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Korean War

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Korean War
Part of the Cold War

United States Marines storm ashore at Incheon
Date Full-scale fighting June 25, 1950–a cease fire on July 27, 1953, though there was never an "official" end-of-the-war treaty. The conflict still technically persists to this day.
Location Korean peninsula
Result Ceasefire.
Casus belli North Korean invasion of South Korea.
Control of North and South Korea
United Nations United Nations:

South Korea Republic of Korea
Flag of Australia Australia
Flag of Belgium Belgium
Flag of Colombia Colombia
Flag of France France
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand
Flag of Philippines Philippines
South Africa
Flag of Thailand Thailand
Flag of Turkey Turkey
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom
United States

Medical staff:
Flag of Denmark Denmark
Flag of India India
Flag of Italy Italy
Flag of Norway Norway
Flag of Sweden Sweden

Communist states:

North Korea Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
People's Republic of China People’s Republic of China
Flag of Soviet Union USSR

South Korea Syngman Rhee

South Korea Chung Il Kwon
Douglas MacArthur
Mark W. Clark
Matthew Ridgway

North Korea Kim Il-sung

North Korea Choi Yong-kun
North Korea Van Len
North Korea Kim Chaek
People's Republic of China Peng Dehuai

Note: All figures may vary according to source. This measures peak strength as sizes changed during the war.

South Korea 590,911
USA 480,000
Britain 63,000 [1]
Canada 26,791[2]
Australia 17,000
The Philippines 7,000
Turkey 5,455[3]
The Netherlands 3,972
France 3,421[4]
New Zealand 1,389
Thailand 1,294
Ethiopia 1,271
Greece 1,263
Colombia 1,068
Belgium 900
South Africa 826
Luxembourg 44
Total: 941,356–1,139,518

260,000 North Korean,

780,000 Chinese,
26,000 Soviet troops,
total: 1,066,000

US killed 50,000
US wounded 103,000
South Koreans killed 673,000
Total 1,271,244 to 1,818,410
Chinese killed 145,000
Chinese wounded 260,000
Soviets killed 315
Total 1,858,000 to 3,822,000
Civilians killed/wounded (total Koreans) = millions
Korean War
Pusan PerimeterInchonChosin ReservoirImjin RiverGloster HillKapyongHill Eerie - The Hook - Pork Chop Hill - Bloody Ridge - Heartbreak Ridge
History of Korea

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The Korean War, occurring between June 25, 1950 and a cease-fire on July 27, 1953, was a war between the partition states of North Korea and South Korea that were created respectively out of the post-World War II Soviet and American occupation zones in Korea, with large-scale participation by other countries.

The principal support on the side of the North Korean communists was the People's Republic of China, with limited assistance by Soviet combat advisors, military pilots, and weapons. South Korea was supported by United Nations (UN) forces, principally from the United States, although many other nations also contributed personnel.

In South Korea, the war is often called 6·25, from the date of the start of the conflict or, more formally, Han-guk Jeonjaeng (한국전쟁 "Korean War"). In North Korea, it is formally called the Fatherland Liberation War. In the United States, the conflict was officially termed a police action — the Korean Conflict — rather than a war, largely in order to avoid the necessity of a declaration of war by the U.S. Congress. The war is sometimes referred to outside Korea as "The Forgotten War", because it is a major conflict of the 20th century that is rarely mentioned in public discourse. In China, the conflict was known as War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea (抗美援朝), but is today commonly called the "Korean War" (朝鲜战争, Chaoxian Zhanzheng).[5]


[edit] Historical background

See also: Korea under Japanese rule, Division of Korea

[edit] Japanese occupation

The Japanese army surrounded strategically important parts of Korea in the early days of the Russo-Japanese War (February, 1904). The Japanese stayed, gradually took over local institutions and finally annexed Korea in August, 1910.[citation needed] Korea remained under Japanese occupation until the end of World War II in 1945. On August 6, 1945, the Soviet Union, in keeping with a commitment made to the United States government, declared war on the Japanese Empire and on August 8, 1945, started attacking the northern part of the Korean peninsula. As agreed on with the U.S., the USSR halted its troops at the 38th parallel. President Harry S. Truman ordered the landing of U.S. troops in the south. [6]

[edit] Post WWII Division of Korea

On August 10, 1945 with the Japanese surrender imminent and following a plan drawn up earlier by the United States, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to divide Korea along the 38th parallel. Japanese forces north of that line would surrender to the Soviet Union, and those to the south to the United States. Thus, without consulting the Korean people, the two major powers divided the Korea peninsula into two occupation zones. Although later policies and actions contributed to Korea's division, the United States did not envision this as a permanent partition.[7]

In December 1945, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to administer their halves of the country favorable to their respective political ideology. In the process, U.S. run elections supervised by the UN, but boycotted by the southern partition's left-wing parties, replaced an indigenous, left-wing government that had formed in June 1945 with one led by the right-wing anti-Communist Syngman Rhee. The Soviet Union, in turn, approved the rise of a Communist government led by Kim Il-Sung in the northern half. The Allies stated Korea would be a unified, independent country under an elected government, but failed to specify details.[8] In 1949, both Soviet and American forces withdrew.

[edit] Border hostilities

Rhee and Kim competed to reunite the peninsula, conducting military attacks along the border throughout 1949 and early 1950.[9] The North Koreans, however, armed with Soviet tanks, changed the nature of the war from a border conflict to a full blown civil war.

The view of monolithic global communism, with North Koreans as little more than puppets of the Soviet Union, prevented an understanding of the initial conflict as a civil war.[10]

On January 12, 1950 United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson said that America's Pacific defense perimeter was made up of the Aleutians, Ryūkyū, Japan, and the Philippines implying that the U.S. might not fight over Korea.[11]

Border crossing at the 38th Parallel
Border crossing at the 38th Parallel

In early 1949, Kim Il-Sung pressed his case with Joseph Stalin that the time had come for a full-scale invasion and reunification of the Korean peninsula. This need to seek Stalin's permission, would seem to reinforce the notion that there was a "monolithic global communisim." Stalin as leader of the communist block refused permission, concerned with the relative unpreparedness of the North Korean armed forces and about possible U.S. involvement. In the course of the next year, the North Korean leadership molded the North Korean army into a formidable offensive war machine modeled partly on a Soviet mechanized force, but strengthened primarily by an influx of Koreans who had served with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army since the 1930s. By 1950, the North Koreans, equipped with Soviet weaponry, enjoyed substantial advantages over the South in every category of equipment. After another visit by Kim to Moscow in March-April of 1950, Stalin approved an attack.

[edit] Korean War (1950–1953)

[edit] Order of battle

In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday June 25, 1950, the North Korean army struck across the 38th parallel behind a firestorm of artillery barrage.[12] Equipped by the Soviets with 150 T-34 tanks, the North Koreans began the war with about 180 Russian aircraft, including 40 YAK fighters and 70 attack bombers. The navy was inconsequential. The most serious weakness was its lack of a reliable logistics system for moving supplies south as the army advanced. (In practice, it forced thousands of civilians to hand-carry supplies, while subject to American air attacks.) Nevertheless, the North's attack with about 135,000 troops achieved surprise and quick successes. [13] North Korea attacked many key places including Kaesŏng, Chuncheon, Uijeongbu and Ongjin. Within days South Korean forces, outnumbered and out-gunned, were in full retreat. As the ground attack continued, the North Korean Air Force conducted bombing on Kimpo Airport in Seoul. Seoul was captured by the North Koreans on the afternoon of June 28, but the North Koreans had hoped for quick surrender by the Rhee government and the disintegration of the South Korean Army. Kim Il Sung expected a quick victory, with the peasants rising up in his support. That did not happen. He did not expect the war to last long enough for American intervention, so there were no significant defenses prepared against American air attacks.

The invasion of South Korea came as a surprise to the United States and the other western powers; in the preceding week Dean Acheson of the State Department had told Congress on June 20 no such war was likely. Contacted hours after the invasion had begun, Truman was convinced the beginning of World War III had arrived.

The South Korean Army had 65,000 soldiers present for duty, and was deficient in armor and artillery. There were no American combat units in the country when the invasion began, but there were large American forces stationed in nearby Japan. [14]

The United States still had substantial forces in Japan, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Apart from British Commonwealth units, no other nation could supply sizeable manpower. On hearing of the invasion, President Harry S. Truman ordered MacArthur to transfer munitions to the ROK Army, while using air cover to protect evacuation of US citizens. Truman did not agree with his advisors who called for unilateral U.S. airstrikes against the North Korean forces, but did order the Seventh Fleet to protect Taiwan, thereby ending the policy of the United States of acquiescing to the defeat of the forces of Chiang Kai-Shek. The Chinese Nationalists government, now confined to Taiwan, asked to participate in the war, but their request was denied by the Americans who felt they would only encourage Communist Chinese intervention.

The other western powers quickly agreed with American actions volunteering their support for the effort. By August the South Korean forces and the U.S. Eighth Army, which had arrived to help South Korea resist the Communist invasion, were driven into a small area in the southeast corner of the Korean peninsula around the city of Pusan.

[edit] Truman sends in American forces

The North's onslaught came as a surprise to the Western powers.[15] The U.S. did not have an emergency response force ready, but it did have a large military and reserves, and a cadre of highly experienced officers and sergeants. President Harry S Truman ordered U.S. naval and air forces to stem the North Korean advance, but they were not allowed to attack north of the 38th parallel, and especially not into Chinese or Russian territory.

The initial units sent in were drawn from the U.S. occupation forces in Japan under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Although the Chinese Nationalists offered to participate in the war, the Americans declined because they were poorly equipped and trained, and politically, there was a risk that Nationalist participation would encourage overt intervention by the Chinese communists. The first significant American combat unit to arrive in South Korea was Task Force Smith, part of the U.S. Army 24th Infantry Division based in Japan. On July 5, it engaged in the first North Korean-American clash of the war at Osan.

The United Nations immediately acted, ordering the invaders to withdraw and calling all members to support South Korea. A UN command was established under the control of the United States. Britain, Australia and other Western powers quickly showed support and volunteered to aid in the effort.[16]

[edit] Continued retreat to Pusan perimeter

By August, 1950, the ROK forces and newly arrived units of the U.S. Eighth Army were driven back into the southeastern corner of the peninsula, around the port city of Pusan. With the aid of American supplies, naval and air support, and additional reinforcements, the U.S. and ROK forces barely managed to stabilize a line along the Nakdong River. In the face of fierce North Korean attacks, the allied defense became a desperate holding action called the Pusan Perimeter. The failure of North Korea to capture Pusan doomed its invasion.

American air power arrived in force, flying 40 sorties a day in ground support actions, especially against tanks. Strategic bombers (mostly B-29s based in Japan) closed most rail and road traffic by day, and cut 32 critical bridges. (Trains waited out the daylight hours in tunnels.) The bombers knocked out the main supply dumps in the north, as well as the oil refineries and seaports that handled Russian imports. Naval air power also attacked transportation chokepoints. The North Korean logistics problems grew severe, with shortages of food and ammunition. The North lost half its invading force and morale was poor.

Meanwhile, supply bases in Japan were pouring weapons and soldiers into Pusan. Tank battalions were rushed in from San Francisco; by late August, the US had over 500 medium tanks in the Pusan perimeter. By early September, UN-ROK forces were vastly stronger and outnumbered the North Koreans by 180,000 to 100,000. At that point, they began their counterattack.[17]

[edit] Inchon landing and move north (Sept 15 – Oct 1950)

Main article: Battle of Inchon
American forces land on Incheon harbor one day after the Battle of Incheon began.
American forces land on Incheon harbor one day after the Battle of Incheon began.

In the face of these reinforcements, the North Koreans found themselves undermanned with weak logistical support, and lacking naval and air support. MacArthur initiated his attack with the landing far behind the North Korean lines at Incheon (인천; 仁川). MacArthur had started planning a few days after the war began, but had been strongly opposed by the Pentagon. When he finally received permission to go ahead, MacArthur activated X Corps under General Edward Almond (comprised of 70,000 troops of the 1st Marine Division, and the 7th Army division and augmented by 8,600 Korean troops) and ordered them to land at Incheon in "Operation CHROMITE". The landing was a decisive victory, as X Corps rolled over the few defenders and threatened to trap the main North Korean army. MacArthur quickly recaptured Seoul. The North Koreans, almost cut off, rapidly retreated northwards; about 25,000 to 30,000 made it back. [18]

The United Nations troops drove the North Koreans back past the 38th parallel. The goal of saving South Korea had been achieved, but because of the success and the prospect of uniting all of Korea under the government of Syngman Rhee, the Americans - with UN approval - continued into North Korea. The actions of the UN forces greatly concerned the Chinese, who worried that they would not stop at the Yalu River (the borderline between the PRK and the People's Republic of China).

[edit] The Chinese entry (October, 1950)

Chinese troops in southern Manchuria on the way to Korea in 1950.
Chinese troops in southern Manchuria on the way to Korea in 1950.

The alarmed People's Republic of China, fearing the establishment of a pro-American state along its border, warned neutral diplomats that it would intervene if the conflict did not end. Truman regarded the warnings as "a bald attempt to blackmail the UN". Since he was previously informed by the CIA that Chinese involvement was unlikely without Soviet approval, Truman went to Wake Island for a highly publicized meeting with MacArthur on October 15, 1950, who saw little risk. The general explained that the Chinese had lost their window of opportunity to help North Korea's invasion. He estimated the Chinese had 300,000 soldiers in Manchuria, with between 100,000-125,000 men along the Yalu, of which only half could be brought across river. In addition, the Chinese had no air force, hence, "if the Chinese tried to get down to Pyongyang there would be the greatest slaughter." [19] MacArthur thus assumed the Chinese were unwilling to help North Korea so as to avoid heavy casualties.

On October 8, 1950, the day after American troops crossed the 38th, the Chinese People's Volunteer Army edged closer to the Yalu River. Mao Zedong, seeing intervention as merely a defense against American aggression, warned Stalin: "If we allow the U.S. to occupy all of Korea… we must be prepared for the US to declare… war with China." Premier Zhou Enlai was sent to Moscow to add force to Mao's cabled argument. Mao waited on Soviet consent, which postponed the attack by six days until October 19. Finally, the Soviets agreed to provide aerial support no closer than sixty miles (96 km) from the battlefront, much to the dismay of the Chinese, who had expected full air support.

Chinese troops (40th corps, 118th division) in the October 25, 1950 skirmish near the Yalu River.
Chinese troops (40th corps, 118th division) in the October 25, 1950 skirmish near the Yalu River.
A Chinese enlistment status poster during the Korean War.
A Chinese enlistment status poster during the Korean War.

The Chinese made a skirmish on October 25, 1950 with 270,000 PVA troops under the command of General Peng Dehuai, much to the surprise of the UN. However, after these initial engagements, the Chinese forces melted away into the mountains. UN leaders saw the retreat as a sign of weakness, and greatly underestimated the Chinese fighting capability given limited Soviet assistance. The UN forces thus continued their advance to the Yalu river, ignoring stern warnings given by the Chinese to stay away.

In late November, the Chinese struck in the west, along the Chongchon River, and completely overran several ROK divisions and landed a heavy blow to the flank of the remaining UN forces. The resulting withdrawal of the U.S. Eighth Army was the longest retreat of any American military unit in history.[20] In the east, at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, a 30,000 man unit from the U.S. 7th Infantry Division were soon surrounded, but eventually fought their way out of the encirclement after suffering over 15,000 casualties. The Marines, although surrounded at the Chosin Reservoir, retreated after inflicting heavy casualties on six attacking Chinese divisions.[21]

Chinese troops at the 38th parallel.
Chinese troops at the 38th parallel.

The UN forces in northeast Korea quickly withdrew to form a defensive perimeter around the port city of Hungnam, where a major evacuation was being carried out in late December 1950. All together, 193 shiploads of men and material were evacuated from Hungnam Harbor, and about 105,000 soldiers, 98,000 civilians, 17,500 vehicles, and 350,000 tons of supplies were shipped to Pusan in orderly fashion. [22]

On January 4, 1951, Chinese and North Korean forces recaptured Seoul. Both the 8th Army and the X Corps were forced to retreat. General Walker was killed in an accident and was replaced by a World War II airborne verteran, Lieutenant General Matthew Ridgway, who took immediate steps to raise the morale and fighting spirit of the battered Eighth Army, which had fallen to low levels during its retreat. Nevertheless, the situation was so grim that MacArthur mentioned the use of atomic weapons against China, much to the alarm of America's allies.

It soon became clear the Chinese could not go beyond Seoul due to logistical problems, as they did not have the necessary transport trucks. On March 16, 1951, a revitalized Eighth Army recaptured Seoul, for the fourth time in a year, in Operation Ripper. Seoul was in utter ruins at the time, with its population reduced to 200,000 from the original 1.5 million.[23]

MacArthur was removed from command by President Truman on April 11, 1951 due to misconduct, including a meeting with Republic of China President Chiang Kai-shek in the role of a U.S. diplomat, and providing false information to President Truman about the Chinese military buildup near the Korean border. Furthermore, MacArthur was rude to the President, and openly demanded a widening of the conflict to include nuclear attacks.[24][25] Ridgway soon succeeded MacArthur, and managed to regroup his battered troops for an effective counter-offensive, which allowed the UN forces to advance some miles north of the 38th parallel.

Historian and Korean War veteran Bevin Alexander had this to say about Chinese tactics in his book How Wars Are Won:

The Chinese had no air power and were armed only with rifles, machineguns, hand grenades, and mortars. Against the much more heavily armed Americans, they adapted a technique they had used against the Nationalists in the Chinese civil war of 1946–49. The Chinese generally attacked at night and tried to close in on a small troop position — generally a platoon — and then attacked it with local superiority in numbers. The usual method was to infiltrate small units, from a platoon of fifty men to a company of 200, split into separate detachments. While one team cut off the escape route of the Americans, the others struck both the front and the flanks in concerted assaults. The attacks continued on all sides until the defenders were destroyed or forced to withdraw. The Chinese then crept forward to the open flank of the next platoon position, and repeated the tactics.

[edit] Stalemate (July, 1951)

Territory changed hands in the early part of the war until the front stabilised
Territory changed hands in the early part of the war until the front stabilised

The rest of the war involved little territory change, large scale bombing of the the north, and lengthy peace negotiations (which started in Kaesong on July 10 of the same year). Even during the peace negotiations, combat continued. For the South Korean and allied forces, the goal was to recapture all of South Korea before an agreement was reached in order to avoid loss of any territory. The Chinese attempted a similar operation at the Battle of the Hook, where they were repelled by British forces. A major issue of the negotiations was repatriation of POWs. The Communists agreed to voluntary repatriation, but only if the majority would return to China or North Korea, something that did not occur. As many refused to be repatriated to the communist North Korea and China, the war continued until the Communists eventually dropped this issue.

In October 1951, U.S. forces performed Operation Hudson Harbor intending to establish the capability to use nuclear weapons. Several B-29s conducted individual simulated bomb runs from Okinawa to North Korea, delivering "dummy" nuclear bombs or heavy conventional bombs; the operation was coordinated from Yakaota air base in Japan. The battle exercise was intended to test "actual functioning of all activities which would be involved in an atomic strike, including weapons assembly and testing, leading, ground control of bomb aiming," and so on. The results indicated that nuclear bombs would be less effective than anticipated, because "timely identification of large masses of enemy troops was extremely rare." [26]

On November 29, 1952, U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfilled a campaign promise by going to Korea to find out what could be done to end the conflict. With the UN's acceptance of India's proposal for a Korean armistice, a cease-fire was established on July 27, 1953, by which time the front line was back around the proximity of the 38th parallel, and so a demilitarized zone (DMZ) was established around it, still defended to this day by North Korean troops on one side and South Korean and American troops on the other. The DMZ runs north of the parallel towards the east, and to the south as it travels west. The site of the peace talks, Kaesong, the old capital of Korea, was part of the South before hostilities broke out but is currently a special city of the North. No peace treaty has been signed to date.

[edit] Western reaction

American action was taken for a number of reasons. Truman, a Democratic president, was under severe domestic pressure for being too soft on communism by, among others, Republican senator Joseph McCarthy. Especially outspoken were those who accused the Democrats of having lost China to the communists. The intervention was also an important implementation of the new Truman Doctrine, which advocated the opposition of communism wherever it tried to expand. The lessons of Munich in 1938 also influenced the American decision, believing that appeasing communism would only encourage further expansion.

Instead of pressing for a congressional declaration of war, which he regarded as too alarmist and time-consuming when time was of the essence, Truman went to the UN for approval. (He would later come under harsh criticism for not consulting Congress before sending troops.) Thanks to a temporary Soviet absence from the Security Council — the Soviets were boycotting the Security Council to protest the exclusion of People's Republic of China (PRC) from the UN — there was no veto by Stalin and the (Nationalist-controlled) Republic of China government held the Chinese seat. Without Soviet and Chinese vetoes, and with only Yugoslavia abstaining, the UN voted to aid South Korea on June 27. U.S. forces were eventually joined during the conflict by troops from 15 other UN members: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, France, South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, Greece, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Colombia, the Philippines, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Although American opinion was solidly behind the venture, Truman would later take harsh criticism for not obtaining a declaration of war from Congress before sending troops to Korea. Thus, "Truman's War" was said by some to have violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the United States Constitution.

American soldiers in Korea
American soldiers in Korea

The first significant American combat unit to arrive in South Korea was Task Force Smith, part of the U.S. Army 24th Infantry Division based in Japan. On July 5 it engaged in the first North Korean-U.S. clash of the war at Osan, and was driven back with heavy losses. The rest of the half strength 24th Division next confronted the North Koreans and was soon overwhelmed and forced to fall back to Taejon, which also fell. At the Pusan Perimeter, American Eighth Army commander Lieutenant General Walton Walker was able to maneuver his forces to successfully confront the North Koreans as they attempted a flanking maneuver instead of concentrating their forces which might have destroyed U.N. forces in the area, but nonetheless, by September, only the area around Pusan, about 10% of the total Korean peninsula, was still in the hands of the coalition.

[edit] Characteristics

[edit] Tank warfare

A Sherman tank fires its 76mm gun at enemy bunkers on "Napalm Ridge", in support of the 8th ROK Division May 11, 1952.
A Sherman tank fires its 76mm gun at enemy bunkers on "Napalm Ridge", in support of the 8th ROK Division May 11, 1952.

When the North Korean soldiers stormed down the 38th Parallel into Korea, the T-34-85 was nearly invincible. During the time, the South Korean army had few soldiers, no tanks and few anti tank guns and few bazookas. In fact, nearly all the Korean soldiers were unfamiliar with tanks or how to counter them.

As noted above, the South Korean army had anti-tank rockets but these were World War II vintage 2.36 inch (60 mm) M9 bazookas. These weapons were obsolete even when produced during World War II and could not pierce the frontal armor of the T-34-85s. Until the U.S introduced the heavier 3.5 inch (89 mm) M20 bazooka, South Korean troops were unable to effectively counter North Korean tanks.

The first American tanks to arrive in Korea and go into action were M-24 Chaffee light tanks which had been left in Japan for post-WWII occupation duties (heavier tanks would have torn up Japanese roads). These light tanks had very limited success against the far superior Medium T-34/85 tanks used by communist forces. Later shipments of heavier American tanks such as the M4 Sherman and the M26 Pershing as well as American and allied ground attack aircraft were able to neutralize the Communist tanks advantage.

Comparing the the ealier M9 to the later, larger M20 bazooka.
Comparing the the ealier M9 to the later, larger M20 bazooka.

In any event, during the Korean War few tank vs tank battles occurred. Because of the topography of Korea, large tank groups could not form or maneuver. Tanks were unable to move around in the mountainous regions of Korea but could be set up in a position to strike the enemy in their fixed positions.

[edit] Air war

See also: MiG Alley
MiG-15 shot down by a F-86 over MiG Alley.
MiG-15 shot down by a F-86 over MiG Alley.

The Korean War was the last major war where propeller-powered fighters such as the P-51 Mustang, F4U Corsair and aircraft carrier-based Supermarine Seafire, were used, as turbojet fighter aircraft such as F-80s and Grumman F9F Panthers came to dominate the skies, overwhelming North Korea's propeller-driven Yakovlev Yak-9s and Lavochkin La-9s.

From 1950, North Koreans began flying the Soviet-made MiG-15 jet fighters, some of which were piloted by experienced Soviet Air Force pilots, a casus belli deliberately overlooked by the UN allied forces who were reluctant to engage in open war with the Soviet Union and the PRC. At first UN jet fighters, which now also included Royal Australian Air Force Gloster Meteors, had some success, but the superior quality of the MiGs soon held sway over the first generation jets used by the UN early in the war.[27]

In December 1950, the U.S. Air Force began using the F-86 Sabre. The MiG could fly higher, 50,000 vs. 42,000 feet, offering a distinct advantage at the start of combat. In level flight, their maximum speeds were comparable - about 660 mph. The MiG could climb better, the Sabre was more maneuverable and could dive better. For weapons, the MiG carried two 23 mm and one 37 mm cannon, compared to the Sabre's six .50 caliber machine guns. The American .50 caliber machine guns, while not packing the same punch, carried many more rounds and were aimed with a superior gunsight. Maintenance of the Sabre was a headache and a large proportion of the UN air strength was grounded due to repairs during the war.

Even after the USAF introduced the more advanced F-86, its pilots often struggled against the jets piloted by elite Soviet pilots. The MiG-15 had an edge in ceiling, acceleration and rate of climb although overall speed and roll rate were slightly inferior. The armament differences were questionable. While the MiG had a heavier armament (3 cannons vs. 6 machine-guns), the MiG had limited ammunition and the rate of fire was considerably slower. The U.N. gradually gained a numerical advantage, and their aggressiveness gave them an air superiority that lasted until the end of the war — a decisive factor in helping the U.N. first advance into the north, and then resist the Chinese invasion of South Korea. The Chinese also had jet power, but the American forces had superior training for their pilots.

Among other factors which helped tip the balance toward the U.N. jets were the F-86s' better radar gunsight, which led to installation of the first radar warning receiver on MiG fighters, better cockpit visibility, better stability and control at high speed and high altitudes, and the introduction of the first G-suits. U.S. pilots achieved impressive success (although probably exaggerated) with the F-86, stating to shoot down 792 MiG-15s and 108 additional aircraft for the loss of 78 Sabres, a ratio in excess of 10:1. Some post-war research has only able to confirm 379 victories, although the USAF continues to maintain its official credits. Recently exposed Soviet documentation claims that 345 Soviet MiG-15s were lost during the Korean war.

A P-51 flying to its military objective. Although P-51s were reliable, they were vulnerable to newer aircraft and were soon replaced by jets.
A P-51 flying to its military objective. Although P-51s were reliable, they were vulnerable to newer aircraft and were soon replaced by jets.

By early 1951, the battle lines hardened and didn't change too much for the rest of the conflict. Throughout the summer and early fall of 1951, the outnumbered Sabres (as few as 44 at one point) of the 4th FIW continued to seek battle in MiG Alley near the Yalu (at least 500). Jabara, Becker, and Gibson became the first Sabre aces. Following Col. Thyng's famous message to the Pentagon, the 51st FIW reinforced the beleaguered 4th in December 1951.[citation needed] For the next year and a half, the duel continued, in generally the same fashion.

The Soviets claimed about 1300 victories and 335 MiG losses at that time. China's official losses were 231 planes shot down in air-to-air combat (mostly MiG-15) and 168 other losses. The number of losses of the North Korean Air Force was not revealed. It is estimated that it lost about 200 aircraft in the first stage of the war, and another 70 aircraft since Chinese intervention. Soviet's claims of 650 victories over F-86s and China's claims of another 211 F-86s in air combats are probably exaggerated. According to a recent US publication, the total number of USAF F-86s ever present in the Korean peninsula during the war was only 674 and the total F-86s losses due to all causes were about 230.[28]

Throughout the conflict, the United States maintained a policy of heavy bombing, especially using incendiary weapons, against any and all North Korean settlements. Although images of the civilian victims of the weapon were to be ingrained upon the memory of the world in Vietnam, significantly more napalm was dropped on North Korea, despite the relative short length of the conflict. Tens of thousands of gallons were dropped on targets in Korea each day.

In May and June 1953 the USAF undertook missions to destroy several key irrigation and hydroelectric dams, and targeted the Korean civilian population as well as various agriculture and industry centers in the North. Dams on the Kusǒng/Guseong, Tǒksan/Deoksan and Pujǒn/Bujeon Rivers were all destroyed, severely flooding vast areas of land, drowning thousands of civilians, and ultimately leading to the starvation of many more. This destruction of life and property diminished the food supplies available for the North Korean and Chinese troops in the area, but had no substantial effect on the final outcome of the war.

A U.S. intelligence report in 1953 noted that these floods would destroy enemy supplies and the villages where they were stored. The report also noted that the loss of rice - the staple food commodity for North Koreans - would result in "starvation and slow death", a course of action that was deemed a war crime when used by the Nazis against food supplies in Holland in 1944. [29]

See also British Commonwealth Forces Korea

[edit] Atrocities

Declassifed U.S. document: "The army has requested we strafe all civilian refugee parties approaching our positions.  To date, we have complied with the army request in this respect". The document goes on to say that these actions are not right.
Declassifed U.S. document: "The army has requested we strafe all civilian refugee parties approaching our positions. To date, we have complied with the army request in this respect". The document goes on to say that these actions are not right.
Civilians massacred by retreating Communist forces during the Korean War are packed into trenches in Daejeon, South Korea, October 1950.
Civilians massacred by retreating Communist forces during the Korean War are packed into trenches in Daejeon, South Korea, October 1950.

North and South Korean, Chinese and United States soldiers targeted civilians and/or POWs in some cases. Specifically, there is extremely strong evidence to suggest the following incidents:

  • North Korean and Chinese troops repeatedly violated the Geneva Convention through reported abuse of prisoners of war. North Korean forces also committed several massacres of captured U.S. troops at places such as "Hill 312" on the Pusan perimeter, and in and around Taejon. This occurred particularly during early mopping up actions. During the periods when parts of South Korea were under North Korean control, political killings, reportedly into the tens of thousands, took place in cities across South Korea.
  • POWs were mistreated by all sides. The UN side was ultimately responsible for more deaths and violence than the communist side as there were more prisoners. As pointed out by Britain's former Chief of the Defense Staff, Field Marshal Lord Carver: "The UN prisoners in Chinese hands, although subject to 're-education' processes of varying intensity...were certainly much better off in every way than any held by the Americans...."[30] Carver's assessment differs from other historical accounts which report frequent beatings, summary executions and death marches imposed by the North Koreans on UN prisoners.[31]
  • For a time, American troops were under orders to consider any Korean civilians on the battlefield approaching their position as hostile and were instructed to "neutralize" them. The reason for these orders was that communist infiltrators had infiltrated groups of refugees. This led to fear among American forces of a fifth column, and to the indiscriminate killings of hundreds of South Korean civilians by the U.S. military at places such as No Gun Ri, where many defenseless refugees – most of whom were women, children and old men – were shot at by the U.S. Army and may have been strafed by the USAF. Recently, the U.S. admitted having a policy of strafing civilians in other places and times. Americans and their South Korean allies also blew up several bridges that were crowded with fleeing civilians when they could not clear the bridges before the enemy arrived.[citation needed]
  • Korean forces on both sides routinely rounded up and forcibly conscripted both males and females in their area of operations. Whether they refused or not, thousands of them never returned home.
  • South Korean military and police, often with U.S. military knowledge and without trial, executed tens of thousands of alleged "communist sympathizers" during incidents like the Daejeon and Jeju Massacres. The bodies of these civilians were often dumped into mass graves. Gregory Henderson, a U.S. diplomat in Korea at the time, put the figure at 100,000.[3]

[edit] Legacy

The Korean War was the first armed confrontation of the Cold War, and set the standard for many later conflicts. It created the idea of a limited war, where the two superpowers would fight without descending into an all-out war that could involve nuclear weapons. It also expanded the Cold War, which to that point had mostly been concerned with Europe. The war led to a strengthening of alliances in the Western bloc and the splitting of China from the Soviet bloc.

[edit] Korea

600,000 Korean soldiers died in the conflict according to U.S. estimates. About one million South Koreans were killed, 85% of them civilians. According to figures published in the Soviet Union, 11.1% of the total population of North Korea died, which indicates that around 1,130,000 people were killed. The total casualties were about 2,500,000. More than 80% of the industrial and public facilities and transportation infrastructure, three-quarters of all government buildings, and half of all housing was destroyed.

The war left the peninsula divided, with a communist state in North Korea and an authoritarian state in the South. Eventually, South Korea transitioned to democracy with a rapidly growing free-market economy, while North Korea stuck to its Stalinist communist roots, with totalitarian rule and a cult of personality around leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, under whom there has been widespread famine. American troops remain in Korea as part of the still-functioning UN Command, which commands all allied military forces in South Korea - American Air Forces, Korea, the Eighth U.S. Army, and the entire South Korean military. This presence of foreign troops has been the source of many popular protests by South Koreans, with one example being the reaction to the deaths (caused by an American armored vehicle) of two middle school girls. No significant Russian or Chinese military forces remain in North Korea today. The demilitarized zone remains the most heavily-defended border in the world. Many Korean families were also divided by the war, most of whom have had no opportunity to contact or meet one another.

See also: Division of Korea, Korean Demilitarized Zone, Korean reunification

[edit] United States

The first American war dead were brought home aboard the USS Randall, shown here departing Yokohama on March 23, 1953
The first American war dead were brought home aboard the USS Randall, shown here departing Yokohama on March 23, 1953

The U.S. military had been caught ill-prepared for the war. Accordingly, after the war, the American defense budget was boosted to $50 billion, the Army was doubled in size, as was the number of Air Groups, and they were deployed outside American territory in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia.

There has been some confusion over the previously reported number of 54,246 Korean War deaths. In 1993 this number was divided by the Defense Department into 33,686 battle deaths, 2,830 non-battle deaths, and 17,730 deaths of Defense Department personnel outside the Korean theatre.[32] There were also 8,142 US personnel listed as Missing In Action (MIA) during the war. U.S. casualties in the war are fewer than in the Vietnam War, but they occurred over three years as opposed to 15 years (1960-1975) in Vietnam. However, advances in medical services such as the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital and the use of rapid transport of the wounded to them such as with helicopters enabled the death rate for UN forces to be much lower than in previous wars. For service during the Korean War, the U.S. military issued the Korean Service Medal.

Later neglect of remembrance of this war, in favor of the Vietnam War, World War I and World War II and the Gulf Wars, has caused the Korean War to be dubbed the Forgotten War or the Unknown War. The Korean War Veterans Memorial was built in Washington, D.C. and dedicated to veterans of the war on July 27, 1995.

The war also changed America's view of the Third World, most notably in Indochina. Before 1950 the Americans had been very critical of French endeavours to reestablish its presence there against local resistance; after Korea they began to heavily support the French against the Viet Minh and other nationalist-communist local parties, paying for up to 80% of the French military budget in Vietnam.

The Korean War also saw the beginning of racial integration efforts in the U.S. military service, where African Americans fought in integrated units. President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, calling on the armed forces to provide equal treatment and opportunity for black servicemen. The extent to which Truman's 1948 orders were carried out varied among the various branches of the military, with segregated units still in deployment at the start of the conflict, and eventually being integrated towards the end of the war. The last large segregated operational unit was the U.S. 24th Infantry Regiment which was deactivated on October 1, 1951.

The U.S. still maintains a heavy military presence in Korea, as part of the effort to uphold the armistice between South and North Korea. A special service decoration, known as the Korea Defense Service Medal is authorized for U.S. service members who serve a tour of duty in Korea.

[edit] People's Republic of China

Chinese soldiers welcomed home in October 1954. The Korean War was the first military conflict of the newly founded People's Republic of China.
Chinese soldiers welcomed home in October 1954. The Korean War was the first military conflict of the newly founded People's Republic of China.

From official Chinese sources, PVA casualties during the Korean War were 390,000. This breaks down as follows: 110,400 killed in action; 21,600 died of wounds; 13,000 died of sickness; 25,600 MIA/POW; and 260,000 more wounded in action. However, some Western and other sources estimate that about 400,000 Chinese soldiers were either killed in action or died of disease, starvation, exposure, and accidents out of around 2 million deployed in the war.[citation needed] Mao Zedong's only healthy son, Mao Anying, was also killed as a PVA officer during the war.

As the PVA rotated about 2 million troops during the war the casualties figure of some western sources would seem to be too high. If the PVA had suffered 500,000 casualties (1/4 of all troops rotated) or 1,000,000 casualties (1/2 of all troops rotated) the PVA would almost certainly have been so weakened that they would not have been able to defend the line let alone mount any meaningful offensive, and since the battle line hardly shifted from 1951 to 1953, meaning that the U.N. and Chinese were evenly matched, the high casualty figures should be regarded with skepticism.

The war contributed to the significant decline of Sino-Soviet relations from the mid-1950s until the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union did not veto against the United Nations action (the newly established People's Republic of China had no veto power then) and provided only nominal support to the Chinese. Although the Chinese had their own reasons to enter the war (i.e. a strategic buffer zone in the Korean peninsula), the view that the Soviets had used them as proxies was shared by both China and the Western bloc. China was forced to use a Soviet loan, which had been originally intended to rebuild their destroyed economy, to pay for Soviet arms. However, the fact that Chinese forces held their own against American forces in this war heralded that China was once again becoming a major world power. The Chinese entry of the war is generally seen by the Chinese as successful in its purpose to feign off Western forces at its borders and is honored in the history of the People's Republic as the first time in a century that a Chinese army was able to withstand a Western army in a major conflict. The Korean War thus cemented the nascent Chinese state's newly acquired political power.

[edit] Republic of China

After the war was over, 14,000 of the Chinese prisoners of war hostile to the communists of the People's Republic of China defected to the Republic of China (ROC) (7,110 Chinese POWs opted to return to the PRC). The defectors arrived in Taiwan on January 23, 1954 and were referred to as "Anti-Communist volunteers" and January 23 was named World Freedom Day in their honour in Taiwan.[33][34]

The Korean War also led to other long lasting effects. Until the conflict in Korea, the U.S. had largely abandoned the government of Chiang Kai-Shek, which had retreated to Taiwan, and had not intervened in the Chinese Civil War. The start of the Korean War rendered any policy that would have caused Taiwan to fall under PRC control untenable. Truman's decision to send American ships to the Taiwan strait further deterred the PRC from making any attempt to invade Taiwan. The anti-communist atmosphere in the West in response to the Korean War contributed to the unwillingness to diplomatically recognize the People's Republic of China until the 1970s. Today, diplomacy between the Republic of China and mainland China remains strained, and mainland China continues to claim sovereignty over Taiwan.

[edit] Canada

Canada sent 26,791 troops to the war, with 7,000 more remaining to supervise the ceasefire until the end of 1955. Of these 1,558 became casualties, including 516 deaths, most of them due to combat.[35] Canada's participation included a brigade of troops, eight naval vessels and 22 pilots for U.S. jet squadrons. See also History of the Canadian Army.

The Korean War was the last major conflict Canadian forces participated in until the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and the last major combat by ground troops until 2002 in Afghanistan.[36]

The Canadian military was revitalized as a result of the Korean War. A planned changeover to U.S.-designed weapons equipment had been planned for the 1950s, but the emergency in Korea forced the use of war stocks of British-designed weapons from World War II. In the late 1950s, Canada adopted a variety of weapons of European, British and US design rather than proceeding with its planned Americanization.

[edit] Japan

Japan was politically strengthed from the war because any residual resentment concerning World War II faded away due to the desperate situation on the Peninsula. War crime trials and the desire to find the militarists responsible for the largest war ever fought faded away. The signing of the Treaty of Peace with Japan (日本国との平和条約; popularly known as the Treaty of San Francisco) was also hastened to return Japan back into international communities. In the eyes of some American policy makers, the non-belligerency clause in the constitution was already being considered a "mistake" by 1953.

Economically, Japan was able to benefit from the war. American requirements for war material were organized through a Special Procurements system, which allowed for local purchases without the complex Pentagon procurement system. Over $3.5 billion was spent on Japanese companies, peaking at $809 million in 1953 and the zaibatsu went from being distrusted to being encouraged. Among those who thrived not only on orders from the military but also through American industrial experts, including W. Edwards Deming were Mitsui, Mitsubishi, and Sumitomo. Japanese manufacturing grew by 50% between March 1950 and 1951 and by 1952, pre-war standards of living were reached and output was twice the level of 1949. Becoming an independent country due to the Treaty of San Francisco also saved Japan from the burden of expense of the occupation forces.

[edit] Europe

The outbreak of the war convinced Western leaders of the growing threat of international communism. The United States began to encourage Western European countries, including West Germany, to contribute to their own defense, though this was perceived as a threat by its neighbours, especially France. As the war continued, however, opposition to rearmament lessened and China's entry in the war caused France to revise its position towards German rearmament. To contain the situation French officials proposed the creation of the European Defense Community (EDC), a supranational organisation, under the leadership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

The end of the war reduced the perceived communist threat, and thus reduced the necessity of such an organisation. The French Parliament postponed the ratification of the EDC Treaty indefinitely. This rejection in the French Parliament was caused by Gaullist fears that the creation of the EDC threatened France's national sovereignty. The EDC was never ratified, and the initiative collapsed in August, 1954.

See also British Commonwealth Forces Korea

[edit] Soviet Union

The war was a political disaster for the Soviet Union. Its central objective, the unification of the Korean peninsula under the Kim Il-sung regime was not achieved. Boundaries of both parts of Korea remained practically unchanged. Furthermore, relations with then Communist ally People's Republic of China was seriously and permanently spoiled, leading to the Sino-Soviet split that lasted until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The war meanwhile united the countries within the capitalist bloc: the Korean war accelerated the conclusion of a peace agreement between the USA and Japan, the warming of Germany's relations with other western countries, creation of military and political blocs ANZUS (1951) and SEATO (1954). However, the war was not without their pluses for the Soviet Union: the authority of the Soviet State seriously grew, which showed in its readiness to interfere in developing countries of the third world, many of which after the Korean war were forced into the socialist path of development, after being forced to select the Soviet Union as their patron.

The war was a heavy burden on the national economy of the Soviet Union, which was still suffering from the effects of World War II. Expenditures for defense grew sharply. However, despite all these expenses approximately thirty thousand Soviet soldiers in one way or another, obtained the priceless experience of waging local wars. The war also allowed them the opportunity to test several newest forms of armaments, in particular the MiG-15 combat aircraft. Furthermore, numerous models of American military equipment were seized, which made possible for Soviet engineers and scientists to use American experience for development of new forms of armaments.

[edit] Turkey

Although not on as large a scale as the countries above, The Republic of Turkey was one of the countries affected greatly by the Korean War, despite the large distance between Turkey and the warzone. During World War II, Turkey took a neutral diplomatic stance, as it was not feasible for a young country which still had the scars of battle to enter the war. (The Turkish Republic was only 15 years old when the war started) Although Turkey declared war on the Axis Powers late in the war. This action did not prevent Turkey from being left isolated in the diplomatic arena. At the beginning of the 1950's, Turkey was under constant pressure from the Soviet Union regarding territorial issues. Looking for an ally against the Soviets, Turkey sought to join the NATO alliance. The Korean War was viewed as a perfect opportunity to show the West a sign of good faith.

Turkey was one of the largest participants in the UN alliance, committing nearly 5500 troops. The Turkish Brigade operating under US 25th Infantry Division assisted in protecting supply lines of UN forces advancing toward North Korea. However, it was the Battles of Kunu-ri and Kumyanjangni that earned the Turkish Brigade a reputation and the praise of UN forces. [4] Because of their actions in these battles, a monument was created in Seoul in the memory of the Turkish soldiers that fought in Korea. [5] Their actions on the battle field may explain why at least some South Koreans like Turkish people. The Turkish Brigade suffered one of the highest casualty rates in the war, particulary during the Kunu-ri offensive. (717 KIA, 2413 WIA) [6]

However, it should be noted that the Korean War still remains a controversial topic in Turkey. While sending troops to Korea earned Turkey the respect of the West, it was also the beginning of clashes with the Eastern Bloc. The Prime Minister of Turkey was criticized for sending troops without asking parliament first. Also, although Turkey's entrance to the Korean War is considered one of the most noble parts of the history of Turkey, some believe that it is the worst decision ever made by the nation, sending the country's soldiers to die for the "imperialist western powers". Nevertheless, because of the fact that her entrance to war as part of the UN command earned her a place in NATO, Turkey can be considered a country which benefited from the Korean War.

[edit] Depictions

Pablo Picasso's 'Massacre in Korea' (1951; in the Musée Picasso, Paris).
Pablo Picasso's 'Massacre in Korea' (1951; in the Musée Picasso, Paris).

Artist Pablo Picasso's painting Massacre in Korea (1951) depicted violence against civilians during the Korean War. By some account, civilian killings committed by U.S. forces in Shinchun, Hwanghae Province was the motive of the painting. In South Korea, the painting was deemed anti-American, a longtime taboo in the South, and was prohibited for public display until the 1990s. Picasso's paintings made no allusions to Communist atrocities.

In the U.S. far and away the most famous artistic depiction of the war is M*A*S*H, originally a novel by Richard Hooker (pseudonym for H. Richard Hornberger) that was later turned into a successful movie and television series. All three versions depict the misadventures of the staff of a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital as they struggle to keep their sanity through the war's absurdities through ribald humour and hijinks when not treating wounded.

[edit] Films

  • Target Zero (1955). U.S., British and South Korean troops are trapped behind enemy lines.
  • Shangganling Battle (Shanggan Ling, Chinese: 上甘岭, BW-1956),in the Korean war in early 1950s, a group of Chinese People's Volunteer soldiers are blocked in Shangganling mountain area for several days. Short of both food and water, they hold their ground till the relief troops arrive. d: Meng Sha, Lin Shan; C: Gao Baocheng, XuLIinge, Liu Yuru; M: changchun.
  • Battle Hymn (1956). Based on the autobiography of Colonel Dean E. Hess, an American clergyman and World War II veteran fighter pilot who volunteers to return to active duty to train the fighter pilots of the South Korean Air Force. Starring Rock Hudson as Hess.
  • MASH (1970), about the staff of a U.S. Army field hospital who use humor and hijinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war. Directed by Robert Altman.
  • M*A*S*H (1972-1983) was also a long-running television sitcom, inspired by the movie, featuring Alan Alda. The television series lasted several times longer than the war.
  • Inchon (1981). The movie portrays the Battle of Inchon, a turning point in the war. Controversially, the film was partially financed by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Movement. It became a notorious financial and critical failure, losing an estimated $40 million of its $46 million budget, and remains the last mainstream Hollywood film to use the war as its backdrop. The film was directed by Terence Young, and starred an elderly Laurence Olivier as General Douglas MacArthur. According to press materials from the film, psychics hired by Moon's church contacted MacArthur in heaven and secured his posthumous approval of the casting.
  • Joint Security Area (film) (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA) (2000). In the DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier. The investigating Swiss/Swedish team from the neutral countries overseeing the DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) suspects from evidence at the crime scene that another, unknown party was involved. Major Sophie E. Jean, the investigating officer, suspects a cover-up is taking place, but the truth is much simpler and much more tragic. It unravels as the story follows the development of a relationship between two North Korean and two South Korean soldiers that hang out together in an empty building in the Joint Security Area. Starring Lee Young Ae, Lee Byung-Hun, Song Kang-ho, Kim Tae-woo, and Shin Ha-kyun. Directed by Park Chan-wook.
  • Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004). When two Korean brothers are drafted into the military to fight in the war, the older brother tries to protect the younger by risking his own life in hopes of sending his brother home. This results in an emotional conflict that wears away at his own humanity. Epic in scope, the movie has a touching family story backdropped by a brutal war. Directed by Je-Kyu Kang or Kang Je-gyu.
  • Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005). During the height of the war, three North Korean soldiers, two South Korean soldiers and a U.S. Navy pilot accidentally get stranded together in a remote and peaceful mountain village paradise called Dongmakgol. All three wayward factions learn that the village is naively oblivious to the raging war outside. These newcomers must somehow find a way to coexist with each other for the sake and preservation of the village they all learn to love and respect. Directed by Park, Gwang-hyeon.

[edit] Games

  • Flash Point Korea : AH-64D Longbow (1996-Jane's Combat Simulations) A helicopter simulation game, where players use a Longbow Attack Helicopter to fight against North Korean forces.
  • Sabre Ace : Conflict Over Korea (1997-Eagle Interactive) Players use a US F-86 Sabrejet in Korean War.
  • Korea : Forgotten Conflict (2003-Plastic Reality) A squad based strategy game which quite similar to Commandos series. Players take command of a UN unit consisting several specialist such as Ranger, Medic, Demolition Expert, Sniper, Korean to fight against communist forces. This game considered one of the best games depicting Korean War.

[edit] Names

The most common English term for the war is "Korean War".
The following are terms used by the participants of the Korean War:

  • Korean War
  • Korean War
  • Korean War
  • Korean Conflict
  • Korean War
  • President Truman referred to the conflict as a "Police Action", but the term is seldom used in military or official circles.
War of the Koreas (Πόλεμος τις Κορέας)
  • Kore Savaşı
  • Fatherland Liberation War (조국해방전쟁; 祖國解放戰爭)
  • June 25 Incident (육이오 사변; 六二五 事變)
  • Korean War (한국전쟁; 韓國戰爭)
  • The War To Resist America And Aid (North) Korea (抗美援朝; kàng měi yuán cháo) usually used colloquially
  • War of Korea or "Korean War" (朝鲜战争; 朝鮮戰爭; cháoxiǎn zhànzhēng) usually used officially
  • Other Chinese-speaking communities
  • Korean War (韩战; 韓戰; hán zhàn) abbreviation of Korean War

[edit] Bibliography

Find more information on Korean War by searching Wikipedia's sister projects:

 Dictionary definitions from Wiktionary
 Textbooks from Wikibooks
 Quotations from Wikiquote
 Source texts from Wikisource
 Images and media from Commons
 News stories from Wikinews
 Learning resources from Wikiversity

[edit] References

  • Brune, Lester and Robin Higham, eds., The Korean War: Handbook of the Literature and Research (Greenwood Press, 1994)
  • Edwards, Paul M. Korean War Almanac (2006)
  • Foot, Rosemary, "Making Known the Unknown War: Policy Analysis of the Korean Conflict in the Last Decade," Diplomatic History 15 (Summer 1991): 411-31, in JSTOR
  • Kaufman, Burton I. The Korean Conflict (Greenwood Press, 1999).
  • Korea Institute of Military History, The Korean War (1998) (English edition 2001), 3 vol, 2600 pp; highly detailed history from South Korean perspective, U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-7802-0
  • Leitich, Keith. Shapers of the Great Debate on the Korean War: A Biographical Dictionary (2006) covers Americans only
  • James I. Matray, ed., Historical Dictionary of the Korean War (Greenwood Press, 1991)
  • Millett, Allan R, “A Reader's Guide To The Korean WarJournal of Military History (1997) Vol. 61 No. 3; p. 583+ full text in JSTOR; free online revised version
  • Millett, Allan R. "The Korean War: A 50 Year Critical Historiography," Journal of Strategic Studies 24 (March 2001), pp. 188-224. full text in Ingenta and Ebsco; discusses major works by British, American, Korean, Chinese, and Russian authors
  • Summers, Harry G. Korean War Almanac (1990)
  • Sandler, Stanley ed., The Korean War: An Encyclopedia (Garland, 1995)

[edit] Combat studies, soldiers

  • Appleman, Roy E. South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu (1961), Official US Army history covers the Eighth Army and X Corps from June to November 1950
  • Appleman, Roy E.. East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea (1987); Escaping the Trap: The U.S. Army in Northeast Korea, 1950 (1987); Disaster in Korea: The Chinese Confront MacArthur (1989); Ridgway Duels for Korea (1990).
  • Blair, Clay. The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953 (1987), revisionist study that attacks senior American officials
  • Field Jr., James A. History of United States Naval Operations: Korea, University Press of the Pacific, 2001, ISBN 0-89875-675-8. official U.S. Navy history
  • Farrar-Hockley, General Sir Anthony. The British Part in the Korean War, HMSO, 1995, hardcover 528 pages, ISBN 0-11-630962-8
  • Futrell, Robert F. The United States Air Force in Korea, 1950-1953, rev. ed. (Office of the Chief of Air Force History, 1983), official U.S. Air Force history
  • Hallion, Richard P. The Naval Air War in Korea (1986).
  • Hamburger, Kenneth E. Leadership in the Crucible: The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-Ni. Texas A. & M. U. Press, 2003. 257 pp.
  • Hastings, Max. The Korean War (1987). British perspective
  • Hermes, Jr., Walter. Truce Tent and Fighting Front (1966), Official US Army history on the "stalemate" period from October 1951 to July 1953.
  • James, D. Clayton The Years of MacArthur: Triumph and Disaster, 1945-1964 (1985)
  • James, D. Clayton with Anne Sharp Wells, Refighting the Last War: Command and Crises in Korea, 1950-1953 (1993)
  • Johnston, William. A War of Patrols: Canadian Army Operations in Korea. U. of British Columbia Press, 2003. 426 pp.
  • Kindsvatter, Peter S. American Soldiers: Ground Combat in the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam. U. Press of Kansas, 2003. 472 pp.
  • Millett, Allan R. Their War for Korea: American, Asian, and European Combatants and Civilians, 1945-1953. Brassey's, 2003. 310 pp.
  • Montross, Lynn et al., History of U.S. Marine Operations in Korea, 1950-1953, 5 vols. (Washington: Historical Branch, G-3, Headquarters, Marine Corps, 1954-72),
  • Mossman, Billy. Ebb and Flow (1990), Official US Army history covers November 1950 to July 1951.
  • Russ, Martin. Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950, , Penguin, 2000, 464 pages, ISBN 0-14-029259-4
  • Toland, John. In Mortal Combat: Korea, 1950-1953 (1991)
  • Varhola, Michael J. Fire and Ice: The Korean War, 1950-1953 (2000)
  • Watson, Brent Byron. Far Eastern Tour: The Canadian Infantry in Korea, 1950-1953. 2002. 256 pp.

[edit] Origins, politics, diplomacy

  • Chen Jian, China's Road to the Korean War: The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation (Columbia University Press, 1994),
  • Cumings, Bruce. The Origins of the Korean War, Vol. 1: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947, (1981), ISBN 0-691-10113-2; The Origins of the Korean War, Vol. 2: The Roaring of the Cataract, 1947-1950, Princeton University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-691-07843-2, prewar; stress on internal Korean politics
  • Goncharov, Sergei N., John W. Lewis; and Xue Litai, Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao, and the Korean War, Stanford University Press, 1993, ISBN 0-8047-2521-7, diplomatic
  • Kaufman, Burton I. The Korean War: Challenges in Crisis, Credibility, and Command. Temple University Press, 1986), focus is on Washington
  • Matray, James. "Truman's Plan for Victory: National Self Determination and the Thirty-Eighth Parallel Decision in Korea," Journal of American History 66 (September, 1979), 314-33. Online at JSTOR
  • Millett, Allan R. The War for Korea, 1945–1950: A House Burning vol 1 (2005)ISBN 0-7006-1393-5, origins
  • Schnabel, James F. United States Army in the Korean War: Policy and Direction: The First Year (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1972). official US Army history; full text online
  • Spanier, John W. The Truman-MacArthur Controversy and the Korean War (1959).
  • Stueck, William. Rethinking the Korean War: A New Diplomatic and Strategic History. Princeton U. Press, 2002. 285 pp.
  • Stueck, Jr., William J. The Korean War: An International History (Princeton University Press, 1995), diplomatic
  • Zhang Shu-gang, Mao's Military Romanticism: China and the Korean War, 1950-1953 (University Press of Kansas, 1995)

[edit] Primary sources

  • Bassett, Richard M. And the Wind Blew Cold: The Story of an American POW in North Korea. Kent State U. Press, 2002. 117 pp.
  • Bin Yu and Xiaobing Li, eds Mao's Generals Remember Korea , University Press of Kansas, 2001, hardcover 328 pages, ISBN 0-7006-1095-2
  • S. L. A. Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet (1953) on combat
  • Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War (1967).

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ On This Day 29 August 1950 from The BBC
  2. ^ The Korean War at Veterans Affairs Canada
  3. ^ [1] at Korean-War.com
  4. ^ French Participation in the Korean War Embassy of France, Retrieved October 31, 2006
  5. ^ http://english.people.com.cn/english/200010/26/eng20001026_53620.html
  6. ^ Dankwart A. Rustow, The Changing Global Order and Its Implications for Korea's Reunification, Sino-Soviet Affairs, Vol. XVII, No. 4, Winter 1994/5, The Institute for Sino-Soviet Studies, Hanyang University
  7. ^ Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, Vol. 1: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945–1947 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981)
  8. ^ Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, 1981
  9. ^ Gregory Henderson, Korea: The Politics of the Vortex, Harvard University Press, 1968; Lee Chong-sik, Korean Workers' Party, Hoover Institute Press, 1978.
  10. ^ Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, 1981
  11. ^ Dean Acheson, , "THE THEME OF CHINA LOST", Present at the Creation: My Years at the State Department (1969), pp. 355-358.
  12. ^ The North claimed ROK (= South Korean) troops under the "bandit traitor" Syngman Rhee had crossed the border first. Later research establishes that the South had launched limited attacks across the 38th parallel in places such as Ongjin, but the North started the civil war that day.
  13. ^ Appleman, South to the Naktong ch. 2; On the North Korean army the best study is Korea Institute of Military History, The Korean War (1998), vol 1.
  14. ^ Appleman, South to the Naktong p. 15
  15. ^ American Secretary of State Dean Acheson had told Congress on June 20 that no war was likely.
  16. ^ Appleman, South to the Naktong ch. 4
  17. ^ Appleman, South to the Naktong ch. 26, pp 381, 545
  18. ^ James F. Schnabel. United States Army In The Korean War: Policy And Direction: The First Year (1972) ch 9-10; Korea Institute of Military History, The Korean War (1998) 1:730
  19. ^ Schnable p 212; Robert J. Donovan, Tumultuous Years (1982) p 285.
  20. ^ Eliot A. Cohen and John Gooch, Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War (1990), pp 165-95.
  21. ^ William Hopkins One Bugle, No Drums: The Marines at Chosin Reservoir (1986).
  22. ^ Schnabel p. 304; Doyle James H., and Arthur J. Mayer. "December 1950 at Hungnam." Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute 105 (April 1979): 44-65.
  23. ^ Korea Institute of Military History, The Korean War (2001) 2:512-29
  24. ^ http://mondediplo.com/2004/12/08korea
  25. ^ http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761559607_3/Korean_War.html
  26. ^ Actions Necessary; S. V. Hasbrouck, memo to file (Nov. 7, 1951), G-3 Operations file, box 38-A, Library of Congress; Army Chief of Staff, memo to file (Nov. 20, 1951), G-3 Operations file, box 38-A, Library of Congress. See also James F. Schnabel et al., The Korean War, vol. 3 of History of The Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wilmington, Del.: Michael Glaizer Inc., 1979), part 1, p. v; part 2, p. 614; Commanding General, Far East Air Force to 98th Bomb Wing Commander, Okinawa (Oct. 13, 1951), and Resumé of Operation (Sept. 30, 1951), Record Group 349, Far East Command G-2 Theater Intelligence, box 752.
  27. ^ FEAF/UN Aircraft Used in Korea and Losses by Type at Korean-War.com
  28. ^ Korean War Aces
  29. ^ Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings, Korea: The Unknown War, Viking Press, 1988, ISBN 0-670-81903-4
  30. ^ Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings, Korea: The Unknown War, Viking Press, 1988, ISBN 0-670-81903-4
  31. ^ http://www.fawm.gov.au/encyclopedia/pow/korea/index.htm
  32. ^ Kathleen T. Rhem, Korean War Death Stats Highlight Modern DoD Safety Record, June 8, 2000
  33. ^ Monique Chu, NGO celebrates World Freedom Day, Taipei Times, February 3, 2002
  34. ^ [2]
  35. ^ Canadians in Korea, 1950-1953 at Korean-War.com. Accessed 23 Jun 2006.
  36. ^ Canada played a minor role in the fighting in Cyprus in 1974 and in the Balkans at Medak Pocket in the 1990s.

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