With so much debate about recent news on President Donald Trump and North Korea, I have discovered that many people who have an opinion about North Korea having nuclear weapons, about our part in North and South Korea politics and much more, these same people have no idea when, how and why there was ever a War in Korea.
This War was in the middle of World War II and the Vietnam War with those 2 getting much more media coverage.
But the Korean War has always been a situation that shaped world history and even now, there are remains of United States service members being sent home.
I am going to take you through just a part of the Korean War. It is known as Phase 1, the U.N. Defensive.
Prelude To War
The early 1900’s found Japan battling against China over many issues. One such issue was control over Korea and Japan gained that control. But Chinese Communists were able to gain a following of many Koreans and many terrorist operations were waged against the stronger Japanese.
When World War II was on and the U.S. was allied with Russia, after the bombing of Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Korea was split between the Communist Russians and the Democratic United States. The division was the 38th Parallel.
Russia and the United States had agreed to a free Korea after 5 years, but that agreement never stood because of Korean dependence on both super powers.
The South had elections which put a democratically controlled government in place while the Soviet Union ensured that the North was led by Communist leader, Kim II Sung.
With these established, both Russia and the U.S. withdrew from Korea in 1948 and 1949 respectively.
China was having an internal war between pro-communist forces and those who desired democracy.
Because of this, Stalin would not agree with North Korea attempting to occupy all of Korea. But the Northern forces did make small attacks against the South near the 38th parallel.
June 25th, 1950
The North Koreans invaded South Korea on this day. It was chaos as the 135,000 North Korean soldiers crossed that dividing line killing all in their way.
On that same day, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling “for immediate cessation of hostilities” which was ignored. The Security Council passed a second resolution recommending “that the Members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and restore the international peace and security in the area.”
June 27th, 1950
President Harry S. Truman ordered American air and naval forces to give cover and support to the South Korean troops which was the start of the U.N. Defensive.
June 28th, 1950
The North Koreans capture Seoul, South Korea.
From the 28th to the 30th, Truman authorized bombing missions and all forces available to defend the South.
July 5th, 1950
The first action for U.S. ground troops occurs at Osan as they engage charging North Korean troops.
July 7th & 8th, 1950
The U.N. Security Council recommends the establishment of a Unified Command and Truman put General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur in charge of United Nations Command.
While this was great, most of the fighting forces were from the U.S. and they were greatly under the strength they needed.
- 1st Cavalry Division
- 7th Infantry Division
- 24th Infantry Division
- 25th Infantry Division
- 29th Regimental Combat Team
- 2nd Infantry Division
Defense Soldiers, Defense
Soldiers from various divisions were doing their best to hold North Koreans from towns and cities. But they captured many South Korean towns and villages. Taejon fell and the enemy is strong near the Southern border town of Chinju.
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The Pusan Perimeter
It was time to set up a stronghold and that is what U.N. forces and South Koreans did. Known as the Pusan or Naktong Perimeter, this area was squared off and MacArthur was determined that U.N. forces would hold.
The North Koreans made several attempts to break the hold… From the 8th to the 18th of August, forces tried to break it in the North. From the 15th to the 20th of August, they tried to break through on the West near Taegu.
To no avail!
The North Koreans backed off and rested getting resupplied for another go. From the 31st of August to the 15th of September, the troops help the Pusan Perimeter.
Many died! And many became heroes in those days.
But now it was time to go on the offensive.
It was crazy! And it has faded as we hear stories about D-Day and Vietnam. But this was a deadly War too.
Stay tuned as I bring more as we move into the next phases of the Korean War in upcoming posts.
And if there are any Korean War Veterans reading this, please tell us your experience during the U.N. Defensive; and thank you for your service.
Please post all comments and questions below.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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