Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differene Between The Cold War And The Korean War



“Cold War” refers to the tension existing between the United States of America and the Soviet Union on the aftermath of World War II, continuing up to the last decade of the 20th Century.

The Korean War refers to the 1950 war between North and South Korea. North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel to invade South Korea. Soon they were in occupation of the whole peninsula except Pusan. It prompted UN intervention on Security Council resolution under Chapter 7 of UN Charter, led by US and supported by other member states of the UN.

Status of the Conflict

The cold war was an eyeball confrontation between the US and USSR, both armed heavily in preparation for an all out conventional and nuclear world war, without any full scale armed combat breaking out between them.

The Korean War was an armed conflict between American military and North Korean forces resulting in more than 70,000 disabled and more than 8000 unaccounted for American combat troops.

Theatre of Conflict

The cold war was an overt and covert confrontation on many fronts-on lands and sea, in air and in space and underwater. It was a diplomatic confrontation at multinational gatherings to secure the support on contentious issues from as many nations as possible. It was a war of espionage where American and soviet spies attempted to outsmart each other not only in their respective lands but also that of their allies.  It  lead to a race in Space to put the first man in earth’s orbit and on the moon and an Arms race to be the first to create and deploy the most superior weapons .

The Korean War was confined to the Korean peninsula, air space and waters. Much of the armed combat was between the land armies with the Air Force and Navy playing a supporting role.

Nuclear Confrontation

Throughout the cold war both powers did not hesitate to threaten the use of nuclear weapons. On several occasions the US had placed on alert its nuclear weapons deployed worldwide in preparation for a first strike. Both powers resorted to Air and Sea deployment of nuclear weapons to retain the ability to retaliate in case their land based missiles were destroyed in a first strike.

In the Korean War the US administration was determined to avoid the use of nuclear weapons and did not even threaten its use.

Type of Conflict

The Cold war was a direct engagement between the Soviet Union and the United States, in which the different wings of their militaries remained in eyeball to eyeball faceoff, daring the other to make the first move.

The Korean War was an indirect confrontation between the two powers through their respective proxies- Communist North Korea and democratic South Korea. While the US was involved in limited battlefield engagement, the Soviet military was active in the supply and replacement of military equipments to North Korea.

Duration of Conflict

The Cold war ended with the fall of Communism in Soviet Union and Eastern Europe towards the last decade of the 20th Century. The threat of war in the Korean peninsula not only continues into the 21st Century but has entered a new dangerous dimension with North Korea acquiring long range nuclear missiles.

Nature of Conflict

The cold war was an ideological conflict.  The United States represents a government elected in a transparent, free and fair election and the economy based on a “Laissez faire” market system. It viewed the whole world as a potential market. The Soviet Union represented a government controlled by the Communist party of Marxist-Leninist ideology and state controlled economy. It seized power in 1917 in a violent revolution and resurrection. It had vowed to spread its ideology all over the globe. The two ideologies were on a natural collision course – one has to contain the other in order to flourish. This ideological confrontation was temporarily set aside to confront Hitler in the Second World War but resumed thence as the Cold War.

The Korean War was a civil war between the Koreans of the North and South of the 38th parallel of the Korean peninsula.  Though ideologically different their aim was to unite the Korean peninsula.

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