Truman - Study Guide Part 5 Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

David McCullough
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Korea, a country about the size of Greece, was divided in two at its 38th parallel at the end of World War II. This was done without a lot of thought, as the 38th parallel had no significance in Korean geography or history. Americans were sent to Korea to defend this arbitrary boundary between the Soviet-dominated North Korea and the democratic South Korea. The North Korean army had 90,000 troops, whereas South Korea had 25,000 with 10,000 Americans.

MacArthur immediately called for more troops, while many ordinary Americans told Truman by letter that he should just "nuke" the Soviets. Secretary of Defense Johnson and MacArthur did not get along; both were difficult personalities. MacArthur was seventy years old and a prima donna. By mid-September, more than 13,800 Americans died in Korea. In some places, casualties were at 30%.

MacArthur had a daring plan to "hit 'em from behind." He wanted...

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