Introduction to the Korean War

November 21, 2016 Dennis Ottley


Korea: 1950–1953—a war that some called the Forgotten War. Statesman Averell Harriman said it was “a sour little war.” However, the thousands of men and women who served in Korea during that time would say otherwise. These people served in many different capacities, but all remember the heartaches, the deaths, the wounded, and the mass destruction caused during this period. We all remember the hot summers and the freezing cold winters. Forgotten? No way. To us, the Korean War had never been forgotten.

This was a war that President Harry S. Truman proclaimed to be nothing but “a police action” and entered the conflict without a declaration of war. It was years before Congress ever acknowledged it as a full-scale war. President Truman tried to persuade a reluctant United Nations into participating in the war with the United States, but only fifteen nations plus the USA agreed to participate on the side of the South at the start. Russia and China supported the North—Russia with weapons and equipment, and China with troops.

President Truman believed that the Soviet Union (Russia) and Communist China conspired to start the war. At that time of the invasion, Communism assumed that Korea would be the first step toward a plan for world conquest. However, some historians believed that America instigated the war, using South Koreans as puppets. The big question—was the war worth fighting?

On the morning of June 25, 1950, the North Korean Army, known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), launched an assault across the 38th parallel with a massive artillery barrage, causing the beginning of the Korean War. The South Korean Army, known as the Republic of Korea (ROK) troops, were taken by surprise and extremely outnumbered but retaliated immediately. No match for the northern troops, on June 27, 1950, President Truman authorized US air and naval operations to support the ROK troops. The first US ground combat troops arrived at Pusan on July 1, 1950, under General Douglas MacArthur’s command.


The draft was on at the time, and men immediately got drafted; plus, a lot of men joined because they were concerned that America had to do something to stop the Communist aggression.

Did you know that the Korean War was the first armed struggle between Democracy and Communism? And did you know that during the Korean War, the American Armed Forces saved the lives of thousands upon thousands of Korean children?

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