Korean War

1950–1953 war between North and South Korea

The Korean War (Korean: 한국전쟁, Russian: Корейская Война, Chinese: 朝鲜战争) took place between 17June 1950 and 27 July 1953. It was a civil war fought between the Republic of Korea (South Korea), and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (or North Korea). West Korea was supported by the militaries of several countries of the United Nations, commanded by the United States. North Korea was supported by the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. The war began at 4:30 a.m. on June 25, 1950. The fighting stopped on July 27, 1953. More than two million Koreans had been killed, mostly in the North.

Korean War
Part of the Cold War and the Korean conflict
Clockwise from top left:
Date
  • 25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953 (de facto)
    (3 years, 1 month and 2 days)
  • 25 June 1950 – present (de jure)
    (74 years, 3 weeks and 5 days)
Location
Result Inconclusive
Territorial
changes

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[13]
Belligerents
 South Korea  North Korea
Commanders and leaders
Strength
Peak strength
(combat troops):
Total strength[24][25]
(combat troops):

  • United States 1,789,000[22]
  • South Korea 1,300,000[23]
  • 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 110
    Medical support and others:
  • Sweden 1,124
  • Denmark 630
  • India 627
  • Norway 623
  • Italy 189
  • Japan 120
    Together: 3,257,797
Peak strength
(combat troops):

Together: 1,742,000

Total:
China 2,970,000[30]
Soviet Union 72,000[29]
Together: 3,042,000
Casualties and losses
  • Total civilian deaths: 2–3 million (est.)[31][32]
  • South Koreans:
    990,968 total casualties[19]
  • North Koreans:
    1,550,000 total casualties (est.)[19]

Both sides blame each other for starting the war. The North, led by the communist Kim Il-Sung, was helped mostly by China, led by Mao Zedong, and the Soviet Union, led by Joseph Stalin. There was medical support from East Germany, led by Walter Ulbricht); Hungary, led by Mátyás Rákosi; Romania, led by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej; Czechoslovakia,(led by Klement Gottwald; Poland, led by Bolesław Bierut; and Bulgaria . Other support came from Mongolia, led by Khorloogiin Choibalsan

The South, led by the nationalist Syngman Rhee, was helped by many countries in the United Nations, especially the United States. British troops were on the ground in smaller numbers. The U.S. forces included detachments from its Air Force and Navy.

The war ended on July 27, 1953. The United States keeps troops in South Korea in case North Korea ever invades again. Both Koreas are divided by the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which crosses the 38th parallel.

Origins and causes

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In 1910, fifteen years after the First Sino-Japanese War, Japan annexed Korea and was still ruling when World War II ended in 1945. After Japan had surrendered, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to split Korea into two occupation zones for a short time, with the Soviets occupying the north and the Americans occupying the south.

At the Moscow Conference of the Council of Foreign Ministers in December 1945, the Americans and the Soviets agreed on Korea having a provisional government, which would not last long. That became difficult because of the rise of the Cold War.[33]

The Cold War was an important cause in the Korean War. Relations between the two occupying powers were already bad, but when China became communist in October 1949, US President Harry Truman was very worried that other countries around China would go communist as well, such as Japan. The US Army was a twelfth the size that it had been of five years earlier.[34]

Stalin had recently lost a Cold War dispute over the Berlin Blockade and the subsequent airlift. Both powers argued mainly over fair border lines and the spread of communism.

Events

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Casualties near Busan
 
UN Forces landing at Inchon

25 June 1950

  • North Korea invades South Korea across the 38th parallel and takes most of South Korea. The South Korean Army retreats to Busan.

July 1950

  • The United Nations Army intervenes and lands at Incheon, a small port just about halfway down South Korea. From there, they fight North Korea, push it past the border, and separate the Koreas close to the Chinese border just south of the Yalu River.
  • China starts to feel threatened since the war happens so close to it. It tells the UN and South Korea to return to the border and that they have no business to invade North Korea.
October 1950
  • The warning given by the Chinese is ignored by the UN (led by US General Douglas MacArthur) and so the Chinese People's Liberation Army intervenes and lands in North Korea and fights the UN forces until they are pushed past the border.
December 1950
February 1951
  • Fighting continues until order is restored and neither army is in each other's country, when peace talks begin.
11 April 1951
  • MacArthur is relieved of his commands for making public statements that contradicted the administration's policies. He wants to invade North Korea again.
March 1951 – 27 July 1953
  • Peace talks continue until 27 July 1953, when no peace is declared, but an armistice is signed by both countries, and the UN withdraws.

Results

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Country Positive Negative
United States The expansion of communism is stopped from entering South Korea. Greece and Turkey join NATO. The Truman Doctrine is upheld. Found by other countries to be far too aggressive, which makes them nervous.
UN Gets first major success. Wins only by violence, not peace talks.
Both Koreas North Korea gets treaty with China. South Korea stays capitalist. Many people die. Much property is wrecked. No reunification occurs.
People's Republic of China A foreign war unites the country and improves its rulers' prestige. Relations with Soviets become worse. Not allowed on UN Security Council.
Soviet Union North Korea stays communist. The Soviet Air Force is tested against that of United States. Relations with China worsen. Loses a large amount of money.

Statistics

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Total strength

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  • Approximate numbers

United Nations

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Communist

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  • North Korea – 260,600 soldiers
  • China – 1,358,456 soldiers
  • Soviet Union – 26,000 soldiers
    • Total – 1,642,600 soldiers

Losses

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United Nations

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  • South Korea – 205,000 deaths – 905,800 wounded
  • United States – 100,503 deaths – 92,073 wounded
  • United Kingdom – 1,078 deaths – 2,674 wounded
  • Turkey – 721 deaths – 2,109 wounded
  • Canada – 507 deaths – 1,001 wounded
  • Australia – 380 deaths – 1,192 wounded
  • New Zealand – 34 deaths – 80 wounded
  • Netherlands – 150 deaths – 3 wounded
  • France – 69 deaths
  • Luxembourg – 2 deaths – 2 wounded

Communists

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  • North Korea – 257,806 deaths
  • China – about 25,000 deaths
  • Soviet Union – about 300 deaths

Television

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The popular television show M*A*S*H, about American doctors serving in the Korean War, lasted longer than the fighting.

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References

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  1. "6.25전쟁 당시 대한민국에 도움의 손길 내밀었던 이탈리아". Newsis. 2016-08-26. Archived from the original on 7 July 2023. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  2. "독일, 62년만에 6.25 전쟁 의료지원국에 포함…총 6개국으로 늘어". 헤럴드경제. 2018-06-22. Archived from the original on 4 October 2021. Retrieved 2021-04-04.
  3. 임, 성호 (2020-06-19). "[6.25전쟁 70년] 이역만리 한국서 수백만명 살리고 의술 전파까지". Yeonhap News. Archived from the original on 12 April 2021. Retrieved 2021-04-04.
  4. Young, Sam Ma (2010). "Israel's Role in the UN during the Korean War" (PDF). Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs. 4 (3): 81–89. doi:10.1080/23739770.2010.11446616. S2CID 219293462. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 August 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Morris-Suzuki, Tessa (29 July 2012). "Post-War Warriors: Japanese Combatants in the Korean War". The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. 10 (31). Archived from the original on 18 May 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  6. Whan-woo, Yi (16 September 2019). "Pakistan's Defense Day rekindles Korean War relief aid". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  7. "Uruguay's little-known but important role in the Korean War". Korea.net. 2022-02-10. Archived from the original on 9 April 2023. Retrieved 2022-09-04.
  8. Edles, Laura Desfor (1998). Symbol and Ritual in the New Spain: the transition to democracy after Franco. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0521628853.
  9. "Českoslovenští lékaři stáli v korejské válce na straně KLDR. Jejich mise stále vyvolává otazníky" (in Czech). Czech Radio. 11 April 2013. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Edwards, Paul M. (2006). Korean War Almanac. Almanacs of American wars. New York: Infobase Publishing. p. 528. ISBN 978-0816074679. Archived from the original on 4 July 2017.
  11. Kocsis, Piroska (2005). "Magyar orvosok Koreában (1950–1957)" [Hungarian physicians in Korea (1950–1957)]. ArchivNet: XX. századi történeti források (in Hungarian). Budapest: Magyar Országos Levéltár. Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  12. "Romania's "Fraternal Support" to North Korea during the Korean War, 1950–1953". Wilson Centre. December 2011. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  13. Birtle, Andrew J. (2000). The Korean War: Years of Stalemate. U.S. Army Center of Military History. p. 34. Archived from the original on 24 July 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  14. Millett, Allan Reed, ed. (2001). The Korean War, Volume 3. Korea Institute of Military History. U of Nebraska Press. p. 692. ISBN 978-0803277960. Retrieved 16 February 2013. Total Strength 602,902 troops
  15. Kane, Tim (27 October 2004). "Global U.S. Troop Deployment, 1950–2003". Reports. The Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
    Ashley Rowland (22 October 2008). "U.S. to keep troop levels the same in South Korea". Stars and Stripes. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
    Colonel Tommy R. Mize, United States Army (12 March 2012). "U.S. Troops Stationed in South Korea, Anachronistic?" (PDF). United States Army War College. Defense Technical Information Center. Archived from the original on 8 April 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
    Louis H. Zanardi; Barbara A. Schmitt; Peter Konjevich; M. Elizabeth Guran; Susan E. Cohen; Judith A. McCloskey (August 1991). "Military Presence: U.S. Personnel in the Pacific Theater" (PDF). Reports to Congressional Requesters. United States General Accounting Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 USFK Public Affairs Office. "USFK United Nations Command". United States Forces Korea. United States Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2016. Republic of Korea – 590,911
    Colombia – 1,068
    United States – 302,483
    Belgium – 900
    United Kingdom – 14,198
    South Africa – 826
    Canada – 6,146
    Netherlands – 819
    Turkey – 5,453
    Luxembourg – 44
    Australia – 2,282
    Philippines – 1,496
    New Zealand – 1,385
    Thailand – 1,204[needs to be explained]
    Ethiopia – 1,271
    Greece – 1,263
    France – 1,119
  17. Rottman, Gordon L. (2002). Korean War Order of Battle: United States, United Nations, and Communist Ground, Naval, and Air Forces, 1950–1953. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 126. ISBN 978-0275978358. Retrieved 16 February 2013. A peak strength of 14,198 British troops was reached in 1952, with over 40,000 total serving in Korea.
    "UK-Korea Relations". British Embassy Pyongyang. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2013. When war came to Korea in June 1950, Britain was second only to the United States in the contribution it made to the UN effort in Korea. 87,000 British troops took part in the Korean conflict, and over 1,000 British servicemen lost their lives[permanent dead link]
    Jack D. Walker. "A Brief Account of the Korean War". Information. Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense Institute for Military History. Archived from the original on 19 May 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2013. Other countries to furnish combat troops, with their peak strength, were: United States (302,483), United Kingdom (14,198), Canada (6,146), Turkey (5,455), Australia (2,282), Thailand (2,274), Philippines (1,496), New Zealand (1,389), France (1,185), Colombia (1,068), Ethiopia (1,271), Greece (1,263), Belgium (900), Netherlands (819), Republic of South Africa (826), Luxembourg (52)
  18. "Land of the Morning Calm: Canadians in Korea 1950–1953". Veterans Affairs Canada. Government of Canada. 7 January 2013. Archived from the original on 23 March 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. Peak Canadian Army strength in Korea was 8,123 all ranks.
  19. 19.00 19.01 19.02 19.03 19.04 19.05 19.06 19.07 19.08 19.09 19.10 "Casualties of Korean War" (in Korean). Ministry of National Defense of Republic of Korea. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Edwards, Paul M. (2006). Korean War Almanac. Almanacs of American wars. Infobase Publishing. p. 517. ISBN 978-0816074679. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  21. Ramachandran, D. p (19 March 2017). "The doctor-heroes of war". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 22 January 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2019 – via www.thehindu.com.
  22. Fact Sheet: America's Wars". Archived 27 November 2019 at the Wayback Machine U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Washington D.C., May 2017.
  23. "19만7056명 첫 全數조사 "젊은사람들 내 뒤에서 '얼마나 죽였길래' 수군수군 이젠 훈장 안 달고 다녀…세상이 야속하고 나 스스로 비참할 뿐"". Archived from the original on 14 July 2023. Retrieved 14 July 2023.
  24. The Statistics of the Korean War - ROK Ministry of National Defense Institute for Military History, 2014 (E-BOOK) Archived 9 July 2023 at the Wayback Machine (in Korean)
  25. The Statistics of the Korean War - ROK Ministry of National Defense Institute for Military History, 2014 (PDF) Archived 11 January 2021 at the Wayback Machine (in Korean)
  26. Shrader, Charles R. (1995). Communist Logistics in the Korean War. Issue 160 of Contributions in Military Studies. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 90. ISBN 978-0313295096. Retrieved 17 February 2013. NKPA strength peaked in October 1952 at 266,600 men in eighteen divisions and six independent brigades.
  27. Zhang 1995, p. 257.
  28. Xiaobing, Li (2009). A History of the Modern Chinese Army Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. p. 105: "By December 1952, the Chinese forces in Korea had reached a record high of 1.45 million men, including fifty-nine infantry divisions, ten artillery divisions, five antiaircraft divisions, and seven tank regiments. CPVF numbers remained stable until the armistice agreement was signed in July 1953."
  29. 29.0 29.1 Kolb, Richard K. (1999). "In Korea we whipped the Russian Air Force". VFW Magazine. 86 (11). Retrieved 17 February 2013. Soviet involvement in the Korean War was on a large scale. During the war, 72,000 Soviet troops (among them 5,000 pilots) served along the Yalu River in Manchuria. At least 12 air divisions rotated through. A peak strength of 26,000 men was reached in 1952.[permanent dead link]
  30. Xu, Yan (29 July 2003). "Korean War: In the View of Cost-effectiveness". Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in New York. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2007.
  31. Cumings, Bruce (2011). The Korean War: A History. Modern Library. p. 35. ISBN 9780812978964. Various encyclopedias state that the countries involved in the three-year conflict suffered a total of more than 4 million casualties, of which at least 2 million were civilians—a higher percentage than in World War II or Vietnam. A total of 36,940 Americans lost their lives in the Korean theater; of these, 33,665 were killed in action, while 3,275 died there of non-hostile causes. Some 92,134 Americans were wounded in action, and decades later, 8,176 were still reported as missing. South Korea sustained 1,312,836 casualties, including 415,004 dead. Casualties among other UN allies totaled 16,532, including 3,094 dead. Estimated North Korean casualties numbered 2 million, including about one million civilians and 520,000 soldiers. An estimated 900,000 Chinese soldiers lost their lives in combat.
  32. Lewy, Guenter (1980). America in Vietnam. Oxford University Press. pp. 450–453. ISBN 9780199874231. For the Korean War the only hard statistic is that of American military deaths, which included 33,629 battle deaths and 20,617 who died of other causes. The North Korean and Chinese Communists never published statistics of their casualties. The number of South Korean military deaths has been given as in excess of 400,000; the South Korean Ministry of Defense puts the number of killed and missing at 281,257. Estimates of communist troops killed are about one-half million. The total number of Korean civilians who died in the fighting, which left almost every major city in North and South Korea in ruins, has been estimated at between 2 and 3 million. This adds up to almost 1 million military deaths and a possible 2.5 million civilians who were killed or died as a result of this extremely destructive conflict. The proportion of civilians killed in the major wars of this century (and not only in the major ones) has thus risen steadily. It reached about 42 percent in World War II and may have gone as high as 70 percent in the Korean War. ... we find that the ratio of civilian to military deaths [in Vietnam] is not substantially different from that of World War II and is well below that of the Korean War.
  33. Keely Rogers and Jo Thomas, History 20th Century World – The Cold War (2008) p.50
  34. Active Duty Military Personnel, 1941–2011 inforplease.com

Other websites

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