Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June 27, 1950:

Truman and Korea

Some wars have had more than one president preside over them, but only one president has presided over two distinct major wars -- Harry Truman -- though he came to the presidency late in World War II and was out of office before the end of the Korean War. On June 27, 1950, he gave the order for the US armed forces to assist the South Korean government in fighting the North Korean invasion that began on June 24.

A statement from the president that day said: "... in these circumstances I have ordered United States air and sea forces to give the Korean Government troop cover and support. The attack upon Korea makes plain beyond all doubt that Communism has passed beyond its use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war. It has defied the orders the Security Council of the United Nations issued to preserve international peace and security..."

Korea, then, became the hot theater for the Cold War that day. Elsewhere in the statement, President Truman notes that he has ordered the US Seventh Fleet "to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a corollary of this action I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The Seventh Fleet will see that this is done." Though skirmishes continued for some time after that between the People's Republic and the Republic of China, that was effectively the end of the Chinese Civil War, and created the political anomaly that Taiwan is today.

Way down in the fifth paragraph, the president also said: "I have similarly directed acceleration in the furnishing of military assistance to the forces of France and the Associated States in Indo China and the dispatch of a military mission to provide close working relations with those forces."

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