The Korean War 25-4 The Main Idea Cold War tensions finally erupted in a shooting war in 1950. The United States confronted a difficult challenge defending freedom halfway around the world. Reading Focus What was the situation in Korea before the war began in 1950? What were the circumstances that led to the start of the Korean War? What were the key battles of the Korean War? How did the fighting in the Korean War end? Korea before the War After World War II, Japanese-occupied Korea was
temporarily divided into northern and southern parts. The Soviet Union controlled Korea north of the 38th parallel. The United States would be in charge of Korea south of the 38th parallel. The Soviet Union established a communist government in North Korea. North Korea called itself the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. Its first leader was Kim Il Sung. In South Korea, the United States promoted a democratic system. The Republic of Korea was led by president Syngman Rhee. The Start of the Korean War North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950.
Most leaders in the United States were surprised by this attack. American troops stationed in South Korea since WW II had recently completed their withdrawal. The United States was not well prepared to fight in Korea; however, the decision to fight was made quickly. Truman decided that the United States would take a stand against Communist aggression in Korea. The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously in favor of the use of force in Korea. The Start of the Korean War Role of the United States
Role of the United Nations South Korea was where the United States had to take a stand against Communist aggression. The UN Security Council supported the use of force in Korea. Truman ordered American naval and air
forces to support Korean ground troops. Truman asked the United Nations to approve the use of force to stop the North Korean invasion. Truman sent ground troops to Korea. The troops sent to Korea were to be a United Nations force. Instead of calling this a war, the whole effort
was referred to as a UN police action. Combat in the Korean War The Inchon Landing North Korea on the Run UN Forces Retreat
UN forces made an amphibious landing behind North Korean lines at the port city of Inchon. MacArthurs surprise attack worked beautifully. The September 1950 invasion at Inchon was a key victory for UN forces.
Offensives from Inchon and Pusan resulted in the destruction or surrender of huge numbers of North Korean troops. By October 1950 all of South Korea was back in UN hands. UN forces had begun to move into North Korea, but the when 260,000 Chinese troops joined the North Koreans the UN began to retreat.
UN forces retreated all the way back to Seoul. It was the longest fallback in U.S. military history. General MacArthur Is Fired MacArthur said that the UN faced a choice between defeat by the Chinese or a major war with them. He wanted to expand the war by bombing the Chinese mainland, perhaps even with atomic weapons. Lieutenant General Matthew Ridgway stopped the Chinese onslaught and pushed them back to the 38th parallel without needing to expand the war or use atomic weapons. MacArthur disagreed with President Truman about the
direction of the fighting and challenged the authority of the president. Truman fired MacArthur. Many Americans were outraged at the firing of MacArthur. Fighting Ends in Korea Negotiating for Peace In July 1951 peace talks began. One major obstacle was the location of the boundary between the Koreas. Meanwhile battles such as Bloody Ridge and Heartbreak Ridge continued, inflicting
heavy casualties on both sides. In October 1951 peace talks stalled over prisoners of war. Negotiators in Panmunjom continued to argue over the details of a peace agreement throughout 1952. Events of 1953 In 1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower who promised to end the warwas elected president. Fighting remained deadlyin the final two months of the
war, UN forces lost 57,000 men and the Communists lost 100,000. An armistice agreement was finally reached on July 27, 1953. The Korean War left the map of Korea looking much as it had in 1950. The human costs were huge.
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