International Perspectives Essay

Introduction

For this assignment I have been asked to identify two wars and two conflicts since 1949. One of the wars/conflicts has to be researched in depth which happened between 1949 – 1960 and another one of the wars/conflicts has to be between 1970 – 2002.

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Once I have researched the two wars or conflicts which I have chosen I will state the origins of the instability that led to the war/conflict. I will state who was involved in the war or conflict and what the United Kingdom Public Service involvement was.

The second part of the assignment has asked for me to compare the earlier conflict/war which I have looked into to the later conflict/war examine and state how the nature of conflict has changed.

Meanings

“War” – Armed hostilities between ESP. Nations, conflict (war broke out), a specific conflict or the time of such conflict, a war in progress, the most recent major war, hostility or contention, sustained campaign against crime poverty etc, rival, fighting, conflicting.

Oxford Compact English Dictionary

“Conflict” – Noun – a state of opposition or hostilities, a fight or struggle, a clashing of opposite principles etc, clash, being incompatible, contradictory.

Oxford Compact English Dictionary

Task 1 – Identify Two Wars and Two Conflicts Between 1949 – 2002.

Arab-Israeli Conflict – This conflict was between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East over the land of historic Palestine. The conflict has led to several wars, beginning in 1948, among Arab nations, Palestinian refugees, and the state of Israel. Since 1979 several peace accords have been signed, addressing parts of the conflict.

Chechen Conflict – Chechnya declared independence from Russia in November 1991 which led the former Russian President Boris Yeltsin to send in troops to restore Moscow’s authority. The conflict has led to a guerilla type war between Chechen rebels and the Russian military.

Korean War – The Korean War, civil and military struggle that was fought on the Korea Peninsula and that reached its height between 1950 and 1953.

Persian Gulf War – This war and conflict beginning in August 1990 when Iraqi forces invaded and occupied Kuwait. In January and February coalition forces led by the United States fought against Iraq and by the end of the war the Iraqi army was driven from Kuwait.

The war/conflict I have chosen to research in depth between the years of 1949 – 1960 is the Korean War.

As was said earlier the Korean War was a civil and military struggle that was fought on the Korea Peninsula and that reached its height between 1950 and 1953.

The Korean War started because of the division of Korea, the country had a well organized ancient integrity. It had a long history as an independent kingdom but was annexed by Japan in 1910 by force. Japan had controlled Korea until the end of World War Two, but just when World War Two was coming to an end America that it would occupy the southern half of the country. It did so out of fear of communism. It was afraid that the then USSR (Soviet Union) was going to take full control of the country. The United States wanted to take control of the southern part of Korea with Seoul in it, so they had the capital in their control.

The American government then had to contend with major rifts between Korean political factions representing left-wing and right-wing views.

The United States backed the Left Wing Views and Chine and the Soviets backed the Right Wing Views.

In 1948 South Korea formed the Republic of Korea and the North formed the People’s Republic of Korea. In 1949, fighting broke out at the border between the North and South. On the 25th of June, 1950 North Korean forces crossed the dividing line (38th Parallel) and invaded the south. In defence of the South the United States joined the fighting under the banner of the United Nations. British, Canadian, Australian and Turkish troops sent small contingents also under the banner of the UN. China joined the war on the North Korean side in October 1950.

In the summer of 1950 the Korean Peoples Army led a number of attacks southwards across the border against the American contingent and attacked hard and won the battles. Even though the American Forces and the South Korean army had more men and were better equipped compared to their peasant fighting enemy, the North Korean army kept pushing the southwards until North Korea controlled nearly ninety percent of South Korea.

American Soldiers in South Korea 1950 (Encarta 2005)

The American army ended up pushing back by force. Ground troops together with Air Attacks and Naval support ended up causing North Korean forces pulling back to protect their northern assets.

The war for control of the South left 111,000 South Koreans killed, 106,000 wounded, and 57,000 missing; 314,000 homes had been destroyed, 244,000 damaged. American casualties totaled 6,954 dead, 13,659 wounded, and 3,877 missing in action. North Korean figures were never brought together.

US Military Crossing the 38th Parallel (Encarta 2005)

American forces kept on pushing to ‘roll back the communism threat’. They forced their way into North Korea where Chinese Diplomats together with the Soviets decided enough was enough. China headed into North Korea and dealt some severe blows to the southern forces.

Seoul swapped hands twice in the coming month’s, Chinese forces hit again and took control of Seoul. American forces struck back and stopped at a river just south of the capital and struck again to take control.

By early summer 1951 the war had settled into the pattern it would follow for the next two years: bloody fighting along the 38th parallel

Truce talks began on the 10th of July, led initially by U.S. Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy for the United Nations side, and Lieutenant-General Nam Il of North Korea. The talks dragged on, with several suspensions.

On the 27th of July, 1953, the United Nations, North Korea, and China signed an armistice agreement (South Korea refused to sign) and the fighting ended. The armistice called for a buffer zone two and a half miles wide across the middle of Korea, from which troops and weapons were supposed to be withdrawn.

The Signing of the Armistice (Encarta 2005)

The Korean War was one of the most horrific and destructive wars of the twentieth century, it left millions of soldiers and civilians dead.

There was no direct United Kingdom public service involvement in the war, apart from a small contingent of United Kingdom forces under than banner of the United Nations fighting against North Korea.

The war/conflict I have chosen to research in depth between the years of 1970 – 2002 is the Persian Gulf War.

Persian Gulf War

There were three main causes of the conflict. Firstly Iraq had considered Kuwait to be apart of Iraq, this led to many confrontations over the years. It could have been that because Saddam Hussein was defeated by Iran that he wanted to use his strength against smaller opponents so he felt stronger. Secondly, masses of rich oil deposits lined the border and Iraq constantly claimed that Kuwaiti oil rigs were secretly and illegally tapping into Iraqi oil fields. Thirdly, arguments with Iran over the sovereignty of Kuwait, whether it was Iraqi or Iranian could have started Iraq wanting to show its control.

The Persian Gulf War started in August 1990 when Iraqi forces invaded and occupied Kuwait. Fighting started in January and February of 1991 between Iraqi and International Coalition forces led by the United States.

Relations between Kuwait and Iraq were improved throughout the Iran-Iraq war. However at the end of the war when Iraq was busy rebuilding and got itself into debt, they asked Kuwait to help with money. Iraq also accused Kuwait of pumping oil from a field on the Iraqi-Kuwait border, and producing more oil than is set by international quotas bring down the price of oil.

On August 1, 1990 Iraq and Kuwait were trying to sort out there differences but it only ended in more arguments between the two countries, the very next day Iraq invaded Kuwait.

Iraqi Tanks Burning in 1991 (BBC News Website)

By January 1991, over half a million allied troops were deployed in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Gulf region. Intense diplomacy between United States and Iraqi officials failed to bring an Iraqi withdrawal, so, on January 16, 1991, Allied forces began the devastating bombing of Iraq and her forces in Kuwait. The Allied bombing was to damage Iraq’s infrastructure to hinder her ability to make war while also hurting both civilian and military morale. To counter the air attack, Saddam ordered the launching of his feared SCUD missiles at both Israel and Saudi Arabia. He hoped to provoke the Israelis into striking back at Iraq, which he thought would split the Arab nations from the anti-Iraq coalition due to the ongoing hostility between Israel and the Arab world. Israel came very close to retaliating, but held back due to President George Bush’s pledge to protect Israeli cities from the Scud’s. As a result of this promise, United States Patriot missile batteries found themselves deployed in Israel to shoot down the Scud’s. Another result of the SCUD launches was to divert Allied air power from hitting the Iraqi army to hunting for the elusive mobile missile launchers. Even so, the Allied air strikes and cruise missile attacks against Iraq proved more devastating than expected.

Allied Coalition Artillery (Encarta 2005)

When the Allied armies launched the ground war on the 23rd of February, the Iraqi occupation forces in Kuwait were already beaten. Cut off from their supply bases and headquarters by the intense air campaign, thousands of Iraqi soldiers simply gave up rather than fight, as the Allies pushed through Iraq’s defences with relative ease. In the few cases where the more elite Iraqi forces, such as the Republican Guard, stood and fought, superior American, British and French equipment and training proved the undoing of the Soviet-equipped Iraqis.

By the 26th of February, U.S. and Allied Arab forces, along with the underground Kuwaiti Resistance, controlled Kuwait City and Allied air forces pounded the retreating Iraqi occupation army. In southern Iraq, Allied armoured forces stood at the Euphrates River near Basra, and internal rebellions began to break out against Saddam’s regime. On the 27th of February, President Bush ordered a cease-fire and the surviving Iraqi troops were allowed to escape back into southern Iraq. On the 3rd of March, 1991, Iraq accepted the terms of the cease-fire and the fighting ended.

British Public Service involvement in the Persian Gulf War ran extremely high on the military side. Forty three thousand troops, six naval destroyers, four naval frigates, three naval minesweepers, one hundred and sixty eight tanks, three hundred armoured vehicles and seventy jets. All of these were backed up by support personnel just not at the war zone but back in the United Kingdom and Germany where the bases were.

Task 2 – Now compare the earlier war/conflicts to the later, examine and state how the nature of conflict has changed.

There are some major differences and comparisons between the Korean War to the Persian Gulf Conflict. In the Korean war, America entered Korea knowing full well what they were going to do. Their aims were clear, as were the soviets, and china. It was the start of the battle against communism that started one of the most devastating wars in history.

The Persian Gulf conflict however was not about communism but about dictatorship. The UN fought against ‘evil’ in the Korean War and they didn’t stand for Saddam Hussein to commit such an offence of killing thousands of Kurds in 1990. Nothing has changed throughout history when it comes to America leading the way in the fight against evil. Yes it has the backing of the United Nations, but who run the United Nations, all the countries involved or is it America itself. Yes it is a good thing to stop dictatorship but the way America does it could be argued as doing it the wrong way.

Conflict and Wars have changed in such a way as planning. The Korean war was trench warfare along the 38th Parallel, the Persian Gulf War was air strikes and bombardments one after the other until the enemy was all but wiped out. If countries have the money and the resources they could bring other countries to their knees purely by air attacks.

Not as many people died in the Persian Gulf War compared with the Korean War. Trench warfare was deadly, it wasn’t organized and the attacks and defences of both sides were hit hard, every time leaving many casualties. With Air strikes in the Gulf War they were precise, the Coalition forces new where to hit, and they did. In the Korean War it was go for goal and throw everything at it.

A lot more countries are involved now than there were in the 1950’s. The United Nations has more countries under its belt than it did then. And all of these countries offer something to the cause. Whether it be military might or hospitals or general support system the countries give what they can. All of this support means more people on the ground without needing that many people to die because of the precise bombings, tactical hits that the military can do.

Technology is a major factor in how conflicts have changed, with technology not as many people have to die with the war still being as intense as the 1950’s. Why and who fight has also changed, the fight for and communism has all but gone and now the fight against ‘evil’ has started.

Evaluation

For this assignment I looked into various wars and conflicts over a large period of time. I researched what happened, when, why and who was concerned. I chose two to talk about in details and compare against each other and talk about how conflicts and wars have changed over the years.

I noticed a massive change in technology which changed the way wars happened and their outcomes. And how the United Nations policies have changed slightly over the years. I noticed significantly that America is the leading power who seems to lead the United Nations to where they need to go and not the other way round. It shows how money leads the way to anything.

References

Web Pages

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

http://www.thehistoryguy.net/persiangulfwar.htm

* Other websites were used but addresses have been discarded. *

Encyclopedia

Encarta 2005

Quotes

“War” – Armed hostilities between ESP. Nations, conflict (war broke out), a specific conflict or the time of such conflict, a war in progress, the most recent major war, hostility or contention, sustained campaign against crime poverty etc, rival, fighting, conflicting.

Oxford Compact English Dictionary

“Conflict” – Noun – a state of opposition or hostilities, a fight or struggle, a clashing of opposite principles etc, clash, being incompatible, contradictory.

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