THE KOREAN WAR
(25 June 1950–armistice, 27 July 1953)
War was a
military conflict between the Republic of
Korea and the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea. The Republic of Korea was supported by the United Nations while and
the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was supported by People's Republic of
China (PRC), with air support from the Soviet Union. The war was a result
of the political division of Korea by agreement of the victorious Allies at the
conclusion of the World War II in the Pacific. With the defeat of Japan, Korea
which had been under Japanese rule since 1910, was in 1945 divided in much the
same way as parts of Europe with the southern portion (divided along the 38th
parallel) being occupied by United States troops and the northern part by Soviet
Free elections were planned throughout the Korean Penisula in 1948. However when these failed to take place, the divisions between the two sides deepened. A Communist government was established in the North, while the South pursued more democratic rule. Reunification negotiations were being conducting during this time, however as the tensions escalated, cross-boarder raids and skirmishes continued. On 24 Jun 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea and the situation escalated into open warfare. This is considerted to the be first significant armed conflict of the Cold War.
Coming to the aid of South Korea were the United Nations and particularly the United States. The North Koreans were quickly driven past the 38th Parallel and almost to the Uala River by a rapid UN counter-offensive. As a result, the People's Republic of China (PRC) entered the war on the side of the North. With their counter-offensive launched, the Chinese and North Koreans (materially aided by the Soviet Union) were able to repel the United Nations forces back past the 38th Parallel.
An armistice agreement was achieved on 27 July 1953, thereby resulting in a cessation of hostilities. The armistice restored the border between the Koreas near the 38th Parallel. A Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was created to provide a wide buffer between the 2 Koreas. This DMZ is 2.5-miles (4.0 km) wide. Minor outbreaks of fighting continue to the present day.
There was never any declaration of war by the US Congress in support of the subsequent actions. Therefore, the war was officially described as a police action. It has been referred to by some as The Unknown war or The Forgotten War. To the men and women who served and to their families we honor in the best way we can - by remembering.
The US Department of Defence and other sources provides the following US statistics*: