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conflict between Communist and non-Communist forces in Korea from June 25, 1950, to
July 27, 1953. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into
Soviet (North Korean) and U.S. (South Korean) zones of occupation. In 1948 rival
governments were established: The Republic of Korea was proclaimed in the South and
the People's Democratic Republic of Korea in the North. Relations between them
became increasingly strained, and on June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded South
Korea. The United Nations quickly condemned the invasion as an act of aggression,
demanded the withdrawal of North Korean troops from the South, and called upon its
members to aid South Korea. On June 27, U.S. President Truman authorized the use of
American land, sea, and air forces in Korea; a week later, the United Nations placed the
forces of 15 other member nations under U.S. command, and Truman appointed Gen.
Douglas MacArthur supreme commander.
In the first weeks of the conflict the North Korean forces met little resistance and
advanced rapidly. By Sept. 10 they had driven the South Korean army and a small
American force to the Pusan area at the southeast tip of Korea. A counteroffensive began
on Sept. 15, when UN forces made a daring landing at Inchon on the west coast. North
Korean forces fell back and MacArthur received orders to pursue them into North Korea.
On Oct. 19, the North Korean capital of Pyongyang was captured; by Nov. 24, North
Korean forces were driven by the 8th Army, under Gen. Walton Walker, and the X Corp,
under Gen. Edward Almond, almost to the Yalu River, which marked the border of
Communist China. As MacArthur prepared for a final offensive, the Chinese
Communists joined with the North Koreans to launch (Nov. 26) a successful
counterattack. The UN troops were forced back, and in Jan., 1951, the Communists again
advanced into the South, recapturing Seoul, the South Korean capital.
After months of heavy fighting, the center of the conflict was returned to the 38th
parallel, where it remained for the rest of the war. MacArthur, however, wished to mount
another invasion of North Korea. When MacArthur persisted in publicly criticizing U.S.
policy, Truman, on the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff removed (Apr. 10,
1951) him from command and installed Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway as commander in
chief. Gen. James Van Fleet then took command of the 8th Army. Ridgway began (July
10, 1951) truce negotiations with the North Koreans and Chinese, while small unit
actions, bitter but indecisive, continued. Gen. Van Fleet was denied permission to go on
the offensive and end the “meat grinder” war.
The war's unpopularity played an important role in the presidential victory of Dwight
D. Eisenhower , who had pledged to go to Korea to end the war. Negotiations broke
down four different times, but after much difficulty and nuclear threats by Eisenhower,
an armistice agreement was signed (July 27, 1953). Casualties in the war were heavy.
U.S. losses were placed at over 54,000 dead and 103,000 wounded, while Chinese and
Korean casualties were each at least 10 times as high.
conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces
aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. The war began
soon after the Geneva Conference provisionally divided (1954) Vietnam at 17° N lat. into
the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the Republic of Vietnam
(South Vietnam). It escalated from a Vietnamese civil war into a limited international
conflict in which the United States was deeply involved, and did not end, despite peace
agreements in 1973, until North Vietnam's successful offensive in 1975 resulted in South
Vietnam's collapse and the unification of Vietnam by the North.
in U.S. history, conflict (1861-65) between the Northern states (the Union) and the
Southern states that seceded from the Union and formed the Confederacy . It is generally
known in the South as the War between the States and is also called the War of the
Rebellion (the official Union designation), the War of Secession, and the War for
Southern Independence. The name Civil War, although much criticized as inexact, is
most widely accepted.