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The Design of Cold War Initiative for the region of East Asia and the Plan for Composition of Korea-U.S. Relations by the delegation of Van Fleet

  • military history
  • 2021, (120), pp.43-78
  • DOI : 10.29212/mh.2021..120.43
  • Publisher : Military History Institute, MND
  • Research Area : Humanities > History
  • Received : July 16, 2021
  • Accepted : August 25, 2021
  • Published : September 15, 2021

Dongwon Lee 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

After the armistice of the Korean War, Eisenhower sent a special military aid delegation to East Asia in April 1954 headed by former Eighth U.S. Army commander Van Fleet, for the purpose of reviewing East Asian strategy and scale of military aid. Van Fleet delegation visited South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines in turn and wrote a comprehensive report on East Asian policies covering political, economic and military issues as well as military aid and submitted it to President Eisenhower on September 30 at that year. Through the analysis of Van Fleet's report, this article will provide the understanding of the U.S. Cold War initiative in 1954 on East Asia, which was gradually gaining strategic value since the Korean War truce, the signing of the ROK-U.S. military alliance, and the rise of the Indochina Peninsula. Van Fleet served as the head of the special mission with Eisenhower's robust trust even after his discharge from the military. Van Fleet was very close to President Sungman Rhee based on his experience as commander of the Eighth U.S Army during the Korean War. Thus, Van Fleet's appointment as the head of the special military aid mission was due to the need of the U.S. but also at the request of President Rhee. Van Fleet represented the interests of the United States, but similarly expressed an "Asianist" aspect similar to MacArthur's, which led to a compromise between American interests and those of South Korea and other East Asian countries. Therefore, this study will be a historical case study that understands the process of establishing relations between the United States and East Asian countries, especially Korea, and their mutual characteristics. At the same time, it will also be possible to see how General Van Fleet, who was called the "father of the Korean military," influenced the military aid issue and military enhancement in East Asia after his discharge.

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