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Why the Korean Crisis should not Have Occurred

Updated on May 20, 2014

The Korean crisis started with the entry of Russia in the war against Japan

If Russia did not enter the war against Japan in WWII, the present civil war in the Korean peninsula should not have occurred.

This “if” in world history

In February 1945, Hitler’s Germany was in the verge of defeat at the hands of the Allied forces led by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt of USA, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain, and Premier Joseph Stalin of Russia, called the Big Three.

Germany was being enveloped by Allied armies coming from the West, and Russian army from the East.

There were two war theatres in WWII: the European theatre and the Southwest Pacific theatre. The allied armies in the European theatre was led by Supreme Commander Dwight Eisenhower of USA. The Southwest Pacific theatre was led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur of USA, Admiral Chester Nimitz of USA and Lord Louis Mountbatten of Great Britain who concentrated on the defense of the British empire in the Far East.

Japan had earlier occupied the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indo-China, and was expanding toward Australia. However, Adm. Nimitz and Gen. MacArthur forces repulsed Japanese forces from Port Moresby of New Guinea and threatened to liberate the Philippines and Borneo.

MacArthur planned to use Luzon of the Philippines as base for the invasion of Japan. He had landed his forces in Leyte on October 20,1944. Earlier Adm. Nimitz fleet had destroyed the Japanese navy in the Gulf of Leyte. MacArthur proceeded to crush the 400,000 Japanese troops defending the Philippines as a forward defense line of Japan. Nimitz went on to capture Okinawa, an island at the southern tip of Japan. She was now under continuous bombardment.

Gen. George C. Marshall, chief of the Joint Chief of Staff of USA, wanted to lighten the job of the liberation of the Philippines and Borneo and invasion of Japan. Russia should harrass Japan in its hold of Manchuria, China that Russia had earlier taken from China by means of the Unequal Treaties. Russia should also help in harrassing Japan in its hold of the Korean peninsula that it had been occupying for the last 30 years. The British forces under Lord Mounbatten should engage Japanese forces in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Indo-China. (India had stayed neutral in WWII).

Secret agreements

In the Yalta conference of the Big Three in Teheran, Iran in February 1945 Russia had agreed to enter the Pacific war three months after the defeat of Hitler’s Germany. Hitler committed suicide at the end of April 1945 and Germany surrendered in June 1945. Italy, as member of the Axis powers, surrendered much earlier.

Neither Gen. MacArthur nor Admiral Nimitz were invited to the Yalta conference. They were not imnmediately informed of the secret agreements in Yalta. MacAthur most likely would have advised against the entry of Russia in the war against Japan.

“...Stated briefly, the Yalta concessions included: the leasing to Russia of Port Arthur at the head of the Yellow Sea; making Dairen into a free international port. The return of the one-time Russian rights on the Manchurian railroad; and handling back to Russia the strategic lower half of Sakhalin Island and the Kuriles immediately north of Japan. Stalin promosed as part payment his support of the Nationalist Government of Chiang in China” (Hunt, Frazier. The Untold Story of Douglas MacArthur. 1954:342).

Also included is the three votes of Russia in the United Nations yet to be organized. Other countries like US, France and Great Britain would have one vote each. Then other countries like the Philippines were required to amend their constitution to allow the great powers to exploit their natural resources and engage in retail trade. ("The US shall not be sold down the river," according to Bernard Baruch, former chairman of the War Industries Board of the US in WWI.)

To recall, Stalin and Hitler entered into a secret non-aggression pact before WWII that Hitler broke by attacking Russia in 1942. Likewise, Russia and Japan entered into a non-aggression pact.

Decisive events

US bombers dropped two atomic bombs, one in Hiroshima on August 6, and another in Nagasaki, Japan three days later. On August 8, Russia declared war on Japan. On August 12, Russian troops broke into Korea. On August 15,1945 Japan surrendered. It could have been earlier but for the negotiations over the issue that the emperor be retained. Gen. MacArthur, now Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific, accepted the surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

MacArthur was the virtual emperor of Japan because the emperor of Japan was under his command. The directive for MacArthur, issued by the US, reads:

"The authority of the Emperor and the Japanese government will be subject to the Supreme Commander, who will possess all powers necessary to effectuate the surrender terms and to carry out the policies established for the conduct of the occupation and the control of Japan...." Hunt, F. The Untold Story of Douglas MacArthur. 1954:369).

it is clear that the surrender of Japan was brought about by the Southwest Pacific army (under MacArthur) and Central Pacific navy (under Nimitz) with contribution by Pres. Harry S. Truman who approved the dropping of atomic bombs over Japan. The entry of Russia into the war against Japan was unnecessary.

Two Koreas

The Russians were to operate above the 38th parallel and the Americans below the 38th parallel. The Japanese above this line were to surrender to the Russian commander; those below this line were to surrender to the American commander.

The area north of 38th parallel became to be known as North Korea. That south of it became to be known as South Korea. South Korea elected its president, Syngman Rhee, under the sponsorhip of USA and United Nations. North Korea elected its own president. The Cold War was on.

On June 25,1950 North Korea invaded South Korea. The shooting war stalemated in 1953 that resulted in a temporary truce. The crisis has not yet been resolved up until now.

Comments

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  • conradofontanilla profile imageAUTHOR

    conradofontanilla 

    4 years ago from Philippines

    grand old lady,

    Most of the big decisions affecting Korea have been made by world powers. We share some problems.

  • grand old lady profile image

    Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

    4 years ago from Philippines

    This is a very interesting hub, more so since there are so many Koreans now in the Philippines. I have been wanting to know more about Korea's history, and this hub produced the essential points in a nutshell. Thank you.

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