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The Korean War

Source analysis

Source A

"Of the 16 countries contributing forces, the USA provided 50 per cent of land forces, 93 per cent of air forces, 86 per cent of naval forces. The UN gave the USA unlimited authority to direct military operations. US president Truman, not the UN, appointed General MacArthur as commander-in-chief of UN forces. MacArthur reported to the US President and took orders from him. The war threatened to become one between the USA and China. The USA even considered using nuclear weapons against China."

James Mason with Angela Leonard, Modern World History to GCSE (2001)

Source B

This drawing by the British cartoonist David Low, published in the Daily Herald on 30 June 1950, shows Truman and the United Nations rushing to Korea's aid.

a cartoon illustration where the League of Nations is depicted as a grave as President Truman and the UN leap over it

A cartoon by David Low


Use your knowledge of the facts to decide whether Sources A and B agree or disagree about America's involvement in the Korean War?

toggle answer


Source A stresses the leading role played by the Americans. It infers that the Korean War was an American war against communism.

Source B shows the war as military action by the United Nations (carrying the gun), helped by Truman.

Back to The Cold War index

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