"Our Nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met"
-Korean War Memorial
June 25, 1950 - July 27, 1953
Total who served in all Armed Forces: 5,720,000
Battle Deaths: 33,741
Other Deaths (In Theatre): 2,833
Medals of Honor: 131
The Korean War was fought from 1950 until 1953 and pitted the United States, South Korea and their UN allies against North Korea and the Chinese Communists.
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950 when North Korea, under a communist government, invaded South Korea. North Korea hoped to unite the peninsula under a single Communist government. The newly formed United Nations condemned the actions of North Korea and ordered troops to withdraw. The United States entered the conflict when the UN called on member states to aid South Korea. With the help of U.S. troops, South Korea pushed North Korean troops all the way to the Yalu River. This counter invasion gained the attention of the Communist Chinese government who quickly came to the aid of North Korea. While Soviet Union forces never directly entered the conflict, the government supplied war materials to both the Chinese and North Korean governments.
After China entered the conflict, South Korean and U.S. forces were pushed back to the 38th parallel which became the center of the fighting for the remainder of the war. Heavy fighting continued and casualties mounted, the United States lost 36,574 soldiers and another 103,284 soldiers were injured. Finally an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953 which once again designated the 38th parallel as the border between the two Koreas.
The Korean War is often called the “Forgotten War” because it was largely overshadowed by WWII and Vietnam. The importance of this war in the history of the United States and the world is vastly understated; this conflict marked the first clear battle of the Cold War. Tensions were already high between the Communist East and the Democratic West, and the Korean War certainly exacerbated the mistrust between the two sides. While this war is often forgotten, it is important that the Veterans who fought in this conflict are not also forgotten.