Brutal cold, rough terrain, and intense firefights were just some of the dangers the allied troops dealt with on a daily basis while engaging enemy forces in the Korean War.
In the summer of 1950, approximately 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army crossed the 38th parallel, making the invasion the first military act of the Cold War.
It was a crazy time in American history.
Check out History Channel’s list of Korean War facts you probably don’t know.
1. The 38th Parallel
After the Japanese surrendered, the U.S. took control of the southern half of Korea while the Soviets took the north. The two halves were divided by a line called the “38th parallel” that split the peninsula.
As both sides heavily disliked the idea of having the country split in two, the action caused several armed skirmishes to break out along the divided border.
The U.S. was deeply concerned about the spread of communism, which they viewed as a direct threat to American democracy. Former U.S. President Harry Truman wanted to prevent Russia from gaining any more territory and believed if the Soviets managed to take North Korea they would be one step closer to world domination.
Therefore, Truman believed he had no choice but to stop the North Korean invasion.
3. The slog of war
At first, North Korean forces were productive as they pushed American and South Korean forces further back past the 38th Parallel in the fall of 1950. With the help of the United Nations, resupply began to arrive in the allies’ hands, which allowed them to recapture the Korean capital of Seoul.
Although they were managing to combat enemy forces, the bitter cold of winter struck coalition forces — and along with it, disease, frostbite, and malnutrition, causing numerous casualties.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur believed that total victory in Korea was the only acceptable outcome for the U.S. but Truman disagreed with MacArthur’s tactics and ideology during the general’s time in power — they continuously bumped heads.
Truman eventually relieved MacArthur from his command for his so-called insubordination. While this was happening, North Korean forces drove allied forces back across the infamous 38th parallel once again.
For the next two years, neither side gained any positive ground while pursuing ultimate victory — although intense fighting continued.
In the summer of 1951, peace talks began shortly after the stalemate appeared to be coming to a close. In 1953, Eisenhower took office and was determined to end the skirmish, negotiating for several months before accomplishing his goal.
In the end, approximately 36,000 U.S. troops died, and another 100,000 were wounded. Reportedly, 620,000 soldiers from both North and South Korea were killed, and a staggering 1.6 million civilians perished during the bloody conflict.
Unfortunately, the 38th parallel continues to separate the divided peninsula to this today.
Check out the History channel’s video below to get the full scoop of these Korean War