Korean War

The Korean War originated in the division of Korea into South Korea and North Korea after World War II (1939-1945). Efforts to reunify the peninsula after the war failed, and in 1948 the South proclaimed the Republic of Korea and the North established the People’s Republic of Korea. In 1949, border fighting broke out between the North and the South. On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces crossed the dividing line and invaded the South. Soon, in defense of the South, the United States joined the fighting under the banner of the United Nations (UN), along with small continents of British, Canadian, Australian, and Turkish troops. In October 1950, China joined the war on the North’s side. By the time a cease-fire agreement was signed on July 27, 1953, millions of soldiers and civilians had perished. The armistice ended the fighting, but Korea has remained divided for decades since and subject to the possibility of a new war at any time.
The Korean War was one of the most destructive of the 20th century. Perhaps as many as 4 million Koreans died throughout the peninsula, two-thirds of them civilians. China lost up to 1 million soldiers, and the United States suffered 54,246 dead and 103,284 wounded. Other UN nations suffered 3,322 dead and 11,949 wounded. Decades later, Koreans still seek reconciliation and eventual reunification of their torn nation.

From the day when North Koreans attacked South Korea on June 25, 1950 to the day of the armistice on July 27, 1953, the events of the Korean War revealed the mass destruction, pain, and suffering Koreans had to endure.

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The Korean war can be divided into three phases.
The first phase began on June 25, 1950 and ended on the day United Nations (U.N) forces thrusted into North Korea’s territory.
The second phase of the Korean war was essentially the Southern unit’s attack and retreat from North Korea.
The last phase of the war consisted of the “see-saw” fighting on the thirty-eighth parallel, stalemate, and negotiation talks.
On June 25, 1950 at 4 a.m., 70,000 North Korean troops with Russian T-34 tanks crossed the thirty-eighth parallel. President Truman appealed to the United Nations to take “police action” against the “unwarranted” attack. Hence, under the “name of the United Nations”, the United States was able to send troops and forces.
On June 29, the North Korean Army, Korean People’s Army (KPA), pressed southward and captured Seoul. By August, KPA forces were on their drive toward the Pusan perimeter, which consisted of the northern area of Pohang, southern area of Chinju-Masan region, and Taegu as the major center city.
In the second phase of the Korean war, KPA forces were in retreat. In two days, the Southern forces were approximately 25 miles north of the parallel. Within a week, they captured Wonson, located on the eastern side of North Korea. Thereafter, they marched toward the Yalu River with almost no resistance from the Northern units.
But Northern forces were not as successful as their first attack because by the end of January 1951, the U.N forces were back on the Han river and by March 14, they were able to retake Seoul from North Korea’s hands. The conditions in Korea during this time was one of desperation. One can only imagine the chaos not only in Seoul, which exchanged hands 4 times, but in every city in both North and South Korea. Koreans frantically fled their homes in search for refugee camps, safety, shelter, and food.
Throughout mid-1951 to 1953, negotiation for peace treaty stalled and reopened. A major issue that stalled negotiations was whether POWs should be repatriated on voluntary basis or not. In addition, accusations about war crimes committed by United States stall ed negotiations.
By June 8, 1953, the basic agreement over the POW issue was settled. Both sides agreed on the principle of voluntary repatriation. And by June 17, agreement on the final truce-demarcation line became finalized. Nevertheless, everyone but Syngman Rhee was pleased with the negotiations. He jeopardized the negotiations allowing the release and escape of 27,000 Korean POWs on June 18. This angered North Koreans who wanted United States to take the responsibility to make certain that the negotiations

Korean war

Korea was engaged in a civil war as an attempt to keep North Korea from
thrusting its influence on South Korea. Communist Russia and China were
strong supporters of the North, and to keep Communism contained the United States sent
troops to the South. USA troops spent years fighting and dying for a country some had
never heard of. The irony of this war is that no one really paid attention and its memory
withered as well as the memory of the men who fought there. You may ask how this
could’ve happened or how it all came about, and ,yes, there is an answer it just may be a
little difficult to explain. Hence this war was known as the “forgotten war”. A cry rang
out, June 24, 1950, from a small country half way around the world and America
listened.


Korea’s geographical realties affected the conduct of war at the strategic, the
operational, and the tactical level. It’s strategic location made it a collision point for
competing interests of major power throughout the world. As far as the actual land
mass, Korea is a country no larger than the state of Kansas. All together, North and
South Korea covers an area of 85,246 square miles, and only fifteen percent of that can
be considered plains – these are mostly in the southern coastal regions. The United
States could not allow its interests in East Asia, particularly Japan, to be placed in
jeopardy. It was not the nation of Korea but its geographical location that
prompted America to intervene in the war. (Sommers, 3-10)
The United Nations was greatly concerned with the war in Korea, but it did not
have an army to send. Thus, the United States Army made up four fifths of the actual
forces sent to Korea. The bulk of the forces sent were placed under the command of
General MacArthur from the United States.

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One of the first attempts to drive the North Koreans back was a wise plan devised
by MacArthur. He landed his forces from the sea at Inchon and worked his way up the
coast. His gamble paid off when his army retook the South Korean capital of Seoul.
After this victory the United States questioned whether they should stop at the 38th
parallel or go beyond it and try to recapture North Korea. They decided to go on. After
the 38th was crossed putting the US and South Korean forces in the North , China
threatened to send troops in to defend North Korea. After many deliberations the United
States decided to continue on. As they said they would, China stepped into the war and
drove the Southerners back sixty miles below the 38th parallel, recapturing Seoul.
(Boorstin and kelley, 723-726)
The war was a stalemate. No one side could get the upper hand. Some people
questioned whether this would evolve into World War III. Peace negotiations seemed
hopeless because the North refused to compromise and so they closed the negotiations.
The United States had no choice but to use their last alternative. They threatened to
bomb China and to use atomic bombs on Korea. These threats reopened the peace
negotiations.
Three years, one month, and two days later the war ended. Cease-fire came at
10:00 P.M., and an armistice was signed by North Korea and the United Nations on July
27, 1953. (Boorstin and Kelley, 723-726) The Korean War was the first American war
ever waged that was not fought for national survival, for territory, for Manifest Destiny,
or for hegemony. This was also an ideological war. For the first time in the nations
history Americans were asked to fight and die to contain an idea.
The Korea War ended in an ambiguous victory, that was purchased dearly. The
United States spent sixty-seven billion dollars on this one war. With that amount
of money we could have traveled to the moon and back two and a half times. (At the
cost of our first excursion to the moon.) The war was also purchased with the blood of
millions. Soldiers and civilians alike on both sides of the battle gave their lives for what
they believed in and some had no idea what was going

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