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The invasion of South Korea by North Korea came as a complete surprise to the US Dean Rusk of the State Department had told Congress on June 20 that no war was likely However a CIA report in early March had predicted a June invasion US officials had previously publicly stated that America would not fight over Korea and that the country was outside of American concern in the Pacific This attitude may have encouraged the North or given Syngman Rhee in the South a motive to gain US supportAcheson 1 On hearing of the invasion Truman agreed with his advisors to use US air strikes unilaterally against the North Korean forces He also ordered the Seventh Fleet to protect Formosa The US gained a United Nations mandate for action because the Soviets were boycotting the Security Council while the Nationalist controlled Republic of China held the Chinese seat Without the Soviet veto and with only Yugoslavia abstaining the UN voted to aid South Korea The Korean War began on 25 June 1950 when communist North Korea invaded the South with six army divisions These North Korean forces backed by impressive Soviet equipment including tanks made quick gains into the territory The United States decided to intervene in the defence of the South and taking advantage of the Soviet absence from the UN Security Council proceeded to press for UN resolutions condemning the invasion The US would have fought whatever the outcome and Douglas MacArthur later told Congress I had no connection with the UN whatsoeverLeckie 17 US forces were eventually joined during the conflict by troops from fifteen other UN members Australia New Zealand the United Kingdom France Canada South Africa Turkey Thailand Greece the Netherlands Ethiopia Colombia the Philippines Belgium and Luxembourg Truman would later take harsh criticism for not obtaining a declaration of war from Congress before sending troops to Korea Thus Trumans War was said by some to have violated the
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