North Korea and the Korean War

Who started the Korean war in the 1950’s? Most reliable sources would tell you that it was the North Koreans who were the aggressors in the beginning of the conflict. However, this isn’t true for all sources. Ho Jong Ho wrote a book for Foreign Languages, Publishing House in Pyongyang in 1993. His intentions can be seen in the title of the book: “The US Imperialists Started the Korean War.” [1] Common knowledge of the war states that it started in June of 1950, when the North invaded the South. It all started in 1945 when the US helped repatriate the Koreans from the Japanese. The country was divided with the Soviet union at the 38th parallel, similarly as Germany was. Although it was originally an administrative separation, it changed to a political one after the Soviets sent  thousands of refugees south. By 1947, there was no way that there could be a Unified Korea, and Armies on both sides began to grow. In 1948, South Korea declared independence. In the coming years, the Southerns were supplied by the United States, and the Northerners by the USSR and China. In March of 1950, Kim Il Sung visited Moscow, and got approval to invade. On 25 June 1950, the North Korean Army went across the 38th parallel, 107,000 men strong and started the invasion [2]. This is what is known and what actually happened for the start of the war. The North Koreans believe this is completely wrong and have been advertising to their people that the United States are the aggressors of the Korean war.  They said that “On June 17, Juche 39 [1950] the then U.S. President [Harry S.] Truman sent [John Foster] Dulles as his special envoy to South Korea to examine the anti-North war scenario and give an order to start the attack. On June 18, Dulles inspected the 38th parallel and the war preparations of the ‘ROK Army’ units. That day he told Syngman Rhee to start the attack on North Korea with the counter-propaganda that North Korea first ‘invaded’ the south.” [3] This is a great example of historical negationism. The North Koreans have altered history in order to manipulate the minds of their citizens to keep their firm grasp. Their academic pursuit of re-interpretation has been successful for their own people. but not on the world. The propaganda can be seen in the titles of the chapters in Ho Jong Ho’s book. “US imperialism’s policy of World Domination after World War II, Its Occupation of South Korea and Enforcement of “Military Government, Occupation of South Korea by the US Imperialists and Their Establishment of a Colonial Military Rule, and Atrocity of Mass Murder Committed by US Imperialism against the Korean People” just to name a few. [1] The books last chapter is even called “US Imperialists’ Crushing Military Defeat in the Korean War.” I think that this is just one huge example of Historical Negationism, and it is sad that a lot of people believe it.     References:
  1. Ho Jong Ho, Kang Sok Hui, and Pak Thae Ho, US Imperialists Started the Korean War (Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1993)
  2.  Millett, Allan, “Korean War” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1999
  3. “U.S. Order to Start Korean War”, Korean Central News Agency, 12 June 2000.

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