Question 1

Significant Events of the Korean War

By CBnvcc
  • Republic of Korea Formed

    Republic of Korea Formed
    Following Japan’s defeat at the end of the Second World War, the Korean Peninsula was divided along the 38th parallel between the occupying forces of the United States and the Soviet Union. South Korea, having been administered by U.S. forces, was turned over to the newly-formed Republic of Korea’s government on August 15th, following a general election. Image source:
  • Democratic People's Republic of Korea Formed

    Democratic People's Republic of Korea Formed
    The Soviet Union, having occupied the northern half of the Korean Peninsula following Japan’s defeat at the end of the Second World War in 1945, establishes a communist state there lead by Kim Il-Sung. This division occurred along the 38th parallel, which would mark the border between North and South Korea for the duration of the war.
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  • North Korea invades South Korea

    North Korea invades South Korea
    With 135,000 men, North Korea crosses the 38th parallel into the south with the permission of the Soviet Union. At the beginning of the conflict, the north had three distinct advantages: hardened combat units that had gained experience fighting in the Chinese revolution, experienced soviet strategists, and the promise of Chinese aid should the war turn against them, allowing them to rapidly advance through the south. Image source:
  • Battle of Osan

    Battle of Osan
    The first battle between the United States and North Korea, resulting in an American defeat. The battle took place between Task Force Smith, a 400 man force equipped with obsolete anti-tank weaponry and given orders to hold the North Koreans while a larger American force deployed to the south. Armed with soviet-provided tanks and superior numbers, the 5000 man strong North Korean force overcame the taskforce Image Source:
  • Battle of Inchon (Operation Chromite)

    Battle of Inchon (Operation Chromite)
    Lead by Douglas MacArthur, U.S. Marines conducted a surprise amphibious landing, capturing Incheon, a city of strategic significance. As a result of this landing, U.N. forces were able to force back North Korean forces, recapturing Seoul shortly after on 26 September and turning the tide of the war in the U.N.'s favor.
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  • Pyongyang Captured by U.N. Forces

    Pyongyang Captured by U.N. Forces
    As a result of the victory at Inchon, U.N. forces swiftly crossed the 38th Parallel, capturing the North Korean capital of Pyonyang shortly after. As a result of the loss of their capital, North Korean forces fled north towards the Chinese border. Image source:
  • China Enters War

    China Enters War
    Following the wave of U.N. victories, the Chinese engage U.N. forces at the battle of Chongju. The Chinese inflict heavy losses while testing the strength of the U.N. force in preparation for a larger offensive. As part of the deal struck between Mao and the Soviets, the Chinese entry into the war was accompanied by Soviet air support in the form of soviet-piloted MiG-15 fighters. Image Source:
  • Chinese Second Phase Offensive

    Chinese Second Phase Offensive
    As U.S. troops approached the Yula River, which marked the border between North Korea and China, the Chinese launched a massive offensive, quickly overcoming MacArthur with a combined force of 180,000 Chinese and North Korean soldiers. As a result of the Chinese offensive, U.N. forces lost most of the ground they had gained in the previous two months, losing Pyongyang in the process. Image source:
  • Chinese Forces Capture Seoul

    Chinese Forces Capture Seoul
    Following China’s entry into the war and General Ridgway’s subsequent evacuation of Seoul, Chinese forces recapture the South Korean capital. After nearly two months of occupation by communist forces, General Ridgway’s forces retake the city on 15 March during Operation Ripper. Image source:
  • Period: to

    Operation Thunderbolt

    The first U.S. offensive under General Ridgway, Operation Thunderbolt was an attempt to push back against the Chinese Third Phase Offensive. The operation ended with U.S. forces positioning on the Han River which flows through Seoul.
  • General Macarthur Relieved of Command

    General Macarthur Relieved of Command
    Following a series of incidents that put him at odds with President Truman, General MacArthur was relieved of command and returned home to the United States. Two of the most noteworthy incidents were MacArthur’s decision not to destroy the bridges over the Yula, which was overturned by the president, and an embarrassing comment about using nuclear weapons. Image source:
  • Period: to


    During this period, few gains were made by either side as a result of their forces being evenly matched. For most of this period, the border between the communist-held portion of the country and the U.N. portion was roughly the 38th parallel.
  • Kaesong Peace Talks Begin

    Kaesong Peace Talks Begin
    Following the stalemate that had developed as a result of the renewed American offensives earlier in the year and the simultaneous Chinese offensives, U.N. leadership proposes that ceasefire talks begin. Very little was accomplished during this intitial round of talks before they were abruptly ended as the result of the apparent bombing of Kaesong. Image source:
  • Armistice Talks Resume in Panmunjom

    After the apparent bombing of Kaesong, armistice talks were moved to the nearby village of Panmunjom. These discussions moved slowly because of the issue as to where the new border between North and South Korea would be in addition to the question of what to do with the many PoWs held by both sides.
  • Eisenhower Elected

    Eisenhower Elected
    Winning the election with more votes than any president in American history, Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected by a landslide of approximately 34 million votes. Eisenhower was victorious mainly due to his political campaign promise of coming to an honorable and peaceful truce in Korea and bringing home American combat forces as soon as possible. Image source:
  • Terms of Reference Agreed Upon

    Terms of Reference Agreed Upon
    This document, which regulated POW repatriation, stated that any POWs that refused to return to a communist country would be turned over to a neutral commission for three months, being set free if they still refused at the end of this period This agreement was important because it brought an end to the controversial and emotional issues revolving around POWs and was thought to indicate an imminent treaty. Image Source:
  • Communist Forces Attack Pork Chop Hill

    Communist Forces Attack Pork Chop Hill
    This battle was waging while the two sides were engaged in cease-fire discussions. Nearly identical to an earlier attack made in April that resulted in an American victory, both sides came with many more soldiers this time. The American 7th Division was attacked repeatedly by the Chinese, engaging in brutal melee combat in the trenches. It is notable for the use of armored personal carriers, a military advancement. Image source:
  • End of Attacks on Pork Chop Hill

    End of Attacks on Pork Chop Hill
    The battle ended with the retreat of the 7th division and the U.S. I Corps. The Chinese suffered the most casualties here, with a death toll nearing 1,500. Within three weeks of this battle, the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed between the United Nations Command, and the communist forces of the People's Liberation Army and the North Korean People's Army, ending open hostilities. Image source:
  • Korean Armistice Signed

    Korean Armistice Signed
    The Korean Armistice was signed by the U.N. Command, North Korea, and China at Panmunjom. A new border near the 38th parallel, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). was set as the boundary between communist North Korea and anti-communist South Korea, however, Cold War tensions continued unbothered. This was the first armistice signed by the US as a result of stalemate rather than a victory.
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  • Operation Big Switch Begins

    Operation Big Switch Begins
    Operation Big Switch was the mass exchange of POWs between the two sides of the Korean War. This signified a formal end to hostilities and a step towards better relations between the two sides. Additionally, soldiers from both sides, including thousands of captured Chinese soldiers who were pressed into service after landing on the losing side of the Chinese Civil War, refused repatriation. Image source: