On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman ordered U.S. air and naval forces to South Korea to aid the democratic nation in repulsing an invasion by communist North Korea. Here are five things you didn’t know about the Korean War...
Korea Was Split in Half After World War II Japan ruled over Korea from 1905 until the end of World War II, after which the Soviet Union occupied the northern half of the peninsula and the United States occupied the south.It was originally intended that Korea would remain one country, but the Soviets refused to participate in the elections held in 1947. Syngman Rhee was elected the president of South Korea, and Kim Il-Sung controlled the north. But both wanted to control the entire peninsula so border skirmishes killed thousands. Both Kim and Rhee wanted to unify Korea under their rule and initiated border skirmishes that left thousands dead.
Congress Didn’t Declare War Against North Korea North Korea attempted to invade the south on June 25, 1950, with permission from Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dictator. Two days later, North Korean troops had reached Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and President Harry Truman ordered the U.S. Air Force and Navy into action, approving ground troops a few days later. Truman never asked Congress to formally declare war, and this has not been done for further military actions since World War II.
The Korean War Goes By Many Names In the United States, we call it the Korean War (and sometimes the Forgotten War). North Korea calls it the Fatherland Liberation War. In South Korea, it’s called Six-Two-Five, after the day it started. China’s subtle name for the conflict is the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea.
A Horse Was Honored as a Korean War Hero Sergeant Reckless was a chestnut-colored mare that was bought by the Marines to move ammo and supplies across rough terrain. She also evacuated wounded men away from the battlefield. She was wounded twice and awarded several Purple Hearts as well as a Good Conduct Medal, among others. A statue dedicated to her is displayed in Quantico, Virginia, at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and another was erected in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The Korean War Never Ended The July 1953 armistice may have ended the war, but it has not led to a peace treaty between North and South Korea. The two sides are still separated by a heavily fortified 2.5-mile-wide demilitarized zone, and tensions remain high, particularly over the North’s fledgling nuclear weapons program. Though North Korea has pronounced the armistice nullified on several occasions, the United Nations holds that such action cannot be taken unilaterally.