What determined the United States to enter the one of the costliest wars in the twentieth-century is a good topic for foreign policy study. There are several possible explanations as to why the United States participated in the war. The most important explanation is that the western world would be in a greater threat if North Korea won the war. Communist was considered as expansionism by the White House; hence, occupying South Korea might be a move of Communists to expand the Communist territory in the world. To prevent this, the United States needed to deter this possible threat. Another one is the United States is afraid of communist expansion. If North Korea won the war, it might cause countries swinging between Communist and Democratic to become Communist. Moreover, the domestic political situation for the Truman administration at that time was crucial in analyzing why the United States entered the war. These are the most important factors motivating America to enter the war. Despite the profits of the entry in the war, there were some reasons preventing the United States involved in the war. Because North Korea’s invasion was likely backed by the USSR, if the United States failed to handle the situation properly, a World War III might happen; this would lead to huge loss of U.S. personal and substantial financial costs. Other than that, because China borders North Korea and China was another major Communist country, the United States intervention could lead to war with China. In this paper, I would first analyze each major reason individually for entering the war or not intervening. After that, I would put the picture together to explain why the United States eventually chose to participate in the war. Reasons the United States entered the Korean War
Fear of Communist Expansion
The most important factor that influenced U.S. entry into the Korean War was the USSR’s and other Communist countries’ ambitions to expand. After WWII, the White House had started to consider the Soviet Union as imperialist. The report “the Truth of Korea” implied that the United States was a free nation and the Soviet Union was intended to build a Soviet empire around the world. By considering the Soviet Union as imperialist, the United States was afraid that if the United States stood aside in the Korean War, Communist countries would take further actions to expand. For instances, China would attack Taiwan, IndoChina would overthrow France and become Communist countries, and the Soviet Union would even build communist regimes in Middle East or West Europe.
The worries were likely to become reality unless U.S. intervened. After WWII, the Soviet Union consolidated their power by setting up puppet communist governments in all countries they had liberated, except Yugoslavia. Both force and politics were used to keep East European countries following commands from Moscow. Based on these behaviors of the USSR on other countries, it was reasonable that the United States labeled the Soviet Union as imperialism. Facing a country with desires to control other countries, punishment was a better choice than appeasement according to the deterrence model. If the United States entered the war and secured independence of South Korea, Communist power would be contained. Consequently, when Communist countries were making decisions of territorial expansion, they had to consider the cost and consequence of a war with the United States. Therefore, the intervention could contain Communist power and prevent potential wars from happening. Fear of Bandwagoning
The second important reason U.S. entered the Korean War was fear of bandwagoning. It was less important than fear of Communist expansion is because bandwagoning would not directly harm U.S. interests, but would impair the global political leadership of the United States. In the setting of post-World War II, the world was separated...