23 March y
Assess the significance of events in Korea (1950-1953) on the development of the Cold War
In July 1953, an armistice was signed at Panmunjom to signal a ceasefire between the Sino-Soviet backed North and the US-UN backed South Korea. Although the Korean War was not the beginning of Cold Wa, the events from Korea are important in assessing the development of the Cold War. Whilst it is sometimes seen as a watershed in the development of the Cold War, a more compelling analysis is that it was a catalyst which accelerated the tensions between world superpowers in the wake of WW2 and origins of the Cold War which were already gaining impetus. With hardening lines since 1948, mounting fears of the enemy and fears of espionage within, the events in Korea set a template for the development of the Cold War.
The Korean War set the precedent for a new way of fighting, not only in the Cold War, but for future conflicts to come. This comes through indirect military intervention from larger powers to back smaller countries with similar policies to the larger nations. This is known as a proxy war. The root of proxy war stems from paranoia in the American-Soviet leadership. For Truman, the ‘Domino Theory’, the idea that change of ideology in one country may be replicated in other neighbouring countries, allowed him to justify US intervention to prevent the spread of world wide Communism (containment). One could argue that a ‘mirror image’ argument can justify Soviet intervention in Korea. Being one of the only Communist states in the world, the soviets felt encircled by countries influenced by the West. Therefore Stalin and the USSR felt any country facing a Communist revolution should have the backing of the USSR. This would not only give the USSR more allies around the world, but would also reduce world-wide US influence. Because the Korean War was the first ‘hot war’ of the Cold War, it was the first time this concept of a proxy war could