There are many similarities between the Korean war and Vietnam's. However, it is important to recognize how vastly different they were in terms of conflict resolution and political interferences. The author has therefore written a detailed comparison essay on the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Similarities between the Korean and Vietnam Wars
First, both wars were based on an ideological basis. The Truman Doctrine states that the United States government believed that if Vietnam and Korea choose communism, they must stop the process.
This measure was only one solution to stop the spread of communism on the Asian continent and worldwide. But, the brutality of the wars and the use of chemical weapons, which resulted in millions of deaths, proved that these wars were not fair to the Vietnamese citizens. Millions of local citizens participated in the solution to their ideological conflicts while the URSS and the United States were working together.
Although both the Vietnam War (and the Korean War) had similar ideological roots and battle tactics, the two countries were divided for two parts. The North was favored communism, while the South supported democracy. There were many differences, such as how the Korean War developed over three years and the Vietnam War which was the long struggle, participation of Chinese troops in Korea War, use of chemical weapons and the various outcomes.
The world was faced with a new kind of ideological wars after World War II. The United States and the URSS separated the world into democracy and communism. The expansion of communism in Asia meant that the United States needed to devise measures to stop this expansion and spread democracy and liberalization ideas on the Asian continent.
The Cold War became more transparent and open towards the end of the 50s. In this time, the United States decided to determine which political system was stronger. The article The Cold War and Korean Conflict and Vietnam states that it was born out of long-standing disputes between the United States of America and the Soviet Union about which type of government and economic system would produce the greatest liberty, equality and prosperity (The U.S. Department of State publication).
Both systems didn't want to open conflict, especially on their own territory. Both systems chose Vietnam to be their base, where they could compare forces and fight with one another. This was the continuation and reaffirmation of colonial rule in this region of the earth, but with a new face.
Conflict between two political and economic systems, communism, and liberalism, led to many problems and several military conflicts. Two of these conflicts were the Vietnam War and Korean War.
Differences between the Korean and Vietnam Wars
After World War II, Vietnam's leaders accepted the URSS system and considered communism the only acceptable and viable system.
It took place in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the middle 50s (Edwards 1998). It was an apparent war, but it was hidden and latent. This conflict led to a long-term, serious war. Digital History, a project of University of Huston, states that between 1945 and 1954, Vietnam waged an anticolonial war against France. They received $2,6 Billion in financial support from the United States (Digital History).
The United States made every effort to support this region and provided protection. The United States was not happy with Vietnam's decision to develop communistically and they had to respond.
The county was divided in two parts: North or South. To help South Vietnam, which preferred liberalism, the United States sent 2,000 soldiers. The number of U.S. troops in the area was 63,000 as of 1963 (Digital History). The conflict lasted until 1970s and was ended in 1973 by the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Only 1975 saw the reunification of North and South Vietnam.
Korea's situation was very different. The war began as an apparent military conflict in 1950 when North Korea, with the assistance of the URSS, crossed the border with South Korea. While North Korea was a proponent of communism and South Korea sought to create a country that was based on liberalism, the latter preferred North Korea.
As it was with Vietnam, the country was a platform for the confrontation between two political and economically supported systems, the United States of America and the URSS. The presence of the third force is a key difference between the Korean and Vietnam wars. Because China had an interest in this region and wanted to protect its citizens, the Chinese troops were part of the Korean War.
Similar attitudes and influences were displayed by the United Nations on the Vietnam War as well as the Korean War. The war is a horrible event and should be ended as soon as possible. The UN must do all it can to help both sides reach a peaceful settlement, regardless of who or why the conflict began.
The UN didn't provide a solution in the cases of the Vietnam and Korean Wars. The UN can do something to prevent conflict, it is obvious. The Cold War created a complicated world and the UN could not change it.
The UN supported South Korea in the War. The United Nations Security Resolution resolved to aid South Korea and stop North Korean forces. The UN helped the US and Korea reach a peace deal in 1975, as was the case with the Vietnam War. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Secretary of State Kissinger and North Vietnamese Prime Minister Tho in honor of this agreement.
Both the United States and the Soviet Union wanted to help the communist regime in both of these situations. It would be wrong for the United States to claim that they only participated in these conflicts. Both the United States and URSS supplied the Vietnamese and Korean armies, and both the U.S.S. as well as the URSS initiated those wars. Both countries desired this to occur.
It was an opportunity to show their strength, even though it sounds horrible, and the Vietnam War, as well as the Korean War, were games played by two superstates. Despite the UN's inability to stop wars, it was able to prohibit the use of chemical arms. It is also notable that, 40 years after the Vietnam War ended, no one was ever punished for their crimes against the Vietnamese nation.
The various weapons used in wars were the main factor that created differences in battle ways. The Vietnam War is first and foremost remembered for its use of chemical weapons, as well as the devastating consequences that this had on the nation. The Vietnam War resulted in 58,000 deaths and 350,000 injuries for the United States. It also caused between one and two millions Vietnamese deaths (Digital History).
This war began as the latent conflict, and the battles were different from those during the Korean War. The United States provided military advisors, weapons, and ammunition for South Korea and South Vietnam. However, Vietnam's ballets were more aggressive and horrific. Millions of Vietnamese became infected by chemical weapons and contracted terrible diseases. The effects of these events can still be felt today.
Although both the Vietnam- and Korean Wars were triggered by the same factors, their causes and peculiarities were very different. The ideological backdrop of both wars was the same, as well as the conflict between two superpowers, the US (URSS) and their respective economic and political systems. The Vietnam War was a long-running struggle that lasted for more than 10 years. While the Korean War lasted only three years. The Vietnam War was the most hated event in American history.
During the Vietnam War, chemical weapons were used. The US protected South Korea, but lost South Vietnam in two wars. The territory of Vietnam was also subject to serious damage, including the loss of lives, spread of disease, and destruction of cities and villages.
Digital History, n.d. Learn About the Vietnam War.
Edwards, Paul M., ed. 1998. The Korean War: an annotated bibliography. US: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.
The U.S. Department of State publication. n.d. The Cold War, Korean Conflict, and Vietnam. In USA History in Brief, https://share.america.gov .
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