Discuss the following statement about the Korean War, nationalism, and the Cold War.
"Even though Korean nationalism is critical towards explaining the outbreak of the conflict, it is undeniable that the Korean War was essentially a Cold War conflict." Discuss.
The Korean War was clearly caused in part by nationalism. The North Korean invasion of the South was caused partly by a desire to reunite the country so that all Koreans could be under one government.
However, this was clearly a Cold War conflict. First of all, the invasion only happened with the permission and help of the Soviet Union. The USSR provided the North with modern weapons, even including airplanes and Soviet pilots. Second, the rest of the war was clearly a Cold War conflict. The Northern invasion was resisted by a coalition of Western nations led by the United States. Then, after the US forces pushed far into North Korea, the Chinese entered the war. They did this because they thought that the US would try to invade China to bring down its communist government. In this way, the conduct of the war played out along Cold War lines featuring allies of the Soviet Union against the US and its allies.
So, the start of the war was due in part to Korean nationalism, but the war was much more of a Cold War conflict overall.