Koreanwar headlines

The Korean War (1945-1960)

  • Korea Divided

    Korea Divided
    At the close of WWII, it was proposed that the Soviet Union should take responsibility for the surrender of Japanese troops in the northern part of Korea, and United States troops would handle surrender in the south. The dividing line was set at the 38th parallel of latitude. Post surrender, the Soviet Union set uo a communist government in what became North Korea, and the US sent some aid to noncommunist South Korea.
  • American Occupation Ends

    American Occupation Ends
    With impending Communist victory in China, American troops depart from South Korea. This prompts a military buildup in North Korea.
  • Communist Victory in China

    Communist Victory in China
    Communist Mao Zedong takes control of China by defeating Nationalist Chiang Kai-shek in the Chinese Civil War. The American people were outraged by this, and blamed the Truman Administration. Communists now controlled 1/4 of the worlds landmass and 1/3 of the worlds population.
  • North Korean Forces Attack

    North Korean Forces Attack
    90,000 North Korean forces, armed with Soviet weapons, attacked South Korean by crossing the 38th parallel. The capitial city of Seoul was captured within days. The South Korean troops flee to Pusan.
  • Decisions to Send Aid

    Decisions to Send Aid
    Remembering the lack of action in response to Hitler, Truman decides to aid South Korea against Communist North Korean forces. The UN also unaninomously votes to aid Truman and the US military in South Korea. This would have been vetoed by the Soviet Union, but they were absent from the meeting because the country was boycotting the UN due to the fact that the UN refused to recognize Communist China governed by Mao.
  • US Soldiers Move to South Korea

    US Soldiers Move to South Korea
    Truman orders American soldiers, stationed in Japan, to move to South Korea. These soldiers, who were mainly occupation troops, had not been properly trained for Korean terrain, and also didn't have the proper equipment. However, they joined South Korean forces in the Pusan area and held fast, waiting for fresh supplies.
  • UN Counterattack at Inchon

    UN Counterattack at Inchon
    General Douglas MacArthur (WWII hero) came up with the plan to attack the North Koreans at the city of Inchon, well behind enemy lines. This location would be unnexpected because it was a very poor landing site with dangerous tides and currents. This gamble paid off and troops attacked the North Koreans from the rear. This sent the Communist troops fleeing for their boarder.
  • End or Continue War?

    End or Continue War?
    After the successful attack, MacArthur is perplexed with how to continue. He could either declare a UN mandate and end the war, or he could push his troops on and punish the North Korean troops for the invasion. The problem that Truman saw with the latter option was that Chinese leaders warned that the UN and US troops were not to advance near Chinese boarders. This warning was not taken seriously by MacArthur and he soon convinced Truman to allow for advance.
  • Reaching the Yulu River

    Reaching the Yulu River
    MacArthur and the UN troops reach the Yulu River by Thanksgiving, dispite mountainous terrain and freezing temperatures.
  • Chinese Fight Back

    Chinese Fight Back
    300,000 Chinese trroops attacked MacArthurs troops of significantly less, making good on the threat to fight back if troops got near the Chinese borders. Outnumbered greatly, UN troops were forced back.
  • 37th Parallel

    37th Parallel
    Communist forces from North Korea and China push UN forces back to the 37th parallel
  • UN Pushes Back

    UN Pushes Back
    UN forces push Communists back to the 38th parallel
  • Major Asian Land War/MacArthur is Fired

    Major Asian Land War/MacArthur is Fired
    China had joined the war, and thus the chance of ending the war without major casualities or use of atomic weapons decreased significantly. Truman wanted to avoid both. MacArthur, on the other hand, favored "total victory" through an invasion of China. MacArthur, unable to convince Truman of invasion, send a letter to the House. The letter soon became public and MacArthur was fired for insubordination.
  • Stalemate Begins

    Stalemate Begins
    Stalemate between the two sides lasts for two years. Small, bloody battles are fought during this time while diplomats attempted to make a peace treaty to appeal to all involved. This stalemate lasts until 1953.
  • 1952 Election

    1952 Election
    The war becomes a political issue in the 1952 election. Republican Eisenhower promised he would end the war. After elected, he attempted to make good on his promise and visited the troops in Korea. Contrary to the promise, he begins to believe that strong action would be needed to end the war, and then starts hinting at possible nuclear power needing to be used.
  • Cease-Fire

    The threat of nuclear war in part with the death of Joseph Stalin convinced the Communists to settle the conflict through a cease-fire. This cease-fire is still in effect today. The two nations were divided, and are still divided, at about the 38th parallel.
  • Military Spending

    Military Spending
    Truman set the stage for going to war without congressional approval. Future presidents would follow. Therefore, by 1960, military spending accounted for 1/2 of the federal budget. Soliders were stationed around the world, over 1 million of them to be exact.