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The Korean War Terms

Autocrat, Autocrats, Autocratic

An absolute ruler or dictator.

Cold War

The decades-long confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, which lasted from the late 1940s to the early 1990s. The name "Cold War" arose from the fact that the conflict that never escalated to direct military confrontation (that would have been a "hot war").


A United States foreign policy during the Cold War that called for containing the expansion of communism and, more specifically, Soviet influence; the plan was originally devised by U.S. diplomat George Kennan.

An American policy that sought to halt the spread of Communism to countries which were not already Communist

Communism, Communist, Communists

A social, political, and economic system rooted in the philosophies of Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin, in which all economic and social activity is controlled by the state and/or the Communist Party. All property is owned collectively; there is no private property or private enterprise.


The capital of Russia and the Soviet Union. "Moscow" is often used as a shorthand for the Soviet government, as in: "Moscow sent in troops."

"Summer Of Terror", Summer Of Terror

After the North Korean army invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950, South Korean President Syngman Rhee presided over months of mass killings designed to wipe out leftists and other dissidents whom he feared might link up with the North Korean Communists. Acting on Rhee's orders, South Korean policemen and soldiers executed tens of thousands of people deemed dangerous to Rhee's regime. Many of the victims were women and children; some were illiterate peasants who had been wrongly condemned in mass arrests; others were ordinary convicts with little or no political affiliation. The bodies were dumped into the sea, into abandoned mines, or into mass graves. Reports of these atrocities reached Washington, but were kept secret while US officials dismissed Communist accounts as lies. (Of course, it should be noted that the North Korean Communist regime also developed an atrocious record on human rights, and still maintains a totalitarian grip over its society even today.) In 2002, a massive typhoon uncovered a mass grave of victims from the "Summer of Terror," and the recently democratized South Korean government established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the full extent of the atrocities. Hundreds of remains have been uncovered so far, but conservative estimates from historians project that at least 100,000 people were executed in all.34

Truman Doctrine

The Truman Doctrine, announced in 1947, held that any advance of Communism, anywhere in the world, was a threat to the national interests of the United States.

An American foreign policy doctrine expressed by President Harry S. Truman in a famous 1947 speech, the Truman Doctrine defined the advance of Communism anywhere in the world as a grave threat to the United States' national interest, and therefore pledged American support to foreign governments threatened by Communist revolutions.

The West

In the context of the Cold War, "the West" referred to the anticommunist nations of Western Europe and North America, which joined together in formal military alliance through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The West existed in contrast to the Communist nations of the East.

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