Korean War
Timeline OTL
Date 25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953
Location Korean Peninsula
Result Military stalemate
*North Korean invasions of South Korea repelled
*Subsequent United Nations invasion of North Korea repelled
*Subsequent Chinese–North Korean–Soviet invasion of South Korea repelled
*Korean Armistice Agreement
Flag of the United Nations-1-.svg UN Command

ROKFlag.png South Korea
USA48star.jpg United States
Britain.jpg United Kingdom
...and others

DPRKflag.png North Korea

Soviet.jpg Soviet Union
PRCflag.png People's Republic of China
...with support from others

The Korean War (25 June 1950 - 27 July 1953) was a war between North and South Korea, in which a United Nations force lead by the United States fought for South Korea, while China and the Soviet Union supported North Korea.

North Korean forces invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950. On that day, the United Nations Security Council recognized this North Korean act as invasion and called for an immediate ceasefire. On 27 June, the Security Council adopted S/RES/83: Complaint of aggression upon the Republic of Korea and decided the formation and dispatch of the UN Forces in Korea. Twenty-one countries of the United Nations eventually contributed to the defense of South Korea, with the United States providing 88% of the UN's military personnel.

After the first two months of the conflict, South Korean forces were on the point of defeat, forced back to the Pusan Perimeter. In September 1950, an amphibious UN counter-offensive was launched at Inchon, and cut off many of the North Korean attackers. Those that escaped envelopment and capture were rapidly forced back north all the way to the border with China at the Yalu River, or into the mountainous interior. At this point, in October 1950, Chinese forces crossed the Yalu and entered the war.Chinese intervention triggered a retreat of UN forces which continued until mid-1951. After these dramatic reversals of fortune, which saw Seoul change hands four times, the last two years of conflict became a war of attrition, with the front line close to the 38th parallel. The war in the air, however, was never a stalemate. North Korea was subject to a massive bombing campaign. Jet aircraft were used in air-to-air combat for the first time in history, and Soviet pilots covertly flew in defense of their Communist allies.

The fighting ended on 27 July 1953, when an armistice was signed. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea, and allowed the return of prisoners. However, no lasting peace treaty has been signed, and the two Koreas are technically still at war. Periodic clashes, many of which were deadly, have continued to the present.

Korean War in The Hot War

The Korean War (1950-1952) began as a conflict on the Korean Peninsula and, thanks to the participation of the world's superpowers, spiraled out of control into World War III.

The Korean War began in June 1950, when North Korea invaded South Korea. While North Korean forces managed to drive far into South Korean territory in its initial surprise attack, U.N. forces, under the command of U.S. general Douglas MacArthur, had succeeded in pushing the North Koreans back, and had even driven up towards the Chinese border.[1]

However, the next tentative step towards a global war came in November 1950, when, despite a number of hints that were effectively ignored by MacArthur, Chinese troops crossed the Yalu River and came to Kim Il-sung's aid. In late November and into December, the Chinese forces thoroughly destroyed three divisions of American forces between the Chosin Reservoir and Hungnam, the worst defeat American forces had seen since the Battle of Bataan during World War II.[2]

In response, the United States used atomic weapons in Manchuria on January 1951.[3] The Soviet Union, China and North Korea's ally, attacked Britain, France, and West Germany, and in short order, World War III was underway.[4]

Ironically, once the war in Europe began, the Korean theater became a lower priority for the U.S. and the Soviets, although Chinese and North Korean troops continued to press south, with the Korean War looking more and more like World War I.[5] Nonetheless, the U.S. military was able to deliver a regiment's worth of Pershing tanks in advance of an attack near Chongju. The battle proved to be a success for the UN.[6] Another engagement in April saw UN forces hold back a column of T-34s until air support could do enough damage to force a retreat.[7]

In April 1951, the United States launched a substantial bombing raid against Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in an effort to kill Kim Il-sung The attack used conventional explosives, rather than atomic weapons. Kim survived, as Pyongyang was heavily defended. Nonetheless, the attack did a fair amount of damage.[8] However, that very same night, communist forces were able to bomb and disable a U.S. air strip near Pusan.[9]

After those events, the war quieted down, with both sides blaring propaganda at each other over loudspeakers, with Red troops actually surrendering every so often, thanks in part to a message created by a psy-ops colonel named Linebarger, which used the Chinese words for "love" and "virtue" and "humanity", which when taken together also sounded like the English words for "I surrender", allowing the Reds to surrender without losing face.[10]

The month of May saw the snow melt, and an increase in shelling attacks from the Chinese. American troops were painfully aware of the long logistics chain between Korea and the U.S. after the attacks on the U.S. west coast, and the Panama and Suez Canals.[11] While many hoped that the U.S. atomic attacks on Khabarovsk and Blagoveshchensk, would lead to a slowdown of the supplies coming into the Chinese and North Korean armies, others had doubts.[12]

The lines stalemated south of Chongju, with the Americans and the Chinese intermittently taking shots at one another throughout June and July of 1951.[13] This was broken when the Soviets dropped atom bombs on Pusan and Chongju in South Korea in August,[14] Chinese and North Korean troops poured through the hole the Soviet's had created,[15] driving UN troops south to Kaeryong,[16] where their stubborn resistance stabilized the lines once gain.[17]

However, within weeks, the situation had sufficiently deteriorated such that the U.S. Army recruited South Korean soldiers to fill things out. U.S. troops who'd seen how badly the South Koreans had done at the outset of the war in 1950 were not impressed. The fact that many of the South Korean officers used a model of discipline patterned on one the Japanese had used was further cause for alarm.[18] In short order, the South Koreans demonstrated that they'd learned a great deal since the war began and proved themselves in combat.[19] Tensions did flair up between U.S. troops and their South Korean counterparts over ROK methods of discipline.[20]

While the line had stabilized again with the arrival of winter,[21] with the spring thaw, the Reds advanced and successfully took Kaeryeong in April, 1952, and UN forces set up a new line just south of the town.[22] UN propaganda played up the role of the new hydrogen bomb in Stalin's death, and intimated that it could be used against the Chinese. Mao and his allies were defiant,[23] and kept fighting even after Treaty of Versailles ended the war in Europe. UN forces began increased pressure in Korea, with B-47s now picking up where the B-29s had left off.[24]

Despite Mao's public defiance, NATO attacks on North Korean and Chinese infrastructure began taking a toll. In August, 1952, the Chinese government approached the government of Yugoslavia to open up talks with the U.S. While Marshal Tito was a "deviationist" in Mao's eyes, Yugoslavia was one of the handful of countries to maintain relations with both the U.S. and the P.R.C.

Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En-Lai proposed a return to the status quo ante bellum in Asia if the U.S. ended its bombing campaign against China. Chou further promised that North Korea would withdraw its forces north of the 38th Parallel. Yugoslavian Foreign Minister Edvard Kardelj met with President Truman in Philadelphia with Chou's proposal. Satisfied that Kim would withdraw, Truman accepted Chou's plan, and the war officially ended on all fronts.[25]

See also


  1. Bombs Away, see, eg., pg. 7, ebook.
  2. Ibid., pg. 5, ebook.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 55-57.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 65-70.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid., pg. 204-205.
  7. Ibid., pgs. 273-277.
  8. Ibid., pgs. 283-287.
  9. Ibid., pgs. 286-287.
  10. Ibid., pgs. 311-315.
  11. Ibid., pgs. 357-360.
  12. Ibid., pg. 382.
  13. Fallout, loc. 197-268.
  14. Ibid., loc. 2152-2213.
  15. Ibid., loc. 2302.
  16. Ibid., loc. 2503.
  17. Ibid., loc. 2562.
  18. Ibid., loc. 3371-3422.
  19. Ibid., loc. 3434-3446.
  20. Ibid, loc. 4408-4482.
  21. Ibid., loc. 5157-5231.
  22. Ibid., loc. 5535.
  23. Armistice, pgs. 85-88.
  24. Ibid., pg. 163.
  25. Ibid., pgs 277-280, ebook.