The Korean War

Duration:
16 July 1950 - 24 January 1955
Military personnel:
4.748
Fatalities:
121 plus 4 missing
Decorations:
151

After Japan's capitulation in August 1945, a political vacuum developed from India to Korea. In most cases, this vacuum was filled by the returning western colonial powers or by national freedom movements, but neither of these elements was present in Korea.

Korea divided

The Soviet Union occupied the northern part of Korea, the United States the southern part. The temporary boundary between the 2 occupation zones quickly became a de facto border and a confrontation line. It was already becoming clear in 1948 that the increasing tension between North and South Korea could develop into a civil war.

On the offensive

The surprise attack by North Korea began on 25 June 1950. In the space of 6 weeks, the poorly equipped South Korean army and the American units who had rushed in to assist were driven back to the south-eastern tip of the peninsula by the North Koreans. The US commander in chief, General MacArthur, managed to drive the North Koreans back as far as the Yalu, but the all-out deployment of Chinese ‘volunteers’ halted the advancing allies and forced them back to the 38th parallel.