Korean baby

Separation of North Korea and South Korea

  • Japan Declares Korea Protectorate

    Japan declares that it protects Korea
  • Japan Annexes Korea

    Japan annexes the territory of Korea as its colony.
  • Potsdam and Korea

    The USA and the Soviet Union make plans on how they will ocuppy Korea after the defeat of Japan. The Soviet Union will occupy the northern area of the country and the USA will take the southern area.
  • Russian Invasion

    Russian troops invade Manchuria and Korea, they start advancing in North Korea.
  • Japan Surrenders

    Japan officially surrenders on World War II
  • 38th Parallel

    Soviet forces complete their occupation of North Korea, halting their southward advance through the country exactly at the 38th parallel, as agreed at the Potsdam Conference.
  • U.S. in Seoul

    American forces finally reach Seoul, where they accept the Japanese surrender of southern Korea.
  • Iron Curtain Speech

    British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gives his famous "Iron Curtain" speech at a college graduation in Fulton, Missouri: "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent"
  • Truman Doctrine

    In a speech later remembered as the "Truman Doctrine," President Harry S. Truman pledges American assistance to any nation in the world threatened by Communism, officially establishing the worldwide containment of Communism as a vital American national security interest.
  • US to Leave Korea

    American forces begin to prepare to withdraw from Korea, hoping to leave the South as an independent state under the leadership of the pro-American conservative Dr. Syngman Rhee.
  • Syngman Rhee Elected

    South Korea holds its first elections. With the Communists and other anti-Rhee factions boycotting the vote and challenging its legitimacy, Dr. Syngman Rhee wins easily, positioning himself to become South Korea's first president.
  • Republic of Korea

    Dr. Syngman Rhee's South Korean regime proclaims itself the independent Republic of Korea, denying the legitimacy of North Korea and claiming sovereignty over the entire Korean Peninsula.
  • Truman Desegregates Military

    President Truman desegregates the US Armed Forces by signing Executive Order 9981. The order states, "It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin." In order to implement this policy, the order also establishes the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services.
  • Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

    Communist North Korea, led by Kim Il Sung, proclaims itself the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, denying the legitimacy of South Korea and claiming sovereignty over the entire Korean Peninsula.
  • Dean Acheson Delares Defensive Perimeter

    In a speech, Secretary of State Dean Acheson pledges that the United States will fight to defend all territory within its "defensive perimeter," which he defines to include Japan, and the Philippines—but not Korea. Soviet leader Josef Stalin misinterprets this speech to mean that he can green-light North Korean leader Kim Il Sung's "liberation" of South Korea with little risk of intervention by the United States.
  • Stalin Approves Korean Invasion

    North Korean leader Kim Il Sung goes to Moscow to ask Soviet leader Josef Stalin's permission to invade South Korea and begin the Korean War. Stalin gives the green light because he believes the United States has little interest in Korea.
  • 1950 Korean Election

    President Syngman Rhee's unpopular conservative faction loses its control over the South Korean assembly when voters elect anti-Rhee moderates to office in the 1950 elections. Rhee remains president.
  • North Korea Invades

    Communist North Korean troops launch a full-scale invasion of the South, beginning the open military phase of the Korean War. North Korean tanks and infantry surge across the 38th parallel into South Korean territory, quickly overrunning the defensive positions of overmatched South Korean forces. The Communists continue their southward advance, meeting little resistance in the countryside.
  • Syngman Rhee and the Summer of Terror

    In response to North Korea's invasion of his country, South Korean president Syngman Rhee orders his military and special police forces to eliminate the threat posed to his regime by political prisoners and leftist dissidents, whom he fears will join forces with the Communist invaders.
  • Truman Meets at Blair House

    While the situation in Korea rapidly deteriorates, President Truman convenes two days' worth of high-level meetings at Washington, D.C.'s Blair House. In consultation with top officials of the State and Defense Departments, Truman makes the critical decision to offer military aid to South Korea without seeking an official declaration of war from Congress.
  • US and UN Condemn North Korea

    In the morning, President Truman issues a statement announcing to the American public the decision made at Blair House on 25 and 26 June: "I have ordered United States air and sea forces to give the Korean Government troops cover and support." In the afternoon, the United Nations Security Council—temporarily being boycotted by the Soviet Union—passes an American-drafted resolution condemning North Korea as the aggressor in the conflict .
  • North Korea Captures Seoul

    North Korean forces capture the South Korean capital city of Seoul.
  • Atomic Threats

    "U.S. President Harry S. Truman threatens to use the atomic bomb against the communist Chinese forces. By April 5 of the next year, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered atomic retaliation against Soviet and Chinese bases if more communist troops entered the war." -CBS News
  • Stalemate

    "The war along the 38th Parallel becomes a stalemate reminiscent of trench warfare fought in World War I. The pattern of bloody fighting with no real capturing of territory continues for the next two years as peace talks repeatedly fail." -CBS News
  • Korean Armistice

    "The U.N., North Korea and China sign an armistice agreement, continuing the division of Korea. South Korea refuses to sign. The agreement calls for 2.5-mile wide buffer zone across the middle of Korean Peninsula that closely follows the 38h Parallel." -CBS News
  • Peace Villiage Talks Fail

    Diplomats from China, North Korea, and the United States convene in Panmunjom—the so-called "Peace Village" located on the border between North and South Korea at the 38th parallel—to plan a political conference to reach agreement on a final, permanent peace treaty to end the war. Even this preliminary planning breaks down amidst angry accusations and counter-accusations from both sides.
  • Geneva Talks Fail

    At a high-level conference in Geneva, representatives from the United States and China fail to resolve the Korean issue. The armed stalemate at the 38th parallel will continue indefinitely.
  • Mass Graves Discovered

    A severe typhoon uncovers a mass grave holding victims of the 1950 "summer of terror," South Korean President Syngman Rhee's campaign of executions against leftists and other potential political dissidents. It becomes increasingly difficult for the South Korean government to deny that the killing ever occurred.
  • South Korea Truth and Reconciliation

    The South Korean government, having undergone far-reaching democratic reforms in the late 1980s and 1990s, establishes a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate its own role in the 1950 "summer of terror" killings
  • South Korea Apologizes for Summer of Terror

    South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, citing the findings of his Truth and Reconciliation Commission, formally apologizes for the atrocities committed during the "summer of terror" in 1950, calling them "illegal acts the then-state authority committed."
  • South Korean Government Apologizes for Massive Blackout

    The South Korean government has apologized for Thursday's massive blackout that plunged the nation into confusion.
    Nationwide electricity consumption surged Thursday afternoon due to lingering summer heat, exceeding projected demand. Korea Electric Power Corporation cut off electricity supplies without issuing a public warning. The blackout left over 2 million household and business locations without power for 5 hours.