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The Cold War in Asia

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 8 years, 11 months ago

The Cold War in Asia:
China, Korea, and Vietnam


Historical Context:   Led by Mao Zedong, the Chinese Communists defeated the Chinese nationalists and declared the People’s Republic of China.                        









Communist Victory in China (1949)

In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi), leader of the Chinese Nationalist government, sought to destroy the Chinese Communist forces under Mao Zedong.  In 1931, the Japanese invaded Manchuria and in 1936 invaded China.   Faced with this crisis, the Chinese Nationalists and Communists fought the invader separately.  But after the defeat of Japan in 1945, the civil war continued.  With the support of the peasants Mao’s growing army inflicted one defeat after another on the Nationalists.  By December 1949 Chiang Kai-shek and his followers fled to the island of Formosa (Taiwan) and established the Nationalist government there.  The communist Chinese led by Mao now controlled all of mainland China.  The United States, however, continued to recognize Chiang’s government on Taiwan as the “legitimate” government of China.







The Korean War 

After World War II, Soviet forces entered Korea from the north and U.S. forces from the south.  Two Koreas were formed with a dividing line drawn at the 38’ parallel between communist North Korea and Democratic South Korea.  The U.S.S.R. and U.S. withdrew their forces in 1949.  On June 25, 1950, North Korean troops launched a full-scale attack on South Korea in an attempt to unite both nations under a communist government.  UN and U.S. troops were dispatched to Korea as a “police action” to remove the North Koreans from the south.  General Douglas MacArthur quickly drove back communist forces into North Korea, but when MacArthur’s troops approached the border with China at the Yalu River, they were caught in a trap by Chinese armies. 




The Military Seesaw in Korea 




MacArthur’s suggestion to invade China was rejected by Truman who feared that a land war in China would leave the way open for Soviet expansion in Europe and the Middle East and could potentially lead to World War III. 


Truman fired MacArthur and on July 27, 1953, North Korea and the UN reached an agreement with a ceasefire line established just north of the 38th parallel.  In 1954, the U.S. and South Korea entered into a treaty whereby the U.S. agreed to come to the aid of South Korea if attached again.  U.S. troops have been stationed continually in South Korea since 1954.




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