By the close of 1952 it became evident to anyone who followed the events in Asia that the army of the Republic of Korea (ROK) had evolved into a competent and reliable fighting force; highly disciplined and well-lead, it was finally able to both take and hold ground while simultaneously inflicting heavy casualties on their the enemies. Gone from the mind was that South Korean army of 1950: that retreating mob that quickly surrendered their nation's capital to the on-rushing Communists just three days into the war, leaving in their wake a trail of badly needed equipment.
After a year and a half of the most vicious combat, the ROK Army put in place the badly needed reforms that were demanded if the war was to be won. Relying on their own combat veterans as well as their United Nation's allies, recruits were clearly schooled in what was required to survive in battle. As relieved as the many Western commanders were to see how effectively the South Koreans were able to create such a force, the liabilities of this army were still genuine and they are listed in this article as well.
As 1952 was coming to an end President Truman must have seemed delighted to pass along to the next guy all the various assorted trouble spots that existed throughout the world. President-Elect Eisenhower had promised peace during his presidential campaign - but many of the issues at hand were interrelated: French Indochina, South Africa, the Middle-east, the Iron Curtain and, of course, Korea.
During the final months of the Korean war, when it seemed that both sides were willing to make an arrangement that would bring the hostilities to an agreed upon end, the Chinese diplomats upped the ante
"... the Red regime in Peiping [Beijing] wanted a Great Power conference on Korea's future as a preface to new truce talks... Zhou Enlai, premier in Mao Tse Tung's government, has secretly proposed tossing all disputes - the prisoner exchange issue as well as the political future of Korea - into a conference of 11 nations."
Watch an informative Christian documentary on Korea in 1953 (- its in color).
This single page analysis of the North Korean People's Army and the Army of South Korea will clue you in pretty quickly as to why President Truman hastened to get the necessary beans, bullets and band-aids delivered to the South as quickly as he did. This comparison, written by the U.S. Army History Section, clearly indicates that the North Korean force was intended to be an offensive army; well-equipped and fast-a-foot; the army of the South, by comparison, was intended (for some unexplained reason) to fight limited engagements - rather than prolonged, corps sized campaigns.
It was no surprise to the assorted military insiders of the world when the South Korean capital of Seoul was seized three days into the war.
"Day and night U.S. Psychological Warfare soldiers in Korea risk their lives to talk and write Communists into submission. Their first leaflets hit the Reds just 36 hours after they first crossed the 38th Parallel. Today Pentagon brass praises 'Psywar' for influencing 70,000 North Koreans and Chinese Communists to surrender."
When General James Van Fleet let it be known that much of the previous two years in Korea had been plagued by a shortage in ammunition, tempers flared in the Senate as both parties talked of convening an investigative committee.