The peace between the two nations was broken when North Korea sent troops across the 38th parallel into South Korea on June 25th, 1950. At the time, the American government had been debating whether or not to increase the military budget; President Truman thought it to be a bad idea because it may undermine the American policy of containing the spread of communism. The United States pushed the United Nations to take action against North Korea, pushing through a resolution that passed unanimously in favor of intervening in the conflict on the side of South Korea. The Soviet Union had not been present to veto the resolution because they were boycotting the UN on account that the US would not allow newly communist People's Republic of China to join, in favor of the nationalist Republic of China, better known as Taiwan.The first batch of UN troops, comprised by mainly US troops and 15 other nations, landed at Inchon on July 1, 1950. This move would make the Korean War turn global because now, nations all over the Earth are involved and fighting against the spread of communism.
South Korean refugees fleeing southward as the North Korean army comes closer and closer, 1950.
The Korean War can be categorized into four distinct phases that took place during the whole conflict. Phase one is the initial invasion of the South by the North, and the South Korean forces being pushed all the way south by the port of Pusan. Stage one is categorized by its rapid and sudden movements along the front lines. Phase two of the Korean war is the UN landing at Inchon, behind the North Koreans front line, in the hopes of splitting the peninsula in half and making the war hard for the North Koreans. The capital of the south, Seoul, was recaptured and the North Koreans were pushed back past the 38th parallel to the Yalu River, on the border with China. Stage three is the counter-attack made by the North Koreans and Chinese. On November 27, 1950, 150.000 North Koreans and 250.000 Chinese troops attacked the UN forces along the Yalu River and eventually pushed the UN forces back to the 38th parallel. By December 1950, the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, was recaptured by the communist forces. Stage four of the Korean War is the stalemate that ensured along the 38th parallel. This final stage would last for most of the war, from December 1950 to the war's end in July 1953.
A map of the Korean peninsula detailing where the major events of the war took place.
From the beginning to the end of the war, there had been no major shifts in the border between North and South Korea; the border between these two nations still was centered just about along the 38th parallel. When peace talks had begun in 1951, it was not anticipated that the talks, or the war, would last much longer. Stalling on the part of the North Koreans caused the peace talks to last until an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. in the city of Panmunjom.
The armistice between North and South Korea being signed, July 27, 1953.
Because of the Cold War, the Korean peninsula is divided into North and South. The North is a one party, communist state where the control of the nation passes through a hereditary linage. The South, however, has a booming, capitalist economy and has fully embraced the lifestyle familiar to those in the West. The border between these nations is the most heavily guarded and militarized in the world, being officially called the De-Militarized Zone, or DMZ. The two nations of North and South Korea do not have official relations, nor do they recognize the other's sovereignty. Based on a technicality, the armistice signed by each nation in July 1953, never officially ended the war, only the fighting so it is not technically wrong to say that the Korean War is still going on. The Cold War spread to Asia, and specifically to Korea, on the basis that both the Soviet Union and United States felt the necessity to expand their spheres of influence and spread their ideology around to newly independent nations.