The Korean War in rare pictures, 1951-1953

The Korean War was one of several military conflicts that occurred during the Cold War, as the United States and its allies attempted to stop the spread of communism. The conflict began on 25 June 1950, when North Korea, a communist nation, invaded South Korea.

Before the conclusion of World War II, North and South Korea were a single country known as Korea. After the war, Korea became a two country. By invading South Korea, North Korea hoped to reunite the two countries as one country under communism.

With North Korea's invasion of South Korea, the United States feared the spread of communism. Determined to stop North Korea, the United States sought permission from the United Nations to support the South Korean government's military.

The United Nations allowed the United States to send troops to two Koreas to free South Korea from military occupation of North Korea. Although many of the troops sent to South Korea were members of the United States military, they were under the direct control of the United Nations.

Because of this and because the United States never formally declared war on North Korea, many argue that the Korean War should be called the Korean conflict rather than being referred to as a war.

Technically these people are correct from the American point of view, yet North and South Korea were clearly engaged in war. American soldiers, as well as people from other countries, were hoping to save South Korea from communism and thereby participate in the Korean War.

With the arrival of United Nations forces in South Korea with the Incheon invasion, the tide of the war turned sharply against the North Koreans. United Nations forces and South Koreans drove North Korea back to North Korea.

The forces of South Korea and the United Nations did not stop with the withdrawal of North Korea from South Korea. These forces continued to attack North Korean forces in the hope of freeing North Korea from communist control.

By October 1950, United Nations troops had driven North Korean forces to the Chinese border. Fearing that UN troops intended to invade China, another communist nation, Chinese military forces crossed the Sino-North Korean border and launched an attack against UN troops.

In early 1951, the Chinese drove UN troops to the 38th parallel, roughly the original border between North Korea and South Korea. For the next two years, a virtual standoff existed around the 38th parallel.

While both sides launched several strikes against each other, neither side was successful in removing their opponent. On July 27, 1953, both sides agreed to an armistice, essentially ending the Korean War.

South Korea remained free from communism, and the original borders of these two countries remained essentially unchanged before the conflict.

Most historians claim that the Korean War was a draw, with no clear winner. In short, it's true. However, the United States, through the United Nations, succeeded in freeing South Korea from communism. At the same time, this victory was costly. About one million South Koreans lost their lives in this conflict.

A slightly larger number of North Koreans died, accounting for more than eleven percent of the country's entire population. About thirty-four thousand Americans were killed, and another 100,000 soldiers suffered non-fatal wounds. At the end of the Korean War, more than eight thousand Americans were missing in action.

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