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Korea has been divided ever since the end of World War II and it does not seem to be a very temporary division, given that the North just sank a South Korean naval vessel recently...
Anyway, what led to this was the entry of the Soviet Union into the war against Japan in 1945 after the war in Europe was over. The Soviets managed to get their army about halfway down the Korean Peninsula before the war ended. In recognition of this, Korea was divided with the Soviets controlling the north and the United States installing a government friendly to it in the South.
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