The Korean war is, for me, something interesting to learn and talk about. Most people know that Korea is separated by two halves, North and South. But do you know what led up to this separation? Do you know how opposite the two halves are? Let me tell you a little story about Korea’s history.
Before we jump right into the Korean war, let me tell you about the U.N. The U.N. (United Nations) was formed after WWII and played an important role in the Korean war. The U.N. is an intergovernmental organization established on October 24 1945 to promote international co-operation. The U.N. replaced the ineffective League of Nations, and was formed to prevent future world wars.
Back to Korea; Korea had been under Japanese control until after WWII when it was liberated by the Allied forces, so when it was liberated, it had been under control by someone else for so long there was no government to restore. As one of the first decisions of the U.N. Korea was divided temporarily so that the country could be stabilized and reunited. During this time the Soviets had been secretly funding North Korea, not making it public for fear of antagonizing the U.S.
Another note to make is that at this time the Soviets and U.S. were not on good terms with each other, which will explain a few things as I get farther into the history of the war.
The two parts of Korea both came up with two totally different governmental ideas, North became a Communist country and South became Democratic. This difference came to a head in 1950 when North Korea, who was supported by China and the Soviets, invaded South Korea, supported by the U.N., to unite the country. As the strongest country in the U.N., the U.S. was the main supporter of South Korea.
Three months into the war North Korea had pushed South Korea into a tiny corner of land called Pusan. South Korea was very close to losing the war, until U.S. general, Douglas McArthur, had an amazing idea to save them. McArthur orchestrated an amazing invasion that cut off North Korea’s supplies and resulted in an unbelievable reversal of the battle lines. Three months after the invasion South Korea had control over most of North Korea, until the Chinese came and after several months of back and forth fighting, the battlefront settled back to the original border line.
The next two years of the war saw no real change in this battle line, as most of the fighting was done in the air. The aircraft “dogfights” over Korea were the first ever and were important strategically. The Germans were the ones that sent all the jets and most of the pilots to North Korea, while the U.S. sent the jets and pilots to South Korea. The two countries didn’t want to call an all-out war on each other, but gladly fought each other in support of Korea. The rest of the war were small skirmishes and ended with an armistice in July 1953.
What I find most interesting about the Korean War is that it ended with just an armistice, not a peace treaty, which means that the war never really ended, it had just been at a stand-still for years. The two sides are now completely different, South Korea is one of the most advanced industrialized nations, while North Korea is one of the most shut off, closed down, and backward nations in the world.