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Exploring American History Unit X – Post War America. Chapter 27 – Section 2 War in Korea and New Red Scare. War in Korea and a New Red Scare. The Big Idea During the Cold War, the U.S. government confronted communism globally and within the United States. Main Ideas

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exploring american history unit x post war america

Exploring American HistoryUnit X – Post War America

Chapter 27 – Section 2War in Korea and New Red Scare

war in korea and a new red scare
War in Korea and a New Red Scare
  • The Big Idea
  • During the Cold War, the U.S. government confronted communism globally and within the United States.
  • Main Ideas
  • The United States fought Communist North Korea in the Korean War.
  • Fear of Communists led to a new Red Scare at home.
  • President Eisenhower faced Cold War crises around the world.
main idea 1 the united states fought communist north korea in the korean war
Main Idea 1:The United States fought Communist North Korea in the Korean War.
  • Cold War quickly spread to Asian nations of China and Korea.
    • China: in 1949 the People’s Republic of China was established by Communists, led by Mao Zedong.
    • Korea: after World War II, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel with a Soviet-implemented government in North Korea and a U.S.-implemented government in South Korea.
korea before the war
Korea before the War

After World War II, Japanese-occupied Korea was temporarily divided into northern and southern parts.

The Soviet Union controlled Korea north of the 38th parallel. The United States would be in charge of Korea south of the 38th parallel.

The Soviet Union established a communist government in North Korea. North Korea called itself the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Its first leader was Kim Il Sung.

In South Korea, the United States promoted a democratic system. The Republic of Korea was led by president Syngman Rhee.

the start of the korean war
The Start of the Korean War
  • North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950.
  • Most leaders in the United States were surprised by this attack.
    • American troops stationed in South Korea since WW II had recently completed their withdrawal.
    • The United States was not well prepared to fight in Korea; however, the decision to fight was made quickly.
  • Truman decided that the United States would take a stand against Communist aggression in Korea.
  • The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously in favor of the use of force in Korea.
the start of the korean war8
Role of the United States

South Korea was where the United States had to take a stand against Communist aggression.

Truman ordered American naval and air forces to support Korean ground troops.

Truman asked the United Nations to approve the use of force to stop the North Korean invasion.

Role of the United Nations

The UN Security Council supported the use of force in Korea.

Truman sent ground troops to Korea.

The troops sent to Korea were to be a United Nations force.

Instead of calling this a war, the whole effort was referred to as a UN police action.

The Start of the Korean War
combat in the korean war
Combat in the Korean War
  • UN forces made an amphibious landing behind North Korean lines at the port city of Inchon.
  • MacArthur’s surprise attack worked beautifully.
  • The September 1950 invasion at Inchon was a key victory for UN forces.

The Inchon


  • Offensives from Inchon and Pusan resulted in the destruction or surrender of huge numbers of North Korean troops.
  • By October 1950 all of South Korea was back in UN hands.

North Korea

on the Run

  • UN forces had begun to move into North Korea, but the when 260,000 Chinese troops joined the North Koreans the UN began to retreat.
  • UN forces retreated all the way back to Seoul. It was the longest fallback in U.S. military history.

UN Forces


general macarthur is fired
General MacArthur Is Fired
  • MacArthur said that the UN faced a choice between defeat by the Chinese or a major war with them.
  • He wanted to expand the war by bombing the Chinese mainland, perhaps even with atomic weapons.
  • Lieutenant General Matthew Ridgway stopped the Chinese onslaught and pushed them back to the 38th parallel —without needing to expand the war or use atomic weapons.
  • MacArthur disagreed with President Truman about the direction of the fighting and challenged the authority of the president.
  • Truman fired MacArthur.
  • Many Americans were outraged at the firing of MacArthur.
fighting ends in korea
Negotiating for Peace

In July 1951 peace talks began.

One major obstacle was the location of the boundary between the Koreas.

Meanwhile battles such as Bloody Ridge and Heartbreak Ridge continued, inflicting heavy casualties on both sides.

In October 1951 peace talks stalled over prisoners of war.

Negotiators in Panmunjomcontinued to argue over the details of a peace agreement throughout 1952.

Events of 1953

In 1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower—who promised to end the war—was elected president.

Fighting remained deadly—in the final two months of the war, UN forces lost 57,000 men and the Communists lost 100,000.

An armistice agreement was finally reached on July 27, 1953.

The Korean War left the map of Korea looking much as it had in 1950.

The human costs were huge.

Fighting Ends in Korea
korean war
Korean War
  • On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea.
  • United States and United Nations responded by offering support to South Korea.
  • China sent support to North Korea.
  • By 1951, UN forces drove North Koreans and Chinese back across the 38th parallel but fighting continued.
  • The unpopularity of Truman’s actions during the war helped Dwight D. Eisenhower win the 1952 presidential election.
  • Korean War officially ended July 27, 1953 with a cease-fire.
    • More than 130,000 Americans had been killed or wounded.
    • Over 2 million Korean and Chinese casualties
the korean war
The Korean War
  • Describe – How did the Communists gain control over mainland China?
  • Recall – What is the significance of the 38th parallel?
  • Identify Cause and Effect – Why was President Truman determined to contain fighting between Chinese and UN forces within Korea?
the korean war23
The Korean War
  • Recall – What was the main foreign policy issue of the 1952 presidential election?
  • Analyze – Why did the Korean conflict end in a cease-fire?
main idea 2 fear of communists led to a new red scare at home
Main Idea 2: Fear of Communists led to a new Red Scare at home.

Cold War fears led to a new Red Scare in the late 1940s and 1950s.

A Congressional committee known as the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was in charge of investigating Communist influence in America.

  • In 1947 HUAC launched hearings to expose supposed Communist influence in movie industry
    • They branded as “red,” or Communist, actors and writers who

would not answer questions or refused to reveal names.

    • People suspected of Communist sympathies were often

blacklisted, or denied work.

Explosive spy cases also fed fears that Communists were at work in the United States.

rise of mccarthy
Rise of McCarthy
  • In 1950 Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy charged that Communists were working inside the State Department.
    • Had no concrete proof
    • When charges were challenged, he made up new charges.
    • This method of making aggressive accusations without proof became known as McCarthyism.
  • In 1954, during televised hearings, he finally went too far.
    • Used brutal tactics and bullied a young legal assistant
    • Public outraged
  • Senate later voted to condemn McCarthy’s actions.
    • Came too late to help those whose careers had already been ruined by his attacks
a new red scare
A New Red Scare
  • Explain – What was the purpose of H.U.A.C.?
  • Analyze – Why would the U.S. Attorney General say that Communists were everywhere in the U.S.?
a new red scare29
A New Red Scare
  • Explain – What is McCarthyism?
  • Draw Conclusions – Why do you think Senator McCarthy was able to accuse so many people of Communist leanings?
  • Elaborate – Do you think people whose careers were ruined by Senator McCarthy’s accusations should have asked the government for formal apologies or financial compensation?
main idea 3 president eisenhower faced cold war crises around the world
Main Idea 3: President Eisenhower faced Cold War crises around the world.
  • In 1952 America completed development on hydrogen bomb, a weapon more powerful than the atomic bomb.
  • By 1953 Soviet Union developed its own hydrogen bomb, thus beginning a nuclear arms race, as both rushed to build more weapons.
  • In October 1957 Soviets launched Sputnik, the first artificial space satellite.
  • In January 1958 the United States launched its own satellite and established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
cold war crises
Cold War Crises
  • Eisenhower supported strategy of brinkmanship, a willingness to go to the brink of war to oppose communism.
  • Used covert, or secret, operations around the world to overthrow leaders and influence politics.
    • 1953– Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) helped overthrow premier of Iran.
    • 1954– CIA helped organize removal of Guatemalan president.
  • Crisis in Egypt briefly brought Americans and Soviets together.
  • After crisis averted, Cold War continued.
eisenhower and the cold war
Eisenhower and the Cold War
  • Recall – Which was more powerful, the hydrogen bomb or the atomic bomb?
  • Make Generalizations – Why do you think the Soviet Union and the United States engaged in an arms race?
  • Rank – Which policy do you think provided more security for the United States, containment or brinkmanship?
eisenhower and the cold war34
Eisenhower and the Cold War
  • Describe – How did the CIA carry out U.S. foreign policy in the ?
  • Make Generalizations – Why do you think the Soviet Union and the United States engaged in an arms race?
  • Rank – Which policy do you think provided more security for the United States, containment or brinkmanship?

Korean War Veterans Memorial – Washington D.C.

As you approach the memorial, the first things you see are the nineteen soldiers on patrol heading up hill. The use of Juniper bushes in the field is to show the rugged terrain they met. Veterans who visit the memorial view the granite slabs, located in front of each soldier, as obstacles that American soldiers had to overcome. A low granite slab does not do justice to the many obstacles that they had to overcome. The ponchos that each is wearing can only give you a hint as to the miserable weather they faced. The soldiers at the front of the patrol represent the first soldiers sent to the Korean peninsula. Many of the first soldiers were ill equipped and ill trained yet they persevered. American soldiers faced foul weather, rugged terrain, poor equipment, not to mention 54 divisions of communist Chinese soldiers but in the end they were able to overcome all these obstacles.

The soldiers represent a unit on patrol. There is much to see in the field, most of which is not readily apparent to the average visitor. The original design of the memorial was to have 38 statues to represent the 38th parallel. Most of the fighting occurred along this line but due to space limitations the number of statues had to be cut in half.


The highly polished surface of the wall of faces reflects all nineteen soldiers producing a total thirty-eight figures. It is not just the Army represented in the field. All four branches of the United States Military have representatives.

  • If you look in to the faces of the soldiers you will notice that they represent all different races. Even though the United States had a very segregated society, the armed forces had begun to integrate units. Visitors to the memorial are so awe struck by the soldiers, that before they know it they have missed the other parts of the memorial. Along the north side of the memorial is a low stone wall, on which are engraved the 22 countries that made up the United Nations forces in Korea. Not all the nations participated militarily. Several contributed much needed medical supplies and personnel. These 22 nations felt strongly that their freedom was also being threatened, and was willing to help in whatever way they could.
  •  Along the south side of the memorial is the wall of faces. When the wall is viewed from a distance, the faces form the outline of the rugged hills that are a dominant part of the Korean landscape. The images depicted on the wall were taken from actual photographs of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who participated in the conflict. The faces along the wall represent the support troops it took to keep our foot soldier in the field. We do not often think about those who are behind the front lines. It is somewhat ironic that one of the best-known TV shows about war, MASH, takes place in Korea and is about doctors and nurses in the Korean War.