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November 13, 2020

50 Amazing Color Photographs That Capture Street Scenes of Seoul in the Mid-1950s, Just After the Korean War

When Korea was liberated from Japanese control at the end of the Second World War, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed temporarily to divide Korea at the 38th parallel of latitude north of the equator. This division resulted in the formation of two countries: communist North Korea (supported by the Soviets) and South Korea (supported by the United States).

The Korean War began when North Korean troops pushed into South Korea on June 25, 1950, and it lasted until 1953. But experts said the military conflict could not be properly understood without considering its historical context.

Technically, the Korean War did not end. The fighting stopped when North Korea, China and the United States reached an armistice in 1953. But South Korea did not agree to the armistice, and no formal peace treaty was ever signed.

Neither North nor South Korea had achieved its goal: the destruction of the opposing regime and reunification of the divided peninsula.

Since 1953 there has been an uneasy coexistence between North and South Korea, which hosts over 20,000 American troops. At one time hundreds of American nuclear weapons were based there. It was from the Korean War onward that South Korea had a permanent, global American military presence that we had never had before. It was a real turning point for America’s global role.

Here, these amazing color photographs were taken by several American soldiers that show everyday life in Seoul from 1954 to 1956:


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