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Korean War Timeline
Timeline Description: The Korean War is often called The Forgotten War. It began when communist North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. When the war ended in 1953, Korea was still divided and it remains that way today.

Date Event
May 1945 Korea is divided into two countries.

After World War II, Korea is divided into communist North Korea and anti-communist South Korea at a spot called the 38th parallel. Russia controls North Korea and the U.S. controls South Korea.
March 12, 1947 Harry Truman promises to fight Communism.

President Harry Truman gives a speech and says that that the U.S. will help any country that is threatened by communism. The speech is called the Truman Doctrine.
June 25, 1950 North Korea invades South Korea.

With permission from Russia, North Korea invades South Korea and continues on to the capital of Seoul. South Korea does not have a strong enough army to stop it.
June 25, 1950 South Korean President Syngman Rhee executes 100,000 people.

Worried that South Koreans will join the communists, President Syngman Rhee starts the Summer of Terror and orders over 100,000 people killed.
June 27, 1950 The United States joins the Korean War.

President Harry Truman sends U.S. troops to Korea. The U.S. and other countries in the United Nations join the war because they want to stop communism from spreading to South Korea.
July 4, 1950 The United States is defeated at Osan.

American troops fight North Korean troops in Osan. The Americans expected an easy victory, but are surprised to find out that they are no match for the North Korean army.
September 15, 1950 The United States gets a victory at Inchon.

General Douglas MacArthur leads an invasion into South Korea at the city of Inchon. From there, the United Nations troops go to Seoul and take it back from North Korea.
October 20, 1950 United States troops reach the capital of North Korea.

U.S. troops push their way into Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Soldiers believe that the war will be over soon and start to take bets on what day the war will officially end.
October 1950 China joins the Korean War.

China joins the war to fight on the side of North Korea. China's army, called the People's Volunteer Army, wins several important victories and pushes the U.S. and South Korean troops back across the 38th parallel.
November 24, 1950 The United Nations forces launch the "Home by Christmas" offensive.

General MacArthur orders the United Nations forces to move to the Yalu River, the border between North Korea and northeast China. MacArthur said the UN troops would be home by Christmas, but they are attacked by 180,000 Chinese soldiers and have to retreat.
February 1, 1951 Peace talks begin.

With neither side gaining ground, peace talks begin. However, it takes two years to come to an agreement as the war drags on.
April 1951 General Douglas MacArthur is fired.

After General MacArthur publicly disagrees with President Truman about whether or not to bomb China, MacArthur is fired. Truman believed that bombing China would have led to a much bigger war.
September 13, 1951 The Battle of Heartbreak Ridge begins.

American and French troops start a battle with North Korean and Chinese troops in a part of South Korea known as the Punchbowl. The U.S. and France win the month-long battle. Over 25,000 Chinese and North Korean soldiers die.
November 4, 1952 Dwight Eisenhower is elected president.

General Dwight Eisenhower defeats Illinois Senator Adlai Stevenson to become president of the United States. During his campaign, Eisenhower said he would end the war in Korea.
July 27, 1953 North Korea and South Korea agree to a truce.

North Korea and South Korea sign an agreement to stop fighting. Korea is still divided, but the two countries agree to create a neutral zone called the Demilitarized Zone to separate the countries.
April 1954 Talks at Geneva fail to unite Korea.

Representatives from the United States and China meet in Geneva to talk about uniting Korea. However, the countries cannot come to an agreement and Korea remains divided.