Korean War – 1950-1953

Korean War – 1950-1953
Korea – part of Japan since 1910
August 8, 1945 - Soviet Union
declared war against Japan and
invaded Korea and Manchuria
August 15, 1945 - Japan
surrendered and agreed to give up
all territories it had acquired since
Allies agreed Korea would become
independent country
U.S. troops occupied southern part
of Korea (up to 38th parallel), Soviet
forces occupied the north
1947 – U.N. declared election
should be held for Koreans to chose
type of government for whole
Soviets refused
 South Korea
May 8, 1948 – Elections held People of southern part of
Korea (U.S. occupied) elected a
national assembly
 They claimed the entire country
and called it the Republic of
Korea. Their first leader was
Syngman Rhee – he was
against communism
 North Korea
Soviets refused to permit
elections. Communists, trained
by Soviet Union, claimed the
entire country
 September 9, 1948 –
established Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea with
Kim il Sung as their leader
 Despite the name, it was far
from “democratic”
Korean War
Kim Il-Sung
Syngman Rhee
“Domino Theory”
War – June 25, 1950
U.S. removed its troops in 1949
70.000 N. Koreans attacked S.
Koreans. Within 2 days, they were
close to capturing the capital, Seoul
U.N. demanded that Communists
retreat back to 38th parallel – N.
Koreans ignore it
U.N. asked its members to aid S.
June 30 – President Truman
ordered U.S. air, ground, and naval
forces to South Korea under U.N.
Congress called it a “police action” –
did NOT declare war
June 30 – N. Korean Army (KPA)
captured capital
Enemy mortar round lands directly on a Marine
ridgeline position
Millions of Korean refugees were uprooted from
their homes and attempted to flee to safety
Armada assembled for Inchon invasion, world’s
last great amphibious landing
Inchon landing – September 15, 1950
 U.S. troops under Gen.
Douglas MacArthur and
recapture Seoul
 October 1 – S. Korean
& U.S. forces invade N.
 October 19 – Allied
forces capture
Pyongyang – North
Korea’s capital
 Communists retreat
farther north
Marines carry a wounded comrade in the
assault on Seoul
American air power destroying supply
warehouses in N. Korea
China gets involved
MacArthur demands N. Koreans
surrender, but is rejected
U.S. troops moved toward Yula
River, chasing N. Koreans
Yula River - Border between
North Korea and China
China warned Allied troops not
to advance any closer towards
its border
MacArthur pressed on, hoping
to end the war before winter set
300,000 Chinese troops
attacked in October &
Faced against a huge Chinese
force, Allies retreat in December
December 24 – KPA recaptured
their capital and crossed into
South Korea
January – Communists capture
Seoul. Allies dig in.
March – KPA & Chinese armies
retreat from Seoul; Allies cross
into N. Korea again
Both sides dig in and fight along
battle line north of 38th parallel
Truce talks begin but, fighting
continued for 2 more years
After Chinese offensive in Nov. 1950, 98,000 N.
Koreans evacuate along with U.N. troops
U.N. forces move up behind fleeing Chinese
“See-saw” fighting along 38th parallel
MacArthur fired
As the war dragged on, Gen.
MacArthur pushed for bombing
China and using other “all-out
measures” (nuclear bomb)
President Truman vetoed this
idea because he thought it
would lead to another world war
MacArthur made public
statements disagreeing with the
President Truman removed him
from command – April 1951
He appears before Congress –
“Old soldiers never die, they just
fade away” speech
The Shifting Map of Korea
Armistice signed – July 27, 1953
N. Korea leader – Kim
Il Sung
America – Gen. Mark
Chinese commander
Results of Korean War
 3 million Koreans
 Lessons learned
 Millions left
 1 million Chinese
soldiers died
 54,246 American
soldiers died
If America wanted to confront
communism, she needed to do
it carefully – confrontation with
N. Korea quickly got out of hand
 Chinese had world’s largest
army prepared to die for
 USSR had supplied Chinese
with modern weapons
 There were limits to America’s
Last attempt to negotiate
reunification of Korea failed in
N. Korea is a totalitarian state
with Kim Jong-il (Sung’s son)as
its leader
Its people suffer from
It has nuclear weapons
U.S. and S. Korea troops still
face Communist N. Korea
troops posted on the border
Anti-American propaganda
 U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State
attending 6 party
talks aimed at
persuading North
Korea to dismantle
its nuclear weapons