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U.S. supported South Korea in Korean Conflict

MADISON – Sixty-nine years ago, the Korean Conflict opened on June 25, 1950.

Historians identified the activity as a ‘police action.’ However, the situation actually was a war between Communist North Korea and South Korea. Communist China and the Communist Soviet Union supported North Korea. The United States supported South Korea.

Fighting started when North Korea invaded South Korea after clashes along border. The United Nations, with the United States as the principal force, came to the aid of South Korea, according to Richard L. Blanton Jr. who serves as Historian of Madison American Legion, Post 229.

Twenty-one countries in the United Nations eventually contributed to the U.N. force, with the United States providing around 90 percent of military personnel.

After two months, South Korean and U.S. forces rapidly dispatched to Korea. Near the point of defeat, troops were forced back the Pusan Perimeter. In September 1950, an amphibious U.N. counter-offensive was launched at Incheon and cut off many North Korean troops.

However, mass forces from China crossed the Yalu River and entered the war. The surprise Chinese intervention triggered a retreat of U.N. forces.

“After these reversals of fortune, which saw Seoul change hands four times, the last two years of fighting became a war of attrition, with the front line close to the 38th parallel,” Blanton said.

“The war in the air, however, was never a stalemate. North Korea was subject to a massive bombing campaign. Jet fighters confronted each other in air-to-air combat for the first time in history, and Soviet pilots covertly flew in defense of their communist allies,” Blanton said.

Fighting ended on July 27, 1953, when an armistice was signed. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea and allowed the return of prisoners.

“However, no peace treaty has been signed. According to some sources, the two Koreas are technically still at war, engaged in a frozen conflict,” Blanton said. In April 2018, leaders of North and South Korea met at the demilitarized zone and agreed to sign a treaty by the end of the year, thus formally ending the Korean War.

The Korean DMZ Conflict, also known as the Second Korean War, was a series of low-level armed clashes between forces from North Korea and South Korea and the United States. These skirmishes occurred between 1966 and 1969 at the Korean DMZ.

The international situation has been further complicated by North Korea’s active development programs to develop and field nuclear weapons. This weapons buildup continues to the present day.

Fortunately, no one from the City of Madison was killed during the Korean Conflict, Blanton said.

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