U.S. Policy Inconsistencies Leading Up to the Korean War

Dates Policy maker and Documents Commitments Made Inconsistencies
1945 President Roosevelt Multilateral trusteeship on Korea at the Yalta Conference (February 4-11), July 17 at Potsdam Conference (US successful test of nuclear weapons in the New Mexico on July 16) , international alliance of Wilsonian concept of collective security embracing Soviet Union for their commitment for ending WWII; April 12 Roosevelt died.  
1945 Surrender of Germany and Japan (May 8 & August 14) August 8, Soviet Union enters the Pacific war. August 6th and 9th nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki  
February 22, 1946 George Kennan "A Long Telegram" calling for containment of Soviet expansionism  
March 12, 1947 President Truman Truman Doctrine providing economic and military support for Greece and Turkey preventing them from falling into Soviet sphere  
April 4, 1947 Robert Patterson, Secretary of War   The U.S. should withdraw from South Korea at an early date since occupation was a great drain on War Department funds and to meet greater needs for our shrinking military resources and the Congress was not likely to provide $600 million for Korea (Acheson, 1971: 2; Cumings, 1983: 20)
1947 Dean Acheson, Undersecretary of State in a secret hearing We have drawn the line in Korea meaning containment of Russian influence had to be applied into Korea (Cumings, 1983: 21)  
June 1947 George Kennan, the head of Policy Planning Staff (PPS) Japan and Korea are the areas outside Europe requiring large-scale economic assistance. Later he dropped Korea after China. (Cumings, 1983: 21)  
June 5, 1947 Marshall Plan (for European reconstruction after WWII)
June 7-24, 1947 Blockade of Berlin
September 24, 1947 George Kennan   "Our policy should be to cut our losses and get out of there as gracefully but promptly as possible." (Cumings, 1983: 24)
August 15, 1948     American military government ended in South Korea
November 2, 1948 Republican losses in both Presidential and Congressional elections
June 10, 1949 Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson Johnson stimulated the NSC 48 deliberations by recommending that the American objective should be to contain communism in Asia. (Cumings, 1983: 32)  
NSC 68 Calling for an end to demobilization and for increased military force  
June 30, 1949 NSC   Final withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea
September, 1949 Soviet Union conducts a successful in nuclear test
1949 President Truman setting a limit on the military budget of roughly 15 billion dollars for FY-1950. Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson was committed to cut defense spending, “demobilization” (Pelz, 1983: 115). The military planners’ struggle over budgets, roles, and missions became public in 1949. (Pelz, 1983: 117)

During the first five months of 1950, the Russians gave the North Koreans an offensive force-tactical aircraft, armor, trucks, and artillery. However, Truman and Acheson did not reinforce the South Korean armed forces with tanks, antitank guns, artillery, and planes. Truman had enough funds $75 million for aid to the general area of China, approved by the Congress in 1950. However, Korea was not in the aid list. (Pelz, 1983: 118)
December 1949 Fall of Chiang K’ai shek and withdrawal to Formosa
January 12, 1950 Dean Acheson, Secretary of State   Acheson declared that Aleutians from Japan and Okinawa to the Philippines. Formosa, Korea, Indochina, and Indonesia were excluded from American defense lines.
January 19, 1950 Dean Acheson, Secretary of State   Acheson wrote to his daughter, “This has been a tough day not so much by way of work, but by way of troubles. We took a defeat in the House on Korea, which seems to be to have been our own fault. One should not lose by one vote. [The vote was 193 to 192.]
April 1950 NSC 68 Calling for an end to demobilization and for increased military force, and the U.S. needed to apply force to counteract Soviet’s expansionism.