DOI :10.26650/B/SS25.2019.001.02   IUP :10.26650/B/SS25.2019.001.02    Tam Metin (PDF)

The Historical Role of the United Nations on the Korean Peninsula: The Case of the Korean War and South Korea

Caner Kur

The Korean Peninsula has always been an area of interest for the neighboring countries throughout history and - especially from the 19th century onwards - has witnessed the power struggle among the great powers over establishing their hegemony. As Hans Morgenthau argues, Korea, enclosed by great power rivalry, ensured its survival either due to the balance of power between those powers or by accepting the relative hegemony of a particular power such as China for long centuries. However, after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, the traditional policies for ensuring survival by linking itself to a great power proved to be ineffective as the Korean peninsula was to become a colony of Japan for over thirty-five years. Following the Japanese surrender in 1945, another great power struggle over the peninsula emerged, this time between the United States and the Soviet Union. The division of Korea between two great powers, therefore, took place during the critical early phases of the Cold War where the United Nations (UN) had come to play a significant role. 

In this article, the main study will be focused on the relations between the United Nations and the Case of Korea - referring to the foundation of both actors and the UN’s role in conflict resolution. Since its establishment, the Korean Question has been closely associated with the very role that the United Nations played in the post-war international order. It could even be said that there was no other case where the UN, founded by the reconciliation among great powers to achieve international security and peace, was affected to such an extent as by the developments in Korea. 



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