Date of Vietnam War: 25th June 1950 - 27th July 1953
In June 1950, the Cold War quickly accelerated pace, and the first military conflict in the form of a 'proxy war' involving the U.S and USSR initiated.
This division of North and South Korea occurred at the end of WWII, divided between a Soviet supported government in the North, and an American supported government in the South. Initially, this scheme was put into place as a temporary measure, so that the two separate governments of North and South Korea could reunify the country under their own rule.
The invasion of North Korea into South Korea on the 23rd of June 1950 how was a break of the United Nations Security Council, and was seen as a ‘breach of peace’. Under the command of Harry S. Truman, the United States military and navy were sent to help the South Koreans fight against their North Korean enemies.
Why did the U.S get involved?
Primarily, the reason that the U.S sent troops to support the South Korean’s, was out of fear that the Soviet Union was spreading communism. Under the Truman Doctrine, the U.S felt obliged to contain communism and assist those under threat.
The following video of Harry S. Truman, explains the Truman Doctrine.
Additionally, the pressure put on the American government from American citizens was also prevalent during the late 1940’s, early 1950’s, and many feared that if South Korea fell to communism, it was only a matter of time till they themselves were faced with the battle. Thus, the decision to invade South Korea was that of determination to help cease the expansion of the communist sphere.
The Soviet Union's Involvement
Although North Korea’s attack of South Korea had been of a larger plan by communist China, the Soviet Union had by extension pushed the decision. As Truman put it in a statement on June 27th1950, “communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war". He believed that the invasion of South Korea was "very obviously inspired by the Soviet Union."
The End of the Korean War
The Korean War lasted until the 27th of July 1953. The battle of three years was longer then anyone anticipated, and essentially, the Korean War paved the way for a more hostile relationship between the U.S and USSR for the decades following.
During the three years of the Korean War, military forces from countries that were member of the United Nations Command, fought and died together to help free the South Koreans. The list below indicates the countries involved, and number of troops that were sent to Korea.
- Peak strength for the UNC was 932,964 on July 27, 1953 -- the day the Armistice Agreement was signed:
- Republic of Korea 590,911
- Columbia 1,068
- United States 302,483
- Belgium 900
- United Kingdom 14,198
- South Africa 826
- Canada 6,146
- The Netherlands 819
- Turkey 5,453
- Luxembourg 44
- Australia 2,282
- Philippines 1,496
- New Zealand 1,385
- Thailand 1,204
- Ethiopia 1,271
- Greece 1,263
- France 1,119
To view a timeline of the major events during the Korean war, click here
1: What was the division called that separated the North and South of Korea and why was it called this?
2: What is the relationship between North and South Korea today?
3: What are the economic and social differences between North and South Korea presently?