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• Korea had been a unified
country since the 7th
• During the 19th century,
Imperial Japan began an
occupation of the Korean
Peninsula which lasted
until the end of WW II.
• At the close of World War
II, forces of both the
Soviet Union and the
United States occupied
the Korean peninsula.
Korea - 1945
• The Soviets imposed a
communist government
on North Korea, resulting
in the formation of the
Democratic People's
Republic of Korea in 1948,
• The U.S. imposed a
democracy on South
Korea, resulting in the
formation of the Republic
of Korea in 1948.
Post-War Plans…
• Initially, it was the intention
of both sides to establish a
stable and unified Korea in
order to withdraw their
military forces from the
• However, neither the Soviet
Union or the U.S. wanted
the peninsula to fall into the
other's hand.
• The division of Korea that
ensued set the stage for a
civil war.
Prelude to War
• North Korean General
Secretary Kim Il-Sung
was intent on reuniting
the peninsula under
– An offensive against the
South was planned
• On January 30, 1950,
Stalin, via telegram,
informed Kim Il Sung that
he was willing to help
Kim in his plan to unify
Stage 1: North Korea attacks
• 1st Phase of Conflict
– June 25, 1950
• North Korea launches a
surprise attack against
South Korea triggering the
Korean War.
• By the night of June 28,
Seoul (capital of South
Korea) had fallen and the
South Korean forces were
in disarray.
United Nations Involvement
• The United Nations Security
Council called for an immediate
end to hostilities.
• When its further demand that North
Korea withdraw forces from the
southern half of the Korean
peninsula fell on deaf ears, the UN
Security Council recommended
that members of the United
Nations join forces to repel the
• Twenty-one nations agreed to
contribute arms, money, medical
supplies, and/or troops to rid
South Korea of the Communist
United Nations Force
• Gen. Douglas MacArthur
was put in charge of the
U.N. Command, which
included combat and
medical units from 22
• The United States
provided 50% of the
ground forces (South
Korea provided most of
the remainder), 86% of the
naval power, and 93% of
the air power.
Stage 2: Americans pushed to
the Pusan Perimeter
• Unable to slow the enemy
advance, the Americans
and South Koreans
fought desperate
delaying operations,
buying time with blood as
more American units
were rushed to Korea.
• By the end of July 1950,
the North Koreans had
pushed the U.N. forces to
the southeast corner of
the peninsula, where they
dug in around the port of
Stage 3: Inchon
• MacArthur completely
changed the course of the
war overnight by ordering
an amphibious invasion at
the port of Inchon, near
• The Americans quickly
gained control of Inchon,
recaptured Seoul within
days, and cut the North
Korean supply lines.
• American and ROK forces
broke out of the Pusan
Perimeter and chased the
retreating enemy north.
Stage 4: Approaching the Yalu
• Despite warnings from the
Chinese that "American
intrusion into North Korea
would encounter Chinese
resistance," MacArthur's
forces continued to push
• On October 25, 1950,
however, things turned
ominous. The Chinese
army, which had been
massing north of the Yalu
River after secretly slipping
into North Korea, struck
with considerable force.
Stage 5: An entirely new war
• Roughly 180,000 Chinese
troops shattered the right
flank of the US Eighth
Army in the west, while
120,000 others threatened
to destroy the X Corps
near the Chosin
• On November 28, a
shaken MacArthur
informed the Joint Chiefs,
"We face an entirely new
The Wars Movement
The Shifting Map of Korea
Stage 6: Stalemate
• Beginning January 15, Ridgway
led the U.N. in a slow advance
northward, in what his troops
began to call the "meatgrinder."
• Inflicting heavy casualties on
the Chinese and North Koreans,
the U.N. re-recaptured Seoul.
• In the meantime, General
MacArthur had been steadily
pushing Washington to remove
the restrictions on his forces.
• Not only did Truman decline for
fear of widening the war, but he
fired MacArthur, who had been
publicly challenging him for
months, for insubordination on
April 11.
Ceasefire Agreement
• The Korean War end, when an armistice was
signed on July 27, 1953.
• The armistice was only ever intended as a
temporary measure and provided for:
– A suspension of open hostilities
– A fixed demarcation line with a four kilometer (2.4 mile)
buffer zone - the so-called demilitarization zone
• SEE next slide
– A mechanism for the transfer of prisoners of war.
Korean War
North South China
Korea Korea
Korean DMZ
De-Militarized Zone
38th Parallel
Korean War Memorial
• The Korean War Veterans Memorial
was authorized by the U.S.
Congress on October 28, 1986.
President George H. W. Bush
conducted the groundbreaking for
the Memorial on June 14, 1992, Flag
• It was dedicated on July 27, 1995,
the 42nd anniversary of the
armistice that ended the war, by
President Bill Clinton and Kim
Young Sam, President of the
Republic of Korea, to the men and
women who served during the