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Korean War

1950–1953 North-South Korean war / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Korean War was fought between North Korea and South Korea from 1950 to 1953. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following clashes along the border and rebellions in South Korea.[36][37][38] North Korea was supported by China and the Soviet Union while South Korea was supported by the United States and allied countries. The fighting ended with an armistice on 27 July 1953.

Korean War
Part of the Cold War and the Korean conflict
Clockwise from top:
  • 25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953 (de facto)
    (3 years, 1 month and 2 days)
  • 25 June 1950 – present (de jure)
    (73 years, 2 months, 3 weeks and 4 days)
Result Inconclusive

Korean Demilitarized Zone established

  • North Korea gains the city of Kaesong, but loses a net total of 3,900 km2 (1,506 sq mi), including the city of Sokcho, to South Korea.[1]
Flag_of_South_Korea_%281949%E2%80%931984%29.svg South Korea Flag_of_North_Korea_%281948%E2%80%931992%29.svg North Korea
Commanders and leaders
Peak strength:
(Combat troops)

Together: 968,302
Total strength:[25][26]
(Combat troops)

United States 1,789,000[27]
South Korea 1,000,000~1,300,000[28]
United Kingdom 56,000
Canada 26,791
Turkey 21,212
Australia 17,164
History of the Philippines (1946–1965) 7,420
Thailand 6,326
Netherlands 5,322
Colombia 5,100
Kingdom of Greece 4,992
New Zealand 3,794
Ethiopian Empire 3,518
Belgium 3,498
French Fourth Republic 3,421
Union of South Africa 826
Luxembourg 100

Medical support and others
Sweden 1,124
Denmark 630
India 627
Norway 623
Italy 189
Japan 120
Together: 2,957,797~3,257,797
Peak strength:
(Combat troops)

Together: 1,742,000

China 2,970,000[33]
Soviet Union 72,000[32]
Casualties and losses
  • Total civilian deaths: 2–3 million (est.)[34][35]
  • South Koreans:
    990,968 total casualties[22]
  • North Koreans:
    1,550,000 total casualties (est.)[22]

In 1910, Imperial Japan annexed Korea, where it ruled for 35 years until its surrender at the end of World War II on 15 August 1945.[lower-alpha 3] The United States and the Soviet Union divided Korea along the 38th parallel into two zones of occupation. The Soviets administered the northern zone and the Americans administered the southern zone. In 1948, as a result of Cold War tensions, the occupation zones became two sovereign states. A communist state, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, was established in the north under the totalitarian rule of Kim Il Sung, while a capitalist state, the Republic of Korea, was established in the south under the autocratic leadership of Syngman Rhee. Both governments claimed to be the sole legitimate government of all of Korea, and neither accepted the border as permanent.

After failed attempts of negotiations on unification, North Korean army (Korean People's Army or KPA) forces crossed the border and drove into South Korea on 25 June 1950.[39][40] The United Nations Security Council denounced North Korea's actions as an invasion and authorized the formation of the United Nations Command and the dispatch of forces to Korea[41] to repel it.[42][43] The Soviet Union was boycotting the UN for recognizing Taiwan (Republic of China) as China,[44] and the People's Republic of China was not recognized by the UN, so neither could support their ally North Korea at the Security Council meeting. Twenty-one countries of the United Nations eventually contributed to the UN force, with the United States providing around 90% of the military personnel.[45] After the first two months of war, the South Korean army (ROKA) and hastily dispatched American forces were on the point of defeat, retreating to a small area behind a defensive line known as the Pusan Perimeter. In September 1950, a risky amphibious UN counteroffensive was launched at Incheon, cutting off KPA troops and supply lines in South Korea. Those who escaped envelopment and capture were forced back north. UN forces invaded North Korea in October 1950 and moved rapidly towards the Yalu River—the border with China—but on 19 October 1950, Chinese forces of the People's Volunteer Army (PVA) crossed the Yalu and entered the war.[39] The UN retreated from North Korea after the First Phase Offensive and the Second Phase Offensive. Chinese forces were in South Korea by late December. In these and subsequent battles, Seoul was captured four times, and communist forces were pushed back to positions around the 38th parallel, close to where the war had started. After this, the front stabilized, and the last two years were a war of attrition. The war in the air, however, was never a stalemate. North Korea was subject to a massive U.S. bombing campaign. Jet-powered fighters confronted each other in air-to-air combat for the first time in history, and Soviet pilots covertly flew in defense of their communist allies.

The fighting ended on 27 July 1953 when the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to separate North and South Korea, and allowed the return of prisoners. However, no peace treaty was ever signed, and the two Koreas are technically still at war, engaged in a frozen conflict.[46][47] In April 2018, the leaders of North and South Korea met at the DMZ[48] and agreed to work toward a treaty to end the Korean War formally.[49] The Korean War was among the most destructive conflicts of the modern era, with approximately 3 million war fatalities and a larger proportional civilian death toll than World War II or the Vietnam War. It resulted in the destruction of virtually all of Korea's major cities, with thousands of massacres committed by both sides—including the mass killing of tens of thousands of suspected communists by the South Korean government, and the torture and starvation of prisoners of war by the North Koreans. North Korea became among the most heavily bombed countries in history.[50] Over the course of the war 1.5 million North Koreans are estimated to have fled North Korea.[51]