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By the beginning of October of 1950, UN forces had pushed the North Koreans back to

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By the beginning of October of 1950, UN forces had pushed the North Koreans back to

A. Pusan.  B. The 38th parallel.  C. The Yalu River.  D. Seoul. The answer is C: The Yalu River. By the beginning of October of 1950, UN forces had pushed the North Koreans back to the Yalu River.

In the decade that followed the ravage that had been left behind by the successive World Wars, communism spread itself to the nations in the Far East. In 1949, China became a communist nation but the Korean conflict that took place in the 1950s proved to be the biggest crisis that threatened relations between the USSR and USA.

War Zone: Image by Hasan Çilingir from Pixabay

Communism proved to be a big success in China and led to the belief among powers in the USA that their domino theory held true. This theory stated that if communism was allowed to establish itself in one country, it would not be long before the same had spread across to the neighboring nations.

The American National Security Council in a 1950 report came up with the recommendation that a containment policy would not be enough. Instead, a roll-back was needed, an action for taking back those territories that were under communist control.

Cause behind the Korean war

Following the Second World War, Korea was divided into two different territories along the 38th parallel – one was the communist North under the leadership of Kim Il Sung and backed by the Soviets, and the other was the non-communist South Korea led by Syngman Rhee and with backing from the USA.

In the month of June 1950, North Korea launched an attack across the 38th Parallel on its southern neighbors, backed in its actions by China and USSR.

America and the UN come to the rescue
June 1950: The North Korean Army made quick advances and forced the Southern army to retreat into a small area around the Pusan region of South Korea
July 1950: With the threat of a communist takeover looming large, the USA sent in troops so they could help the South Korean army
The USA made an appeal for help to the United Nations which was approved by the UN Security Council. The resolution was passed with the Soviet boycott of the United Nations in protest of the Chinese communist government being prevented from taking its rightful at the Security Council body
September 1950: American General MacArthur led by the UN forces arrived in Inchon and proceeded quickly to push the North Koreans back across the 38th Parallel. By October of 1950, the communists had been largely pushed back to the Yalu River on the North Korea-China border
October 1950: Wary of having a US-backed state along its borders, China went into an invasion of Korea and drove back the UN forces below the 38th Parallel. General MacArthur appealed for atomic weapons to be used but was turned down by President Truman who decided to eventually sack MacArthur
June 1951: UN deployed further troops to Korea and eventually succeeded in driving the communists back across the 38th Parallel
July 1953: The decision for signing an armistice was finally taken on the 38th Parallel at Panmunjom which left Korea divided the way it had been in 1950. This division holds good to this day
MacArthur’s miscalculation that escalated the conflict

Towards the fag end of November 1950, China decided to enter the Korean War in all earnest, launching a violent attack on the combined forces of UN-America.

The offensive by 300,000-odd Chinese soldiers caught the UN army off guard with Gen. Douglas MacArthur being held responsible for his belief that China would never risk entering the war openly. This led to the conflict getting expanded on a massive scale.

In an earlier communication to General MacArthur, US President Harry Truman had warned of a possible intervention by the communist forces from China. He had asked him not to lead the armed forces into the vicinity of the Yalu River.

However, the CIA came up with a contrarian assessment that argued that the Chinese would get involved in the affairs only if Soviet Russia was keen on going for an all-out global war.

To keep Truman happy, the allied UN and American forces continued to battle smaller Chinese troops alongside the North Korean army, believing them to be volunteers masquerading as soldiers for the Chinese government.

MacArthur sided with the CIA assessment and concluded that Mao Zedong would not be so reckless as to counter the might of the global superpower head-on.

He also believed, much like the CIA, that China was only dancing to the tunes of Joseph Stalin who was calling the shots from Moscow. What most people failed to consider was the fact that Mao was a man eager to prove his credibility to the world as a person who lived and died by his own decisions.

China’s counter-attack

When China counter-attacked the offensive by Gen MacArthur on November 25, the allied troops were completely taken by surprise. The captain had been hit and Lt.

Gen Takahashi who was leading the company held out the perimeter for as long as he possibly could with a limited supply of ammo and grenades. Subsequently, he ordered his men to move up to higher ground amidst bombs and bullets flying in from all sides.

One of the best personnel in his army, Sergeant Arthur Lee, was manning a machine gun from their position on the hill. He was hit on the throat by a Chinese bullet which led to the small battalion of men ultimately being destroyed.

Takahashi was taken prisoner along with a few others but managed to escape back to the American lines. This plight of the soldiers made MacArthur accept that he was wrong in his assessment of the Chinese and he called out for more support from President Truman.


Hostilities between the two halves of Korea finally came to an end in 1953 when an armistice was agreed upon. By the time, Stalin was dead, and Truman no longer held office. Gen MacArthur had also been relieved of his duties.

Mao was the only one to remain a significant name from the whole incident, establishing his ideologies and communal role in China until 1976. Relationships between the two Korean nations have been on edge ever since.


The Cold War: 1948-1960: Taken from
Catastrophe on the Yalu: Taken from
The Korean War: Taken from

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