Korean War

Social Studies - Kristina Jokic


The Korean war was fought because North Korea was communist, while South Korea was not. These issues differ from the American Civil War because the American Civil War was fought over slavery and states’ rights, not about the type of government in the area.
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Precursor Events

Some precursors of the war were the rising tensions between Communist and non-communist beliefs. North Korea also associated itself with Russia and South Korea allied with Japan. One of the precursors reminds me of the American Civil War. When North and South Korea acted as if they were separate countries, that reminded me of when the North and South split into the Union and the Confederacy.


Kim Il-Sung

  • lived from April 15, 1912 to July 8, 1994
  • His political party was the Worker's Party of Korea
  • He was communist, and he established a totalitarian society in North Korea
  • He served in the military from 1941-1945 and again from 1948-1994
  • He fought in World War II and in the Korean War
  • Led North Korea during the war

Syngman Rhee

  • Lived from April 18, 1875 to July 19, 1965
  • Elected to be the first president of South Korea
  • Was in office from September 11, 1919 to March 21, 1925
  • Was imprisoned in the past for trying to remove ing Gojong of the Korean Empire from power
  • strongly anti-communist
  • Had lived in both the United States and Japan in the past
  • Spoke fluent English while none of his rivals did, so he was the most liked by the American government.

Douglas MacArthur

  • Lived from January 26, 1880 to April 5, 1964
  • He was a general in the army.
  • He held the United Nations Command, was the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, and commanded the Southwest Pacific Area.
  • Had been give various medals, including the Medal of Honor
  • General of the UN forces from the United States
  • helped South Korea fight back against North Korea
  • Was courtmartialed because of something he said publicly, which went against the UN's policies

Arms and Army

The war was fought using sidearm pistols, rifles, shotguns, automatic weapons, machine guns, hand and rifle grenades, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, mortars, and large artillery. Tanks were used as well, and attack aircraft were used for the first time in this war, as well as a few helicopters. North Korea seemed to have a bigger advantage. They had a powerful army, and were backed by the Soviet Union and China. South Korea, however, had a weaker army, but were supported by the US and Japan.

Resources and Technology

  • In the Korean War, planes were being used in warfare, which had been recently introduced.

  • Although the UN needed mules and human porters to supply troops, they had the latest advanced weapons like jet fighters and atomic bombs.

  • The US also threatened to use the atomic bomb against Communist forces.

  • British troops used weapons that were also used in WWII, and the Americans introduced the Super Bazooka, which could break through the armor on a tank much easier.


There were several alliances in the Korean War. North Korea allied with China and the Soviet Union, who were both also communist. South Korea allied with Japan and the US. These alliances influenced the war because South Korea had a weak army on their own, but the US helped them greatly in fighting back against the North.


This war was based off of the two different views of the North and the South. There was a problem in the society where the Soviet Union was pulling the North towards communism, while Japan was pulling the South away from communism. This resulted in a lot of polarization, which greatly affected the people living in these regions. Protests against this war were not common, and they were not effective in causing a major change in the opinions of the war.

Graphs Representing the War

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This graph shows the amount of nuclear warheads the United States possesses. Around the 1950’s, the US started to manufacture these nuclear weapons. This happened at about the same time as the Korean War, and this has been shown when the US threatened to use nuclear weapons against North Korea.
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This graph shows how many armed forces both sides had. It is clear to see that North Korea had more of an advantage with its weapons and forces. This is where the United states helped greatly, because they allied with the weaker South Korea to help them fight back.
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This graph shows the casualties of the Korean War. Although more of Korea’s military has been killed, more of South Korea’s civilians have been killed. Also, more than twice as many North Korean soldiers have been injured than South Korean soldiers.

The Arts

How can the arts help people deal with war?

The arts help people express their feelings during hard times. Many people have suffered because of this war. The soldiers on all sides and their loved ones have had to go through so much, and some people have been expressing their opinions and feelings through the arts.

How can the arts be used to tell the story of civil wars?

There have been various movies made about this war. The first Western movie made about the war was “The Steel Helmet,” produced in 1951. South Korea has made multiple movies about the war as well, though theirs were produced later, mostly in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Their most recent movie is called “The Front Line” and was made in 2011. It is set during the cease-fire of 1953. Even North Korea has made films about the war. Korean War films have always been popular in the country, and they have been used as propaganda sometimes. Their movies glorified North Korean soldiers and shown South Korea and the US as war criminals. There is literature on this war as well, and the most famous and important novel is “The Square” by Choi In-hun. Pablo Picasso painted a picture representing the Korean War, called “Massacre in Korea.”