13 Captivating Research Paper Topics On The Korean War

Though the Vietnam War has entered the American consciousness as one of the United State’s first great military failures, in many respects the pattern that would emerge in later Cold War conflicts was laid in the Korean War. Moreover, it was one of the first great tests of the United Nations, and that in an era where many believed the World War II would the “the war to end all wars”. Here are research paper topics that unpack this fascinating era in global affairs.

  1. Sowing the Seeds: Korea was occupied by the Japanese in 1910. How did their occupation encourage polarisation of the nation into North and South?
  2. The Roots of Legitimacy: Conflict arose because two groups laid claim to being the legitimate government in Korea. How is the legitimacy of a state recognised on the world stage?
  3. Testing Nations: The United Nations was conceived in conflict, but often seen as the successor to the League of Nations. Could it ever hope to “end war” if it had taken a different approach to the Korean conflict?
  4. Police Action: Truman initially did not declare the conflict a war. What were his likely motivations for doing so?
  5. Proxies: In many ways, the Korean conflict was a conflict between capitalism and communism, the Chinese and Japanese, and the US and Soviet Russia. How did this influence the course of the war?
  6. Dominos: Much of the American action was justified on the basis that Communist China was attempting to gradually convert all nations of the world to communism. Was that a reasonable analysis?
  7. Japanese Good Fortune: The US saw Japan as critical to counteract communist influences from China and Russia. How did their role in fomenting the Korean crisis pay dividends in the long run?
  8. The Distant War: Once the US engaged, it suffered heavy casualties. What role did the media play in American commitment levels to the conflict?
  9. Stalemate: There were no decisive victories in the war for any parties. Would the Koreans potentially have been better off with a clear result either way?
  10. Up and Kimming: The Kim family quickly exerted their iron group on the North. Why did they, among all of the participants, rise to such extensive, autocratic power?
  11. Sub-zero: The war heightened tensions between the East and West. How did it modify the strategic thinking and direction of the world’s powers?
  12. The Front: Though positioned as a war of conflicting ideologies, were the motivations of the key participants far more about power and wealth?
  13. Lessons Learned: How did the Korean war impact modern thinking about global strategic relations and the politics between nation states?