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March 11, 2015

Pictures of Korean War From the 1950s

On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began when some 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army poured across the 38th parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the south. This invasion was the first military action of the Cold War. By July, American troops had entered the war on South Korea’s behalf. As far as American officials were concerned, it was a war against the forces of international communism itself.

After some early back-and-forth across the 38th parallel, the fighting stalled and casualties mounted with nothing to show for them. Meanwhile, American officials worked anxiously to fashion some sort of armistice with the North Koreans. The alternative, they feared, would be a wider war with Russia and China–or even, as some warned, World War III. Finally, in July 1953, the Korean War came to an end. In all, some 5 million soldiers and civilians lost their lives during the war. The Korean peninsula is still divided today.

Following World War II, the Korean peninsula was divided along the 38th parallel, with the creation of communist-backed North Korea and the anti-communist Republic of South Korea. On June 25, 1950, North invaded South, leading to the outbreak of the Korean War.

Kim Il-Sung ruled North Korea from its creation in 1948 until his death in 1994. Installed with the support of the Soviet Union, he led his country into the Korean War in an effort to unite the Korean peninsula under communist rule.

Rhee was elected the first president of South Korea in 1948 and led his nation during the Korean War. His authoritarian regime clamped down on all forms of dissent. Rhee was ultimately forced to resign and flee the country in 1960.

MacArthur was appointed commander-in-chief of U.N. forces at the outset of the Korean War. However, he openly disagreed with official U.S. policy, and in April 1951, President Truman removed him from command, igniting a storm of controversy.

At the start of the Korean War, the P-51 Mustang was the primary aircraft of the United Nations forces. Within a few years, the Mustang and other World War II-era propeller planes had been superseded by a new breed of jet fighters.

In October 1950, communist China entered the Korean conflict, sending thousands of soldiers across the Yalu River. The People's Volunteer Army, or PVA, won a series of victories, demoralizing U.N. troops and forcing them back across the 38th parallel into South Korea.

American movie actress Marilyn Monroe entertains a group of soldiers in Korea.

On September 15, 1950, General MacArthur launched a surprise amphibious assault at the port of Inchon, South Korea, resulting in a decisive U.N. victory over the invading North Koreans. Within weeks, U.N. and South Korean forces had captured Seoul and cut off vital North Korean supply lines.

After two years of negotiations, a ceasefire agreement was reached in July 1953. The Korean border remained near its prewar location along the 38th parallel, with a demilitarized zone (DMZ) formally separating North and South. No formal truce was ever signed.

Twenty-one American soldiers refused to return to America at the end of the Korean War. The sign on the truck reads: "We Stay for Peace." They moved to China; by the 1960s, all but two had returned home.

Dwight Eisenhower campaigned on a pledge to end the Korean War and traveled to the region shortly after his election in 1952.

A view from the bows of the USS Missouri as the main batteries (16-inch guns) fire on enemy targets off North Korea.

A major roadblock to peace negotiations designed to end the conflict was the return of prisoners of war.



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