Korean War and Vietnam Partition - Civil Services Preparation Online! UPSC and IAS Study Material

Korean War and Vietnam Partition

by Devender

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In 1910, Korea was taken over by the Japanese but after the defeat of Japan in World War II, Korea was divided into two parts and given to the Soviet Union and America. The northern part was given to the Soviet Union and the southern to the US with an aim to make Korea an independent state. Same as the case of Germany, two governments were formed in Korea.

One was the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) under the leadership of Korean Communists while the other one was The Republic of Korea (South Korea) by a group of parties under the leadership of Syngman Rhee.

Korean War

Syngman Rhee was an anti-communist who wanted to stop the spread of communism in his country and to achieve that he wanted an alliance with Chiang KaiShek. Both parties organized their troops and there were a lot of clashes happening between the two.

  • The Korean War between North and South Korea broke out in June 1950
  • The US feared the spread of communism in these areas as the Chinese Revolution already took place and the Communist party emerged in it
  • US sent troops to South Korea for its aid in war
  • These troops fought from South Koreas as troops of the United Nations
  • UN had already condemned North Korea and asked countries to help South Korea
  • Chinese forces also entered the war after US interference

The situation took a serious turn after the entry of China as everyone feared that this will turn it into another world war and with the Soviet Union acquiring atom bombs, it will become a real deal.

However, it didn't end up in a world war despite that, the Korean war kept going for almost three years and at last, the armistice was signed in 1953. According to it, Korea remained divided into two different states.


Vietnam Partition

Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia together make what is called Indo-China. It was under the colonial rule of French but during the second world war when the French government gave up against Germany, many parts of it were occupied by Japan. However, the movement for freedom from French rule started a long time ago in Indo-China and Ho ChiMinh was the greatest leader from Vietnam.

  • Ho ChiMinh organized many communist and nationalist movements in Vietnam after the First World War
  • Under his leadership, the people of Vietnam resisted Japan occupation
  • An army of people was formed known as Viet Minh
  • Viet Minh had controlled large parts of Vietnam by the end of the Second World War
  • The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was formed in August 1945 and Ho ChiMinh was made president of it
  • In 1946, French troops arrived in Vietnam to restore the French rule
  • Viet Minh resisted and there were many fights between them
  • French also set up a puppet government with Bao Dal, who was head of Puppet government set up by Japan

The war between the French and Viet Minh continued for 8 years and at last, in 1954, French forces suffered a crucial blow at the fortress of Dien-Bien-Phu where the debacle forced the French government to start negotiations with the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

An International Conference was held in Geneva in July 1954 where it was decided to partition Vietnam temporarily so that elections can be conducted all over Vietnam to unify it back under a single government. The other two countries of Indo-China were made independent.

  • Vietnam War:
  • After the partition of Vietnam, a new phase in the freedom movement of Vietnam started. The government of South Vietnam with the help of the US refused the terms of the Geneva Conference of uniting Vietnam back and holding elections. The government of South Vietnam was directly under the influence of the US which was against the unification of Vietnam under communist rule.

  • Revolutions broke out in South Vietnam against its government
  • US intervened by sending massive military to Vietnam
  • This war raged for many years
  • Vietnam suffered a lot of damage by the heavy bombing of US armies
  • Weapons of bacteriological warfare were also used by the US armies
  • US was completely isolated from the world following the participation in the Vietnam war
  • Even people of US also grew against this war and thousands of Americans refused to be drafted into US army
  • US government didn't back down even after knowing the war is a lost cause and can't be won
  • In 1975, the war took a decisive turn, and the Armies of North Vietnam & of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam cleared the nation over steering the American upheld troops of the government of South Vietnam.

All the US troops were withdrawn by April 1975 and North & South Vietnam were united as a country in 1976. Ho ChiMinh died in 1969 and to honor his legacy, the city of Saigon was renamed Ho Chi-Minh City.


Cambodia: Khmer Rouge

The Vietnam war also spread to Cambodia and in 1970, the government of Cambodia was overthrown and a new puppet government was installed. The US troops along with the South Vietnamese troops carried the fight to Cambodia believing North Vietnamese troops are getting supplies from bases in Cambodia.

  • When US withdrew from the war in 1975, a party under the leadership of Pol Pot called as Khmer Rouge already had controlled Cambodia.
  • They were killing people of their own and reigning terror over everyone.
  • After four years, in 1979, the government of Pol Pot was overthrown with the help of Vietnamese troops.
  • The war was still not over as Khmer Rouge still had some parts of Cambodia under their control.
  • They also used to operate from across the border with Thailand.
  • United Nations intervened and brought various warring parties together.

An agreement was signed and Vietnamese troops were withdrawn from Cambodia. Elections were held in Cambodia in 1993 and a new government was formed. However, Khmer Rouge stayed outside the government and attacked parts of the country.



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