The Korean War

On 25th June 1950, the North Korean army crossed the 38th degree of latitude, which, after the end of WWII and the Japanese occupation, was chosen as a borderline separating the Soviet from the American sphere of influence.  

This invasion into the South, which was controlled by the USA, was condemned by the UN Security Council on the same day and interpreted as a violation of peace. This happened in absence of the Soviet Union.

When it became obvious that the South Korean troops would be too weak and too insufficiently equipped in order to offer resistance against the North, The USA decided to provide them with military equipment and troops.  

After North Korea succeeded in driving South Korea - and UN-troops as far back as an area surrounding the South Korean seaport Busan, the united troops of South Korea and the UN could nevertheless start a successful counteroffensive. They could drive back the North Korean army not only until the 38th degree of latitude, but later on even up to  the Yalu-river, the border river to the People's Republic of China.

The war seemed at first to have been decided, when, to the surprise of the worlds public, the PR China decided suddenly to support the North Koreans by sending them so-called "voluntary units", thereby giving the war a new dimension in November 1950. After six months passed by, a stalemate began to develop in the north of the 38th degree of latitude since May 1951. The Spring Offensive in 1951 was the last big successful Chinese-North Korean offensive in which they succeeded in driving back the UN troops 70 km south of Seoul. The UN troops in turn could again advance until the 38th degree of latitude in March.

The first offer for peace negotiations came from Washington in May 1951, although it was accompanied simultaneously with the USA's decision to continue their counteroffensive. They wanted to avoid allowing the Chinese army to make use of the negotiations in order to strengthen their military position.

Thus, both parties finally agreed in November 1951 upon a de facto armistice agreement, acknowledging thereby the 38th degree of latitude as a demarcation line for an official armistice agreement.  

However, an official peace treaty has never been agreed upon to this day.

To read about the two different perspectives regarding the Korean War, click here.



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