Key point: Times have changed since the 1950s.
If a Second Korean War were to erupt tomorrow, there is one thing we can be sure of.
It won’t be like the First Korean War of 1950-53.
It's always reassuring—and usually fatal—to assume a conflict will be like its predecessor. France lost in 1940 because they assumed World War II would be fought in the trenches like World War I. Israel almost lost in 1973 because they assumed the Arab armies would collapse as they did in 1967.
So what are the chances that Korean War II would be just like Korean War I? The answer is, slim to none. Here are five key differences:
1 - No Blitzkrieg
The popular image of the First Korean War is of stalemate, as entrenched armies battled over obscure hills worth nothing more than a notation on map. But the first year of the Korean War was as fluid as any World War II campaign. The conflict began in June 1950 with North Korean tanks and infantry pushing weak South Korean defenders and a scratch American task force 300 miles down the peninsula, from the 38th Parallel to Pusan. Then in September, it was the turn of the North Koreans to flee all the way up the peninsula to the Chinese border after U.S. Marines landed behind their lines at Inchon. Then in November, 300,000 Chinese “volunteers” sent the UN armies in North Korea “bugging out” way down south (seeing a pattern here?). Then in the spring of 1951, the Americans launched a series of methodical high-firepower offensives that pounded Communist forces back across the 38th Parallel once and for all.
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