Korean War
Overview
 


The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, supported by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, and North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, supported by the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (PRC), with military material aid from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. The war was a result of the physical division of Korea
Division of Korea
The division of Korea into North Korea and South Korea stems from the 1945 Allied victory in World War II, ending Japan's 35-year colonial rule of Korea. In a proposal opposed by nearly all Koreans, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to temporarily occupy the country as a trusteeship...

 by an agreement of the victorious Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 at the conclusion of the Pacific War
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 at the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The Korean peninsula
Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.Until the end of...

 was ruled by Japan
Korea under Japanese rule
Korea was under Japanese rule as part of Japan's 35-year imperialist expansion . Japanese rule ended in 1945 shortly after the Japanese defeat in World War II....

 from 1910 until the end of World War II. Following the surrender of Japan
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

 in 1945, American administrators divided the peninsula along the 38th Parallel
Division of Korea
The division of Korea into North Korea and South Korea stems from the 1945 Allied victory in World War II, ending Japan's 35-year colonial rule of Korea. In a proposal opposed by nearly all Koreans, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to temporarily occupy the country as a trusteeship...

, with United States troops occupying the southern part and Soviet troops occupying the northern part.

The failure to hold free elections throughout the Korean Peninsula in 1948 deepened the division between the two sides, and the North established a Communist government.
Timeline

1950    The Korean War begins with the invasion of South Korea by North Korea.

1950    The United States decides to send troops to fight in the Korean War.

1950    Korean War: Korean War: Korean War: [[Task Force Smith

1950    Korean War: North Korean troops initiate the Battle of Taejon.

1950    Korean War: United States forces land at Inchon

1950    Korean War: The First Battle of Maryang San, primarily pitting Australian and British forces against communist China, begins.

1950    Korean War: After the Chinese leadership finally settled the issue of armed intervention on October 18, the People's Republic of China joins the Korean War by sending thousands of troops across the Yalu river to fight United Nations forces.

1950    Korean War: After the Chinese leadership finally settled the issue of armed intervention on October 18, the People's Republic of China joins the Korean War by sending thousands of troops across the Yalu river to fight United Nations forces.

1950    Korean War: United States Air Force Lt. Russell J. Brown shoots down two North Korean MiG-15s in the first jet aircraft-to-jet aircraft dogfight in history.

1950    Korean War: Troops from the People's Republic of China launch a massive counterattack in North Korea against South Korean and United Nations forces (the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir), ending any hopes of a quick end to the conflict.

Encyclopedia


The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, supported by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, and North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, supported by the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (PRC), with military material aid from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. The war was a result of the physical division of Korea
Division of Korea
The division of Korea into North Korea and South Korea stems from the 1945 Allied victory in World War II, ending Japan's 35-year colonial rule of Korea. In a proposal opposed by nearly all Koreans, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to temporarily occupy the country as a trusteeship...

 by an agreement of the victorious Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 at the conclusion of the Pacific War
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 at the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The Korean peninsula
Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.Until the end of...

 was ruled by Japan
Korea under Japanese rule
Korea was under Japanese rule as part of Japan's 35-year imperialist expansion . Japanese rule ended in 1945 shortly after the Japanese defeat in World War II....

 from 1910 until the end of World War II. Following the surrender of Japan
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

 in 1945, American administrators divided the peninsula along the 38th Parallel
Division of Korea
The division of Korea into North Korea and South Korea stems from the 1945 Allied victory in World War II, ending Japan's 35-year colonial rule of Korea. In a proposal opposed by nearly all Koreans, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to temporarily occupy the country as a trusteeship...

, with United States troops occupying the southern part and Soviet troops occupying the northern part.

The failure to hold free elections throughout the Korean Peninsula in 1948 deepened the division between the two sides, and the North established a Communist government. The 38th Parallel increasingly became a political border between the two Koreas. Although reunification negotiations continued in the months preceding the war, tension intensified. Cross-border skirmishes and raids at the 38th Parallel persisted. The situation escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950. It was the first significant armed conflict of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.

The United Nations, particularly the United States, came to the aid of South Korea in repelling the invasion, but within two months the defenders were pushed back to the Pusan perimeter, a small area in the south of the country, before the North Koreans were stopped. A rapid UN counter-offensive then drove the North Koreans past the 38th Parallel and almost to the Yalu River
Yalu River
The Yalu River or the Amnok River is a river on the border between North Korea and the People's Republic of China....

, and the People's Republic of China (PRC) entered the war on the side of the North. The Chinese launched a counter-offensive that pushed the United Nations forces back across the 38th Parallel. The Soviet Union materially aided the North Korean and Chinese armies. The active stage of the war ended on July 27, 1953, when the armistice agreement was signed. The agreement restored the border between the Koreas near the 38th Parallel and created the Korean Demilitarized Zone
Korean Demilitarized Zone
The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half, crossing the 38th parallel on an angle, with the west end of the DMZ lying south of the parallel and...

 (DMZ), a 2.5 miles (4 km) wide buffer zone between the two Koreas. Minor outbreaks of fighting continue to the present day.

With both North and South Korea sponsored by external powers, the Korean War was a proxy war
Proxy war
A proxy war or proxy warfare is a war that results when opposing powers use third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly. While powers have sometimes used governments as proxies, violent non-state actors, mercenaries, or other third parties are more often employed...

. From a military science
Military science
Military science is the process of translating national defence policy to produce military capability by employing military scientists, including theorists, researchers, experimental scientists, applied scientists, designers, engineers, test technicians, and military personnel responsible for...

 perspective, it combined strategies and tactics of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II: it began with a mobile campaign of swift infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 attacks followed by air bombing
Tactical bombing
Tactical bombing is the aerial bombing aimed at targets of immediate military value, such as troops, military installations or equipment. This is in contrast to strategic bombing, attacking enemy's cities and factories to debilitate the enemy's capacity to wage war, the enemy's future military...

 raids, but became a static trench
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 war by July 1951.

Etymology

In the United States, the war was initially described by President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 as a "police action
Police action
Police action in military/security studies and international relations is a euphemism for a military action undertaken without a formal declaration of war.Since World War II, formal declarations of war have been rare...

" as it was conducted under the auspices of the United Nations. Colloquially, it has been referred to in the United States as The Forgotten War or The Unknown War. The issues concerned were much less clear than in previous and subsequent conflicts, such as World War II and the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. To a significant degree, the war has been "historically overshadowed by World War II and Vietnam".

In South Korea the war is usually referred to as "625" or the 6–2–5 Upheaval (yug-i-o dongnan), reflecting the date of its commencement on 25 June. In North Korea the war is officially referred to as the Fatherland Liberation War (Choguk haebang chǒnjaeng). Alternatively, it is called the Chosǒn chǒnjaeng ("Chosǒn war", Chosǒn being what North Koreans call Korea). In the People's Republic of China the war is called the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea . The "Korean War" (朝鮮戰爭/朝鲜战争; pinyin: Cháoxiǎn zhànzhēng) is more commonly used today. Cháoxiǎn is the Chinese pronunciation of the Korean name "Chosǒn".

Japanese rule (1910–1945)

Upon defeating the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 in the First Sino-Japanese War
First Sino-Japanese War
The First Sino-Japanese War was fought between Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan, primarily over control of Korea...

 (1894–96), the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 occupied the Korean Empire
Korean Empire
The Greater Korean Empire was an empire of Korea that succeeded the Joseon Dynasty.In October 1897, Emperor Gojong proclaimed the new entity at Gyeongungung Palace and oversaw the partially successful modernization of the military, economy, land system, education system, and various industries...

 – a peninsula strategic to its sphere of influence
Hegemony
Hegemony is an indirect form of imperial dominance in which the hegemon rules sub-ordinate states by the implied means of power rather than direct military force. In Ancient Greece , hegemony denoted the politico–military dominance of a city-state over other city-states...

. A decade later, defeating Imperial Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 (1904–05), Japan made Korea its protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 with the Eulsa Treaty
Eulsa Treaty
The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905, also known as the Eulsa Treaty or Japan–Korea Protectorate Treaty, was made between the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire in 1905. Negotiations were concluded on November 17, 1905....

 in 1905, then annexed it with the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty in 1910.

Korean nationalists
Korean nationalism
Korean nationalism refers to nationalism among the Korean people. In the Korean context, this encompasses various of movements throughout history to maintain the Korean cultural identity, history, and ethnicity.-History:...

 and the intelligentsia
Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

 fled the country, and some founded the Provisional Korean Government
Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea
The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea was the partially recognised government in exile of Korea, based in Shanghai, China, and later in Chongqing, during the Colonial Korea.-History:...

 in 1919, which was headed by Syngman Rhee
Syngman Rhee
Syngman Rhee or Yi Seungman was the first president of South Korea. His presidency, from August 1948 to April 1960, remains controversial, affected by Cold War tensions on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere. Rhee was regarded as an anti-Communist and a strongman, and he led South Korea through the...

 in Shanghai. This government-in-exile was recognized by few countries. From 1919 to 1925 and beyond, Korean communists led and were the primary agents of internal and external warfare against the Japanese.

Korea under Japanese rule
Korea under Japanese rule
Korea was under Japanese rule as part of Japan's 35-year imperialist expansion . Japanese rule ended in 1945 shortly after the Japanese defeat in World War II....

 was considered to be part of the Empire of Japan as an industrialized colony along with Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, and both were part of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was a concept created and promulgated during the Shōwa era by the government and military of the Empire of Japan. It represented the desire to create a self-sufficient "bloc of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of Western powers"...

. In 1937, the colonial Governor-General, General Jirō Minami
Jiro Minami
- Notes :...

, commanded the attempted cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

 of Korea's 23.5 million people by banning the use and study of Korean language, literature, and culture, to be replaced with that of mandatory use and study of their Japanese counterparts. Starting in 1939, the populace was required to use Japanese names under the Sōshi-kaimei
Soshi-kaimei
Sōshi-kaimei was a policy created by Jiro Minami, Governor-General of Korea under the Empire of Japan, implemented upon Japanese subjects from Korea . As defined by Ordinance No...

 policy. In 1938, the Colonial Government established labor conscription.

In China, the National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
The National Revolutionary Army , pre-1928 sometimes shortened to 革命軍 or Revolutionary Army and between 1928-1947 as 國軍 or National Army was the Military Arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947, as well as the national army of the Republic of China during the KMT's period of party rule...

 and the Communist People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 helped organize refugee Korean patriots and independence fighters against the Japanese military, which had also occupied parts of China. The Nationalist-backed Koreans, led by Yi Pom-Sok, fought in the Burma Campaign
Burma Campaign
The Burma Campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was fought primarily between British Commonwealth, Chinese and United States forces against the forces of the Empire of Japan, Thailand, and the Indian National Army. British Commonwealth land forces were drawn primarily from...

 (December 1941 – August 1945). The Communists, led by Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

, fought the Japanese in Korea and Manchuria.

During World War II, the Japanese used Korea's food, livestock, and metals for their war effort
War effort
In politics and military planning, a war effort refers to a coordinated mobilization of society's resources—both industrial and human—towards the support of a military force...

. Japanese forces in Korea increased from 46,000 soldiers in 1941 to 300,000 in 1945. Japanese Korea conscripted 2.6 million forced laborers controlled with a collaborationist
Collaborationism
Collaborationism is cooperation with enemy forces against one's country. Legally, it may be considered as a form of treason. Collaborationism may be associated with criminal deeds in the service of the occupying power, which may include complicity with the occupying power in murder, persecutions,...

 Korean police force; some 723,000 people were sent to work in the overseas empire and in metropolitan Japan. By 1942, Korean men were being conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

. By January 1945, Koreans comprised 32% of Japan's labor force. In August 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

, around 25% of those killed were Koreans. At the end of the war, other world powers did not recognize Japanese rule in Korea and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, at the Cairo Conference
Cairo Conference
The Cairo Conference of November 22–26, 1943, held in Cairo, Egypt, addressed the Allied position against Japan during World War II and made decisions about postwar Asia...

 (November 1943), Nationalist China, the United Kingdom, and the United States decided "in due course Korea shall become free and independent". Later, the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

 (February 1945) granted to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 European "buffer zones"—satellite state
Satellite state
A satellite state is a political term that refers to a country that is formally independent, but under heavy political and economic influence or control by another country...

s accountable to Moscow—as well as an expected Soviet pre-eminence in China and Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

, in return for joining the Allied Pacific War
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 effort against Japan.

Soviet invasion of Manchuria (1945)

Toward the end of World War II, as per a US-Soviet agreement, the USSR declared war against Japan on 9 August 1945. By 10 August, the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 occupied the northern part of the Korean peninsula as agreed, and on 26 August halted at the 38th parallel
38th parallel north
The 38th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean...

 for three weeks to await the arrival of US forces in the south.

On 10 August 1945, with the 15 August Japanese surrender
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

 near, the Americans doubted whether the Soviets would honor their part of the Joint Commission, the US-sponsored Korean occupation agreement. A month earlier, Colonel Dean Rusk
Dean Rusk
David Dean Rusk was the United States Secretary of State from 1961 to 1969 under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Rusk is the second-longest serving U.S...

 and Colonel Charles H. Bonesteel III divided the Korean peninsula at the 38th parallel after hurriedly deciding (in thirty minutes) that the US Korean Zone of Occupation had to have a minimum of two ports.

Explaining why the occupation zone demarcation was positioned at the 38th parallel, Rusk observed, "even though it was further north than could be realistically reached by US forces, in the event of Soviet disagreement ... we felt it important to include the capital of Korea in the area of responsibility of American troops", especially when "faced with the scarcity of US forces immediately available, and time and space factors, which would make it difficult to reach very far north, before Soviet troops could enter the area." The Soviets agreed to the US occupation zone demarcation to improve their negotiating position regarding the occupation zones in Eastern Europe, and because each would accept Japanese surrender where they stood.

Chinese Civil War (1945–1949)

After the end of Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

, the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

 resumed between the Chinese Communists and the Chinese Nationalists. While the Communists were struggling for supremacy in Manchuria, they were supported by the North Korean government with materiel and manpower. According to Chinese sources, the North Koreans donated 2,000 railway cars worth of material while thousands of Korean "volunteers" served in the Chinese People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 (PLA) during the war. North Korea also provided the Chinese Communists in Manchuria with a safe refuge for non-combatants and communications with the rest of China.

The North Korean contributions to the Chinese Communist victory were not forgotten after the creation of the People's Republic of China in 1949. As a token of gratitude, between 50,000 to 70,000 Korean veterans that served in the PLA were sent back along with their weapons, and they would later play a significant role in the initial invasion of South Korea. China promised to support the North Koreans in the event of a war against South Korea. The Chinese support created a deep division between the Korean Communists, and Kim Il-Sung's authority within the Communist party was challenged by the Chinese faction led by Pak Il-yu, who was later purged by Kim.

After the formation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese government named the Western nations, led by the United States, as the biggest threat to its national security. Basing this judgment on China's century of humiliation
Century of humiliation
The century of humiliation , also referred to as the century of national humiliation, the hundred years of humiliation, and similar permutations...

 beginning in the early 19th century, American support for the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War, and the ideological struggles between revolutionaries and reactionaries, the Chinese leadership believed that China would become a critical battleground in the United States' crusade against Communism. As a countermeasure and to elevate China's standing among the worldwide Communist movements, the Chinese leadership adopted a foreign policy that actively promoted Communist revolutions throughout territories on China's periphery.

Korea divided (1945–1949)

At the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

 (July–August 1945), the Allies unilaterally decided to divide Korea—without consulting the Koreans—in contradiction of the Cairo Conference.

On 8 September 1945, Lt. Gen. John R. Hodge
John R. Hodge
General John Reed Hodge was a general in the United States Army.-Early life and Career:Being born in Golconda, Illinois, Hodge attended Southern Illinois Teachers College and the University of Illinois. After completing U.S. Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Sheridan, he entered military...

 of the United States arrived in Incheon
Incheon
The Incheon Metropolitan City is located in northwestern South Korea. The city was home to just 4,700 people when Jemulpo port was built in 1883. Today 2.76 million people live in the city, making it Korea’s third most populous city after Seoul and Busan Metropolitan City...

 to accept the Japanese surrender south of the 38th parallel. Appointed as military governor, General Hodge directly controlled South Korea via the United States Army Military Government in Korea
United States Army Military Government in Korea
The United States Army Military Government in Korea, also known as USAMGIK, was the official ruling body of the southern half of the Korean Peninsula from September 8, 1945 to August 15, 1948...

 (USAMGIK 1945–48). He established control by restoring to power the key Japanese colonial administrators and their Korean police collaborators. The USAMGIK refused to recognise the provisional government of the short-lived People's Republic of Korea
People's Republic of Korea
The People's Republic of Korea was a short-lived provisional government organized to take over control of Korea after the Surrender of Japan at the end of the Pacific War. It operated as the government in late August and early September of 1945 until the United States Army Military Government in...

 (PRK) because he suspected it was communist. These policies, voiding popular Korean sovereignty, provoked civil insurrections and guerrilla warfare. On 3 September 1945, Lieutenant General Yoshio Kozuki, Commander, Japanese Seventeenth Area Army, contacted Hodge, telling him that the Soviets were south of the 38th parallel at Kaesong
Kaesong
Kaesŏng is a city in North Hwanghae Province, southern North Korea , a former Directly Governed City, and the capital of Korea during the Koryo Dynasty. The city is near Kaesŏng Industrial Region and it contains the remains of the Manwoldae palace. It was formally named Songdo while it was the...

. Hodge trusted the accuracy of the Japanese Army report.

In December 1945, Korea was administered by a US–USSR Joint Commission, as agreed at the Moscow Conference (1945)
Moscow Conference (1945)
The Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers of the United States , the United Kingdom , and the Soviet Union met in December 1945 to discuss the problems of occupation, establishing peace, and other Far East issues.The Communique issued after the Conference on December 27,...

. The Koreans were excluded from the talks. The commission decided the country would become independent after a five-year trusteeship action facilitated by each régime sharing its sponsor's ideology. The Korean populace revolted; in the south, some protested, and some rose in arms; to contain them, the USAMGIK banned strikes on 8 December 1945 and outlawed the PRK Revolutionary Government and the PRK People's Committees on 12 December 1945.

On 23 September 1946 an 8,000-strong railroad worker strike began in Pusan
Busan
Busan , formerly spelled Pusan is South Korea's second largest metropolis after Seoul, with a population of around 3.6 million. The Metropolitan area population is 4,399,515 as of 2010. It is the largest port city in South Korea and the fifth largest port in the world...

. Civil disorder spread throughout the country in what became known as the Autumn uprising
Autumn Uprising of 1946
The Autumn Uprising of 1946 in Korea was a peasant uprising throughout the southern provinces of Korea against the policies of the United States Army Military Government in Korea and in favor of restoration of power to the people's committees that made up the People's Republic of Korea...

. On 1 October 1946, Korean police killed three students in the Daegu Uprising; protesters counter-attacked, killing 38 policemen. On 3 October, some 10,000 people attacked the Yeongcheon
Yeongcheon
Yeongcheon is a city in North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea.Yeongcheon is located 350 km southeast of Seoul, in the southeast of North Gyeongsang Province...

 police station, killing three policemen and injuring some 40 more; elsewhere, some 20 landlords and pro-Japanese South Korean officials were killed. The USAMGIK declared martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

.

The right-wing
Right-wing politics
In politics, Right, right-wing and rightist generally refer to support for a hierarchical society justified on the basis of an appeal to natural law or tradition. To varying degrees, the Right rejects the egalitarian objectives of left-wing politics, claiming that the imposition of equality is...

 Representative Democratic Council
Representative Democratic Council
The Representative Democratic Council was a group that emerged in Korea after World War II. It was led by Syngman Rhee, later to be the first leader of South Korea after the failure of unification...

, led by nationalist Syngman Rhee, opposed the Soviet–American trusteeship of Korea, arguing that after 35 years (1910–45) of Japanese colonial rule most Koreans opposed another foreign occupation. The USAMGIK decided to forego the five year trusteeship agreed upon in Moscow, given the 31 March 1948 United Nations election deadline to achieve an anti-communist
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

 civil government in the US Korean Zone of Occupation.

On 3 April what began as a demonstration commemorating Korean resistance to Japanese rule ended with the Jeju massacre
Jeju massacre
The Jeju Uprising was a revolt on Jeju island off the south coast of the Korean Peninsula, beginning on April 3, 1948. Between 14,000 and 60,000 individuals were killed in fighting or execution between various fractions on the island...

 of as many as 60,000 citizens by South Korean soldiers.

On 10 May, South Korea convoked their first national general elections that the Soviets first opposed, then boycotted, insisting that the US honor the trusteeship agreed to at the Moscow Conference.

North Korea held parliamentary elections
North Korean parliamentary election, 1948
Parliamentary elections were held for the first Supreme People's Assembly in North Korea on 25 August 1948. 572 deputies were elected, of which 360 were reserved for representatives of South Korea...

 three months later on 25 August 1948.

The resultant anti-communist South Korean government promulgated a national political constitution on 17 July 1948, elected a president, the American-educated strongman
Strongman (politics)
A strongman is a political leader who rules by force and runs an authoritarian regime. The term is often used interchangeably with "dictator," but differs from a "warlord".A strongman is not necessarily always a formal head of government, however...

 Syngman Rhee on 20 July 1948. The elections were marred by terrorism and sabotage resulting in 600 deaths. The Republic of Korea (South Korea) was established on 15 August 1948. In the Russian Korean Zone of Occupation, the USSR established a Communist North Korean government led by Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

. President Rhee's régime expelled communists and leftists
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 from southern national politics. Disenfranchised, they headed for the hills, to prepare for guerrilla war against the US-sponsored ROK Government.

As nationalists
Korean nationalism
Korean nationalism refers to nationalism among the Korean people. In the Korean context, this encompasses various of movements throughout history to maintain the Korean cultural identity, history, and ethnicity.-History:...

, both Syngman Rhee and Kim Il-Sung were intent upon reunifying Korea under their own political system. With Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 and Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 fighting over the control of the Korean Peninsula, the North Koreans gained support from both the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. They escalated the continual border skirmishes and raids and then prepared to invade. South Korea, with limited matériel
Materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

, could not match them. During this era, at the beginning of the Cold War, the US government assumed that all communists, regardless of nationality, were controlled or directly influenced by Moscow; thus the US portrayed the civil war in Korea as a Soviet hegemonic
Hegemony
Hegemony is an indirect form of imperial dominance in which the hegemon rules sub-ordinate states by the implied means of power rather than direct military force. In Ancient Greece , hegemony denoted the politico–military dominance of a city-state over other city-states...

 maneuver.

In October 1948, South Korean left-wing soldiers rebelled against the government's harsh clampdown in April on Jeju island in the Yeosu-Suncheon Rebellion
Yeosu-Suncheon Rebellion
The Yeosu-Suncheon Rebellion, also known as the Yeo-Sun incident, was an October 1948 rebellion, that took place in Yeosu, Suncheon, and surrounding towns, South Jeolla against the fledgling South Korean Syngman Rhee government largely cued by that government's suppression of the Jeju Uprising and...

.

The Soviet Union withdrew as agreed from Korea in 1948. U.S. troops withdrew from Korea in 1949, leaving the South Korean army relatively ill-equipped. On 24 December 1949, South Korean forces killed 86 to 88 people in the Mungyeong massacre
Mungyeong massacre
The Mungyeong massacre was a massacre conducted by 2nd and 3rdplatoon, 7th company, 3rd battalion, 25th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division of the South Korean Army on 24 December 1949 of 86 to 88 unarmed citizens in Mungyeong, North Gyeongsang district of South Korea, all of whom were...

 and blamed the crime on communist marauding bands.

The conflict begins (June 1950)

In April 1950 Kim Il-sung travelled to Moscow and secured Stalin's support for a policy to unify Korea under his authority. Although agreeing with the invasion of South Korea in principle, Stalin refused to become directly involved in Kim's plans, and advised Kim to enlist Chinese support instead. In May 1950 Kim visited Beijing, and succeeded in gaining Mao's endorsement. At the time, Mao's support for Kim was largely political (he was contemplating the invasions of Taiwan and Tibet), and was unaware of Kim's precise intentions or the timing of Kim's attack. When the Korean war broke out, the Chinese were in the process of demobilizing half of the PLA
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

's 5.6 million soldiers.

After the US missions had left the People's Republic of China, CIA China station officer Douglas Mackiernan
Douglas Mackiernan
Douglas Seymour Mackiernan was the first officer of the Central Intelligence Agency to be killed in the line of duty. He worked as a cryptographer for the United States Air Force and was then posted to China, as an Air Force Meteorologist during World War II...

 volunteered to remain and conduct spy operations. Afterward, he and a team of indigenous personnel then escaped China in a months-long horse trek across the Himalaya mountains; he was killed within miles of Lhasa
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

. His team delivered the intelligence to headquarters that invasion was imminent. Thirteen days later on 25 June 1950, the North Korean People's Army
Korean People's Army
The Korean People's Army , also known as the Inmin Gun, are the military forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Kim Jong-il is the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army and Chairman of the National Defence Commission...

 (KPA) crossed the 38th parallel border and invaded South Korea. Mackiernan was posthumously awarded the CIA Intelligence Star
Intelligence Star
The Intelligence Star is an award given by the Central Intelligence Agency for a "voluntary act or acts of courage performed under hazardous conditions or for outstanding achievements or services rendered with distinction under conditions of grave risk." The award citation is from the Director...

 for valor.

Under the guise of counter-attacking a South Korean provocation raid, the KPA crossed the 38th parallel behind artillery fire at dawn on Sunday 25 June 1950. The KPA said that Republic of Korea Army
Republic of Korea Army
The Republic of Korea Army is the largest of the military branches of the South Korean armed forces with 520,000 members as of 2010...

 (ROK Army) troops, under command of the régime of the "bandit traitor Syngman Rhee
Syngman Rhee
Syngman Rhee or Yi Seungman was the first president of South Korea. His presidency, from August 1948 to April 1960, remains controversial, affected by Cold War tensions on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere. Rhee was regarded as an anti-Communist and a strongman, and he led South Korea through the...

", had crossed the border first, and that they would arrest and execute Rhee. Both Korean armies had continually harassed each other with skirmishes and each continually staged raids across the 38th parallel border.

On 27 June, Rhee evacuated from Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

 with government officials. Rhee ordered the Bodo League massacre
Bodo League massacre
The Bodo League massacre was a massacre of alleged communists and suspected sympathizers that occurred in the summer of 1950 during the Korean War. Estimates of the death toll vary. According to Prof. Kim Dong-Choon, Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at least 100,000 people...

, which started on 28 June.

On 28 June, South Korea bombed the bridge across the Han River
Hangang Bridge bombing
The Hangang Bridge bombing was a bombing conducted by the South Korean Army to destroy the Hangang Bridge in Seoul, South Korea on 28 June 1950.On 25 June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, sparking the Korean war...

 to stop the North Korean army.

Early on in the fighting, South Korea put its forces under the authority of the United Nations Command (Korea)
United Nations Command (Korea)
The United Nations Command is the unified command structure for the multinational military forces supporting the Republic of Korea during and after the Korean War...

.

Factors in US intervention

The Truman Administration was caught at a crossroads. Before the invasion, Korea was not included in the strategic Asian Defense Perimeter outlined by Secretary of State Acheson. Military strategists were more concerned with the security of Europe against the Soviet Union than East Asia. At the same time, the Administration was worried that a war in Korea could quickly widen into another world war should the Chinese or Soviets decide to get involved as well.

One facet of the changing attitude toward Korea and whether to get involved was Japan. Especially after the fall of China to the Communists, "...Japan itself increasingly appeared as the major East Asian prize to be protected". US East Asian experts saw Japan as the critical counterweight to the Soviet Union and China in the region. While there was no United States policy that dealt with South Korea directly as a national interest, its proximity to Japan pushed South Korea to the fore. "The recognition that the security of Japan required a non-hostile Korea led directly to President Truman’s decision to intervene... The essential point... is that the American response to the North Korean attack stemmed from considerations of US policy toward Japan." The United States wanted to shore up Japan to make it a viable counterweight against the Soviet Union and China, and Korea was seen as integral to that end.

The other important part of committing to intervention lay in speculation about Soviet action in the event that the United States intervene. The Truman administration was fretful that a war in Korea was a diversionary assault that would escalate to a general war in Europe once the US committed in Korea. At the same time, "[t]here was no suggestion from anyone that the United Nations or the United States could back away from [the conflict]". In Truman’s mind, this aggression, if left unchecked, would start a chain reaction that would destroy the United Nations and give the go ahead to further Communist aggression elsewhere. Korea was where a stand had to be made, the difficult part was how. The UN Security council approved the use of force to help the South Koreans and the US immediately began using air and naval forces in the area to that end. The Administration still refrained from committing on the ground because some advisors believed the North Koreans could be stopped by air and naval power alone. Also, it was still uncertain if this was a clever ploy by the Soviet Union to catch the US unawares or just a test of US resolve. The decision to commit ground troops and to intervene eventually became viable when a communiqué was received on 27 June from the Soviet Union that alluded it would not move against US forces in Korea. "This opened the way for the sending of American ground forces, for it now seemed less likely that a general war—with Korea as a preliminary diversion—was imminent". With the Soviet Union’s tacit agreement that this would not cause an escalation, the United States now could intervene with confidence that other commitments would not be jeopardized.

United Nations Security Council Resolutions

On 25 June 1950, the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 unanimously condemned the North Korean invasion of the Republic of Korea, with United Nations Security Council Resolution 82
United Nations Security Council Resolution 82
United Nations Security Council Resolution 82 was a measure adopted by the United Nations Security Council on June 25, 1950. The resolution demanded North Korea immediately end its invasion of South Korea, the catalyst for the beginning of the Korean War...

. The USSR, a veto-wielding power
United Nations Security Council veto power
The United Nations Security Council "power of veto" refers to the veto power wielded solely by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council , enabling them to prevent the adoption of any "substantive" draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support...

, had boycotted the Council meetings since January 1950, protesting that the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (Taiwan), not the People's Republic of China, held a permanent seat
China and the United Nations
China's seat in the United Nations and membership of the United Nations Security Council was originally occupied by the Republic of China since October 24, 1945. During the Chinese Civil War, the Communist Party of China repelled the government of the ROC from Mainland China to the island of...

 in the UN Security Council. After debating the matter, the Security Council, on 27 June 1950, published Resolution 83
United Nations Security Council Resolution 83
United Nations Security Council Resolution 83, adopted on June 27, 1950, determined that the attack on the Republic of Korea by forces from North Korea constituted a breach of the peace. The Council called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for the authorities in North Korea to withdraw...

 recommending member states provide military assistance to the Republic of Korea. On 27 June President Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 ordered US air and sea forces to help the South Korean régime. On 4 July the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister accused the US of starting armed intervention on behalf of South Korea.

The USSR challenged the legitimacy of the war for several reasons. The ROK Army intelligence upon which Resolution 83 was based came from US Intelligence; North Korea was not invited as a sitting temporary member of the UN, which violated UN Charter Article 32; and the Korean conflict was beyond UN Charter scope, because the initial north–south border fighting was classed as a civil war. The Soviet representative boycotted the UN to prevent Security Council action, and to challenge the legitimacy of the UN action; legal scholars posited that deciding upon an action of this type required the unanimous vote of the five permanent members.

Comparison of military forces

The North Korean Army launched the "Fatherland Liberation War" with a comprehensive air–land invasion using 231,000 soldiers, who captured scheduled objectives and territory, among them Kaesong
Kaesong
Kaesŏng is a city in North Hwanghae Province, southern North Korea , a former Directly Governed City, and the capital of Korea during the Koryo Dynasty. The city is near Kaesŏng Industrial Region and it contains the remains of the Manwoldae palace. It was formally named Songdo while it was the...

, Chuncheon
Chuncheon
Chuncheon is the capital of Gangwon Province, South Korea. The city lies in the northeast of the country, located in a basin formed by the Soyang River and Han River. There are some large lakes around the city, most notably Lake Soyang and Lake Uiam...

, Uijeongbu
Uijeongbu
Uijeongbu is a city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.The city is located just north of Seoul with many U.S. and Korean military bases for the defense of the Korean capital. The U.S. Second Infantry Division has established its headquarters in the city with main troops deployed in Dongducheon...

, and Ongjin
Ongjin, South Hwanghae
Ongjin is a county in southern South Hwanghae province, North Korea. It is located on the Ongjin Peninsula, which projects into the Yellow Sea.- History :...

. Their forces included 274 T-34-85
T-34
The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. Although its armour and armament were surpassed by later tanks of the era, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential design of World War II...

 tanks, some 150 Yak
Yakovlev
The Yak Aircraft Corporation is a Russian aircraft designer and manufacturer...

 fighters, 110 attack bombers, 200 artillery pieces, 78 Yak trainers, and 35 reconnaissance aircraft. In addition to the invasion force, the North Korean KPA had 114 fighters, 78 bombers, 105 T-34-85 tanks, and some 30,000 soldiers stationed in reserve in North Korea. Although each navy consisted of only several small warships, the North Korean and South Korean navies fought in the war as sea-borne artillery for their in-country armies.

In contrast, the ROK Army defenders were vastly unprepared, and the political establishment in the south, while well aware of the threat to the north, were unable to convince American administrators of the reality of the threat. In South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu (1961), R.E. Appleman reports the ROK forces' low combat readiness as of 25 June 1950. The ROK Army had 98,000 soldiers (65,000 combat, 33,000 support), no tanks (they had been requested from the US military, but requests were denied), and a 22–piece air force comprising 12 liaison-type
Liaison aircraft
A liaison aircraft is a small, usually unarmed aircraft primarily used by military forces for artillery observation or transporting commanders and messages. The concept developed before World War II and included also battlefield reconnaissance, air ambulance, column control, light cargo delivery...

 and 10 AT6
T-6 Texan
The North American Aviation T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1950s...

 advanced-trainer airplanes. There were no large foreign military garrisons in Korea at invasion time, but there were large US garrisons and air forces in Japan.

Within days of the invasion, masses of ROK Army soldiers—of dubious loyalty to the Syngman Rhee régime—were either retreating southwards or were defecting
Defection
In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. More broadly, it involves abandoning a person, cause or doctrine to whom or to which one is bound by some tie, as of allegiance or duty.This term is also applied,...

 en masse to the northern side, the KPA.

United Nations response (July – August 1950)

Despite the rapid post–Second World War Allied demobilizations, there were substantial US forces occupying Japan; under General Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

's command, they could be made ready to fight the North Koreans. Only the British Commonwealth
British Commonwealth Forces Korea
British Commonwealth Forces Korea was the formal name, from 1952, of the Commonwealth army, naval and air units serving with the United Nations in the Korean War. Australian, British, Canadian, Indian and New Zealand units were part of BCFK...

 had comparable forces in the area.

On Saturday, 24 June 1950, US Secretary of State Dean Acheson
Dean Acheson
Dean Gooderham Acheson was an American statesman and lawyer. As United States Secretary of State in the administration of President Harry S. Truman from 1949 to 1953, he played a central role in defining American foreign policy during the Cold War...

 informed President Truman by telephone, "Mr. President, I have very serious news. The North Koreans have invaded South Korea." Truman and Acheson discussed a US invasion response with defense department principals, who agreed that the United States was obligated to repel military aggression, paralleling it with Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's 1930s aggressions, and said that the mistake of appeasement
Appeasement
The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power. Historian Paul Kennedy defines it as "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and...

 must not be repeated. In his autobiography, President Truman acknowledged that fighting the invasion was essential to the American goal of the global containment
Containment
Containment was a United States policy using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stall the spread of communism, enhance America’s security and influence abroad, and prevent a "domino effect". A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet...

 of communism as outlined in the National Security Council Report 68 (NSC-68)
NSC-68
National Security Council Report 68 was a 58-page formerly-classified report issued by the United States National Security Council on April 14, 1950, during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. Written during the formative stage of the Cold War, it was top secret until the 1970s when it was made...

 (declassified in 1975):


President Truman announced that the US would counter "unprovoked aggression" and "vigorously support the effort of the [UN] security council to terminate this serious breach of peace." In Congress, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Omar Bradley
Omar Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley was a senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and a General of the Army in the United States Army...

 warned against appeasement, saying that Korea was the place "for drawing the line" against communist expansion. In August 1950, the President and the Secretary of State obtained the consent of Congress to appropriate $12 billion to pay for the military expenses.

Per State Secretary Acheson's recommendation, President Truman ordered General MacArthur to transfer materiel to the Army of the Republic of Korea while giving air cover to the evacuation of US nationals. The President disagreed with advisors who recommended unilateral US bombing of the North Korean forces, and ordered the US Seventh Fleet
United States Seventh Fleet
The Seventh Fleet is the United States Navy's permanent forward projection force based in Yokosuka, Japan, with units positioned near Japan and South Korea. It is a component fleet force under the United States Pacific Fleet. At present, it is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with...

 to protect the Republic of China (Taiwan), whose Nationalist Government
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 asked to fight in Korea. The US denied the Nationalist Chinese request for combat, lest it provoke a communist Chinese retaliation. Because the US had sent the Seventh Fleet
United States Seventh Fleet
The Seventh Fleet is the United States Navy's permanent forward projection force based in Yokosuka, Japan, with units positioned near Japan and South Korea. It is a component fleet force under the United States Pacific Fleet. At present, it is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with...

 to "neutralize" the Taiwan Strait
Taiwan Strait
The Taiwan Strait or Formosa Strait, formerly known as the Black Ditch, is a 180-km-wide strait separating Mainland China and Taiwan. The strait is part of the South China Sea and connects to East China Sea to the northeast...

, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai criticized both the UN and US initiatives as "armed aggression on Chinese territory."

The Battle of Osan
Battle of Osan
The Battle of Osan was the first engagement between United States and North Korean forces during the Korean War, on July 5, 1950. A U.S. task force of 400 infantry supported by an artillery battery was moved to Osan, south of the South Korean capital Seoul, and ordered to fight as a rearguard to...

, the first significant American engagement of the Korean War, involved the 540-soldier Task Force Smith, which was a small forward element of the 24th Infantry Division. On 5 July 1950, Task Force Smith attacked the North Koreans at Osan
Osan
Osan is a city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, approximately 35 km south of Seoul. The population of the city is around 120,000. The local economy is supported by a mix of agricultural and industrial enterprises....

 but without weapons capable of destroying the North Koreans' tanks. They were unsuccessful; the result was 180 dead, wounded, or taken prisoner. The KPA progressed southwards, pushing back the US force at Pyongtaek
Battle of Pyongtaek
The Battle of Pyongtaek was the second engagement between United States and North Korean forces during the Korean War, occurring on July 6, 1950 in the village of Pyongtaek in western South Korea...

, Chonan
Battle of Chonan
The Battle of Chonan was the third engagement between United States and North Korean forces during the Korean War. It occurred on the night of July 7/8, 1950 in the village of Chonan in western South Korea...

, and Chochiwon
Battle of Chochiwon
The Battle of Chochiwon was an early engagement between United States and North Korean forces during the Korean War, taking place in the villages of Chonui and Chochiwon in western South Korea on July 10–12, 1950...

, forcing the 24th Division's retreat to Taejeon
Daejeon
Daejeon is South Korea's fifth largest metropolis and the provincial capital of Chungnam. Located in the center of the country, Daejeon had a population of over 1.5 million in 2010. It is at the crossroads of Gyeongbu railway, Honam railway, Gyeongbu Expressway, and Honam Expressway. Within the...

, which the KPA captured in the Battle of Taejon
Battle of Taejon
The Battle of Taejon was an early battle between United States and North Korean forces during the Korean War. Forces of the United States Army, attempting to defend the headquarters of the 24th Infantry Division were overwhelmed by numerically superior forces of the Korean People's Army at the...

; the 24th Division suffered 3,602 dead and wounded and 2,962 captured, including the Division's Commander, Major General William F. Dean
William F. Dean
William Frishe Dean, Sr. was a major general in the United States Army during World War II and the Korean War. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions on July 20 and 21, 1950, during the Battle of Taejon in South Korea...

. Overhead, the KPAF shot down 18 USAF fighters and 29 bombers; the USAF shot down five KPAF fighters.

By August, the KPA had pushed back the ROK Army and the Eighth United States Army to the vicinity of Pusan, in southeast Korea. In their southward advance, the KPA purged the Republic of Korea's intelligentsia by killing civil servants and intellectuals. On 20 August, General MacArthur warned North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung that he was responsible for the KPA's atrocities. By September, the UN Command controlled only the Pusan perimeter, enclosing only about 10% of Korea, in a line partially defined by the Nakdong River
Nakdong River
The Nakdong River is the longest river in South Korea, and passes through major cities such as Daegu and Busan.-Geography:...

.

Although Kim's early successes had led him to predict that he would end the war by the end of August, Chinese leaders were more pessimistic. To counter the possibility of American invasion, Zhou Enlai secured a Soviet commitment to have the USSR support Chinese forces with air cover, and deployed 260,000 soldiers along the Korean border, under the command of Gao Gang
Gao Gang
Gao Gang was a Chinese Communist Party leader during the Chinese Civil War and the early years of the People's Republic of China , before becoming the victim of the first major purge within the CCP since before 1949...

. Zhou commanded Chai Chengwen to conduct a topographical survey of Korea, and directed Lei Yingfu, Zhou's military advisor in Korea, to analyze the military situation in Korea. Lei concluded that Macarthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 would most likely attempt a landing at Incheon
Incheon
The Incheon Metropolitan City is located in northwestern South Korea. The city was home to just 4,700 people when Jemulpo port was built in 1883. Today 2.76 million people live in the city, making it Korea’s third most populous city after Seoul and Busan Metropolitan City...

. After conferring with Mao that this would be MacArthur's most likely strategy, Zhou briefed Soviet and North Korean advisers of Lei's findings, and issued orders to Chinese army commanders deployed on the Korean border to prepare for American naval activity in the Korea Strait
Korea Strait
The Korea Strait is a sea passage between South Korea and Japan, connecting the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan in the northwest Pacific Ocean...

.

Escalation (August – September 1950)

In the resulting Battle of Pusan Perimeter
Battle of Pusan Perimeter
The Battle of Pusan Perimeter was a large-scale battle between United Nations and North Korean forces lasting from August 4 – September 18, 1950. It was one of the first major engagements of the Korean War...

 (August–September 1950), the US Army withstood KPA attacks meant to capture the city at the Naktong Bulge
Battle of Naktong Bulge
The First Battle of Naktong Bulge was an engagement between United States and North Korean forces early in the Korean War from August 5–19, 1950 in the vicinity of Yongsan and the Naktong River in South Korea. It was a part of the Battle of Pusan Perimeter, and was one of several large engagements...

, P'ohang-dong
Battle of P'ohang-dong
The Battle of P'ohang-dong was an engagement between United Nations and North Korean forces early in the Korean War, with fighting continuing from 5–20 August 1950 around the town of P'ohang-dong, South Korea. It was a part of the Battle of Pusan Perimeter, and was one of several large engagements...

, and Taegu
Battle of Taegu
The Battle of Taegu was an engagement between UN and North Korean forces early in the Korean War, with fighting continuing from August 5–20, 1950 around the city of Taegu, South Korea. It was a part of the Battle of Pusan Perimeter, and was one of several large engagements fought simultaneously...

. The United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 (USAF) interrupted KPA logistics with 40 daily ground support sortie
Sortie
Sortie is a term for deployment or dispatch of one military unit, be it an aircraft, ship, or troops from a strongpoint. The sortie, whether by one or more aircraft or vessels, usually has a specific mission....

s that destroyed 32 bridges, halting most daytime road and rail traffic. KPA forces were forced to hide in tunnels by day and move only at night. To deny materiel to the KPA, the USAF destroyed logistics depots, petroleum refineries, and harbors, while the US Navy air forces attacked transport hubs. Consequently, the over-extended KPA could not be supplied throughout the south.

Meanwhile, US garrisons in Japan continually dispatched soldiers and materiel to reinforce defenders in the Pusan Perimeter. Tank battalions deployed to Korea directly from the United States mainland from the port of San Francisco to the port of Pusan, the largest Korean port. By late August, the Pusan Perimeter had some 500 medium tanks battle ready. In early September 1950, ROK Army and UN Command forces outnumbered the KPA 180,000 to 100,000 soldiers. The UN forces, once prepared, counterattacked and broke out of the Pusan Perimeter.

Battle of Inchon (September 1950)

Against the rested and re-armed Pusan Perimeter defenders and their reinforcements, the KPA were undermanned and poorly supplied; unlike the UN Command, they lacked naval and air support. To relieve the Pusan Perimeter, General MacArthur recommended an amphibious landing
Amphibious warfare
Amphibious warfare is the use of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to project military power ashore. In previous eras it stood as the primary method of delivering troops to non-contiguous enemy-held terrain...

 at Inchon, well over 100 miles (160.9 km) behind the KPA lines. On 6 July, he ordered Major General Hobart R. Gay
Hobart R. Gay
Lieutenant General Hobart Raymond Gay , nicknamed "Hap", was a United States Army general.-Early military career:...

, Commander, 1st Cavalry Division, to plan the division's amphibious landing at Incheon; on 12–14 July, the 1st Cavalry Division embarked from Yokohama
Yokohama
is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo and most populous municipality of Japan. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu...

, Japan to reinforce the 24th Infantry Division inside the Pusan Perimeter.

Soon after the war began, General MacArthur had begun planning a landing at Incheon, but the Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

 opposed him. When authorized, he activated a combined United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and ROK Army force. The X Corps, led by General Edward Almond
Edward Almond
Edward Mallory "Ned" Almond was a controversial United States Army general best known as the commander of the Army's X Corps during the Korean War.-Early Biography:...

, Commander, consisted of 40,000 men of the 1st Marine Division, the 7th Infantry Division and around 8,600 ROK Army soldiers. By the 15 September attack date, the amphibious assault force faced few KPA defenders at Incheon: military intelligence, psychological warfare
Psychological warfare
Psychological warfare , or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations , have been known by many other names or terms, including Psy Ops, Political Warfare, “Hearts and Minds,” and Propaganda...

, guerrilla
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 reconnaissance, and protracted bombardment facilitated a relatively light battle. However, the bombardment destroyed most of the city of Incheon.

After the Incheon landing the 1st Cavalry Division began its northward advance from the Pusan Perimeter. "Task Force Lynch"—3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, and two 70th Tank Battalion units (Charlie Company and the Intelligence–Reconnaissance Platoon)— effected the "Pusan Perimeter Breakout" through 106.4 miles (171.2 km) of enemy territory to join the 7th Infantry Division at Osan. The X Corps rapidly defeated the KPA defenders around Seoul, thus threatening to trap the main KPA force in Southern Korea,.

On 18 September Stalin dispatched General H.M. Zakharov
Matvei Zakharov
Matvei Vasilevich Zakharov Marshal of the Soviet Union, Chief of General Staff, Deputy Defense Minister, was born in Tver, to peasant parents. Zakharov joined the Red Guards in 1917. He served under Kliment Voroshilov during the Russian Civil War...

 to Korea to advise Kim Il-sung to halt his offensive around the Pusan perimeter and to redeploy his forces to defend Seoul. Chinese commanders were not briefed on North Korean troop numbers or operational plans. As the overall commander of Chinese forces, Zhou Enlai suggested that the North Koreans should attempt to eliminate the enemy forces at Inchon only if they had reserves of at least 100,000 men; otherwise, he advised the North Koreans to withdraw their forces north.

On 25 September Seoul was recaptured by South Korean forces. American air raids caused heavy damage to the KPA, destroying most of its tanks and much of its artillery. North Korean troops in the south, instead of effectively withdrawing north, rapidly disintegrated, leaving Pyongyang vulnerable. During the general retreat only 25,000 to 30,000 soldiers managed to rejoin the Northern KPA lines. On 27 September Stalin convened an emergency session of the Politburo, in which he condemned the incompetence of the KPA command and held Soviet military advisers responsible for the defeat.

UN forces cross partition line (September – October 1950)

On 27 September, MacArthur received the top secret National Security Council Memorandum 81/1 from Truman reminding him that operations north of the 38th parallel were authorized only if "at the time of such operation there was no entry into North Korea by major Soviet or Chinese Communist forces, no announcements of intended entry, nor a threat to counter our operations militarily..." On 29 September MacArthur restored the government of the Republic of Korea under Syngman Rhee. On 30 September, Defense Secretary George Marshall
George Marshall
George Catlett Marshall was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense...

 sent an eyes-only message to MacArthur: "We want you to feel unhampered tactically and strategically to proceed north of the 38th parallel." During Octorber, the ROK police executed suspeceted people as who were the sympathzier of North Korea
Goyang Geumjeong Cave Massacre
The Goyang Geumjeong Cave Massacre was a massacre conducted by the police officers of Goyang Police Station of the South Korean Police between 9 October 1950 and 31 October 1950 of 150 or 153 unarmed citizens in Goyang, Gyeonggi-do district of South Korea...

.

On 30 September Zhou Enlai warned the United States that it was prepared to intervene in Korea if the United States crossed the 38th parallel. Zhou attempted to advise North Korean commanders on how to conduct a general withdrawal by using the same tactics which had allowed Chinese communist forces to successfully escape Chiang Kai-shek's Encirclement Campaigns
Encirclement Campaigns
Encirclement Campaigns is a term used to describe several different campaigns launched by forces of the Chinese Nationalist Government against forces of the Communist Party of China during the Chinese Civil War. The campaigns were launched between the late 1920s to the mid-1930s with the goal of...

 in the 1930s. North Korean commanders did not utilize these tactics effectively.

By 1 October 1950, the UN Command repelled the KPA northwards, past the 38th parallel; the ROK Army crossed after them, into North Korea. MacArthur made a statement demanding the KPA's unconditional surrender. Six days later, on 7 October, with UN authorization, the UN Command forces followed the ROK forces northwards. The X Corps landed at Wonsan
Wonsan
Wŏnsan is a port city and naval base in southeastern North Korea. It is the capital of Kangwŏn Province. The population of the city is estimated to have been 331,000 in 2000. Notable people from Wŏnsan include Kim Ki Nam, diplomat and Secretary of the Workers' Party.- History :The original name of...

 (in southeastern North Korea) and Riwon
Riwon
Riwon is a county in South Hamgyong province, North Korea. It is located at the province's northeastern tip, and borders the Sea of Japan to the southeast.-Physical features:...

 (in northeastern North Korea), already captured by ROK forces. The Eighth United States Army and the ROK Army drove up western Korea and captured Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

 city, the North Korean capital, on 19 October 1950. The 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team ("Rakkasans") made their first of the only two combat jumps during the Korean War on 20 October 1950 at Sunchon
Sunchon, North Korea
Sunch'ŏn is a city in South Pyongan province, North Korea. It has an estimated population of 437,000, and is home to various manufacturing plants...

 and Sukchon, North Korea. The missions of the 187th were to cut the road north going to China, preventing North Korean leaders from escaping from Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

; and to rescue American prisoners of war. At month's end, UN forces held 135,000 KPA prisoners of war.

Taking advantage of the UN Command's strategic momentum against the communists, General MacArthur believed it necessary to extend the Korean War into China to destroy depots supplying the North Korean war effort. President Truman disagreed, and ordered caution at the Sino-Korean border.

China intervenes (October – December 1950)

On 27 June 1950, two days after the KPA invaded and three months before the Chinese entered the war, President Truman dispatched the United States Seventh Fleet
United States Seventh Fleet
The Seventh Fleet is the United States Navy's permanent forward projection force based in Yokosuka, Japan, with units positioned near Japan and South Korea. It is a component fleet force under the United States Pacific Fleet. At present, it is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with...

 to the Taiwan Strait
Taiwan Strait
The Taiwan Strait or Formosa Strait, formerly known as the Black Ditch, is a 180-km-wide strait separating Mainland China and Taiwan. The strait is part of the South China Sea and connects to East China Sea to the northeast...

, to protect the Nationalist Republic of China (Taiwan) from the People's Republic of China (PRC). On 4 August 1950, with the PRC invasion of Taiwan aborted, Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 reported to the Politburo that he would intervene in Korea when the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Taiwan invasion force was reorganized into the PLA North East Frontier Force.

On 20 August 1950, Premier Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 informed the United Nations that "Korea is China's neighbor... The Chinese people cannot but be concerned about a solution of the Korean question". Thus, via neutral-country diplomats, China warned that in safeguarding Chinese national security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

, they would intervene against the UN Command in Korea. President Truman interpreted the communication as "a bald attempt to blackmail the UN", and dismissed it.

1 October 1950, the day that UN troops crossed the 38th parallel, was also the first anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. On that day the Soviet ambassador forwarded a telegram from Stalin to Mao and Zhou requesting that China send five to six divisions into Korea, and Kim Il-sung sent frantic appeals to Mao to request Chinese military intervention. At the same time, Stalin made it clear that Soviet forces themselves would not directly intervene.

In a series of emergency meetings that lasted from 2–5 October, Chinese leaders debated whether to send Chinese troops into Korea. There was considerable resistance among many leaders, including senior military leaders, to confronting the United States in Korea. Mao strongly supported intervention, and Zhou was one of the few Chinese leaders who firmly supported him. After General Lin Biao
Lin Biao
Lin Biao was a major Chinese Communist military leader who was pivotal in the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, especially in Northeastern China...

 refused Mao's offer to command Chinese forces in Korea (citing poor health), Mao called General Peng Dehuai
Peng Dehuai
Peng Dehuai was a prominent military leader of the Communist Party of China, and China's Defence Minister from 1954 to 1959. Peng was an important commander during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese civil war and was also the commander-in-chief of People's Volunteer Army in the Korean War...

 to Beijing to hear his views. After listening to both sides' arguments, Peng supported Mao's position, and the Politburo agreed to intervene in Korea. Later, the Chinese claimed that US bombers had violated PRC national airspace while en route to bomb North Korea before China intervened. On 8 October 1950, Mao Zedong redesignated the PLA North East Frontier Force as the Chinese People's Volunteer Army
People's Volunteer Army
The Chinese People's Volunteer Army was the armed forces deployed by the People's Republic of China during the Korean War. Although all units in the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army belonged to the People's Liberation Army , the People's Volunteer Army was separately constituted in order to...

 (PVA).

In order to enlist Stalin's support, Zhou traveled to Stalin's summer resort on the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 on 10 October. Stalin initially agreed to send military equipment and ammunition, but warned Zhou that the USSR's air force would need two or three months to prepare any operations. In a subsequent meeting, Stalin told Zhou that he would only provide China with equipment on a credit basis, and that the Soviet air force would only operate over Chinese airspace, and only after an undisclosed period of time. Stalin did not agree to send either military equipment or air support until March 1951. Mao did not find Soviet air support especially useful, as the fighting was going to take place on the south side of the Yalu. Soviet shipments of materiel, when they did arrive, were limited to small quantities of trucks, grenades, machine guns, and the like.

Immediately on his return to Beijing on 18 October 1950, Zhou met with Mao Zedong, Peng Dehuai, and Gao Gang, and the group ordered two hundred thousand Chinese troops to enter North Korea, which they did on 25 October. After consulting with Stalin, on 13 November, Mao appointed Zhou the overall commander and coordinator of the war effort, with Peng as field commander. Orders given by Zhou were delivered in the name of the Central Military Commission.

UN aerial reconnaissance had difficulty sighting PVA units in daytime, because their march and bivouac
Bivouac shelter
A bivouac traditionally refers to a military encampment made with tents or improvised shelters, usually without shelter or protection from enemy fire or such a site where a camp may be built. It is also commonly used to describe a variety of improvised camp sites such as those used in scouting and...

 discipline minimized aerial detection. The PVA marched "dark-to-dark" (19:00–03:00), and aerial camouflage (concealing soldiers, pack animals, and equipment) was deployed by 05:30. Meanwhile, daylight advance parties scouted for the next bivouac site. During daylight activity or marching, soldiers were to remain motionless if an aircraft appeared, until it flew away; PVA officers were under order to shoot security violators. Such battlefield discipline allowed a three-division
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

 army to march the 286 mi from An-tung, Manchuria to the combat zone in some 19 days. Another division night-marched a circuitous mountain route, averaging 18 miles (29 km) daily for 18 days.

Meanwhile, on 10 October 1950, the 89th Tank Battalion was attached to the 1st Cavalry Division, increasing the armor available for the Northern Offensive. On 15 October, after moderate KPA resistance, the 7th Cavalry Regiment and Charlie Company, 70th Tank Battalion captured Namchonjam city. On 17 October, they flanked rightwards, away from the principal road (to Pyongyang), to capture Hwangju
Hwangju
-Geography:Hwangju is bordered to the northwest by Sariwŏn, to the northeast by Songrim and Kangnam, to the southwest by Yŏnt'an, to the south by Pongsan, and to the southeast by Ŭnch'ŏn-History:...

. Two days later, the 1st Cavalry Division captured Pyongyang, the North's capital city, on 19 October 1950.

On 15 October 1950, President Truman and General MacArthur met at Wake Island
Wake Island
Wake Island is a coral atoll having a coastline of in the North Pacific Ocean, located about two-thirds of the way from Honolulu west to Guam east. It is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior...

 in the mid-Pacific Ocean. This meeting was much publicized because of the General's discourteous refusal to meet the President on the continental US. To President Truman, MacArthur speculated there was little risk of Chinese intervention in Korea, and that the PRC's opportunity for aiding the KPA had lapsed. He believed the PRC had some 300,000 soldiers in Manchuria, and some 100,000–125,000 soldiers at the Yalu River. He further concluded that, although half of those forces might cross south, "if the Chinese tried to get down to Pyongyang, there would be the greatest slaughter" without air force protection.

After secretly crossing the Yalu River on 19 October, the PVA 13th Army Group launched the First Phase Offensive on 25 October, attacking the advancing UN forces near the Sino-Korean border. After decimating the ROK II Corps
II Corps (South Korea)
-History:II Corps was created July 24, 1950, just before the Battle of Pusan Perimeter.II Corps consisted of the 1st Division and 6th Infantry Division....

 at the Battle of Onjong
Battle of Onjong
The Battle of Onjong , also known as the Battle of Wenjing , was one of the first engagements between Chinese and United Nations forces during the Korean War. It took place around Onjong in present-day North Korea from October 25 to October 29, 1950...

, the first confrontation between Chinese and US military occurred on 1 November 1950; deep in North Korea, thousands of soldiers from the PVA 39th Army encircled
Encirclement
Encirclement is a military term for the situation when a force or target is isolated and surrounded by enemy forces. The German term for this is Kesselschlacht ; a comparable English term might be "in the bag"....

 and attacked the US 8th Cavalry Regiment with three-prong assaults—from the north, northwest, and west—and overran the defensive position flanks in the Battle of Unsan
Battle of Unsan
The Battle of Unsan , also known as the Battle of Yunshan , was a series of engagements of the Korean War that took place from 25 October to 4 November 1950 near Unsan, North Pyongan province in present-day North Korea...

. The surprise assault resulted in the UN forces retreating back to the Ch'ongch'on River
Ch'ongch'on River
The Ch'ŏngch'ŏn River is a river of North Korea having its source in the Rangrim Mountains of Chagang Province and emptying into the Yellow Sea at Sinanju. The river flows past Myohyang-san and through the city of Anju, South P'yŏngan Province...

, while the Chinese unexpectedly disappeared into mountain hideouts following victory. It is unclear why the Chinese did not press the attack and follow-up their victory.

The UN Command, however, were unconvinced that the Chinese had openly intervened due to the sudden Chinese withdrawal. On 24 November, the Home-by-Christmas Offensive was launched with the US Eighth Army advancing in northwest Korea, while the US X Corps were attacking along the Korean east coast. But the Chinese were waiting in ambush with their Second Phase Offensive.

On 25 November at the Korean western front, the PVA 13th Army Group attacked and over-ran the ROK II Corps at the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River
Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River
The Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River, also known as the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on or the Second Phase Campaign Western SectorThe Eastern Sector is the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. , was a decisive battle in the Korean War, and it took place from November 25 to December 2, 1950 along the Ch'ongch'on...

, and then decimated the US 2nd Infantry Division on the UN forces' right flank. The UN Command retreated; the US Eighth Army's retreat (the longest in US Army history) was made possible because of the Turkish Brigade
Turkish Brigade
The Turkish Brigade was a Turkish Army Infantry Brigade that served under United Nations command during the Korean War between 1950 to 1953. Attached to the U.S...

's successful, but very costly, rear-guard delaying action near Kunuri
Battle of Wawon
The Battle of Wawon , also known as the Battle of Wayuan , was a series of delay actions of the Korean War that took place from November 27–29, 1950 near Wawon in present-day North Korea...

 that slowed the PVA attack for two days (27–9 November). On 27 November at the Korean eastern front, a US 7th Infantry Division Regimental Combat Team (3,000 soldiers) and the US 1st Marine Division (12,000–15,000 marines) were unprepared for the PVA 9th Army Group's three-pronged encirclement tactics at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, also known as the Chosin Reservoir Campaign or the Changjin Lake Campaign ,Official Chinese sources refer to this battle as the Second Phase Campaign Eastern Sector . The Western Sector is the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River. was a decisive battle in the Korean War...

, but they managed to escape under Air Force and X Corps support fire—albeit with some 15,000 collective casualties.

By 30 November, the PVA 13th Army Group managed to expel the US Eighth Army from northwest Korea. Retreating from the north faster than they had counter-invaded, the Eighth Army crossed the 38th parallel border in mid December. The UN morale hit rock bottom when commanding General Walton Walker
Walton Walker
Walton Harris Walker was an American army officer and the first commander of the U.S. Eighth Army during the Korean War.-Biography:...

 of the US Eighth Army was killed on 23 December 1950 in an automobile accident. In the northeast Korea by 11 December, the US X Corps managed to cripple the PVA 9th Army Group while establishing a defensive perimeter at the port city of Hungnam
Hungnam
Hŭngnam was the third largest city in North Korea.It is a port city on the eastern coast, in South Hamgyong Province, on the Sea of Japan . The city covers an area of 250 square kilometers...

. The X Corps were forced to evacuate by 24 December in order to reinforce the badly depleted US Eighth Army to the south.
During the Hungnam evacuation, about 193 shiploads of UN Command forces and materiel (approximately 105,000 soldiers, 98,000 civilians, 17,500 vehicles, and 350,000 tons of supplies) were evacuated to Pusan. The SS Meredith Victory
SS Meredith Victory
The SS Meredith Victory was a United States Merchant Marine Victory ship, a type of cargo freighter built for World War II. It is best known for evacuating more than 14,000 refugees in a single mission during the Korean War....

was noted for evacuating 14,000 refugees, the largest rescue operation by a single ship, even though it was designed to hold only 12 passengers. Before escaping, the UN Command forces razed
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 most of Hungnam city, especially the port facilities; and on 16 December 1950, President Truman declared a national emergency with Presidential Proclamation No. 2914, 3 C.F.R. 99 (1953), which remained in force until 14 September 1978.

Fighting around the 38th parallel (January – June 1951)

With Lieutenant-General Matthew Ridgway
Matthew Ridgway
Matthew Bunker Ridgway was a United States Army General. He held several major commands and was most famous for resurrecting the United Nations war effort during the Korean War. Several historians have credited Ridgway for turning around the war in favor of the UN side...

 assuming the command of the US Eighth Army on 26 December, the PVA and the KPA launched their Third Phase Offensive (also known as the "Chinese New Year's Offensive") on New Year's Eve of 1950. Utilizing night attacks in which UN Command fighting positions were encircled and then assaulted by numerically superior troops who had the element of surprise. The attacks were accompanied by loud trumpets and gongs, which fulfilled the double purpose of facilitating tactical communication and mentally disorienting the enemy. UN forces initially had no familiarity with this tactic, and as a result some soldiers "bugged out," abandoning their weapons and retreating to the south. The Chinese New Year's Offensive overwhelmed UN forces, allowing the PVA and KPA to conquer Seoul
Third Battle of Seoul
The Third Battle of Seoul, also known as the Chinese New Year's Offensive, the January–Fourth Retreat or the Third Phase Campaign Western SectorThe Eastern Sector is the First and Second Battle of Wonju. , was a battle of the Korean War, which took place from December 31, 1950 to January 7, 1951...

 for the second time on 4 January 1951.
These setbacks prompted General MacArthur to consider using nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s against the Chinese or North Korean interiors, intending radioactive fallout zones would interrupt the Chinese supply chains. However, upon the arrival of the charismatic General Ridgway, the esprit de corps of the bloodied Eighth Army immediately began to revive.

UN forces retreated to Suwon
Suwon
Suwon is the provincial capital of Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. A major city of over a million inhabitants, Suwon lies approximately south of Seoul. It is traditionally known as "The City of Filial Piety"....

 in the west, Wonju
Wonju
Wonju is the most populous city in Gangwon province, South Korea.Wonju is a city approximately east of Seoul and the capital can be reached within 1hr 30minutes by bus or train. Wonju is home to three major universities which attract many students from Seoul and elsewhere. They provide facilities...

 in the center, and the territory north of Samcheok
Samcheok
Samcheok is a city in Gangwon-do, South Korea.-Ancient age & Three Kingdom:* It was called "Siljikguk or Siljikgokguk"* 102 under the rule of Silla * 468 under the rule of Goguryeo...

 in the east, where the battlefront stabilized and held. The PVA had outrun its logistics capability and thus was forced to recoil from pressing the attack beyond Seoul; food, ammunition, and materiel were carried nightly, on foot and bicycle, from the border at the Yalu River to the three battle lines. In late January, upon finding that the PVA had abandoned their battle lines, General Ridgway ordered a reconnaissance-in-force, which became Operation Roundup
Operation Roundup (1951)
Operation Roundup was an attack launched on 5 February 1951, during the Korean War.The attack was launched by the United States X Corps toward Hongch'on and P'yonch'ang....

 (5 February 1951). A full-scale X Corps advance gradually proceeded while fully exploiting the UN Command's air superiority, concluded with the UN reaching the Han River
Han River (Korea)
The Han River is a major river in South Korea and the fourth longest river on the Korean peninsula after the Amnok, Duman, and Nakdong rivers. It is formed by the confluence of the Namhan River , which originates in Mount Daedeok, and the Bukhan River , which originates on the slopes of Mount...

 and recapturing Wonju
Wonju
Wonju is the most populous city in Gangwon province, South Korea.Wonju is a city approximately east of Seoul and the capital can be reached within 1hr 30minutes by bus or train. Wonju is home to three major universities which attract many students from Seoul and elsewhere. They provide facilities...

 near Seoul.

In mid-February, the PVA counterattacked with the Fourth Phase Offensive and achieved initial victory at Hoengseong. But the offensive was soon blunted by the IX Corps positions at Chipyong-ni
Jipyeong-ri
Jipyeong-ri is a village in Jije-myeon, Yangpyeong County, Gyeonggi-do Province, South Korea. It was the site of the Battle of Chipyong-ni during the Korean War, February 1951. A memorial has been erected at the site, which is split into three portions — Korean, American and French...

 in the center. Units of the US 2nd Infantry Division and the French Battalion
French Battalion in the Korean War
The French Battalion in the Korean War was a battalion of volunteers made up of active and reserve French military personnel sent to the Korean Peninsula as part of the UN force fighting in the Korean War.-Korea:...

 fought a short but desperate battle that broke the attack's momentum. The battle is sometimes known as the Gettysburg of the Korean War. The battle saw 5,600 Korean, American and French defeat a numerically superior Chinese force. Surrounded on all sides, the US 2nd Infantry Division Warrior Division’s 23rd Regimental Combat Team with an attached French Battalion was hemmed in by more than 25,000 Chinese Communist Forces. United Nations Forces had previously retreated in the face of large Communist forces instead of getting cut off, but this time they stood and fought. The allies fought at odds of roughly 15 to 1.

In the last two weeks of February 1951, Operation Roundup was followed by Operation Killer
Operation Killer
Operation Killer was the start of the second major counter offensive launched by United Nations forces against the People's Volunteer Army and the North Korean Army during the Korean War between 20 February and 6 March 1951...

, carried out by the revitalized Eighth Army. It was a full-scale, battlefront-length attack staged for maximum exploitation of firepower to kill as many KPA and PVA troops as possible. Operation Killer concluded with I Corps re-occupying the territory south of the Han River, and IX Corps capturing Hoengseong. On 7 March 1951, the Eighth Army attacked with Operation Ripper
Operation Ripper
Operation Ripper was a United Nations military operation conceived by the commander US Eighth Army, General Matthew B. Ridgway, during the Korean War. The operation was intended to destroy as much as possible of the Chinese communist People's Volunteer Army and North Korean military around Seoul...

, expelling the PVA and the KPA from Seoul on 14 March 1951. This was the city's fourth conquest in a years' time, leaving it a ruin; the 1.5 million pre-war population was down to 200,000, and people were suffering from severe food shortages.
On 1 March 1951 Mao sent a cable to Stalin, in which he emphasized the difficulties faced by Chinese forces and the urgent need for air cover, especially over supply lines. Apparently impressed by the Chinese war effort, Stalin finally agreed to supply two air force divisions, three anti-aircraft divisions, and six thousand trucks. PVA troops in Korea continued to suffer severe logistical problems throughout the war. In late April Peng Dehuai sent his deputy, Hong Xuezhi
Hong Xuezhi
Hong Xuezhi was a general in the Chinese Red Army and a politician in the Peoples Republic of China. He is the only person promoted to general both in 1955 and in 1988.- Biography :...

, to brief Zhou Enlai in Beijing. What Chinese soldiers feared, Hong said, was not the enemy, but that they had nothing to eat, no bullets to shoot, and no trucks to transport them to the rear when they were wounded. Zhou attempted to respond to the PVA's logistical concerns by increasing Chinese production and improving methods of supply, but these efforts were never completely sufficient. At the same time, large-scale air defense training programs were carried out, and the Chinese Air Force
People's Liberation Army Air Force
The People's Liberation Army Air Force is the aviation branch of the People's Liberation Army, the military of the People's Republic of China...

 began to participate in the war from September 1951 onward.

On 11 April 1951, Commander-in-Chief Truman relieved the controversial General MacArthur, the Supreme Commander in Korea. There were several reasons for the dismissal. MacArthur had crossed the 38th parallel in the mistaken belief that the Chinese would not enter the war, leading to major allied losses. He believed that whether or not to use nuclear weapons should be his own decision, not the President's. MacArthur threatened to destroy China unless it surrendered. While MacArthur felt total victory was the only honorable outcome, Truman was more pessimistic about his chances once involved in a land war in Asia, and felt a truce and orderly withdrawal from Korea could be a valid solution. MacArthur was the subject of congressional hearings in May and June 1951, which determined that he had defied the orders of the President and thus had violated the US Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

. A popular criticism of MacArthur was that he never spent a night in Korea, and directed the war from the safety of Tokyo.

General Ridgway was appointed Supreme Commander, Korea; he regrouped the UN forces for successful counterattacks, while General James Van Fleet
James Van Fleet
James Alward Van Fleet was a U.S. Army officer during World War I, World War II and the Korean War. Van Fleet was a native of New Jersey, who was raised in Florida and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy. He served as a regimental, divisional and corps commander during World War II and as...

 assumed command of the US Eighth Army. Further attacks slowly depleted the PVA and KPA forces; Operations Courageous
Operation Courageous
Operation Courageous was a military operation performed by the United States Army during the Korean War designed to trap large numbers of Chinese and North Korean troops between the Han and Imjin Rivers north of Seoul, opposite the South Korean I Corps. The intent of Operation Courageous was for I...

 (23–28 March 1951) and Tomahawk
Operation Tomahawk
Operation Tomahawk was an airborne military operation by the 187th Regimental Combat Team on 23 March 1951 at Munsan-ni as part of Operation Courageous in the Korean War. Operation Courageous was designed to trap large numbers of Chinese and North Korean troops between the Han and Imjin Rivers...

 (23 March 1951) were a joint ground and airborne infilltration meant to trap Chinese forces between Kaesong and Seoul. UN forces advanced to "Line Kansas," north of the 38th parallel. The 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team ("Rakkasans") second of two combat jumps were on Easter Sunday, 1951 at Munsan-ni, South Korea codenamed Operation Tomahawk
Operation Tomahawk
Operation Tomahawk was an airborne military operation by the 187th Regimental Combat Team on 23 March 1951 at Munsan-ni as part of Operation Courageous in the Korean War. Operation Courageous was designed to trap large numbers of Chinese and North Korean troops between the Han and Imjin Rivers...

. The mission was to get behind Chinese forces and block their movement north. The 60th Indian Parachute Field Ambulance provided the medical cover for the operations, dropping an ADS and a surgical team and treating over 400 battle casualties apart from the civilian casualties that formed the core of their objective as the unit was on a humanitarian mission.

The Chinese counterattacked in April 1951, with the Fifth Phase Offensive (also known as the "Chinese Spring Offensive") with three field armies (approximately 700,000 men). The offensive's first thrust fell upon I Corps, which fiercely resisted in the Battle of the Imjin River
Battle of the Imjin River
The Battle of the Imjin River, also known as the Battle of Kumgul-san, P'ap'yong-san and Solma-ri or the Battle of Xuemali , took place 22–25 April 1951 during the Korean War. Forces from People’s Republic of China attacked UN positions on the lower Imjin River in an attempt to achieve a...

 (22–25 April 1951) and the Battle of Kapyong
Battle of Kapyong
The Battle of Kapyong , also known as the Battle of Jiaping , was fought during the Korean War between United Nations forces—primarily Australian and Canadian—and the Chinese communist People's Volunteer Army...

 (22–25 April 1951), blunting the impetus of the offensive, which was halted at the "No-name Line" north of Seoul. On 15 May 1951, the Chinese commenced the second impulse of the Spring Offensive and attacked the ROK Army and the US X Corps in the east. After initial success, they were halted by 20 May. At month's end, the US Eighth Army counterattacked and regained "Line Kansas," just north of the 38th parallel. The UN's "Line Kansas" halt and subsequent offensive action stand-down began the stalemate that lasted until the armistice of 1953.

Stalemate (July 1951 – July 1953)

For the remainder of the Korean War the UN Command and the PVA fought, but exchanged little territory; the stalemate held. Large-scale bombing of North Korea continued, and protracted armistice negotiations began 10 July 1951 at Kaesong. On the Chinese side, Zhou Enlai directed peace talks, and Li Kenong
Li Kenong
Li Kenong was a major figure in the early history of Chinese Communist intelligence, and was rewarded the rank of Colonel General in 1955. Recognized on the Chinese mainland as such, he is almost unknown in the West.-Early years:...

 and Qiao Guanghua headed the negotiation team. Combat continued while the belligerents negotiated; the UN Command forces' goal was to recapture all of South Korea and to avoid losing territory. The PVA and the KPA attempted similar operations, and later effected military and psychological operations in order to test the UN Command's resolve to continue the war.

The principal battles of the stalemate include the Battle of Bloody Ridge
Battle of Bloody Ridge
The Battle of Bloody Ridge was a ground combat battle that took place during the Korean War from August 18 to September 5, 1951.Located in hills north of the 38th parallel north in the central Korean mountain range, the battle was fought between the communist North Korean forces of the Korean...

 (18 August – 15 September 1951), the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge
Battle of Heartbreak Ridge
The Battle of Heartbreak Ridge , also known as the Battle of Wendengli , was a month-long battle in the Korean War fought between September 13 and October 15, 1951...

 (13 September – 15 October 1951), the Battle of Old Baldy
Battle of Old Baldy
The Battle of Old Baldy refers to a series of five engagements over a period of 10 months for Hill 266 in west-central Korea, though there was also vicious fighting both before and after these engagements.-Background:...

 (26 June – 4 August 1952), the Battle of White Horse
Battle of White Horse
The Battle of White Horse , was another in a series of bloody battles for dominant hilltop positions during the Korean War. Baengma-goji was a hill in the Iron Triangle, formed by Pyonggang at its peak and Kumhwa and Chorwon at its base, was a strategic transportation route in the central region...

 (6–15 October 1952), the Battle of Triangle Hill
Battle of Triangle Hill
The Battle of Triangle Hill, also known as Operation Showdown or the Shangganling Campaign ,Chinese sources often mistranslate Shangganling Campaign as the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge. was a protracted military engagement during the Korean War...

 (14 October – 25 November 1952), the Battle of Hill Eerie
Battle of Hill Eerie
The Battle of Hill Eerie refers to several Korean War engagements between the United Nations forces and the Chinese Communist Forces in 1952 at the infamous Hill Eerie....

 (21 March – 21 June 1952), the sieges of Outpost Harry
Outpost Harry
Outpost Harry was a remote Korean War station located on a tiny hilltop in what was commonly referred to as the "Iron Triangle" on the Korean Peninsula. This was an area approximately 60 miles north of Seoul and was the most direct route to the South Korean capital.More than 88,000 rounds of...

 (10–8 June 1953), the Battle of the Hook
Battle of the Hook
The third Battle of the Hook was a battle of the Korean War that took place between a United Nations force, consisting mostly of British troops, supported on their flanks by American and Turkish artillery units against a predominantly Chinese force...

 (28–9 May 1953) and the Battle of Pork Chop Hill
Battle of Pork Chop Hill
The Battle of Pork Chop Hill comprises a pair of related Korean War infantry battles during the spring and summer of 1953. These were fought while the U.S. and the Communist Chinese and Koreans negotiated an armistice. In the U.S., they were controversial because of the many soldiers killed for...

 (23 March – 16 July 1953).

Chinese troops suffered from deficient military equipment, serious logistical problems, overextended communication and supply lines, and the constant threat of UN bombers. All of these factors generally led to a rate of Chinese casualties that was far greater than the casualties suffered by UN troops. The situation became so serious that, on November 1951, Zhou Enlai called a conference in Shenyang
Shenyang
Shenyang , or Mukden , is the capital and largest city of Liaoning Province in Northeast China. Currently holding sub-provincial administrative status, the city was once known as Shengjing or Fengtianfu...

 to discuss the PVA's logistical problems. "At the meeting it was decided to accelerate the construction of railways and airfields in the area, to increase the number of trucks available to the army, and to improve air defense by any means possible. These commitments did little to directly address the problems confronting PVA troops.

In the months after the Shanyang conference Peng Dehuai went to Beijing several times to brief Mao and Zhou about the heavy casualties suffered by Chinese troops and the increasing difficulty of keeping the front lines supplied with basic necessities. Peng was convinced that the war would be protracted, and that neither side would be able to achieve victory in the foreseeable future. On 24 February 1952, the Military Commission, presided over by Zhou, discussed the PVA's logistical problems with members of various government agencies involved in the war effort. After the government representatives emphasized their inability to meet the demands of the war, Peng, in an angry outburst, shouted: "You have this and that problem... You should go to the front and see with your own eyes what food and clothing the soldiers have! Not to speak of the casualties! For what are they giving their lives? We have no aircraft. We have only a few guns. Transports are not protected. More and more soldiers are dying of starvation. Can't you overcome some of your difficulties?" The atmosphere became so tense that Zhou was forced to adjourn the conference. Zhou subsequently called a series of meetings, where it was agreed that the PVA would be divided into three groups, to be dispatched to Korea in shifts; to accelerate the training of Chinese pilots, to provide more anti-aircraft guns to the front lines; to purchase more military equipment and ammunition from the Soviet Union; to provide the army with more food and clothing; and, to transfer the responsibility of logistics to the central government.

Armistice (July 1953 – November 1954)

The on again, off again armistice negotiations continued for two years, first at Kaesong (southern North Korea), then relocated at Panmunjom (bordering the Koreas). A major, problematic negotiation point was prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 (POW) repatriation. The PVA, KPA, and UN Command could not agree on a system of repatriation because many PVA and KPA soldiers refused to be repatriated back to the north, which was unacceptable to the Chinese and North Koreans. In the final armistice agreement, a Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission was set up to handle the matter.

In 1952 the US elected a new president, and on 29 November 1952, the president-elect, Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

, went to Korea to learn what might end the Korean War. With the United Nations' acceptance of India's proposed Korean War armistice
Armistice
An armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but may be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace...

, the KPA, the PVA, and the UN Command ceased fire
Ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

 with the battle line approximately at the 38th parallel. Upon agreeing to the armistice, the belligerents established the Korean Demilitarized Zone
Korean Demilitarized Zone
The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half, crossing the 38th parallel on an angle, with the west end of the DMZ lying south of the parallel and...

 (DMZ), which has since been patrolled by the KPA and ROKA, US, and Joint UN Commands.

The Demilitarized Zone runs northeast of the 38th parallel; to the south, it travels west. The old Korean capital city of Kaesong, site of the armistice negotiations, originally lay in the pre-war ROK, but now is in the DPRK. The United Nations Command, supported by the United States, the North Korean Korean People's Army, and the Chinese People's Volunteers, signed the Armistice Agreement on 27 July 1953 to end the fighting. The Armistice also called upon the governments of South Korea, North Korea, China and the United States to participate in continued peace talks. For his part, ROK President Rhee attacked the peace proceedings. The war is considered to have ended at this point, even though there was no peace treaty
Peace treaty
A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, that formally ends a state of war between the parties...

. North Korea nevertheless claims that it won the Korean War.

After the war, Operation Glory (July–November 1954) was conducted to allow combatant countries to exchange their dead. The remains of 4,167 US Army and US Marine Corps dead were exchanged for 13,528 KPA and PVA dead, and 546 civilians dead in UN prisoner-of-war camps were delivered to the ROK government. After Operation Glory, 416 Korean War unknown soldiers were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is a cemetery located in Honolulu, Hawaii that serves a memorial to those men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces...

 (The Punchbowl), on the island of Oahu
Oahu
Oahu or Oahu , known as "The Gathering Place", is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and most populous of the islands in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The state capital Honolulu is located on the southeast coast...

, Hawaii. Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office
Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office
The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office , as part of the United States Department of Defense, reports to the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy through the Assistant Secretary of Defense . DPMO provides centralized management of prisoner of war/missing personnel affairs within the...

 (DPMO) records indicate that the PRC and the DPRK transmitted 1,394 names, of which 858 were correct. From 4,167 containers of returned remains, forensic examination identified 4,219 individuals. Of these, 2,944 were identified as American, and all but 416 were identified by name. From 1996 to 2006, the DPRK recovered 220 remains near the Sino-Korean border.

Division of Korea (1954–present)

The Korean Armistice Agreement provided for monitoring by an international commission. Since 1953, the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission
Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission
The Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission was established by the Korean Armistice Agreement signed July 27, 1953, ending the Korean War...

 (NNSC) composed of members from the Swiss and Swedish Armed Forces has been stationed near the DMZ.

Since the armistice, there have been numerous incursions and acts of aggression by North Korea. In 1976, the axe murder incident
Axe Murder Incident
The axe murder incident was the killing of two United States Army officers by North Korean soldiers on August 18, 1976, in the Joint Security Area located in the Korean Demilitarized Zone which forms the de facto border between North and South Korea...

 was widely publicized. Since 1974, four incursion tunnels leading to Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

 have been uncovered. In 2010, a North Korean submarine torpedoed and sank the South Korean corvette ROKS Cheonan
ROKS Cheonan (PCC-772)
ROKS Cheonan was a South Korean Pohang-class corvette of the Republic of Korea Navy , commissioned in 1989. On 26 March 2010, it broke in two and sank near the sea border with North Korea...

, resulting in the deaths of 46 sailors. Again in 2010, North Korea fired artillery shells on Yeonpyeong
Bombardment of Yeonpyeong
The bombardment of Yeonpyeong was an artillery engagement between the North Korean military and South Korean forces stationed on Yeonpyeong Island on November 23, 2010. Following a South Korean regular artillery exercise at waters in the south, North Korean forces fired around 170 artillery shells...

 island, killing two military personnel and two civilians.

Casualties

According to the data from the US Department of Defense, the United States had suffered 33,686 battle deaths, along with 2,830 non-battle deaths during the Korean War and 8,176 missing in action. Western sources estimate the PVA had suffered between 100,000 to 1,500,000 deaths (most estimate some 400,000 killed), while the KPA had suffered between 214,000 to 520,000 deaths (most estimate some 500,000). Between some 245,000 to 415,000 South Korean civilian deaths were also suggested, and the entire civilian casualty during the war were estimated from 1,500,000 to 3,000,000 (most sources estimate some 2,000,000 killed).

Data from official Chinese sources, on the other hand, reported that the PVA had suffered 114,000 battle deaths, 34,000 non-battle deaths, 340,000 wounded, 7,600 missing and 21,400 captured during the war. Among those captured, about 14,000 defected to Taiwan while the other 7,110 were repatriated to China. Chinese sources also reported that North Korea had suffered 290,000 casualties, 90,000 captured and a "large" number of civilian deaths.
In return, the Chinese and North Koreans estimated that about 390,000 soldiers from United States, 660,000 soldiers from South Korea and 29,000 other UN soldiers were "eliminated" from the battlefield.

Armored warfare

Initially, North Korean armor dominated the battlefield with Soviet T-34-85 medium tanks designed during the Second World War. The KPA's tanks confronted a tankless ROK Army armed with few modern anti-tank weapons, including American World War II–model 2.36-inch (60 mm) M9 bazooka
Bazooka
Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable recoilless rocket antitank weapon, widely fielded by the U.S. Army. Also referred to as the "Stovepipe", the innovative bazooka was amongst the first-generation of rocket propelled anti-tank weapons used in infantry combat...

s, effective only against the 45 mm side armor of the T-34-85 tank. The US forces arriving in Korea were equipped with light M24 Chaffee
M24 Chaffee
The Light Tank M24 was an American light tank used during World War II and in postwar conflicts including the Korean War and with the French in the War in Algeria and First Indochina War. In British service it was given the service name Chaffee, after the United States Army General Adna R...

 tanks (on occupation duty in nearby Japan) that also proved ineffective against the heavier KPA T-34 tanks.

During the initial hours of warfare, some under-equipped ROK Army border units used American 105 mm howitzers
M101 howitzer
The 105 mm M2A1 howitzer was the standard light field howitzer for the United States in World War II, seeing action in both European and Pacific theaters. Entering production in 1941, it quickly entered the war against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Pacific, where it gained a reputation...

 as anti-tank guns to stop the tanks heading the KPA columns, firing high-explosive anti-tank ammunition (HEAT) over open sights to good effect; at the war's start, the ROK Army had 91 howitzers, but lost most to the invaders.

Countering the initial combat imbalance, the UN Command reinforcement materiel included heavier US M4 Sherman
M4 Sherman
The M4 Sherman, formally Medium Tank, M4, was the primary tank used by the United States during World War II. Thousands were also distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and Soviet armies, via lend-lease...

, M26 Pershing
M26 Pershing
The Heavy Tank M26 Pershing was an American heavy tank briefly used in World War II and in the Korean War. It was named after General John Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force in Europe in World War I....

, M46 Patton
M46 Patton
The M46 was a medium tank that was designed in the United States. It was the first tank to be named after General George S. Patton, commander of the U.S...

, and British Cromwell
Cromwell tank
Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Cromwell ,The designation as the eighth Cruiser tank design, its name given for ease of reference and its General Staff specification number respectively and the related Centaur tank, were one of the most successful series of cruiser tanks fielded by Britain in the Second...

 and Centurion
Centurion tank
The Centurion, introduced in 1945, was the primary British main battle tank of the post-World War II period. It was a successful tank design, with upgrades, for many decades...

 tanks that proved effective against North Korean armor, ending its battlefield dominance. Unlike in the Second World War (1939–45), in which the tank proved a decisive weapon, the Korean War featured few large-scale tank battles. The mountainous, heavily forested terrain prevented large masses of tanks from maneuvering. In Korea, tanks served largely as infantry support and mobile artillery pieces.

Aerial warfare

The Korean War was the first war in which jet aircraft
Jet aircraft
A jet aircraft is an aircraft propelled by jet engines. Jet aircraft generally fly much faster than propeller-powered aircraft and at higher altitudes – as high as . At these altitudes, jet engines achieve maximum efficiency over long distances. The engines in propeller-powered aircraft...

 played a central role. Once-formidable fighters such as the P-51 Mustang
P-51 Mustang
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and in several other conflicts...

, F4U Corsair
F4U Corsair
The Vought F4U Corsair was a carrier-capable fighter aircraft that saw service primarily in World War II and the Korean War. Demand for the aircraft soon overwhelmed Vought's manufacturing capability, resulting in production by Goodyear and Brewster: Goodyear-built Corsairs were designated FG and...

, and Hawker Sea Fury
Hawker Sea Fury
The Hawker Sea Fury was a British fighter aircraft developed for the Royal Navy by Hawker during the Second World War. The last propeller-driven fighter to serve with the Royal Navy, it was also one of the fastest production single piston-engined aircraft ever built.-Origins:The Hawker Fury was an...

—all piston-engined
Reciprocating engine
A reciprocating engine, also often known as a piston engine, is a heat engine that uses one or more reciprocating pistons to convert pressure into a rotating motion. This article describes the common features of all types...

, propeller-driven, and designed during World War II—relinquished their air superiority roles to a new generation of faster, jet-powered fighters arriving in the theater. For the initial months of the war, the P-80 Shooting Star
P-80 Shooting Star
The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first jet fighter used operationally by the United States Army Air Forces. Designed in 1943 as a response to the German Messerschmitt Me-262 jet fighter, and delivered in just 143 days from the start of the design process, production models were flying but...

, F9F Panther
F9F Panther
|-Popular culture:The Panther played a prominent role in the 1954 movie Men of the Fighting Lady . The F9F was featured in the flying sequences in the 1954 movie The Bridges at Toko-Ri, although in the 1953 James A...

, and other jets under the UN flag dominated North Korea's prop-driven air force of Soviet Yakovlev Yak-9
Yakovlev Yak-9
The Yakovlev Yak-9 was a single-engine fighter aircraft used by the Soviet Union in World War II and after. Fundamentally a lighter development of the Yak-7 with the same armament, it arrived at the front at the end of 1942. The Yak-9 had a lowered rear fuselage decking and all-around vision canopy...

 and Lavochkin La-9
Lavochkin La-9
|-See also:-Bibliography:* Gordon, Yefim. Lavochkin's Piston-Engined Fighters . Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-85780-151-2....

s. The balance would shift with the arrival of the swept wing
Swept wing
A swept wing is a wing planform favored for high subsonic jet speeds first investigated by Germany during the Second World War. Since the introduction of the MiG-15 and North American F-86 which demonstrated a decisive superiority over the slower first generation of straight-wing jet fighters...

 Soviet MiG-15 Fagot
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was a jet fighter developed for the USSR by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. The MiG-15 was one of the first successful swept-wing jet fighters, and it achieved fame in the skies over Korea, where early in the war, it outclassed all straight-winged enemy fighters in...

.

The Chinese intervention in late October 1950 bolstered the Korean People's Air Force (KPAF) of North Korea with the MiG-15 Fagot, one of the world's most advanced jet fighters. The fast, heavily armed MiG outflew first-generation UN jets such as the American F-80 and Australian
Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

 and British Gloster Meteors, posing a real threat to B-29 Superfortress
B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II and through the Korean War. The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II...

 bombers even under fighter escort. Soviet Air Force pilots flew missions for the North to learn the West's aerial combat techniques. This direct Soviet participation is a casus belli
Casus belli
is a Latin expression meaning the justification for acts of war. means "incident", "rupture" or indeed "case", while means bellic...

that the UN Command deliberately overlooked, lest the war for the Korean peninsula expand, as the US initially feared, to include three communist countries—North Korea, the Soviet Union, and China—and so escalate to atomic warfare.

The USAF moved quickly to counter the MiG-15, with three squadrons of its most capable fighter, the F-86 Sabre
F-86 Sabre
The North American F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as America's first swept wing fighter which could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War...

, arriving in December 1950. Although the MiG's higher service ceiling
Ceiling (aeronautics)
With respect to aircraft, a ceiling is the maximum density altitude an aircraft can reach under a set of conditions.The word ceiling can also refer to the height of the lowest obscuring cloud layer above the ground.-Service ceiling:...

—50000 feet (15,240 m) vs. 42000 feet (12,801.6 m)—could be advantageous at the start of a dogfight
Dogfight
A dogfight, or dog fight, is a form of aerial combat between fighter aircraft; in particular, combat of maneuver at short range, where each side is aware of the other's presence. Dogfighting first appeared during World War I, shortly after the invention of the airplane...

, in level flight, both swept wing designs attained comparable maximum speeds of around 660 mi/h. The MiG climbed faster, but the Sabre turned and dived better. The MiG was armed with one 37 mm and two 23 mm cannons, while the Sabre carried six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns aimed with radar-ranged gunsights.

By early 1951, the battle lines were established and changed little until 1953. In summer and autumn 1951, the outnumbered Sabres of the USAF's 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing
4th Fighter Wing
The 4th Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command Ninth Air Force. It is stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, where it is also the host unit....

—only 44 at one point—continued seeking battle in MiG Alley
MiG Alley
"MIG Alley" is the name given by U.S. Air Force pilots to the northwestern portion of North Korea, where the Yalu River empties into the Yellow Sea. During the Korean War, it was the site of numerous dogfights between U.S. fighter jets and those of the Communist forces, particularly the Soviet...

, where the Yalu River
Yalu River
The Yalu River or the Amnok River is a river on the border between North Korea and the People's Republic of China....

 marks the Chinese border, against Chinese and North Korean air forces capable of deploying some 500 aircraft. Following Colonel Harrison Thyng
Harrison Thyng
Brigadier General Harrison Reed Thyng was a fighter pilot and an officer in the United States Air Force with the rank of general. He is notable as one of only six USAF fighter pilots to be recognized as an ace in two wars...

's communication with the Pentagon, the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing
51st Fighter Wing
The 51st Fighter Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force and the host unit at Osan Air Base, South Korea.The 51st Fighter Wing is under Pacific Air Forces' Seventh Air Force...

 finally reinforced the beleaguered 4th Wing in December 1951; for the next year-and-a-half stretch of the war, aerial warfare continued.

UN forces gradually gained air superiority
Air supremacy
Air supremacy is the complete dominance of the air power of one side's air forces over the other side's, during a military campaign. It is the most favorable state of control of the air...

 in the Korean theater. This was decisive for the UN: first, for attacking into the peninsular north, and second, for resisting the Chinese intervention. North Korea and China also had jet-powered air forces; their limited training and experience made it strategically untenable to lose them against the better-trained UN air forces. Thus, the US and USSR fed materiel to the war, battling by proxy and finding themselves virtually matched, technologically, when the USAF deployed the F-86F against the MiG-15 late in 1952.

After the war, and to the present day, the USAF reports an F-86 Sabre kill ratio
Loss exchange ratio
Loss exchange ratio is a figure of merit in attrition warfare. It is usually relevant to a condition or state of war where one side depletes the resources of another through attrition...

 in excess of 10:1, with 792 MiG-15s and 108 other aircraft shot down by Sabres, and 78 Sabres lost to enemy fire. The Soviet Air Force reported some 1,100 air-to-air victories and 335 MiG combat losses, while China's People's Liberation Army Air Force
People's Liberation Army Air Force
The People's Liberation Army Air Force is the aviation branch of the People's Liberation Army, the military of the People's Republic of China...

 (PLAAF) reported 231 combat losses, mostly MiG-15s, and 168 other aircraft lost. The KPAF reported no data, but the UN Command estimates some 200 KPAF aircraft lost in the war's first stage, and 70 additional aircraft after the Chinese intervention. The USAF disputes Soviet and Chinese claims of 650 and 211 downed F-86s, respectively. However, one unconfirmed source claims that the US Air Force has more recently cited 230 losses out of 674 F-86s deployed to Korea. The differing tactical roles of the F-86 and MiG-15 may have contributed to the disparity in losses: MiG-15s primarily targeted B-29 bombers and ground-attack fighter-bombers, while F-86s targeted the MiGs.

The Korean War marked a major milestone not only for fixed-wing aircraft, but also for rotorcraft
Rotorcraft
A rotorcraft or rotary wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air flying machine that uses lift generated by wings, called rotor blades, that revolve around a mast. Several rotor blades mounted to a single mast are referred to as a rotor. The International Civil Aviation Organization defines a rotorcraft...

, featuring the first large-scale deployment of helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

s for medical evacuation (medevac). In 1944–1945, during the Second World War, the YR-4
Sikorsky R-4
The Sikorsky R-4 was a two-place helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky with a single, three-bladed main rotor and powered by a radial engine. The R-4 was the world's first large-scale mass-produced helicopter and the first helicopter to enter service with the United States Army Air Forces, Navy, and...

 helicopter saw limited ambulance duty, but in Korea, where rough terrain trumped the jeep
Jeep
Jeep is an automobile marque of Chrysler . The first Willys Jeeps were produced in 1941 with the first civilian models in 1945, making it the oldest off-road vehicle and sport utility vehicle brand. It inspired a number of other light utility vehicles, such as the Land Rover which is the second...

 as a speedy medevac vehicle, helicopters like the Sikorsky H-19 helped reduce fatal casualties to a dramatic degree when combined with complementary medical innovations such as Mobile Army Surgical Hospital
Mobile Army Surgical Hospital
The Mobile Army Surgical Hospital refers to a United States Army medical unit serving as a fully functional hospital in a combat area of operations. The units were first established in August 1945, and were deployed during the Korean War and later conflicts. The U.S...

s. The limitations of jet aircraft for close air support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 highlighted the helicopter's potential in the role, leading to development of the AH-1 Cobra
AH-1 Cobra
The Bell AH-1 Cobra is a two-bladed, single engine attack helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It shares a common engine, transmission and rotor system with the older UH-1 Iroquois...

 and other helicopter gunships used in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 (1965–75).

Bombing North Korea

On 12 August 1950 the USAF dropped 625 tons of bombs on North Korea; two weeks later, the daily tonnage increased to some 800 tons. Bruce Cummings, a historian at the University of Chicago, has said that U.S. warplanes dropped more napalm and bombs on North Korea than they did during the whole pacific campaign of WW2.

As a result, eighteen of North Korea's cities were more than 50% destroyed. The war's highest-ranking American POW, US Major General William F. Dean
William F. Dean
William Frishe Dean, Sr. was a major general in the United States Army during World War II and the Korean War. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions on July 20 and 21, 1950, during the Battle of Taejon in South Korea...

, reported that most of the North Korean cities and villages he saw were either ruins or snow-covered wastelands.

As well as conventional bombing, the Communist side claimed that the USA had used biological weapons.

Naval warfare

Because neither Korea had a large navy, the Korean War featured few naval battles; mostly the combatant navies served as naval artillery for their in-country armies. A skirmish between North Korea and the UN Command occurred on 2 July 1950; the US Navy cruiser USS Juneau
USS Juneau (CL-119)
The second USS Juneau was the lead ship of the United States Navy Juneau-class light cruiser laid down by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Kearny, New Jersey on 15 September 1944; launched on 15 July 1945; sponsored by Mrs. B. L. Bartlett; and commissioned 15 February 1946, Captain...

, the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Jamaica, and the frigate HMS Black Swan
HMS Black Swan (L57)
HMS Black Swan , named after the Black Swan, was the name ship of the Black Swan-class of sloops of the British Royal Navy. This class was admired for its sea-going qualities...

 fought four North Korean torpedo boats and two mortar gunboats, and sank them.

During most of the war, the UN navies patrolled the west and east coasts of North Korea and sank supply and ammunition ships to deny the sea to North Korea. Aside from very occasional gunfire from North Korean shore batteries, the main threat to US and UN navy ships was from magnetic mines the North Koreans employed for defensive purposes.

The USS Juneau sank ammunition ships that had been present in her previous battle. The last sea battle of the Korean War occurred at Inchon, days before the Battle of Incheon; the ROK ship PC 703 sank a North Korean mine layer in the Battle of Haeju
Battle of Haeju
The Battle of Haeju was a small naval battle during the main phase of Korean War. Off Haeju Island in the Yellow Sea, on September 10, 1950, days before the Battle of Inchon, South Korean Navy patrol boat PC-703 encountered a North Korean Navy minelayer sailing vessel...

 Island, near Inchon. Three other supply ships were sunk by PC-703 two days later in the Yellow Sea
Yellow Sea
The Yellow Sea is the name given to the northern part of the East China Sea, which is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It is located between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula. Its name comes from the sand particles from Gobi Desert sand storms that turn the surface of the water golden...

.

U.S. threat of atomic warfare

On 5 April 1950, the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

 (JCS) issued orders for the retaliatory atomic bombing of Manchurian PRC military bases, if either their armies crossed into Korea or if PRC or KPA bombers attacked Korea from there. The President ordered the transfer of nine Mark 4 nuclear bomb
Mark 4 nuclear bomb
The Mark 4 nuclear bomb was an American nuclear bomb design produced starting in 1949 and in use until 1953.The Mark 4 was based on the earlier Mark 3 Fat Man design, used in the Trinity test and the bombing of Nagasaki...

s "to the Air Force's Ninth Bomb Group, the designated carrier of the weapons ... [and] signed an order to use them against Chinese and Korean targets", which he never transmitted.

President Truman did not immediately threaten nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

 after the October 1950 Chinese intervention, but, 45 days later, remarked about the possibility of using it after the PVA repelled the UN Command from North Korea.

In The Origins of the Korean War (1981, 1990), US historian Bruce Cumings reports that in a 30 November 1950 press conference, President Truman's allusions to attacking the KPA with nuclear weapons "was a threat based on contingency planning to use the bomb, rather than the faux pas so many assumed it to be." On 30 November 1950, the USAF Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

 was ordered to "augment its capacities, and that this should include atomic capabilities."

The Indian Ambassador, K. Madhava Panikkar
Kavalam Madhava Panikkar
His Excellency Sardar Kavalam Madhava Panikkar was an Indian scholar, journalist, historian, administrator and diplomat...

, reports "that Truman announced that he was thinking of using the atom bomb in Korea. But the Chinese seemed totally unmoved by this threat ... The propaganda against American aggression was stepped up. The 'Aid Korea to resist America' campaign was made the slogan for increased production, greater national integration, and more rigid control over anti-national activities. One could not help feeling that Truman's threat came in very useful to the leaders of the Revolution, to enable them to keep up the tempo of their activities."
President Truman remarked that his government was actively considering using the atomic bomb to end the war in Korea but that only he—the US President—commanded atomic bomb use, and that he had not given authorization. The matter of atomic warfare was solely a US decision, not the collective decision of the UN. Truman met on 4 December 1950 with UK prime minister and Commonwealth spokesman Clement Attlee
Clement Attlee
Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC, FRS was a British Labour politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, and as the Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955...

, French Premier René Pleven
René Pleven
René Pléven was a notable French politician of the Fourth Republic. A member of the Free French, he helped found the Democratic and Socialist Union of the Resistance , a political party that was meant to be a successor to the wartime Resistance movement...

, and Foreign Minister Robert Schuman
Robert Schuman
Robert Schuman was a noted Luxembourgish-born French statesman. Schuman was a Christian Democrat and an independent political thinker and activist...

 to discuss their worries about atomic warfare and its likely continental expansion. The US's forgoing atomic warfare was not because of "a disinclination by the USSR and PRC to escalate" the Korean War, but because UN allies—notably from the UK, the Commonwealth, and France—were concerned about a geopolitical
Geopolitics
Geopolitics, from Greek Γη and Πολιτική in broad terms, is a theory that describes the relation between politics and territory whether on local or international scale....

 imbalance rendering NATO defenseless while the US fought China, who then might persuade the USSR to conquer Western Europe.

On 6 December 1950, after the Chinese intervention repelled the UN Command armies from northern North Korea, General J. Lawton Collins
J. Lawton Collins
Joseph "Lightning Joe" Lawton Collins was a General in the United States Army. During World War II, he served in both the Pacific and European Theaters of Operations. His elder brother, James Lawton Collins, was also in the army as a Major General...

 (Army Chief of Staff), General MacArthur, Admiral C. Turner Joy
C. Turner Joy
Vice Admiral Charles Turner Joy was an admiral of the United States Navy during World War II and the Korean War. During the last years of his career, he served as Superintendent of the Naval Academy. The destroyer USS Turner Joy was named for him.-Early life and career, through World War I:C....

, General George E. Stratemeyer
George E. Stratemeyer
Lieutenant General George Edward Stratemeyer was World War II chief of Air Staff and United States Air Force Far East Air Forces commander during the first year of the Korean War.-Early career:...

, and staff officers Major General Doyle Hickey, Major General Charles A. Willoughby, and Major General Edwin K. Wright, met in Tokyo to plan strategy countering the Chinese intervention; they considered three potential atomic warfare scenarios encompassinging the next weeks and months of warfare.
  • In the first scenario: If the PVA continued attacking in full and the UN Command is forbidden to blockade and bomb China, and without Nationalist Chinese reinforcements, and without an increase in US forces until April 1951 (four National Guard divisions were due to arrive), then atomic bombs might be used in North Korea.

  • In the second scenario: If the PVA continued full attacks and the UN Command have blockaded China and have effective aerial reconnaissance and bombing of the Chinese interior, and the Nationalist Chinese soldiers are maximally exploited, and tactical atomic bombing is to hand, then the UN forces could hold positions deep in North Korea.

  • In the third scenario: if the PRC agreed to not cross the 38th parallel border, General MacArthur recommended UN acceptance of an armistice disallowing PVA and KPA troops south of the parallel, and requiring PVA and KPA guerrillas to withdraw northwards. The US Eighth Army would remain to protect the Seoul–Incheon area, while X Corps would retreat to Pusan. A UN commission should supervise implementation of the armistice.


In 1951, the US escalated closest to atomic warfare in Korea. Because the PRC had deployed new armies to the Sino-Korean frontier, pit crews at the Kadena Air Base
Kadena Air Base
, is a United States Air Force base in the towns of Kadena and Chatan and the city of Okinawa, in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Kadena Air Base is the hub of U.S. airpower in the Pacific, and home to the USAF's 18th Wing and a variety of associate units.-Units:The 18th Wing is the host unit at Kadena...

, Okinawa
Okinawa Prefecture
is one of Japan's southern prefectures. It consists of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over long, which extends southwest from Kyūshū to Taiwan. Okinawa's capital, Naha, is located in the southern part of Okinawa Island...

, assembled atomic bombs for Korean warfare, "lacking only the essential pit
Pit (nuclear weapon)
The pit is the core of an implosion weapon – the fissile material and any neutron reflector or tamper bonded to it. Some weapons tested during the 1950s used pits made with U-235 alone, or in composite with plutonium, but all-plutonium pits are the smallest in diameter and have been the standard...

 nuclear cores." In October 1951, the US effected Operation Hudson Harbor to establish nuclear weapons capability. USAF B-29 bombers practised individual bombing runs from Okinawa to North Korea (using dummy nuclear or conventional bombs), coordinated from Yokota Air Base
Yokota Air Base
, is a United States Air Force base in the city of Fussa, one of 26 cities in the Tama Area, or Western Tokyo.The base houses 14,000 personnel. The base occupies a total area of and has a runway...

 in east-central Japan. Hudson Harbor tested "actual functioning of all activities which would be involved in an atomic strike, including weapons assembly and testing, leading, ground control of bomb aiming". The bombing run data indicated that atomic bombs would be tactically ineffective against massed infantry, because the "timely identification of large masses of enemy troops was extremely rare."

Civilian deaths and massacres

In occupied areas, North Korean Army political officers
Political commissar
The political commissar is the supervisory political officer responsible for the political education and organisation, and loyalty to the government of the military...

 purged South Korean society of its intelligentsia by assassinating every educated person—academic, governmental, religious—who might lead resistance against the North; the purges continued during the NPA retreat. Immediately after the invasion in June 1950 the South Korean Government ordered the nation-wide "pre-emptive apprehension" of politically suspect or disloyal citizens.

The military police and right-wing paramilitary (civilian) armies executed thousands of left-wing and communist political prisoners at Daejeon Prison and in the Jeju Uprising (1948–49). The Americans on the island documented the events, but never intervened.

US diplomat Gregory Henderson, then in Korea, calculates some 100,000 pro-North political prisoners were killed and buried in mass grave
Mass grave
A mass grave is a grave containing multiple number of human corpses, which may or may not be identified prior to burial. There is no strict definition of the minimum number of bodies required to constitute a mass grave, although the United Nations defines a mass grave as a burial site which...

s. The South Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Truth and Reconciliation Commission (South Korea)
South Korea's Truth and Reconciliation Commission , established on December 1, 2005, is a governmental body responsible for investigating incidents in Korean history which occurred starting from Japan's rule of Korea in 1910 up until the end of Authoritarian Rule in Korea with the election of...

 has compiled reports of hundreds of thousands of civilian killings before and during the war.

In addition to conventional military operations, North Korean soldiers fought the UN forces by infiltrating
Infiltration tactics
In warfare, infiltration tactics involve small, lightly equipped infantry forces attacking enemy rear areas while bypassing enemy front line strongpoints and isolating them for attack by follow-up troops with heavier weapons.-Development during World War I:...

 guerrillas among refugees. These soldiers disguised as refugees would approach UN forces asking for food and help, then open fire and attack. US troops acted under a "shoot-first-ask-questions-later" policy against any civilian refugee approaching US battlefield positions, a policy that led US Soldiers to kill between 8 and 400 civilians at No Gun Ri
No Gun Ri
No Gun Ri is a village in Hwanggan-myeon, Yeongdong County, North Chungcheong Province in central South Korea. The village was the site of the No Gun Ri Massacre during the Korean War in which U.S...

 (26–29 July 1950) in central Korea because they believed some of the refugees killed to be North Korean soldiers in disguise.

The Korean armies forcibly conscripted
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 available civilian men and women to their war efforts. In Statistics of Democide (1997), Prof. R. J. Rummel
R. J. Rummel
Rudolph Joseph Rummel is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii. He has spent his career assembling data on collective violence and war with a view toward helping their resolution or elimination...

 reports that the North Korean Army conscripted some 400,000 South Korean citizens. The South Korean Government reported that the North abducted some 83,000 citizens before the US recaptured Seoul in September 1950; the North says they defected
Defection
In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. More broadly, it involves abandoning a person, cause or doctrine to whom or to which one is bound by some tie, as of allegiance or duty.This term is also applied,...

.

Bodo League anti–communist massacre

To outmaneuver a possible fifth column
Fifth column
A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group such as a nation from within.-Origin:The term originated with a 1936 radio address by Emilio Mola, a Nationalist General during the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War...

 in the Republic of Korea, President Syngman Rhee's régime assassinated its "enemies of the state"—South Koreans who are allegedly communists, pro-North Korea, or leftist—by first imprisoning them for political re-education in the Gukmin Bodo Ryeonmaeng (National Rehabilitation and Guidance League, also known as the Bodo League). The true purpose of the anti–communist Bodo League, abetted by the United States Army Military Government in Korea
United States Army Military Government in Korea
The United States Army Military Government in Korea, also known as USAMGIK, was the official ruling body of the southern half of the Korean Peninsula from September 8, 1945 to August 15, 1948...

 (USAMGIK), was the régime's assassination of some 10,000 to 100,000 "enemies of the state" whom they dumped in trenches, mines, and the sea, before and after the 25 June 1950 North Korean invasion. Contemporary calculations report some 200,000 to 1,200,000. USAMGIK officers were present at one political execution site; at least one US officer sanctioned the mass killings of political prisoners whom the North Koreans would have freed after conquering the peninsular south.

The South Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports that petitions requesting explanation of the summary execution of leftist South Koreans outnumber, six-to-one, the petitions requesting explanation of the summary execution of rightist South Koreans. These data apply solely to South Korea, because North Korea is not integral to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The father of Bodo League massacre survivor Kim Jong-chol was press-ganged to work with the KPA and later executed by the Rhee Government as a collaborator; his grandparents and a seven-year-old sister also were assassinated. About his experience in Namyangju
Namyangju
Namyangju is a city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. To the east is Gapyeong County, to the west is Guri City, and to the north is Pocheon City.-History of Namyangju:...

 city, he says:
USAMGIK officers photographed the mass killings at Daejon city in central South Korea, where the Truth Commission believe some 3,000 to 7,000 people were shot and buried in mass graves in early July 1950. Other declassified records report that a US Army Lieutenant Colonel approved the assassination of 3,500 political prisoners by the ROK Army unit to which he was military advisor when the KPA reached the southern port city of Pusan. US diplomats reported having urged the Rhee régime's restraint against its political opponents, and that the USAMGIK, who formally controlled the peninsular south, did not halt the mass assassinations.

Prisoners of war

The US reported that North Korea mistreated prisoners of war: soldiers were beaten, starved, put to forced labor
Unfree labour
Unfree labour includes all forms of slavery as well as all other related institutions .-Payment for unfree labour:If payment occurs, it may be in one or more of the following forms:...

, marched to death
Death march
A death march is a forced march of prisoners of war or other captives or deportees. Those marching must walk over long distances for an extremely long period of time and are not supplied with food or water...

, and summarily executed
Summary execution
A summary execution is a variety of execution in which a person is killed on the spot without trial or after a show trial. Summary executions have been practiced by the police, military, and paramilitary organizations and are associated with guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, terrorism, and...

.

The KPA killed POWs at the battles for Hill 312, Hill 303, the Pusan Perimeter, and Daejeon—discovered during early after-battle mop-up actions by the UN forces. Later, a US Congress war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

s investigation, the United States Senate Subcommittee on Korean War Atrocities of the Permanent Subcommittee of the Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations reported that "... two-thirds of all American prisoners of war in Korea died as a result of war crimes".
Although the Chinese rarely executed prisoners like their Korean counterparts, mass starvation and diseases swept through the Chinese run POW camps during the winter of 1950–51. About 43 percent of all US POWs died during this period. The Chinese defended their actions by stating that all Chinese soldiers during this period were suffering mass starvation and diseases due to the lack of competent logistics system. The UN POWs, however, disputed the claim by pointing out that most of the Chinese camps were located near the easily supplied Sino-Korean border, and that starvation was used to force the prisoners to accept the communism indoctrinations programs, which were running in full swing after the starvation was over.

The North Korean Government reported some 70,000 ROK Army POWs; 8,000 were repatriated. South Korea repatriated 76,000 Korean People's Army POWs. Besides the 12,000 UN Command forces POWs dead in captivity, the KPA might have press-ganged some 50,000 ROK POWs into the North Korean military. Per the South Korean Ministry of Defense, there remained some 560 Korean POWs detained in North Korea in 2008; from 1994 until 2009, some 79 ROK POWs escaped the North.

The North Korean Government denied having POWs from the Korean War, and, via the Korean Central News Agency
Korean Central News Agency
The Korean Central News Agency is the state news agency of North Korea and has existed since December 5, 1946. KCNA is headquartered in the capital city of Pyongyang...

, reported that the UN forces killed some 33,600 KPA POWs; that on 19 July 1951, in POW Camp No. 62, some 100 POWs were killed as machine-gunnery targets; that on 27 May 1952, in the 77th Camp, Koje Island (now in Geoje
Geoje
Geoje is a city located in South Gyeongsang province, just off the coast of the port city of Busan, South Korea. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in Okpo and Samsung Heavy Industries in Gohyeon are both located on Geoje Island. The city also offers a wide range of tourist sights...

), the ROK Army incinerated with flamethrowers some 800 KPA POWs who rejected "voluntary repatriation" south, and instead demanded repatriation north.

Starvation

In December 1950, National Defense Corps was founded, the soldiers were 406,000 drafted citizens.
In the winter of 1951, 50,000 to 90,000 South Korean National Defense Corps soldiers starved to death while marching southward under the Chinese offensive when their commanding officers embezzled funds earmarked for their food. This event is called the National Defense Corps Incident
National Defense Corps Incident
The National Defense Corps Incident was a death march that occurred in the winter of 1951 during the Korean War.On 11 December 1950, the act of National Defense Corps was issued. 17 to 40 year old South Korean citizens, except for military, police and government officials, were inducted into the...

.

Aftermath

Effect on China

Mao Zedong's decision to involve China in the Korean War was a conscientious effort to confront the most powerful country in the world, undertaken at a time when the regime was still consolidating its own power after winning the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

. Mao primarily supported intervention not to save North Korea or to appease the Soviet Union, but because he believed that a military conflict with the United States was inevitable after UN forces crossed the 38th parallel. A secondary motive of Mao's was to improve his own prestige inside the communist international community by demonstrating that his Marxist concerns were international. In his later years Mao believed that Stalin only gained a positive opinion of him after China's entrance into the Korean War. Inside China, the war improved the long-term prestige of Mao, Zhou, and Peng.

China emerged from the Korean War united by a sense of national pride, despite the war's enormous costs. The Chinese people were educated to believe that the war was initiated by the United States and Korea, and not by a fraternal communist state in the north. In Chinese propaganda, the Chinese war effort was portrayed and accepted as an example of China's engaging the strongest power in the world with an under-equipped army, forcing it to retreat, and fighting it to a military stalemate. These successes were contrasted with China's historical humiliations by Japan and by Western powers over the previous hundred years in order to promote the image of the PLA
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 and the CCP. The most significant negative long-term consequence of the war (for China) was that it led the United States to guarantee the safety of Chiang Kai-shek's regime in Taiwan, effectively ensuring that Taiwan would remain outside of PRC control until the present day.

Defection

Operation Moolah
Operation Moolah
Operation Moolah was a United States Air Force effort during the Korean War to obtain through defection a fully capable Soviet MiG-15 jet fighter. The MiG-15 was introduced by Communist forces on November 1, 1950 over the skies of Korea...

 was a USAF effort during the Korean War to capture a fully mission capable Soviet MiG-15
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was a jet fighter developed for the USSR by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. The MiG-15 was one of the first successful swept-wing jet fighters, and it achieved fame in the skies over Korea, where early in the war, it outclassed all straight-winged enemy fighters in...

. The MiG-15 was introduced by Communist forces on 1 November 1950 over the skies of Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

. USAF pilots would later report that the performance of the MiG-15 was superior against all United Nations (U.N.) aircraft, including the USAF's newest plane, the F-86 Sabre. The operation focused on influencing Communist pilots to defect
Defection
In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. More broadly, it involves abandoning a person, cause or doctrine to whom or to which one is bound by some tie, as of allegiance or duty.This term is also applied,...

 to South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 with a fully mission capable MiG for a financial award and political freedom. The success of the operation is disputable since not a single Communist pilot defected before the armistice was signed on 27 July 1953. But on 21 September 1953, Lieutenant (LT) No Kum-Sok
No Kum-Sok
No Kum-Sok is a former lieutenant of the North Korean Air Force during the Korean War who defected to South Korea...

 flew his MiG-15 to the Kimpo Air Base, South Korea unaware of Operation Moolah.

Proxy war

The Korean War (1950–53) was the first major proxy war in the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 (1945–91), the prototype of the following sphere-of-influence wars such as the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 (1959–75). The Korean War established proxy war as one way that the nuclear superpowers indirectly conducted their rivalry in third-party countries. The NSC-68
NSC-68
National Security Council Report 68 was a 58-page formerly-classified report issued by the United States National Security Council on April 14, 1950, during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. Written during the formative stage of the Cold War, it was top secret until the 1970s when it was made...

 Containment Policy extended the cold war from occupied Europe to the rest of the world.

DMZ

Fighting ended at the 38th parallel and the Korean Demilitarized Zone
Korean Demilitarized Zone
The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half, crossing the 38th parallel on an angle, with the west end of the DMZ lying south of the parallel and...

, a strip of land 248x4 km (155x2.5 mi), now divides the two countries. Even so, skirmishes, incursions, and incidents between the combatants have continued since the Armistice was signed.

Racial integration of U.S. Forces

The beginning of racial integration efforts in the U.S. military began during the Korean War, where African Americans fought in integrated units for the first time. Among the 1.8 million American soldiers who fought in the Korean War there were more than 100,000 African Americans.

Turkey

The Korean War affected other participant combatants. Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, for example, entered NATO in 1952 and a foundation of bilateral diplomatic and trade relations was enhanced.

Post-war economies

Post-war recovery was different in the two Koreas. South Korea stagnated in the first post-war decade, but later industrialized and modernized. Contemporary North Korea remains underdeveloped. South Korea had one of the world's fastest growing economies
Miracle on the Han River
Miracle on the Han River refers to South Korea's highly accelerated export-fueled economic growth, including rapid industrialization, technological achievement, education boom, exponential rise in living standards, rapid urbanization, skyscraper boom, modernization, successful hosting of the 1988...

 from the early 1960s to the late 1990s. In 1957 South Korea had a lower per capita GDP than Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

, and by 2008 it was 17 times as high as Ghana's. The economy of South Korea
Economy of South Korea
South Korea has a market economy which ranks 15th in the world by nominal GDP and 12th by purchasing power parity , identifying it as one of the G-20 major economies. It is a high-income developed country, with a developed market, and is a member of OECD...

 is a modern free market economy, and South Korea is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

 (OECD) and G-20
G-20 major economies
The Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major economies: 19 countries plus the European Union, which is represented by the President of the European Council and by the European Central Bank...

 groups.

In the 1990s North Korea faced significant economic disruptions. The North Korean famine
North Korean famine
'The North Korean famine was a famine in North Korea which began in the early 1990s...

 is believed to have killed as many as 2.5 million people. The CIA World Factbook
The World Factbook
The World Factbook is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official paper copy version is available from the National Technical Information Service and the Government Printing Office...

 estimates North Korea's GDP (Purchasing power parity (PPP)
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

) is $40 billion, which is 3.0% of South Korea's $1.196 trillion GDP (PPP). North Korean personal income is $1,800 per capita, which is 7.0% of the South Korean $24,500 per capita income.

ROK Anti-communism

Anti-communism
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

 remains in ROK politics. The Uri Party
Uri Party
The Yeollin Uri Party , generally abbreviated to Uri Party , was the briefly ruling political party in South Korea with a centrist political ideology...

 practiced a "Sunshine Policy
Sunshine policy
The Sunshine Policy was the foreign policy of South Korea towards North Korea until Lee Myung-bak's election to presidency in 2008. Since its articulation in 1998 by South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, the policy resulted in greater political contact between the two nations and some historical...

" towards North Korea; the US often disagreed with the Uri Party and (former) ROK President Roh
Roh Moo-hyun
Roh Moo-hyun GOM GCB was the 16th President of South Korea .Roh's pre-presidential political career was focused on human rights advocacy for student activists in South Korea. His electoral career later expanded to a focus on overcoming regionalism in South Korean politics, culminating in his...

 about relations between the Koreas. The conservative Grand National Party
Grand National Party
The Grand National Party is a conservative political party in South Korea. Its Korean name, Hannara, has a double meaning as "Great National" and "Korean National." The GNP holds a majority of seats in the 18th Assembly, lasting from 2008 to 2012....

 (GNP), the Uri Party's principal opponent, is anti-North Korea.

ROK Anti-Americanism sentiments

Korean anti-Americanism
Anti-American sentiment in Korea
The Anti-Americanism in Korea began with the earliest contact between the two nations and continued after the division of Korea. In both North Korea and South Korea, anti-Americanism after the Korean War has focused on the presence and behavior of American military personnel , aggravated especially...

 after the war was fueled by the presence and behavior of American military personnel (USFK) and U.S. support for authoritarian regime
Park Chung-hee
Park Chung-hee was a Republic of Korea Army general and the leader of South Korea from 1961 to 1979. He seized power in a military coup and ruled until his assassination in 1979. He has been credited with the industrialization of the Republic of Korea through export-led growth...

, a fact still evident during the country's democratic transition in the 1980s. In a February 2002 Gallup-Korea poll, only one-third of South Koreans viewed the United States favorably.

"G.I. Babies" and U.S. immigration law

In addition a large number of mixed race
Amerasian
In its original meaning, an Amerasian is a person born in Asia, to a U.S. military father and an Asian mother. The term has sometimes been used to describe a person in the United States of mixed Asian and non-Asian ancestry, regardless of the circumstances....

 ‘G.I. babies’ (offspring of U.S. and other western soldiers and Korean women) were filling up the country’s orphanages. Korean traditional society places significant weight on paternal family ties, bloodlines, and purity of race. Children of mixed race or those without fathers are not easily accepted in Korean society. Thousands were adopted
Korean adoptee
A Korean international adoptee or KAD is a person who was adopted from South Korea through the international adoption of South Korean children as a child and raised in another country, often by adoptive parents of another race, ethnic background, and culture.-Historical context and the impact of...

 by American families in the years following the war, when their plight was covered on television.

The U.S. Immigration Act of 1952 removed race as a limiting factor in immigration, and made possible the entry of military spouses and children from South Korea after the Korean War. With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, which substantially changed U.S. immigration policy toward non-Europeans, Koreans
Korean American
Korean Americans are Americans of Korean descent, mostly from South Korea, with a small minority from North Korea...

 became one of the fastest growing Asian
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

 groups in the United States.

Popular culture

The Korean War has been the subject of films and books, and has been depicted in other media such as theatre and photography. The TV series M*A*S*H is one well known example. The 1959 novel The Manchurian Candidate
The Manchurian Candidate
The Manchurian Candidate , by Richard Condon, is a political thriller novel about the son of a prominent US political family who is brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for the Communist Party....

has twice been made into films. The 1982 film Inchon
Inchon (film)
Inchon is a 1982 war film about the Battle of Inchon, considered to be the turning point of the Korean War. The film was directed by Terence Young and financed by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon. It stars Laurence Olivier as General Douglas MacArthur, who led the United States surprise...

 depicted the invasion at Inchon. Many films about the war have been produced in Asian countries as well.

See also

  • Joint Advisory Commission, Korea
    Joint Advisory Commission, Korea
    The Joint Advisory Commission, Korea was a U.S. covert operations unit that participated in the Korean War.Operating under the direction of the Central Intelligence Agency, JACK was responsible for inserting and extracting U.S.-trained Korean agents into North Korea, conducting covert maritime...

  • Operation Moolah
    Operation Moolah
    Operation Moolah was a United States Air Force effort during the Korean War to obtain through defection a fully capable Soviet MiG-15 jet fighter. The MiG-15 was introduced by Communist forces on November 1, 1950 over the skies of Korea...

  • Korean reunification
    Korean reunification
    Korean reunification refers to the hypothetical future reunification of North Korea and South Korea under a single government...

  • List of Korean War weapons
  • List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll
  • List of wars extended by diplomatic irregularity

  • Military history of Australia during the Korean War
    Military history of Australia during the Korean War
    The military history of Australia during the Korean War was very eventful. Japan's defeat in World War II heralded the end to 35 years of Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula...

  • Pyongyang Sally
    Pyongyang Sally
    Pyongyang Sally was an English-speaking woman on North Korean radio stations who broadcast propaganda to U.S. troops during the Korean War. This was used with other forms of propaganda including air-dropped leaflets.-References:...

  • Korean DMZ Conflict (1966–1969)
  • Philippine Expeditionary Forces To Korea
    Philippine Expeditionary Forces To Korea
    The Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea was the Philippine contingent of the United Nations forces that fought in the Korean War . The unit arrived in Korea in August 1950. It was composed of 7,500 troops, and was the fourth largest force under the United Nations Command...

  • UNCMAC
    UNCMAC
    UNCMAC refers to the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission, established in July 1953 at the end of the Korean War to supervise the Korean Armistice Agreement, and which has been operating ever since.-History:...

    —the UN Command Military Armistice Commission operating from 1953 to the present


  • UNCURK
    UNCURK
    UNCURK refers to the 1951 UN Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea. It occurred as part of the Korean War. Many of the participating nations include those who participated in the United Nations Command.-See also:...

    —the 1951 UN Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea
  • UNTCOK
    UNTCOK
    UNTCOK, the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea, was a body which was supposed to oversee free and fair elections in Korea after World War II. In Soviet-controlled North Korea, the body was not even recognized with the Soviets arguing that the commission would break earlier agreements...

    —the 1950 United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea
  • Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

  • War Memorial of Korea
  • South African Air Force
    South African Air Force
    The South African Air Force is the air force of South Africa, with headquarters in Pretoria. It is the world's second oldest independent air force, and its motto is Per Aspera Ad Astra...



Combat studies, soldiers

  • Appleman, Roy E. South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu (1961), Official US Army history covers the Eighth Army and X Corps from June to November 1950
  • Appleman, Roy E.. East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea (1987); Escaping the Trap: The US Army in Northeast Korea, 1950 (1987); Disaster in Korea: The Chinese Confront MacArthur (1989); Ridgway Duels for Korea (1990).
  • Blair, Clay. The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950–1953 (1987).
  • Field Jr., James A. History of United States Naval Operations: Korea, University Press of the Pacific, 2001, ISBN 0-89875-675-8. official US Navy history
  • Farrar-Hockley, General Sir Anthony. The British Part in the Korean War, HMSO, 1995, hardcover 528 pages, ISBN 0-11-630962-8
  • Futrell, Robert F. The United States Air Force in Korea, 1950–1953, rev. ed. (Office of the Chief of Air Force History, 1983), official US Air Force history
  • Halberstam, David
    David Halberstam
    David Halberstam was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and historian, known for his early work on the Vietnam War, his work on politics, history, the Civil Rights Movement, business, media, American culture, and his later sports journalism.-Early life and education:Halberstam...

    . The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, Hyperion, 2007, ISBN 1-4013-0052-9.
  • Hallion, Richard P. The Naval Air War in Korea (1986).
  • Hamburger, Kenneth E. Leadership in the Crucible: The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-Ni. Texas A. & M. U. Press, 2003. 257 pp.
  • Hastings, Max. The Korean War (1987). British perspective
  • James, D. Clayton The Years of MacArthur: Triumph and Disaster, 1945–1964 (1985), scholarly biography of MacArthur
  • James, D. Clayton with Anne Sharp Wells, Refighting the Last War: Command and Crises in Korea, 1950–1953 (1993)
  • Kindsvatter, Peter S. American Soldiers: Ground Combat in the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam. U. Press of Kansas, 2003. 472 pp.
  • Millett, Allan R. Their War for Korea: American, Asian, and European Combatants and Civilians, 1945–1953. Brassey's, 2003. 310 pp.
  • Millett, Allan R. The War For Korea, 1950–1951: They Came From the North (University Press of Kansas; 2010) 644 pages
  • Montross, Lynn et al., History of US Marine Operations in Korea, 1950–1953, 5 vols. (Washington: Historical Branch, G-3, Headquarters, Marine Corps, 1954–72),
  • Mossman, Billy. Ebb and Flow (1990), Official US Army history covers November 1950 to July 1951.
  • Russ, Martin. Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950, Penguin, 2000, 464 pages, ISBN 0-14-029259-4
  • Toland, John. In Mortal Combat: Korea, 1950–1953 (1991)
  • Varhola, Michael J. Fire and Ice: The Korean War, 1950–1953 (2000)
  • Watson, Brent Byron. Far Eastern Tour: The Canadian Infantry in Korea, 1950–1953. 2002. 256 pp.
  • Flanagan, E.M. Jr., Airborne – A Combat History Of American Airborne Forces, The Random House Publishing Group, 2002

Origins, politics, diplomacy

  • Chen Jian, China's Road to the Korean War: The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation (Columbia University Press, 1994).
  • Cumings, Bruce. Origins of the Korean War (two volumes), Princeton University Press, 1981, 1990.
  • Goncharov, Sergei N., John W. Lewis; and Xue Litai, Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao, and the Korean War, Stanford University Press, 1993, ISBN 0-8047-2521-7, diplomatic
  • Kaufman, Burton I. The Korean War: Challenges in Crisis, Credibility, and Command. Temple University Press, 1986, focus is on Washington
  • Matray, James. "Truman's Plan for Victory: National Self Determination and the Thirty-Eighth Parallel Decision in Korea," Journal of American History 66 (September, 1979), 314–33. in JSTOR
  • Millett, Allan R. The War for Korea, 1945–1950: A House Burning vol 1 (2005)ISBN 0-7006-1393-5, origins – full text online
  • Spanier, John W. The Truman-MacArthur Controversy and the Korean War (1959).
  • Stueck, William. Rethinking the Korean War: A New Diplomatic and Strategic History. Princeton U. Press, 2002. 285 pp.
  • Stueck, Jr., William J. The Korean War: An International History (Princeton University Press, 1995), diplomatic
  • Zhang Shu-gang, Mao's Military Romanticism: China and the Korean War, 1950–1953 (University Press of Kansas, 1995)

Reference sources

  • Edwards, Paul M. The A to Z of the Korean War. The Scarecrow Press, 2005. 307 pp.
  • Edwards, Paul M. The Hill Wars of the Korean Conflict : A Dictionary of Hills, Outposts and other Sites of Military Action. McFarland & Co., 2006. 267 pp.
  • Edwards, Paul M. The Korean War: a Historical Dictionary. The Scarecrow Press, 2003. 367 pp.
  • Matray, James I. (ed.) Historical Dictionary of the Korean War. Greenwood Press, 1991. 626 pp.

Primary sources

  • Bassett, Richard M. And the Wind Blew Cold: The Story of an American POW in North Korea. Kent State U. Press, 2002. 117 pp.
  • Bin Yu and Xiaobing Li, eds. Mao's Generals Remember Korea, University Press of Kansas, 2001, hardcover 328 pages, ISBN 0-7006-1095-2
  • S.L.A. Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet (1953) on combat
  • Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War (1967).


Historical


Media


Organizations


Memorials

  • War Memorial of Korea Yongsan-dong
    Yongsan-dong, Seoul
    Yongsan-dong is a ward of Yongsan-gu in Seoul, South Korea.-External links:...

    , Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Korean War Memorial Wall
    Korean War Memorial Wall (Canada)
    The Korean War Memorial Wall at Meadowvale Cemetery in Brampton, Ontario commemorates those Canadians who served in the Korean War.The wall is a curved -long polished granite wall. It contains 516 bronze plaques, one for each of the volunteer Canadian soldiers who died in Korea. A central bronze...

    , Brampton
    Brampton
    Brampton is the third-largest city in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada.Brampton may also refer to:- Canada :* Brampton, a city in Ontario** Brampton GO Station, a station in the GO Transit network located in the city- United Kingdom :...

    , Ontario.
  • National War Memorial (New Zealand)
    National War Memorial (New Zealand)
    The New Zealand National War Memorial is located next to the New Zealand Dominion Museum building on Buckle Street, in Wellington, the nation's capital...

  • UN Memorial Cemetery, Busan
  • War Memorial of Korea, Seoul The War Memorial's official website
  • Korean Children's War Memorial
  • Chinese 50th Anniversary Korean War Memorial
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