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Spoils of War: Revisiting the Outcome of the Korean War

한관수 1

1조선대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

After the Korean War(1950∼1953), both the Republic of Korea (ROK) and North Korea (NK) have claimed they won the war. However, more recently the war has been evaluated as “the tragedy of fratricidal war without neither a winnernora loser". That is, it is widely accepted now that the war finished a tie. In contrast, according to The Defense White Paper 2010, in which the war was reinterpreted in commemoration of its 60th anniversary, the victory belonged to liberal democracy. This study attempts to add new light to the outcome of the Korean War. By sharing ideas used by the famous German military theorist, Carlvon Clausewitz, this study develops three factors as a means to analyze the war. Clausewitz believed in putting the enemy out of action, occupying enemy territory, and annihilating the will of resistance, while focus in gon the justification of war with respects to the effects of the war on the people and the nations involved. From these beliefs, the following three factors are created in order to re-analyzethe Korean War. Analysis of NK's accomplishments show that NK military forces dominated Seoul, destroying the main forces of the ROK troops. However, NK failed to accomplish any of three major objectives of war as mentioned earlier. NK could not break the resistant will of the ROK people and their leaders. Furthermore, the NK justification of war, “the liberation of ROK from the USA" was not convincing enough even to their own people. It was a justification insisted solely by a few NK leaders including Kim Il-sung. Lastly and most importantly, the investigation of the effects of the war on the people and nations involved show that ROK rapidly rose as one of the ten global economic powers by actively accepting democratic changes, whereas NK established a system of power succession by eliminating all political opposition. This military adventurism taken by Kim Il-sung and followed by Kim Jung-il resulted in the rogue state nation which is plagued by hunger and poverty. These results support the evaluation of the war suggested in The Defense White Paper 2010. Therefore, it is hoped that the ROK Government will share this knowledge with its people and encourage them to take part inactive discussions in order to raise a wareness of ROK's past and current national security issues.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.