Truman, MacArthur and the Korean War: June 1950 to July 1951

A comprehensive history of the first year of the Korean War dealing primarily with the period from June 1950 to April 1951, which defined the war's direction until General Mark Clark, the final United Nations commander in the Korean War, signed the armistice at Pan Mun Jom on July 27, 1953. The author focuses on a number of key issues. Were the disagreements between General Douglas MacArthur and President Harry S. Truman over Formosa and carrying the war to Red China as pronounced as commonly thought? How far apart on these issues were the Joint Chiefs of Staff and MacArthur? Just how great a role did the United Nations play in the Korean War? How wise was Truman's decision to cross the 38th parallel? Did MacArthur play a crucial role in it? Did intervention in the Korean War best serve America's national self-interests? On October 10, 1945, having travelled on the Soviet ship Pugachev from Khabarovsk, Kim-il-Sung and 66 fellow soldiers of the 88th Brigade landed at Wonsan. Throughout the coming struggles, these men would serve as the core of the North Korean military command. According to former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who published his memoirs in 1970, Kim, not Stalin, initiated the invasion plan. Referring to the Korean intervention as a police action, Truman controversially went to war without a congressional declaration of war or a joint congressional resolution. The U.N. Security Council resolutions were the basis for American involvement and the administration continually tried to avoid the appearance of unilateral action by repeatedly emphasizing that the United States was acting on behalf of the United Nations. As it was, the United States carried the major burden of the war, furnishing the bulk of the air units, naval forces, troops, and equipment. About the Author DENNIS D. WAINSTOCK is an Associate Professor of History at Salem-Teikyo University in Salem, West Virginia.