8 September 2017   Leave a comment

On this day in 1945 American troops entered what is now known as South Korea.  Troops from the Soviet Union had entered what is now known as North Korea on 9 August 1945.  The US and Soviet troops occupied Korea as part of the Yalta Agreement signed on 11 February 1945.  At the Yalta Conference, the Allies agreed that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan three months after the defeat of Germany.  The Germans had surrendered on 8 May 1945 and Stalin honored his promise to enter the war.  That promise was welcomed by US President Roosevelt who wanted the Soviet Union to intervene in order to divide Japanese forces when the US invaded the country to end the war.  As part of the Yalta Agreement, the Soviet Union was promised territorial gains to redress the losses it had suffered in its surrender to Japan in the Russ0-Japanese War of 1904.

Circumstances, however, had changed by August.  Roosevelt was no longer the President–he had died and Harry Truman took his place and Truman was significantly more suspicious of the Soviet Union than Roosevelt had been.  Second, the US tested an atomic bomb on 16 July 1945 which held out the promise of ending the war with Japan without an American invasion.  The US dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, the Soviets declared war against Japan on 9 August, and the US dropped its second atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki on the same day.  On 10 August Japan offered to surrender.

The occupation of Korea by US and Soviet forces was supposed to be temporary, as was the division of Germany and the future division of Vietnam in 1954.  There was a US-sponsored election in the South in 1948 but the Soviets refused to allow an election in the North.  The United Nations then recognized South Korea as the legitimate government of Korea, laying the legal basis for a possible reunification of the two sectors along the lines of the government of the South.  The US removed its troops from South Korea in June of 1949, leaving only 500 soldiers to train the South Korean military, but Soviet troops did not leave the North.  In June of 1950, forces from North Korea invaded South Korea and the Korean War began.  US troops re-entered the South under the auspices of the United Nations and the war lasted until an armistice was signed in July of 1953.  North and South Korea are still technically in a state of war as no peace agreement has ever been signed between the two states.


The European Court of Justice has rejected a plea from Slovakia and Hungary to not enforce the European Union’s requirement that its members accept a quota of refugees.  Since 2015 more than 1 million refugees have arrived in Europe and the reaction to them has varied from country to country.   Slovakia and Hungary argued that the forced acceptance of refugees violated their sovereignty and that the EU had not followed the proper procedures to implement the relocation of refugees.  The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, was quoted in Reuters as saying:

“The whole issue raises a very serious question of principles: whether we are an alliance of European free nations with the Commission representing our joint interests, or a European empire which has its center in Brussels and which can issue orders”.


The Pew Research Center has compiled some detailed information about Asian-Americans and immigration from Asian countries.  The report finds that

“The U.S. Asian population grew 72% between 2000 and 2015 (from 11.9 million to 20.4 million), the fastest growth rate of any major racial or ethnic group. By comparison, the population of the second-fastest growing group, Hispanics, increased 60% during the same period.”

The countries with the largest representation within this immigrant group are China, India, and the Philippines.  Asian-Americans on the whole do quite well in the US.  According to the study:  “The median annual household income of households headed by Asian Americans is $73,060, compared with $53,600 among all U.S. households.”  But the income levels vary widely among the 19 different countries of origin studied.

Posted September 8, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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