Tenuous End of a Three-Year Bloodshed: The Korean Armistice Agreement

December 12, 2016 Dennis Ottley


Not a decade after the end of the devastating Second World War, a new chaos began to ignite in the East. On June 25, 1950, over seventy-five thousand North Korean troops forced their way across the thirty-eighth parallel within the known bounds of South Korea. This invasion began the three-year Korean War that resulted in over five million military and civilian casualties.

The sudden attack of the North Korean army had taken the South off guard. With no time to prepare and train their troops, the South Korean army, headed by dictator Syngman Rhee, was pushed in a defensive position. When the United States entered the war on the side of the South, their considerable land, air, and sea forces changed the flow of the war. The joined forces of South Korea and the United States soon took reign of the war. The allies breached North Korea and threatened to reach the border to China. This triggered the involvement of the People’s Republic of China; their troops launched devastating attacks on the allied forces. With China’s backing, the North Korean army was on even footing with the opposing armies. From then on, the Korean War was at an impasse with both forces fighting only to exhaust each other’s resources.

The stalemate did not last for long. With the very real threat of a World War III just around the corner and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s threat of nuclear assaults, the parties involved were ready agree to a temporary truce.


On July 27, 1953, an armistice agreement was signed in P’anmunjom village, located near the north of the de facto border between North and South Korea. The agreement was signed by the representative of the United Nations Command (UNC), US Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison, and Korean People’s Army and Chinese People’s Volunteer Army, General Nam II. The agreement served to establish a Military Demarcation Line between the territories, a Demilitarised Zone, a ceasefire, and a pledge not to “execute any hostile act within, from, or against the Demilitarised Zone.”

The armistice agreement was meant to be a temporary agreement “until a final peaceful settlement is achieved.” However, a permanent settlement has yet to emerge, and the two Koreas remain on the brink of another war upon any significant provocations. In the present time, the border between the two countries continue to be the most heavily guarded by military forces on both sides.


References 2009. “Armistice Ends the Korean War.” Accessed October 17, 2016. 2009. “Korean War.” Accessed October 17, 2016.

BBC News. 2015. “The Korean War Armistice.” Accessed October 17, 2016.

Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo. 1953. “Agreement between the Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command, on the one hand, and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army and the Commander of the Chinese People’s Volunteers, on the other hand, Concerning a Military Armistice in Korea.” Accessed October 17, 2016.

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