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Histographical Review of the Korean War

            Prior to reading this article by James I. Matray my knowledge of the Korean War was very limited. I knew the War lasted from 1950 to 1953 and ended with a truce between those involved. I knew that it was a war between North and South Korea both receiving outside assistance in the war. The United States fought for the South Koreans in an effort to stop the spread of communism and The Soviet Union fought for North Korea. That pretty much sums up my entire knowledge of this subject and then of course that Alan Alda starred in a sitcom television series called MASH. Before reading this article I had no idea the controversy surrounding the war or even the roles each side played, which I accredit to the fact that many schools do not teach the extent of the war as they should. The Korean War is a complex part of history and should be examined with care.
             Even 60 years after the war, the cause and course of the war is debated among many scholars. In school we are taught that the Korean War was fought to crush communism, that it was an act of "Soviet inspired communist aggression" (p. 100) which the United States had no choice but to defend. This theory is not a hard one to accept seeing how the United States and the Soviet Union were just coming of the Cold War, which in courage mistrust amongst each other. These views of each other formed the basic orthodox view of the Korean War; a war against communism. (p. 100, Matray) Despite scholars in the 1970s having access to previously classified U.S documents, schools still teach the orthodox vies. Several scholars such as William W. Stueck Jr, Charles M. Dobbs and James I. Matray all challenge the traditional views that blame the Soviet Union for igniting the Korean War. (p. 102) New discoveries from these documents give evidence of a civil war. Matray claims it is both an international conflict and a civil war. (p.100) Both president Sygman Rhee of South Korea and president Kim Il-Sung of North Korea were calling for a forceful unification of the peninsula, both sides however needed outside support in order to launch an offensive against the other.

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