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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Korean War

After World War II, the Korean peninsular was divided at the 38th parallel, with Soviet forces occupying the north and US forces occupying the south. Negotiations to reunify the two zones failed, and at 4:30 AM on June 25, 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea.

US President Harry Truman ordered troops to assist South Korea, and the United Nations backed the mission. Twenty-one countries belonging to the UN eventually contributed to the defense of South Korea, with the United States providing 88% of the UN's military personnel.

Combat in the streets of Seoul

Racial integration efforts in the US military began during the Korean War, where African Americans fought in integrated units for the first time. Among the 1.8 million American soldiers who fought in the Korean War there were more than 100,000 African Americans.

During the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in 1950, mortar sections under the United States Marine Corps started to run out of mortar rounds. Instead of ordering more rounds, they accidentally ordered hundreds of crates of Tootsie Rolls, having not specified that "tootsie rolls" was a slang term for mortar rounds.

As UN troops advanced across North Korea, the People's Republic of China intervened, pushing them back to the original boundary at the 38th parallel.

Operation Moolah beginning April 27, 1953 offered $50,000 to any North Korean military pilot who defected with a fully mission-capable Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 to South Korea. The first pilot was to receive $100,000. The success of the operation is disputable since no Communist pilot defected before the armistice was signed. However two months after the armistice, North Korean pilot Lieutenant No Kum-Sok flew his MiG-15 to the Kimpo Air Base, South Korea, unaware of Operation Moolah

The last two years of conflict were a war of attrition, with the front line close to the 38th parallel Fighting in the Korean War eventually stopped on July 27, 1953.when the United States, China, and North Korea signed an armistice agreement. Syngman Rhee, President of South Korea, refused to sign but pledged to observe the armistice.

The armistice was designed to "insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved." The signed armistice established the Korean Demilitarized Zone, put into force a cease-fire, and finalized repatriation of prisoners of war.

Delegates sign the Korean Armistice Agreement in P’anmunjŏm

More than 900 American troops were alive at the end of the Korean War but were never released by the North Koreans. It is believed that in 1996, as many as 15 of them might have still been alive.

No lasting peace treaty has been signed, and the two Koreas were technically still at war until 2018 when at the inter-Korean summit at the Peace House in Panmunjom, the leaders of North and South Korea agreed to formally end the conflict.

Recent scholarship has put the full battle death toll on all sides at just over 1.2 million.

Over three million Chinese military and civilian personnel served in Korea during the Korean War.

The popular television show M*A*S*H (see below) was about American medical personnel serving in the Korean War. The series ran from 1972 to 1983 on CBS and was one of the most popular American television shows ever.

M*A*S*H's final episode which aired on February 28, 1983 was one of the most watched shows in television history. It was viewed by 125 million people.

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