The Korean Conflict

  • Japan Annexes Korea

    Japan Annexes Korea
    Japan colonizes over Korea and decides to make it an industrial and agricultural wealth for Japan.
  • Postdam and Korea

    Postdam and Korea
    During the Postdam Confrence, the United States and Russia made an agreement to jointly occupy Korea after the defeat of Japan. Russian troops will occupy the north part of the country and the United States will take the south part, The 38th parallel served as the dividing line between the two countries.
  • Russians Arrive in Korea

    Russians Arrive in Korea
    During the last days of World War II, Russian troops begin moving into northern Korea. There aren't any
    American troops on the peninsula yet.
  • V-J Day

    V-J Day
    Japan surrenders to the Allies forces, officially making it the end to World War II.
  • The 38th Parallel

    The 38th Parallel
    Russian forces complete their occupation of North Korea, stoping their southward advance through the country right at the 38th parallel, as agreed at the Potsdam Conference. The Russians will wait there patiently for several weeks as the Americans rapidly organize their own occupation of South Korea.
  • The U.S. in Seoul

    The U.S. in Seoul
    American forces finally reach the capitol of Seoul, where
    they accept the Japanese surrender of South Korea.
  • Truman Doctrine

    Truman Doctrine
    In a speech known later as the "Truman Doctrine," President Harry S. Truman pledges any American assistance to
    any nation of the world threatened by Communism, officially establishing the worldwide spreading of Communism as a big American national security interest.
  • The U.S. to Leave Korea

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

    Syngman Rhee Elected
    South Korea holds their first elections. With the Communists and other anti-Rhee factions boycotting the vote and challenging its legitimacy, Dr. Syngman Rhee won easily, making himself to become South Korea's first president.
  • Stalin Approves Korean Invasion

    Stalin Approves Korean Invasion
    North Korean leader Kim Il Sung goes to Moscow to ask Russian leader Josef Stalin's permission to invade South Korea and start the Korean War. Stalin gives him the approval because he believes the United States has little interest in Korea.
  • North Korea Invades

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

    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. In the so-called "Summer of Terror" that follows, Rhee's forces will execute more than 100,000 people.
  • The U.S. and U.N. Condemn North Korea

     The U.S. and U.N. Condemn North Korea
    Truman issues a statement announcing to the American public: "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 Russian-passes an American-drafted resolution condemning North Korea as the aggressor in the conflict.
  • North Korea Captures Seoul

     North Korea Captures Seoul
    North Korea captures the South Korean capital city of Seoul.
  • Battle at Osan

    Battle at Osan
    American ground troops battle against Northern Korean forces at Osan (south of Seoul on the western side of the peninsula). The Americans, expecting an easy victory over an overmatched foe, are shocked to discover that the North Korean army will be formidable foes. The Americans suffer 150 casualties in the battle and fail to stop the
    North Koreans' from advancing south.
  • North Korea Advances to Taejeon

    North Korea Advances to Taejeon
    Communist forces continue their way south through the Korean peninsula, driving American forces back to Taejeon, 100 miles south of Seoul.
  • Retreat to Pusan Perimeter

    Retreat to Pusan Perimeter
    American and South Korean forces end more than a month of retreat by establishing a stable defensive line outside the city of Pusan, at the far southeastern tip of the peninsula. The shattered remnants of the South Korean army and the entire American force in Korea crowd into the tiny area behind the so-called Pusan Perimeter; the entire rest of the country, more than 90% of Korea's land area, is now under Communist control.
  • Truman Authorizes Advance

    Truman Authorizes Advance
    President Truman authorizes General MacArthur to order his forces to go after the retreating North Koreans across the 38th parallel, into North Korean territory. This decision marks a fundamental enlargement in American war arms, from rescuing South Korea to rolling back the Communist regime in North Korea.Truman's orders direct MacArthur to keep pushing northward as long as he does not encounter Russian or Chinese forces and he remains confident of victory.
  • The Chinese Cross the Yalu

    The Chinese Cross the Yalu
    Communist Chinese forces, who have been secretly infiltrating Korean territory (by slipping across the Yalu River under cover of darkness), ambush a South Korean regiment high in the mountains of North Korea. This is the first of many Chinese victories over unprepared and overstretched South Korean and American units over the winter of 1950-51.
  • China Enters Korean War

    China Enters Korean War
    Chinese leader Mao Zedong, fearful of the consequences of hostile American forces (taking up positions along his country's border at the Yalu River), orders hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers into battle in Korea. The huge Chinese intervention into the Korean conflict catches American military leaders completely off guard, leading into a series of crushing defeats. American prospects in the Korean War deteriorate rapidly, as hopes of imminent victory give way to a desperate struggle.
  • Korean War Stalemate

    Korean War Stalemate
    In the first half of 1951, the war in Korea begins to settle into stalemate. The year begins with Communist forces driving American and South Korean troops into a desperate southward retreat. By the spring, however, American forces organize a successful defensive line not far from the 38th parallel, stopping the Chinese advance. Both sides launch multiple attacks aimed at breaking through the increasingly entrenched lines.
    of battle, but neither can make much headway.
  • Peace Talk Drags

    Peace Talk Drags
    With the Korean War seemingly settling into a bloody stalemate, the United Nations passes a resolution calling for a negotiated end to the conflict. The first peace talks between American, Chinese, North Korean, and South Korean negotiators will begin in August 1951, but will drag on for nearly two years. More than half of the 36,000 American soldiers killed in the Korean War will lose their lives after the beginning of the peace talks.
  • Korean War Armistice

     Korean War Armistice
    After almost two years of negotiations, diplomats from the United States, North Korea, and China reach agreement on an armistice to end the "UN peace action" in Korea without a formal peace treaty. Both sides claim victory; Korea remains divided at the 38th parallel.
  • Geneva Talks Fail

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

    Mass Graves Discovered
    A severe typhoon uncovers a mass grave holding victims of the 1950 "Summer of Terror," by South Korean President Syngman Rhee and his campaign of executions against leftists and other potential political dissidents. It becomes increasingly difficult for the South Korean government to deny that the killings ever occurred.
  • South Korea Truth and Reconciliation:

    South Korea Truth and Reconciliation:
    The South Korean government, having undergone extensive 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 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.”