that is hurt mentally with the atrocities that were committed during that horrific part of its history?
Not only the US have the fault of what happened in Vietnam, also the Soviets that were supporting North Vietnamese troops by sending them supplies are the guilty of this war.
THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
When on January 1st of 1959 the guerrilla commanded by Fidel Castro, ended with the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and created a system with socialist tendency, the American administration of Kennedy made some attempts to end with this regime in the close island. When the landed known as Bay of Pigs invasion failed the US put an economic block that still is working. Seeing that, Castro radicalised his policy and refuge in USSR arms.
Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev
In 1962 the CIA discovered the build of rocket's silo and the trip of Soviet cargo-boat with missiles going to the island. With these missiles the East Coast of US could be erased in minutes. So Kennedy ordered the block, this decision was the elected of the group that a special commission had proposed to the President; others decisions were the direct attack or the bombardment, he also ordered the dismantled of the silos.
The tension in this moment make think that the Nuclear War was near, the direct confrontation of the US and USSR, Khrushchev still was keeping his order to the ships, they still must reach the Cuban coast. But some calls and different conferences made Khrushchev ordered the stop of the ships .US and USSR took the final decision. The pact that had been made was the stop of the Soviets ships in change with a promise of don't invade of Cuba from US and don't install missiles in the US base in Turkey.
The Cuban missile crisis had been the nearest fact that could have make the begin of a nuclear war in which not only those countries would lose something, the whole world would be destroyed only because two countries couldn't solve their ideological differences. This crisis also shows that the superpowers were using the territory of potential allies, in this case Cuba as USSR ally, to develop their battles.
The consequences of this crisis were more notable in USSR, where Nikita Khrushchev the ruler, lost his post because he was accused of cowardice against the Americans in the Cuban crisis. Kennedy conserved his post and continues his Presidency until he was killed in Dallas.
I really shouldn't say anything to prove my thesis, because the History already proves it. Where, why, how, etc… is clear, in Asia, in Europe, in America… Wherever the US went, the USSR went but in the other side, if US would help North Korea, USSR would help South Korea. These countries considered, the superpowers of these times showed their weakness of leadership when they involved other countries in wars, for example the US involved the UN forces in Korea where the problem was only between the people of the that territory.
Vietnam. Cuba, Korea are only some examples, the problems that emerged in Berlin (Germany), Angola, Hungary and a big number of countries in all the world with different ideologies in ones the communist was fighting against the democracy, and in others it was the democracy the one that wanted to survive against the communism, but in all these conflicts, two countries were involved US and USSR. But did a conflict ever happen in their territory?? NO, never, they gave their support to the countries where they believed they could spread their own ideas, without allowing the own countries to develop their ideologies.
All the wars that happened during the period named as Cold War ended with the physical and mental destruction of the country implicated in. But the countries that went there to prove the power of their new bombs, or to prove the training that their men had received ended with economic and human loses. I'm not saying that this is a little thing, the human loses never are little things, but they can grow up new generations in the better conditions while the countries where the war evolved had to grow up in poverty and misery. The only advantage that we can have of the involvement of these countries in others affairs is that, that keep them occupied and avoided a direct confrontation, the feared Nuclear War.
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World History. People & Nations. Modern World. Holt, Rinehart and Winston US. 2000. Page 521
|Enviado por:||Olga Bello|