Keen to learn but short on time? Get to grips with the events of The Korean War in next to no time with this concise guide.
50MINUTES.com provides a clear and engaging analysis of The Korean War. On 25 June 1950, North Korean troops marched across the 38th parallel, the imaginary border between the North and South of the peninsula. This marked the escalation of diplomatic tensions into open conflict, and resulted in a three-year war of attrition which claimed millions of lives. Despite major contributions from Chinese, American and UN forces, there was no clear winner in the conflict, and Korea remains divided to this day.
In just 50 minutes you will:
• Learn about the events leading up to the outbreak of war in Korea, including the partition of the country after the Second World War and the contentious elections of 1948
• Find out about the key figures and battles in the conflict, including General Douglas MacArthur and Kim Il-sung
• Understand the outcome of the war and its consequences, which are still felt today
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The Korean War began as an internal conflict, before becoming global and pitting the Western Bloc and the Communist Bloc against one another. For three years, it gave an outlet to the opposition between East and West.
At 4am on 25 June 1950, Captain Dorrigo of the Korean Military Advisory Group was awoken by the sound of bombs: North Korea had just crossed the 38th parallel north, the imaginary border separating the two countries, and attacked its neighbour to the south. The military immediately sounded the alarm. A few weeks later, the USA entered the war against North Korea, led by General Douglas MacArthur, and the UN dispatched its armed forces for the first time since its creation. However, in February 1951, the war reached a stalemate. At the same time, negotiations took place between the Western and Communist sides, ultimately leading to an armistice in 1953.
Over 60 years later, Korea is still not unified and tensions remain high.
On 15 August 1945, when Japan surrendered unconditionally to the winners of the Second World War (1939-1945), the Koreans, who had been under the domination of the Empire of Japan since 1910, were euphoric at the thought that they would finally have control over their own lives. Immediately, the Korean peninsula set itself the aim of forming a single large democracy which would bring together the North and South of the country. However, the USA, Great Britain and China had different plans for this small Asian country. At the Cairo Conference in 1943, these three countries recommended that Korea become free and independent again, but only in due course. This desire was reaffirmed and approved by the USSR at the Yalta Conference two years later.
As early as the Second World War, when the Soviets were taking part in the war between the Allies and Japan at the request of Franklin D. Roosevelt (American statesman, 1882-1945), it was agreed that the Russians and the Americans would share part of the peninsula. To do this, General Douglas MacArthur, a hero of the Pacific War (1941-1945) suggested dividing the country in two at the 38th parallel, which more or less corresponded to the middle of Korean territory. This arbitrary and artificial line, which crossed mountains that were over 2000 m high, did not take terrain, economy or society into account, resulting in some ludicrous situations. For example, one part of the city of Kaesong was in the Soviet sector, while the other part was under American jurisdiction. This imaginary border was not destined to last and originally was only meant to make it easier for the Soviets in the North and the Americans in the South to manage the surrender of the Japanese troops.
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