Korean War

Was it another proxy war?

The specter of the Korean War continues to loom large above our heads each day. This was another battle between the “north” and the “south”, this time, in Korea. Isn’t it interesting that those countries who are communist rule occupy the North?

The Korean War has been given other names, “The Unknown War” and even the “Forgotten War.” The result of that war is evident to this day. Today, countries in the west, including the United States of America, are always on pins and needles when North Korea is mentioned. As if the escalating tension in the Middle East was not enough, the other Korea makes it a point that it is not forgotten.

Pre-Korean War Timeline

1905 Korea is made a protectorate by Japan under the Eulsa Treaty.
1910 Aug 22 – The Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty makes Korea part of Japan. Although representatives from both sides signed the treaty, an exiled provisional government of Korea disputes its legality.

* What Imperial Japan did at that time is colonize the Korean people and the Korean Peninsula. The Japanese did their best to force Koreans from practicing their culture; the Korean people were force to assimilate into the Japanese culture.

1938 As Japan enters the fray of World War II, hundreds of thousands of civilians from Korea were to forced work under the Japanese.
1945 Jul 17 – The Potsdam Conference takes place; participants included the UK, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Discussed, among other things, was the fate of Korea. The bad thing about the conference, the allies did not consult with the Koreans what they wanted to do. It was at this conference that Korea was divided into two, at the 38th Parallel, North Korea for the communists and South Korea for all others.

Aug 10 – Soviet Russian soldiers arrive in North Korea as a show of support for Kim il-Sung, then leader of the North; America has not sent any troops yet as part of the agreement.

Sep 2 – The Empire of Japan surrenders officially ending World War II.

Sep 8 – The Japanese surrender Korea to the United States, just below the 38th parallel.

Sep 8 – U.S. appoints Lt. General John Hodge as military governor of South Korea and head of the USAMGIK (United States Army Military Government in Korea).

* More than twenty-five percent of those killed in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were Korean nationals. Japanese rule over Korea was considered null and void after the war.

1947 Mar 12 – U.S. President Harry Truman gives a pledge that the United States will help any country that is under the threat of communism. It became popularly known as the Truman Doctrine.

Aug – American soldiers slowly withdraw from South Korea entrusting the country to pro-American leader Dr. Syngman Rhee.

1948 Apr 3 – The Jeju Uprising takes place, south of the Korean Peninsula. Koreans sympathetic to the North Korean communist regime led by Kim Il Sung were attacked by South Korean soldiers for fear of the North’s influence on the people. More than 14,000 people were killed.

May 10 – South Korea plan to hold its first general elections.

Jul 20 – Syngman Rhee is elected president soon after the South Korean government passed its own constitution on July 17.

Aug 15 – The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is established.

Aug 25 – North Korea holds parliamentary elections. The Soviet Union left North Korea shortly after the elections were completed as agreed in the Potsdam conference.

Oct – More unrest from left-leaning South Korean soldiers who did not agree with the way the Jeju Uprising was handled, this sparks the Yeosu-Suncheon Rebellion.

* The United States continues to stay in South Korea. The delay is caused by the unpreparedness of the South Korean military at that time.

Oct 1 – The People’s Republic of China (Communist China) is formed. This is significant because of North Korea’s role in assisting the communists during the Chinese Civil War.

Dec 24 – The Mungyeong Massacre casts a pall on the government of Syngman Rhee, South Koreans kill up to 88 people and placed the blame on communist bandits.

* Both Kim il-Sung and Syngman Rhee sought the best for their country; they were seen as nationalists instilling their respective ideologies to the people. This did not bode well for the US Congress, although they supported South Korea, they were concerned that Rhee might invade the North.

1950 Jan – The Korean Aid Bill is defeated in Congress, in the House of Representatives by one vote. This action cut off all aid to South Korea.

Feb – Josef Stalin of the Soviet Union supports Kim il-Sung, asks permission to invade south Korea. Stalin agrees, based on the belief that the United States did not have any interest in Korea.

Apr – South Korea holds elections. Voters choose anti-Rhee moderates instead of the conservatives currently in office at that time.

Korean War Timeline

1950 Jun 25 – North Korea launches a full scale attack against South Korea. North Korean infantry and tanks cross the 38th Parallel and meet little resistance. This is the start of the Korean War.

Jun 27 – In a joint announcement, the United Nations and the United States condemn the actions of North Korea. Resolution 83 is passed calling all members of the United Nations to lend military aid to the Republic of Korea. Military help is given by the UN and placed under the command of American officers.

Jun 27 – Syngman Rhee gives the order for the Bodo League Massacre, or as some have called it, the Summer of Terror. This involved the death of some 100,000 communists and people sympathetic to the North Korean cause.

Jun 28 – The South Korean capital of Seoul is captured by North Korean troops.

Jun 29 – World War II hero General Douglas MacArthur arrive in Suwon, South Korea to take command of UN and US forces.

Jul 4 – The Battle of Osan takes place, where American’s on the ground engage North Korean soldiers. More than 150 American’s suffer from injury and/or death.

Jul 21 – Advancing North Korean troops make their way to the south and force American troops one hundred miles south of Seoul into the city of Daejon.

Aug 4 – A coalition of South Korean and American forces establish a defensive perimeter in the city of Pusan, this became known as the Battle of Pusan Perimeter.

Sep 15 – The Battle of Inchon; General Douglas MacArthur leads an amphibious assault behind enemy lines.

Sep 27 – U.S. President harry Truman gives the okay to General MacArthur to go after North Korean troops, even if it means crossing the 38th Parallel.

Sep 29 – South Korean president Syngman Rhee reestablishes his government by recapturing Seoul.

Oct 15 – During a meeting with President Truman at Wake Island, General MacArthur confidently assures him that the Chinese will not get involved in the Korean conflict.

Oct 25 – More than 100,000 Chinese soldiers secretly arrive in North Korea through the Yalu River. They handily defeat the South Korean army at Pukchin.

Nov 1 – The Chinese officially enters the Korean War by intervening where KPA’s are overwhelmed by both US and UN forces.

1951 Jan 4 – China’s People Volunteer Army (PVA) and the Korean’s People Army (KPA) of North Korea retake Seoul for the second time.

Feb 5 – Operation Roundup takes place at Hongch’on and P’yonch’Ang.

Feb 20-Mar 6 – One of the major counter offensives led by the United Nations forces is known as Operation Killer, this was aimed against the PVA of China and North Korean Army.

Mar 7 – Operation Ripper is put into effect by the UN Military under the command of General Matthew Ridgeway of the US 8th Army.

Mar 23 – Operation Tomahawk is underway. Paratroopers are dropped into Munsan-Ni by the 187th Regimental Combat Team; this is considered as the biggest operation, by air, of the Korean War.

Apr 11 – General MacArthur is dismissed as Supreme Commander in Korea by President Truman. There were differences between the two American leaders that made the dismissal inevitable. General Matthew Ridgway is appointed as the new Supreme Commander of Korea.

April 22-29 – KPA & Chinese initiate an offensive, also known as the “Chinese Spring Offensive,” this was the first. The offensive was fought in two battles, the Battle of Imjin River and the Battle of Kapyong.

May 17-22 – The Second Spring offensive by the Chinese, the US Army sends the 2nd, 3rd, and 25th infantry division; while the Marines use the 1st Marine division.

Jan-Jun – Fighting continues around the 38th Parallel. The KPA and PVA push back US and South Korean troops behind the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone).

Aug 18 – North Korean forces engage in a ground battle against United Nations, Philippine, ROK, and US forces in the Battle of Bloody Ridge.

Sep 13 – South Korean, French, American, and Philippine troops fight in a prolonged battle known as the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge against Chinese and North Korean forces. There were a combined 28,000 of casualties and loss of life.

1952 Mar 21 – Located near Chorwon in South Korean, the Battle of Hill Eerie saw the extensive participation of Filipino soldiers side by side with American troops against a formidable Chinese contingent.

Jun 26 – One of a series of engagements between China, in behalf of North Korean, against US, South Korea, and Colombian forces, best known as the Battle of Old Baldy.

Oct 6 – Another battle to gain an advantage by the Chinese, the Battle of White Horse, brings to bear American, French, and South Korean forces in this bloody battle.

Oct 14 – The Americans tried to achieve control of the “Iron Triangle” in the Battle of Triangle Hill.

1953 May 28 – Led by a British commander, the Battle of the Hook saw Turkish and British forces battling it out against 6500 Chinese soldiers.

Mar-Jul – The Battle of Pork Chop Hill took place, it became one of the controversial battles in the Korean War.

Jul 13 – The last battle leading towards an armistice agreement between all warring factions, the Battle of Kumsong occurred during negotiations between North Korean (communist) and the United Nations. This was a battle wherein the strength of the Chinese was evident.

Jul 27 – The Korean Armistice Agreement officially ends the Korean War.

* Between August of 1953 and early February 1954, there was an ongoing exchange of Prisoners of War; nearly 82,500 North Koreans and Chinese were repatriated; 21,900 communist prisoners of war refused to be repatriated.