The Korean War was a result of the division of Korea after World War 2. Japan controlled Korea prior to 1945 when the United States and the Soviet Union divided Korea at the 38th parallel. The US did this in the fear that the Soviet Union would take over Korea. This was the beginning of the split between the north and south.
Both the US and the Soviet Union began to build their regimes within their halves to support their interests. By the end of 1946 these regimes of the north and of the south were in place although the official split didn’t occur until 1948. That year the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was formed under the Soviet backed Kim II Sung. The South’s leader Syngman Rhee was backed by the US and formed the Republic of Korea.
The South’s new government was barely even formed before it had its first problem. The North had incited guerrilla movement; the south took two years to suppress the movement. This was only accomplished with the aid of about 500 American advisors that were left behind after the withdraw of the Soviet and American troops.
In May of 1949 the first border fighting broke out and continued in small isolated events until December of 1949. The South had provoked many of these skirmishes and when the Republic of Korea also know as the ROK asked for US tanks and airplanes they were denied the supplies. Instead the US sent observers into Korea.
Kim and the DPRK hoped that the summer of 1950 would be the same as the previous summer. The South Korean attacks would give Kim the reason that he needed to invade below the 38th parallel. He got this reason on the early morning of June 25th 1950. With a minor lunge of ROK forces over the 38th. The fighting broke out on the western side of the 38th at roughly 3 am. By 5:30 am the Northern forces had raced across the border towards Seoul. The soviets feared what type of effect this attack would have on Soviet-US relations.
The DPRK had more resources then the ROK did. The soviets had left behind T-34 tanks as well as 70 fighters and a small force of 62 light bombers. Many people felt that both sides were equal in strength they had forgotten about the DPRK’s battle experience.
The immediate success of the North’s invasion prompted the US to take action. Only a couple of days after the invasion the US went to the UN council urging them to send in troops to help suppress the North’s invasion. With the US as the lead force the UN sent in troops to put down the DPRK.
In the summer of 1950 the KPA (Korean People’s Army) continued its push towards the south. Inflicting terrible losses to the US forces that had great success in World War I and II. The KPA shocked many nations who though that they were just a military that was thrown together overnight.
Within the first week of August the US 1st Marine Brigade finally stopped the KPA’s assault. This formed what was known as the Pusan Perimeter. Toward the end of August the KPA launched there last major assault on the perimeter. Three KPA battalions were successful in breeching the perimeter capturing two cities. The US repelled the KPA from further conquests. The cost of this was high in casualties 4,280 US soldiers were killed in the assault.
The US was about to change the way the war was going they did this later in September with the Marine landings at Inch on. The US forces had landed with almost no opposition. Before September was over the US Marines had taken back Seoul.
By October of 1950 the north had been pushed out of South Korea. The war for the south left 111,000 South Koreans killed, 106,000 wounded, and 57,000 missing. The US forces suffered 6,954 dead, 13,659 wounded, and 3,877 missing in action.
The US forces could have reestablished the 38th parallel, but the continued to drive the KPA north. The war could have ended there, but Macarthur had more in store for the KPA he wanted to push them out of Korea. On October 19 the US had captured the North’s capital. However, three days earlier a group of Chinese troops had crossed the border and made their way towards the UN forces. The Chinese forces devastated the Troops halting the UN’s offensive in just three weeks.
The Chinese forces had apparently waited until the UN forces were across the 38th parallel so that the supply lines would be stretched out. Because of the UN’s great victories the Intel about KPA forces was overlooked. Columns of KPA were forming all over the countryside.
On November 27, 1950 the KPA and Chinese forces began a series of fierce counter attacks. These counter attacks dealt devastating blows to the UN forces. Within a few days a general withdraw occurred. Soon there after the front was moved to just 20 miles north of the 38th
By early summer of 1951 after Truman withdrew Macarthur from command, the war began a dead stand still. Most of the warfare consisted of heated trench warfare. During this Stalemate the Peace talks started to be formulated. On June 23, 1951 the Soviet Unions Representative proposed that peace talks should occur.
The peace talks began in the southern city of Kaesong. Months of arguing ensued while the troops were still in the trenches. The primary concern was that of the many POWS. The KPA had mistreated many POWs depriving them of and brainwashed them.
On July 27, 1951 the armistice agreement was signed and the fighting stopped. A buffer zone was formed across the middle of Korea deemed the Demilitarized zone. With no peace treaty signed the sides were still technically at war the buffer zone was heavily fortified.
As a result of the war the spread of communism was delayed, but at the cost of 36,934 dead US soldiers and 103,284 wounded. The economic and physical damage to Korea was unimaginable. The war was one of the United States most upsetting war at that point in time that was until another Asian conflict.