The Korean War
The Korean War started on June 25, 1950 and ended on July 27, 1953. It was a military conflict between South and North Korea. In fact, this war was a battle between the United States and the bloc of the Communist countries, formed by the USSR, the PRC, and North Korea. Nowadays, people know about the Korean War of 1950-1953 only by hearsay. Yet, they are hardly aware that it has almost led to the Third World War. Moreover, the history of the origin of the conflict on the Korean Peninsula, the Korean War itself, and its consequences are directly related to the present due to their input into the further development of military art, especially the views on the conduct of military operations in local wars. Thus, the Korean War was a regional conflict with global consequences. The theme of the Korean War is quite controversial in media and newspapers, so it is very interesting to look how The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune highlighted this historic event.
The Korean War in The Washington Post
The Washington Post is an American daily newspaper with a long history and a great reputation. It is famous for its daily international news reports and coverage of the events in the White House and Congress. The newspaper delivers all news about the activities of US government both inside the country and abroad. From the point of view of this newspaper, the Korean War was not a disaster, but it was a kind of a surprise for Washington.
The Washington Post articles, dedicated to this theme, had the common idea that the USA was not interested in those territories and it simply did not anticipate any local conflicts. Thus, the US forces did not react immediately to the conflict, and only when the UN had told the USA to send its military forces to South Korea, they started to fight. Therefore, the reasons that had led to the Korean War, which was initially defined as civil, lie in the split of the unified Korea and external interference, which is presented by the authors of the articles in The Washington Post.
The division of Korea into two parts was one of the results of the Second World War in the fall of 1945. Thus, at the final stage of this war, the country was conditionally and temporarily divided by the Soviet Union and the United States on the 38th parallel (about half) to free the peninsula from the Japanese troops. For the temporary government of the country, it was necessary to create civilian authorities, which, given the various political systems of liberating countries, had led to the division of Korea. In 1948, the two parts of former Korea were built on the basis of opposing ideological platforms. Thus, in the north of the country, the pro-Soviet Korean People's Democratic Republic (DPRK) was set, with its capital in Pyongyang. In the southern part, the pro-American Republic of Korea (ROK) emerged, with a new capital in Seoul.
Consequently, by the beginning of 1949, any attempts to achieve the unification of the country by peaceful means were almost exhausted. At the same time, both Soviet and American troops were withdrawn from the territory of the country. Despite the fact that officially, the troops of the PRC and the USSR did not participate in the war, the Chinese troops were introduced to Korea in late October 1950. In November 1950, fighters for the North Korean territory first came aboard the MiG-15 fighters of the Soviet 64th Fighter Air Corps. In order to avoid an international conflict, the Chinese military were called Chinese people's volunteers, and Soviet planes made sorties with DPRK identification marks. Furthermore, the article Korean War Draft Rejections Greater than in World War II highlights that the Korean War is in memory of all Americans. The proof of this fact is the Memorial to American veterans of the Korean War. Therefore, the main idea of the articles, presented in The Washington Post, was that the Korean War was the inevitable episode of the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union, and it was far from certain that the US President Harry Truman would respond to the conflict.
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The Korean War in Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune is a daily periodical and the most famous newspaper in Chicago and the American Midwest. Chicago Tribune is a conservative newspaper, and it has some material, covering the topic of the Korean War as well. The main idea in all articles, dedicated to the theme of the paper in Chicago Tribune, is that the Korean War is a forgotten war. The war received such a name because shortly after the end of the Korean conflict, the War in Vietnam began and the actions of the Korean War faded. After Japan declared surrender and refused to have control over Korea, the Soviet forces immediately poured into Korea and the USA had to react quickly to prevent the creation of a new communist state. This opinion, which is seen in Chicago Tribunes articles, is opposite to that, given in The Washington Post about the hesitation of US government regarding any military action in Korea.
The articles in Chicago Tribune also pay attention to the role of the Peoples Republic of China in the Korean War, which is not mentioned in the articles of The Washington Post. Thus, the development of the situation on the Korean peninsula is largely determined by the factor of China. Moreover, the DPRK and the PRC depended on each other significantly, and the friendship of the two countries was fastened with blood because almost half a million Chinese people's volunteers had died in the Korean War, fighting on the side of the North. In addition, there is a thought in the article Takes More than Korean War to Separate Brothers that two Korean states are still de jure in a state of war since the Armistice Agreement, signed on July 27, 1953, is nothing more than a simple agreement between the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces of both belligerents on the temporary cessation of hostilities.
During the Korean War, unlike The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune gave the information about the dead while the former reported the prediction of consequences and the conditions of the troops. Chicago Tribune has many modern articles that make a parallel between the Korean War in the 1950s and the current situation in relations between the USA and North Korea. Thus, numerous recent article cover the topic of the Third World War that might begin with the conflict between both nations.
The Comparison of Newspapers
The two newspapers, mentioned above, had different reports about the Korean War; however, they stated some similar facts. Thus, both claimed, or rather assumed, that this war was not between two Koreas but between the USA and the Soviet Union since both superpowers were willing to show their might in the world politics. In addition, both periodicals contained the information that the Soviet Union had acted in Korea under a foreign flag, as Soviet soldiers were dressed in Chinese uniforms and they had Chinese signs on their planes. Throughout the conflict, Americans have not received any convincing evidence that the Soviets were present in Korea. Stalin justifiably demanded secrecy, avoiding a direct conflict between the USSR and the United States.
When making the evaluation of both newspapers, one should mention that both tried to be very informative and give the full picture of those times. However, Chicago Tribune tried to be pursuasive, and therefore, it looked more aggressive, considering the topic of the Korean War. The authors of Chicago Tribunes articles made a large emphasis and parallel of the war with the modern situation between North Korea and the USA.
In addition, in those times, Chicago Tribune paid huge attention to the Korean War. Almost in every issue, there was a column, dedicated to that event, from a big article to a small report about a particular operation or the number of dead soldiers. In such way, the newspaper gained the trust of readers, and it could persuade the readers to have a certain point of view on the Korean War. Chicago Tribune discussed the aim of the Korean War more critically as the authors said that it was a war of two countries, willing to have all the power in the world, when The Washington Post only mentioned that the task of the USA was to prevent the war and save South Korea, and this aim was achieved.
The Washington Post did not pay much attention to the Korean War in those times. It described some events once in three or four days and just covered what had happened and nothing more. The Washington Post gave its readers an opportunity to choose the point of view and the reaction on particular news about the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The only thing, which The Washington Post tried to do, was to persuade that the Korean War was in the memory of all Americans, not only the veterans of this war. This is only one of those facts that both newspapers covered differently; thus, they had many differences in depicting some particular facts such as the memory about the war or the speed of the USAs reaction to the conflict. Nevertheless, both newspapers covered the main events and facts about the Korean War in a mostly similar way. For example, both newspapers claimed that the Korean War was the worst consequence of the Cold War and it led to other armed conflicts in Asia during the Cold War. The language and the style of reporting the material is almost the same as both newspapers have common audience, only Chicago Tribune is a little bit more persuasive.
The Korean War was an inevitable consequence of the split of Korea. This wars emergence was predetermined by the previous course of events in the world and on the Korean peninsula. During the Cold War, which was aggravated precisely at the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s, power methods, including the most extreme ones, were used quite often in solving disputable problems. Korea was a vivid example of this. The war only enhanced the division of Korea, leaving behind an atmosphere of distrust and hostility of the two Korean states to each other. The ceasefire, signed on July 27, 1953, did not bring permanent peace on the peninsula.
Since the Korean War, the Korean peninsula is among the most explosive regions of the world. Undoubtedly, in modern world, mass media are the most important and effective tool for forming opinion in society since they have an enormous amount of methods and ways of influencing the public. The media are quite powerful due to their strong influence on public consciousness as they shape the public opinion and the interests of people. Nevertheless, all media, including newspapers, should serve only as an informative source to help people in creating their own point of view on a particular event or action, which is seen on the example of coverage of the Korean War by Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post.