TEN FACTS ABOUT THE KOREAN WAR
- The war began on June 25, 1950 when North Korean (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) troops crossed the 38th Parallel and attacked South Korean (Republic of Korea, or ROK) troops.
- North Korea was backed by the Soviet Union and, later, by the People's Republic China (PRC). South Korea was supported by the United Nations, and particularly the United States military.
- It was the first military confrontation during the Cold War.
- North Korea initially invaded with more than 230,000 troops; South Korea had less than 100,000 available, and many of them deserted shortly after the invasion.
- General Douglas MacArthur was named commander of United Nations/U.S. troops.
- After North Korean troops controlled most of the South, MacArthur launched an attack at Inchon--more than 100 miles behind enemy lines. The Battle of Inchon was a huge success, driving North Korean troops back across the 38th Parallel. MacArthur's troops pursued the retreating enemy into North Korea and captured the capital city of Pyongyang, resulting in more than 130,000 North Korean casualties and prisoners of war.
- China entered the war in late 1950, attacking U.N. forces with more than 1 million troops and eventually capturing the South Korean capital of Seoul. However, U.N. counterattacks drove the Communist troops out of Seoul and back towards the 38th Parallel.
- MacArthur was relieved as Supreme Commander by President Harry Truman in April 1951, after MacArthur was believed to be considering the use of nuclear weapons without Presidential approval. General Matthew Ridgway was named Supreme U.N. Commander.
- Ridgway managed to contain the ensuing Chinese offensives, and for the remainder of the war, a virtual stalemate was maintained despite many desperate, bloody actions, such as the Battles Heartbreak Ridge, Old Baldy, and Pork Chop Hill.
- The war ended on July 27, 1953 when an armistice was reached. Combined U.N. forces casualties numbered nearly 800,000; Communist casualties were nearly double. Additionally, more than 2.5 million civilian casualties were reported.