Korean War

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The Korean War, also known as the Forgotten War, took place between 1950 and 1953 between the Republic of Korea (or South Korea), supported by the armed forces of several countries that were commanded by the United States;, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (or North Korea), supported by the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. The war began at 4:30 a.m. on June 25, 1950. The fighting stopped on July 27, 1953, after more than two million Koreans had been killed, mostly in the North.

Both sides blame each other for starting the war. The north, led by communist Kim Il-Sung, was helped mostly by People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. There was medical support from Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Poland. Other support came from Mongolia and India. The south, led by nationalist Syngman Rhee, was helped by many countries in the United Nations, and especially by the United States.

The war ended on April 27, but the United States still keeps troops in South Korea in case North Korea ever invades again. Both Koreas are divided by the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which crosses the 38th parallel.

Origins and causes[change | change source]

In 1910, Japan put Korea under Japanese rule and was still ruling when World War II ended. After Japan surrendered, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to split Korea into two temporary occupation zones, with the Soviets occupying the North and the Americans occupying the South. It was at first meant to be only for a short time.

At the Moscow Conference of the Council of Foreign Ministers in December 1945, the Americans and the Soviets agreed on Korea having a provisional government, which would not last long. That became difficult because of the rise of the Cold War.[1]

The Cold War was an important cause in the Korean War. Relations between the two occupying powers were already bad, but when China became communist in October 1949, US President Harry Truman was very worried that other countries around China would go communist as well, such as Japan. The US Army was about one twelfth the size of five years earlier.[2] and Joseph Stalin had recently lost a Cold War dispute over the Berlin Blockade and subsequent airlift. Both powers argued mainly over fair border lines and the spread of communism.

Events[change | change source]

casualties near Pusan
  • 25th June 1950
  • North Korea invades South Korea across the 38th parallel and takes most of South Korea. The South Korean Army retreats to Busan.

July 1950

UN Forces landing at Inchon
  • The United Nations Army intervenes and lands at Incheon, a small port just about halfway down South Korea. From there, they fight the North Korean army and push them past the border separating the Koreas and close to the Chinese border, just south of the Yalu River.
  • China starts to feel threatened since the war happens so close to it and so tells the UN and the South Korean Armies to return to the border and that they have no business to fight so far into North Korea.
October 1950
  • The warning given by the Chinese is ignored by the UN (led by US General, Douglas MacArthur and so the Chinese the People's Liberation Army invades North Korea and helps the it fight the UN forces until they are pushed past the border.
December 1950
February 1951
  • Fighting continues until order is restored. and neither army is in each other's country, when peace talks begin.
11 April 1951
  • MacArthur relieved of his commands for making public statements that contradicted the administration's policies. He wants to invade North Korea.
March 1951 – 27th July 1953
  • Peace talks continue until 27 July 1953, when no peace is declared, but an armistice is signed by both countries, and the UN withdraws.

Results[change | change source]

Country Positive Negative
United States Communist expansion is stopped from entering South Korea. Greece and Turkey join NATO. Truman Doctrine is upheld. Found by other countries to be far too aggressive, which makes them nervous.
UN Getsfirst major success. Wins only by violence, not peace talks.
Both Koreas North Korea gets treaty with China. South Korea stays capitalist. Many people die. Much property is wrecked. No reunification occurs.
People's Republic of China Foreign war unites the country and improves rulers' prestige. Relations with Soviets become worse. Not allowed on UN Security Council.
Soviet Union North Korea stays communist. Soviet Air Force is tested against that of United States. Relations with China became worse. Lose a large amount of money.

Statistics[change | change source]

Total strength[change | change source]

  • Approximate numbers

United Nations[change | change source]

  • South Korea – 603,000 soldiers
  • United States- 327,000
  • United Kingdom- 14,200
  • Canada – 8,100
  • Turkey – 5,500
  • Australia – 2,300
  • Philippines – 1,600
  • New Zealand – 1,400
  • Netherlands – 3,418
  • Ethiopia – 1,300
  • Greece – 1,250
  • Colombia – 1,300
  • Thailand – 1,200
  • Belgium – 891
  • South Africa – 873
  • France – 800
  • Luxembourg – 44
    • Total – about 972,000 soldiers

Communist[change | change source]

  • North Korea – 260,600
  • China – 1,358,456
  • Soviet Union – 26,000
    • Total – 1,642,600 soldiers

Losses[change | change source]

United Nations[change | change source]

  • South Korea – 205,000 deaths – 905,800 wounded
  • United States – 100,503 deaths – 92,073 wounded
  • United Kingdom – 1,078 deaths – 2,674 wounded
  • Turkey – 721 deaths – 2,109 wounded
  • Canada – 507 deaths – 1,001 wounded
  • Australia – 380 deaths – 1,192 wounded
  • New Zealand – 34 deaths – 80 wounded
  • Netherlands – 150 deaths – 3 MIA
  • France – 69 deaths
  • Luxembourg – 2 deaths – 2 wounded

Communists[change | change source]

  • North Korea – 257,806 deaths
  • China – about 25,000 deaths
  • Soviet Union – about 300 deaths

Television[change | change source]

The popular television show M*A*S*H was about American doctors serving in the Korean War. The show lasted longer than the fighting did.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Keely Rogers and Jo Thomas, History 20th Century World – The Cold War (2008) p.50
  2. Active Duty Military Personnel, 1941–2011 inforplease.com

Other websites[change | change source]