Korean War

Ariel Gardner, Reed Walker, Justin Rath

The Korean War

The Korean War started June 19th when 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean Peoples Army, forced their way through the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and the pro-Western Republic of North Korea to the south. This was the first military act in the cold war. By July the American forces had stepped in on the Korean behalf. After back and forth across the 38th parallel, more the fighting came to a stop with more people were dying with nothing to show for them. Meanwhile the Americans worked to figure a truce with the North Koreans. They feared that this would lead to a world wide war. Finally in July 1953 the Korean War came to an end, with over 5 million people dying, leaving the Korean peninsula divided and still is today.

The Division of the Korean Peninsula

At the Potsdam Conference (July–August 1945), the Allies unilaterally decided to divide Korea. Stems from the 1945 Allied victory in World War II, ending the Empire of Japan's 35-year Colonial Rule of Korea. The Soviet Union refused to cooperate with the United Nations and their plans to hold a general and free elections in the two Korean zones. As a result of this a permanent Communist state was placed in the south and the pro-Western was set up in the south. Both the superpowers backed their own leaders and each claimed sovereignty over the whole Korean peninsula.

The Start of the War (June 1950)

On June 25, 1950 the Communist North Koreans began and artillery and mortar barrage across the 38th parallel. This barrage was used to reduce resistance toan armor supported infantry attack across into South Korea. This aggression caused the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution calling for a cessation of hostilities and a return to status quo ante (the withdrawal of invading forces).
On June 26th Uijongbu fell to the communists.
On June 27, 1950 US forces have their first victory in the war when a USAF F-82 shot down a Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korean) Yak fighter.
On June 28th, South Korean forces destroy the Han River bridge, trapping 3 ROK (Republic of Korea) divisions north of the river but cutting off the main crossing of the river. North Korean Army units enter Seoul and take it by the end of the day.
On June 29th the first US ground troops (507th AA Bn) arrive at Suwon and engage 4 North Korean aircraft.
That is a brief rundown of the first 5 days of the war

U.S. Involvement

On June 24, 1950, the North Koreans invaded South Korea. A few days later, Truman ordered U.S. troops to help South Korea and convinced the United Nations to send military help as well, in what was referred to in diplomatic circles as a “police action.”

The UN troops, which were mostly American, were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Because the North Korean attack was such a surprise, the U.S. and South Korean forces were pushed into the far southern corner of the Korean peninsula by September.

But MacArthur pulled off a risky but brilliant amphibious landing behind the North Koreans. By November, he had driven the enemy deep into North Korea and was poised to push them into China.

Then the Chinese army poured troops into the fight and forced the UN troops back into South Korea. But the UN forces reorganized and counterattacked, forcing the Chinese back behind the 38th parallel of latitude, where the war had started in the first place.

For the next 18 months, an uneasy truce, sporadically interrupted by skirmishing, was in place. Finally, in July 1953, an agreement to call the whole mess a draw was reached.

The Korean War cost more than $50 billion and 33,000 U.S. lives, plus another 110,000 or so were wounded. It also cost Truman politically. When MacArthur publicly disagreed with Truman over Truman’s decision not to invade China, the general was fired. MacArthur returned to a hero’s welcome in America, and Truman was pilloried as being soft on communism.

The Invasion

By 1950 Stalin gave Kim Il Sung the nod to go ahead with an invasion into South Korea. Kim also told China/Mao about the attack and initially turned down assistance from the Chinese because Kim was certain it would be an easy victory. The invasion came on 25 June, 1950.

How the war ended

A ceasefire stopped the fighting on July 27, 1953. There was an armistice signed by North Korea, China and the UN but not South Korea. Korea is still split into North Korea, which is communist, and South Korea which is non-communist. The border, protected by a demilitarized zone, was established along the 38th parallel.

Before the armistice, talks had gone on for nearly 2 years. Eisenhower had promised that if he was elected in the election of 1952, he would go to Korea and end the war. There was no simple way to end the conflict. Talks had collapsed in October 1952. In 1953, the US threatened to bomb China, but eventually a ceasefire was declared between UN forces and Korean/Chinese forces.

The "De-Militarized Zone" which designates the border between North and South Korea has remained one of the most heavily-armed stretches of land on Earth. The stability of the region is threatened by the development of nuclear weapons by North Korea.

What Happened After the Korean War?

Korea was split at the 38th parallel and a cease-fire was agreed upon. However a peace treaty still has yet to be agreed upon. There are still occupying troops there to maintain the border.

How did the war affect us?

The Korean war had a very profound impact on the US. It cost a little over two billion dollars in supplies for the troops and it cost 54,291 in American lives. General Douglas MacArthur was a household name at the peak of the Korean war because of his services in WWII but when he was removed from the US army by Truman for attempting to wage all out war on North Korea and the Soviet Union, many people in the US and even the UK were outraged.

What effect does the war have on us today?

The Korean War never ended, and they are still under an armistice to this day. (Ulala)
The north was left under Kim Il Sung, and now Kim Jung Il. They live in poverty, fearful of their "Great Leader". Families were split, and only recently have they been allowed to reunite under the watchful eyes of the police, carefully orchestrated by the government to win favour from the world superpowers.
The south was left as a republic, and fought hard for 50 years through bad leaders and quasi-democracy to be a success.
The Korean War brought the US and Russia further apart, and the fear of communism would later lead the US to throw itself into Vietnam, to avoid another North Korea. Back then, communism was the big evil and the US feared North Vietnam's intentions. The world was being divided between nations under the US and the Russian spheres.
The Korean War was a necessary show of strength on the US side, that they would do anything to prevent the spread of communism. It also brought China into conflict with the US, bringing bad feelings between the two countries which would last for decades.