June 25, 1950: When North Korea invaded South Korea

Not so much a conflict as a global War, Korea had the United Nation allies fighting the Soviet Union, North Korea (D.P.R.K.), and People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) all for control of South Korea


SAN JOSE, Calif., June 24, 2016 — To many Americans under the age of 50, the Korean War (previously known as the “Korean Conflict” in politically sanitized language) may not be viewed as a major military confrontation like the involvement of the United States in Vietnam. Nevertheless, this conflict was a global war. When one considers that the Soviet Union, North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – D.P.R.K.), and the newly formed Communist regime of the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) all participated in fighting to take over South Korea against the combined military forces of the United Nations, this “conflict” could have mushroomed into World War III.

On Sunday, June 25, 1950, President Harry Truman was visiting his home in Independence, Missouri. when he received a telephone call from Secretary of State Dean Acheson. He informed Truman that South Korea had been invaded by North Korea.

In the moment, President Truman seemed ready to return to Washington, D.C., but Acheson told him that the commander in chief should get some sleep, and the secretary would provide relevant updates.

The following Sunday morning, Truman visited his brother while his wife and daughter attended local church services. A second call from Acheson that afternoon prompted Truman to fly back to Washington, D.C.

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World headlines quickly revealed the surprise invasion of South Korea by North Korea.

Kim Il Sung’s D.P.R.K. government in North Korea had launched a massive invasion across the 38th parallel (the De-Militarized Zone or D.M.Z.) into South Korea. According to South Korean sources, Premier Kim Il Sung had announced  that South Korea had “dared to commit armed aggression… north of the 38th parallel.”

His Initial plan had included an instigated skirmish along the D.M.Z., which would have been viewed as having originated from the South Koreans. The North then would have launched a “counterattack” and made an attempt to quickly capture the capital city of Seoul.

This charade never developed – just the lie that the dictator announced, but it wo0uld have taken a page from historical provocation from the Japanese Imperial military, when it invaded Manchuria under an insidious pretense. Their counterattack was successful and the Japanese Imperial Army seized Manchuria under a subterfuge. However, without any elaborately orchestrated charade, Kim Il Sung decided upon a direct attack across the 38th parallel because he believed South Korean agents had already discovered his devious plans.

Unfortunately, not many in the West foresaw the North Korean invasion, and most were stunned as the D.P.R.K. military thrust across the artificially imposed demarcation boundary of the Korean peninsula. In fact, on Jan. 12, 1950, Secretary of State Acheson, a key figure in shaping the Truman Doctrine of containment, had delivered an impromptu speech at the national Press Club in which he did not include Korea in the U.S. Pacific defense line. It was this speech critics claimed that opened the door for Stalin to believe the U.S. would not do anything if South Korea were invaded – it may have been interpreted as “easy pickings.”

Additionally, in a testimony before Congress in early June, Dean Rusk, assistant secretary of state for Far Eastern Affairs, had assured lawmakers that there was no likelihood of aggression in Korea. Yet, there was reason for concern. The previous year, in October 1949, nationalist China, one of the original allies that fought the tyrannical Axis powers during World War II, had fallen under the Communist forces of Mao Zedong and his People’s Army.

What many in the Free World did not know at this point in time was that Joseph Stalin felt confident to advance the Communist plans in Korea after he had trained and installed Kim Il Sung as the dictator in the north following WWII, and after China fell to Mao. Despite the clever attempts at revisionist scholars and Communist apologists to coat this horrendous action and to assign blame for the initiation of the attack at the feet of Kim Il Sung, the North Korean dictator still needed Joseph Stalin’s approval to invade. Additionally, the aims of the Communist International (Comintern) were in line with the efforts of internal revolution or civil war for the purpose of destabilization within the country in order to obtain dominion.

By May 1950, Kim Il Sung had met with Chairman Mao, and although Mao had concerns that the United States might interfere with the Communist plans, he agreed to support the D.P.R.K. invasion for several reasons. Initially, thousands of North Koreans had been sent by Kim after WWII to support Mao during the Chinese Revolution. Also, the People’s Republic of China viewed the U.S. as the most serious threat to its survival.

Mao Zedong’s commitment was important as a back-up, similar to the Kaiser Wilhelm’s German government’s willingness to back Austria-Hungary’s designs to invade Serbia, which led to the start of World War I. Once Mao’s support was established, through Kim Il Sung’s assurances to Mao that Stalin approved of the plan, North Korean preparations for war intensified. However in truth, neither Stalin nor Mao wanted a direct war with the United States.

After American forces completed their withdrawal from South Korea by June 1949, experienced Soviet generals from WWII were sent as advisers to the North Koreans. By May 1950, they had completed plans for the attack. This was after the training of the North Korean People’s Army (the Inmun Gun), the Soviet deployment of war machines and fuel, as well as other war materials stockpiled.

Conventional wisdom of the day acknowledged that a growing China was also desperately dependent upon Soviet economic and military support. However, many in the West did not realize how much the P.R.C. wanted to increase its own stature in the global Communist realm through encouraging Communist revolutions in bordering nations. Korea fit the mold, and Mao was willing to assist North Korea in an attempt to “re-unify” Korea and establish another Communist utopia.

The actions of Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union, in this premeditated invasion and deliberate devastation of life and destruction of property, reveals the true nature of “Uncle Joe” and the Communists more clearly. The supreme irony is that the Soviet Union, a member of the United Nations and a pre-eminent member of the Security Council, initiated an unprovoked attack upon an essentially defenseless  democratic member nation, which was entirely counter to the charter of the U.N. Despite revisionist “scholars” who attempt to reverse the truth of Stalin’s efforts in initiating the invasion and to blame Kim Il Sung as the instigator, the fact remains that planning went on for months among the U.S.S.R., the P.R.C. and the D.P.R.K. before the offensive.

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Stalin and the Soviets were merely playing their double-faced pretense of wanting peace, but at the same time, planning and instigating war. The North Korean aggression had been supported by the P.R.C., which was applying for membership to the U.N. – an international peace-keeping body. True to communist propaganda (true mental manipulation), the P.R.C. still refers to the war as the “War to Resist U.S. Aggression and aid Korea.

Fortunately, a real victory for freedom came when the U.N. Security Council determined to accomplish its true purpose under its charter and enabled President Truman to commit U.S. forces to assist in what he referred to as a “police action.” Ironically, this was what the U.N. was supposed to be doing throughout its history, but the Soviet Union in this instance failed to veto the vote on Korean intervention as their ambassador was more focused on boycotting the Security Council meetings to make a statement in protest of the P.R.C.’s rejection by the U.N. It was their first and last mistake in utilizing their veto power to block the Security Council in fulfilling its true mission to maintain world peace.

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Dennis Jamison reinvented his life after working for a multi-billion dollar division of Johnson & Johnson for several years. Now semi-retired, he is an adjunct faculty member at West Valley College in California. He currently writes a column on US history and one on American freedom for the Communities Digital News, as well as writing for other online publications. During the 2016 presidential primaries, he worked as the leader of a network of writers, bloggers, and editors who promoted the candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson. He founded the “We the People” Network of writers and the Citizen Sentinels Project to pro-actively promote the values and principles established at the founding of the United States, and to discover and support more morally centered citizen-candidates who sincerely seek election as public servants, not politicians.