Term Paper Resource Guide to Twentieth-Century United States History

By Robert Muccigrosso; Ron Blazek et al. | Go to book overview

59.

Korean War (1950–1953)
On June 25, 1950, communist North Korea launched an attack across the 38th parallel against South Korea. Viewing this as another instance of Soviet-inspired aggression, the United States convinced the United Nations to repel the invaders. The North Koreans were nearly victorious until General Douglas MacArthur’s surprise amphibious assault behind their lines at Inchon. Recrossing the 38th parallel, UN forces (90 percent of them American) pushed to the Manchurian border, only to meet a fierce assault by Communist Chinese troops, who drove them southward. President Truman fired General MacArthur, who wished to enlarge the war, for insubordination. Truce talks, begun in June 1951, lasted two years, at which time the 38th parallel was roughly reestablished as the border between the two Koreas. Americans lost 34,000 dead.
Suggestions for Term Papers
1. Was it necessary for the United States to fight the Korean War?
2. Was President Truman’s decision not to ask Congress for a declaration of war justifiable or a misuse of executive power?
3. Discuss the decision to pursue the North Koreans beyond the 38th parallel.
4. Analyze the Truman-MacArthur controversy.
5. Discuss the long-range consequences of the Korean War for the United States.

REFERENCE SOURCES

Historical Dictionary of the Korean War. James Matray, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1991. Covers prewar events, people, strategies, battles, agendas, diplomatic meetings, and documents.

Korean War Almanac. Harry G. Summers. New York: Facts on File, 1990. Covers key people, specific battles, strategy and tactics, political factors, and effects on the countries involved.

The Korean War: An Annotated Bibliography. Paul M. Edwards, ed. West-

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