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Korean War

Harry S Truman

Korean War: Harry S Truman was the 33rd American President who served in office from April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953. One of the important events during his presidency was the Korean War.

Definition and Summary of the Korean War
Summary and definition:
The Korean War  began on June 25, 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. The conflict was fought between the Soviet-backed communist North Korea and China against the United States and the UN-backed South Korea.The United Nations troops, the majority of whom were from the United States, were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. 

Reinforcements from the communist People's Republic of China joined the North Koreans and the conflict ended in a stalemate and a truce was signed on July 27, 1953 formally ending the war in Korea. North and South Korea remained separate, occupying nearly all of the same territory they had when the Korean War began.

When was the Korean War? The Korean War started on June 25, 1950 and ended on July 27, 1953.

What caused the Korean War? The war began when North Korea communists invaded South Korea.

Who was involved in the Korean War? The Communists from North Korea, China and the Soviet Union against South Korea, the United States and 20 United Nations (UN) countries.

Who won the Korean War? The Korean War ended in a stalemate with neither side having a prospect of victory. North Korea and South Korea remained separate, occupying almost all of the same territory they had when the war began

Why is the Korean War called the "forgotten War? The Korean War has often been called “the forgotten war" because it was wedged between World War 2, America’s biggest war and the Vietnam War, America’s longest war

Facts about Korean War
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Korean War.

History: In August 1945, at the end of WW2, the United States and the USSR disarmed Japanese troops stationed in Korea and made the decision to dismantle the Japanese colonial system in Korea by dividing the peninsula into two zones of occupation.

History: Korea was divided at the 38th parallel of latitude with American troops controlling the South and Soviet troops controlling the north.

History: Attempts to reunify Korea failed as suspicion and distrust between the two sides increased and the Cold War gained in momentum

History: On February 15, 1950 the USSR and the People’s Republic of China, headed by Mao Zedong, announced the signing of a treaty agreeing to mutual defense and assistance. The treaty united the two largest communist nations in the world.

History: An American backed government was established in south Korea and a Communist Korean government was established in north Korea.

History: Both governments claimed authority over the whole of Korea. The North Koreans quickly established a large army backed by military aid from the Soviets. 

June 25, 1950: Tensions mounted as border clashes increased and on June 25, 1950 troops from North Korea invaded the south beginning the Korean War in what is referred to as the First Battle of Seoul.

June 25, 1950: The First Battle of Seoul resulted in the capture of the capital of Koea by North Korean forces

The North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) numbered approximately 135,000 soldiers. The Republic of Korea Army (ROK) numbered approximately 98,000 soldiers.

President Harry Truman following the Containment policy and the Domino Theory responded to the Communist invasion by ordering US troops into action and gaining a pledge from the United Nations (UN) to give support.

Truman's action was in line with the US policy of Containment which was designed to restrict communist expansion by keeping communism within its present territory by diplomatic, military and economic actions.

The United States Army and the United Nation forces were led by General Douglas MacArthur and, later, General Matthew Ridgway. The North Korean forces were led by Choi-Yong-kun

On July 1, 1950 the first U.S. ground combat troops arrived in Korea 'Task Force Smith' consisting of the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, 24th Infantry Division.

The US and South Korean troops were driven back to an area near the port of Pusan but held on to the "Pusan Perimeter" buying time for General Douglas MacArthur arrange for reinforcements.

On August 17, 1950 the US announces to the United Nations (UN) its goal of a unified, anti-Communist Korea.

On September 15, 1950 General MacArthur orders an invasion behind enemy lines at the port of Incheon The Battle of Incheon was won and the North Koreans retreated back across the 38th parallel.

President Truman authorized General MacArthur to pursue the North Koreans beyond the 38th parallel and the North Koreans were pushed back to the Yalu River, the border with China.

October, 1950: The situation worsens as China enters the Korean War enabling the communist North Koreans to regain lost territory.

November 30, 1950: In press conference, President Truman admits that the US may be considering using  the Atomic Bomb

December 15, 1950: President Truman declared a state of national emergency.

The United States and the UN forces are forced back across the 38th parallel by the massive number of Chinese troops to the fury of General MacArthur.

General Douglas MacArthur demands approval to extend the war and asks President Truman to mount a blockade of Chinese ports and to bomb cities in China with nuclear weapons.

President Truman refused MacArthur's demands but the General would not give up his demands and publicly criticized the decisions of the President to wage a 'limited' war on Korea. It was an open conflict between the President and the military.

April 4, 1951: Congress endorses NATO, and sends General Dwight D. Eisenhower to head the unified NATO command.

April 5, 1951: President Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur for insubordination and replaced him with General Matthew Ridgway.

May 18, 1951: UN nations began military goods boycott of the People Republic of China.

July 8, 1951: Peace talks begin at Kaesong but an armistice would not be signed until 1953.

The battles in Korea continued but by the summer of 1951 the North Korean and Chinese forces had been pushed back the North Korean and Chinese forces back across the 38th Parallel.

On March 29, 1952 President Truman announces he will not run for re-election and on April 11, 1952 Truman relieves Eisenhower of command so he can run for President.

November 4, 1952: Dwight D. Eisenhower wins the Presidential election in a landslide victory.

November 29, 1952: Eisenhower goes to Korea on a secret fact-finding mission

The war went on as border clashes until 1953 when America's new president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and stated that he would use any force necessary (including the use of nuclear weapons) to bring the Korean War to an end unless peace negotiations began to move forward. 

Eisenhower's use of brinkmanship (the threat to go to the brink of nuclear war) worked and on July 27, 1953 an armistice was signed at Panmunjom and the 38th parallel was reset as boundary between communist North and anti-communist South.

United States and UN casualties and losses totaled 178,426 dead, 32,925 missing and 566,434 wounded fighting for South Korea.

Soviet, Chinese and North Korean casualties and losses totaled 367,283 dead, estimated at 700,000 missing and wounded fighting for North Korea.

North and South Korea now remained separated by a “demilitarized zone” (DMZ), occupying nearly all of the same territory they had when the Korean War began.

The Korean War did not end in victory, it was ended by the threat of nuclear war (brinkmanship), but it did stop the spread of communism in Korea and the United States achieved the goal of Containment.

American troops, United States Forces Korea (USFK), have been based in Korea ever since the Korean War, helping South Korea defend its border.

The Cold War had expanded from Europe into Asia and the US signed defense agreements with South Korea, Japan, the Phillipines, Taiwan and Australia.

The United States also began to send aid to the French forces fighting the Communist guerillas in Vietnam. The Korean War ended on July 27, 1953 but the Vietnam War would soon begin on November 1, 1955...

US American History
1945-1993: Cold War Era

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