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Korean War

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Korean War (Hangul: 한국전쟁; Hanja: 韓國戰爭; 25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953 was a war between the Republic of Korea (supported primarily by the United States of America, with contributions from allied nations under the aegis of the United Nations) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (supported by the People's Republic of China, with military and material aid from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The Korean War was primarily the result of the political division of Korea by an agreement of the victorious Allies at the conclusion of the Pacific War at the end of World War II. The Korean peninsula was ruled by the Empire of Japan from 1910 until the end of World War II. Following the surrender of the Empire of Japan in September 1945, American administrators divided the peninsula along the 38th parallel, with U.S. military forces occupying the southern half and Soviet military forces occupying the northern hal

The failure to hold free elections throughout the Korean Peninsula in 1948 deepened the division between the two sides; the North established a communist government, while the South established a capitalist one. The 38th parallel increasingly became a political border between the two Korean states. Although reunification negotiations continued in the months preceding the war, tension intensified. Cross-border skirmishes and raids at the 38th Parallel persisted. The situation escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950.  It was the first significant armed conflict of the Cold War.  In 1950 the Soviet Union boycotted the United Nations security council, in protest at representation of China by the Kuomintang / Republic of China government, which had taken refuge in Taiwan following defeat in the Chinese Civil War. In the absence of a dissenting voice from the Soviet Union, who could have vetoed it, USA and other countries passed a security council resolution authorizing military intervention in Korea.

The United States of America provided 88% of the 341,000 international soldiers which aided South Korean forces in repelling the invasion, with twenty other countries of the United Nations offering assistance. Suffering severe casualties, within two months the defenders were pushed back to a small area in the south of the Korean Peninsula, known as the Pusan perimeter. A rapid U.N. counter-offensive then drove the North Koreans past the 38th Parallel and almost to the Yalu River, when the People's Republic of China (PRC) entered the war on the side of North Korea. Chinese intervention forced the Southern-allied forces to retreat behind the 38th Parallel. While not directly committing forces to the conflict, the Soviet Union provided material aid to both the North Korean and Chinese armies. The active stage of the war ended on 27 July 1953, when the armistice agreement was signed. The agreement restored the border between the Koreas near the 38th Parallel and created the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a 2.5-mile (4.0 km)-wide fortified buffer zone between the two Korean nations. Minor outbreaks of fighting continue to the present day.

With both North Korea and South Korea sponsored by external powers, the Korean War was a proxy war. From a military science perspective, it combined strategies and tactics of World War I and World War II: it began with a mobile campaign of swift infantry attacks followed by air bombing raids, but became a static trench war by July 1951.

Casualties and losses
Republic of Korea:
137,899 dead
450,742 wounded
24,495 MIA
8,343 POW
United States of America:
(US sources):
36,940 dead
92,134 wounded
3,737 MIA
4,439 POW
(PRC-DPRK estimates):
397,543 in total
United Kingdom:
1,078 dead
2,674 wounded
179 MIA
977 POW
741 dead
2,068 wounded
163 MIA
244 POW
Commonwealth of Australia:
339 dead
1,216 wounded
43 MIA
26 POW
Dominion of Canada:
312 dead
1,212 wounded
32 POW
262 dead
1,008 wounded
12 POW
Kingdom of Greece
192 dead
543 wounded
163 dead
448 wounded
28 POW
129 dead
1,139 wounded
Ethiopian Empire
121 dead
536 wounded
120 dead
645 wounded
112 dead
229 wounded
16 MIA
41 POW
99 dead
336 Wounded
Union of South Africa
34 dead
New Zealand:
23 dead
79 wounded
3 dead
2 dead
13 wounded
Total: 776,360–1,093,839

Democratic People's Republic of Korea:
215,000 dead
303,000 wounded
120,000 MIA or POW
People's Republic of China:
(Chinese sources):
152,000 dead
383,500 wounded
450,000 hospitalized
4,000 missing
21,000 POW
(U.S. estimate):
400,000+ dead
486,000 wounded
21,000 POW
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics:
282 dead
Total: 1,545,822–1,648,582

Total civilians killed/wounded: 2.5 million (est)
South Korea: 990,968
373,599 killed
229,625 wounded
387,744 abducted/missing
North Korea: 1,550,000 (est)


War Index

American Civil War
World War 1 Page's
World War 2 Page's 
Cold War Page's
Korean War Page's
Vietnam War Page's
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Afghanistan War Page's
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Sino-Vietnamese War


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