The Korean War started on June 25, 1950, sixty-five years ago, when the forces of North Korea, known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or DPRK invaded South Korea, known as the Republic of Korea or ROK, crossing the 38th parallel, the demarcation line separating North from South.
A United Nations coalition, led by the U.S., entered the war to aid South Korea. China entered the war with backing from the Soviet Union to fight for the North. The war ended over three years later with an armistice agreement on July 27, 1953.
Here, the U.S. Army's new tank killer, the 3.5 bazooka, is shown in action against North Korean forces during the Korean War on July 27, 1950.
The war came about because of the division of Korea at the end of World War II and the ensuing Cold War. Japan ruled Korea from 1910 till the end of World War II. The Soviet Union declared war on Japan in August 1945 and with consent from the U.S. occupied Korea north of the 38th parallel. Later, the U.S. came to occupy the South and Japan surrendered.
In this photo F-84 Thunderjets of the U.S. Air Force 474th fighter bomber wing, loaded with bombs, head for a military target in North Korea during the Korean War on October 9, 1952. The Korean war was the first time the U.S. used jets in combat. It is also the first war jets were used to fight other jets.
Two separate governments were established post-World War II, both claiming to be the sole legitimate government of Korea. The political conflict dissolved into war when South Korea was invaded June 25, 1950. The UN Security Council considered North Korea the aggressor and responded with a military force made of 21 countries.
In this photo, a group of American soldiers wounded by North Korean tank and infantry fire lie on stretchers at an air strip somewhere in South Korea waiting for evacuation to a hospital, July 10, 1950.
American troops fire a 105 Howitzer gun in action against North Korean forces during the Korean War, July 10, 1950.
President Truman, his hand upraised to still applause, gets set before the microphone in the White House, in Washington, D.C. on July 19, 1950 to tell the American people they are in for some belt tightening because of the Korean War and world conditions.
U.S. Army combat engineers return fire on snipers in the hills around Yongdong, South Korea, as a truck convoy crosses a bridge, July 31, 1950 during the Battle of Yongdong.
U.S. Marines take cover behind a wall as they engage in fighting on the southwestern Korean front in August 1950.
North Korean Advance
North Korean combatants advance together with tank units in Seoul during the Korean War in this undated photo.
U.S. First Battalion troops move through a road block in Seoul as fighting rages in the Republic of Korea capital during the Korean War in September 1950. The battle for the city followed the capture of Inchon, the port of Seoul, on September 14-15, 1950.
The Communist North Koreans were forced to evacuate Seoul and retreat back behind the 38th parallel.
General Douglas MacArthur, center, accompanied by Vice Adm. Arthur Struble, left, and Marine Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Smith, right, and other staff members go ashore in the Inchon area for an inspection of the front lines, September 17, 1950 in South Korea.
A U.S. Marine marksman using a telescopic sight and with his Springfield cocked and ready, waits for a North Korean sniper to show himself in Seoul, South Korea on September 28, 1950.
In April 1951, General Matthew B. Ridgeway replaced MacArthur as commander of forces in Korea.
President Truman's firing of MacArthur was followed by wide public outcry on the home front.
Here, Ridgeway, right, greets Gen. MacArthur at Kangnung, Korea on April 3, 1951.
Seoul Under Fire
Smoke rises over debris-littered streets as tanks lead advancing United Nations forces in the battle to recapture Seoul, Korea, September 28, 1950.
Battle of Seoul
Three U.S. Marines, wearing full packs, fire from behind a barricade during the battle of Seoul, Korea on September 29, 1950. On the front of the building overlooking the battleground are pictures of Premier Joseph Stalin and Kim Il Sung, premier and commander in chief of the North Korean Army.
Here, the city of Taejon, South Korea is burned and virtually leveled, September 30, 1950, in the early Battle of Taejon during the Korean War.
United Nations soldiers, one of them with a pair of "captured" ducks on his back, right, inch forward into Seoul as they advance amid burning buildings and rubble from the bombardment of the South Korean capital prior to the entry of ground forces into the city on September 30, 1950.
Captured North Koreans march to a train to be transported to Pusan during the Korean War, October 8, 1950.
Troops of the 187th regimental combat team form lines after being air dropped in the Sukchon and Sunchon areas in North Korea on Oct. 20, 1950.
U.S. paratroopers descend from their planes in a mass parachute drop behind enemy lines in the Sunchon area of North Korea on October 25, 1950.
The operation was designed to block the escape route of the retreating Chinese forces and to attempt to rescue American prisoners. Members of an advance party, foreground, watch the landing.
Equipment and supplies pour ashore at Wonsan, North Korea on October 26, 1952 as landing craft churn through the harbor waters with additional cargo for the 50,000 troops who landed earlier in the day.
The coastal port was one of the busiest supply centers for allied forces during the Korean War.
Paratroopers drop from U.S. Air Force C-119 transport planes during an operation over an undisclosed location in Korea, in October 1950.
During a pause in the fighting, U.S. soldiers smoke cigarettes amid smoldering ruins in Seoul, South Korea, in September 1950.
A large column of smoke mushrooms skyward as supplies and military installations are dynamited at Hungnam, North Korea on December 27, 1950, to prevent their use by the enemy, as an American destroyer patrols Hungnam harbor.
Residents from Pyongyang, North Korea, and refugees from other areas climb perilously over shattered girders of the city's bridge on December 4, 1950, as they flee south across the Taedong River to escape the advance of Chinese Communist troops.
British Centurion tanks roll southward out of the Osan area of South Korea as United Nations forces withdraw ahead of advancing communist troops south of Seoul.
On January 11, 1951, United Nations forces took the offensive and recaptured Osan and other nearby towns.
North Korean General
Flanked by two North Korean soldiers standing guard, North Korean General Lee Sang Cho, third left, and Chinese General Hsien Fang, second left, leave a meeting with the United Nations negotiation group during armistice talk in Panmunjom, Korea on October 29, 1951.
United States Air Force fighter pilot Capt. Joseph McConnell, Jr., shown posing in the cockpit of his F-86, was the leading American jet ace of the Korean War.
McConnell shot down 16 enemy planes from January 14 to May 18, 1953 while serving in the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing.
Capt. McConnell died August 25, 1954 during a test flight at Edwards Air Force Base.
United Nations troops watch intently as hospital corpsmen remove the flak vest of a soldier wounded in the UN's futile attempt to take Spud Hill, 12 miles southwest of Chorwon in North Korea on January 29, 1953.
Prisoners of War
Solemn-faced North Korean disabled prisoners of war disembark from a Navy ship at Pusan, Korea en route to Panmunjom. The prisoners, several on crutches, came from the allied POW compound at Koje Island on April 20, 1953.
Gen. William K. Harrison, Jr. Chief U.N. armistice delegate, seated left, and North Korean Gen. Nam Il, seated right, chief communist delegate, look up as they complete signing armistice documents at Panmunjom, Korea on July 29, 1953.
The agreement created the Demilitarized Zone, DMZ, along the 38th parallel with U.S. troops stationed there to this day.
Marine Cpl. Charles Price of Chattanooga, Tenn., sounds taps on December 17, 1950 for fallen troops who died in the retreat of United Nations forces from the Changjin Reservoir area and now lie in fresh graves in a military cemetery at Hungnam.