Korean War (02:23)
The war has lasting effects on world history and modern relations between the United States and North Korea. Despite the brutality of the war, it is often overlooked in American history.
A Country Divided (15:08)
On August 10, 1945, American army officers divided the Korean peninsula along the 38th parallel. Syngmann Rhee became leader of the American-controlled South Korea and Kim Il-Sung became ruler of Soviet-controlled North Korea. Kim Il-Sung was a strong nationalist and invaded the south in 1950.
A Cold War Turns Hot (07:50)
On June 25, 1950, North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel with Soviet-made tanks. The United States responded with a reduced military. General Douglas MacArthur had underestimated the North Korean's strength.
The Red Menace (16:47)
American society grew more fearful of communism as the Soviet Union and China's power grew. President Harry Truman stressed the importance of protecting South Korea without going to war. Thousands of refugees fled while North Korean troops battled soldiers sent by the United Nations.
A Wider War (08:31)
U.N. Forces landed at the port of Inchon in a surprise offensive. They moved back to the 38th parallel, but the Americans wanted to unite the peninsula for democracy. Truman worried MacArthur would push troops too close to the Chinese border.
The Coldest Winter (15:16)
China entered the war and took the Americans by surprise in the mountain terrain. U.N. troops were forced to retreat and the use of a nuclear weapon was seriously discussed for the first time. Truman dismissed MacArthur from his post.
The Last To Die (08:42)
By spring 1951, ground troops were at a stalemate along the 38th parallel as planes destroyed most North Korean cities. Peace talks had begun but would continue for years. An armistice was reached shortly after the death of Joseph Stalin.
The Forgotten War (08:16)
To the American public, the stakes of the Korean War felt low and the soldiers returned without achieving true victory. The Korean Peninsula was destroyed. Rhee's corrupt government focused on getting U.S. funding, while Kim Il-Sung reshaped North Korea with support from the Soviets and China.
The Second Korean War (08:45)
By the late 1960s, South Korea's economy was thriving. Kim Il-Sung viewed it as a threat to unification plans; his country's economy struggled. In 1968, Kim Il-Sung ordered a series of violent acts against South Korea and tensions remained high into the 1990s.
Even a God Dies (04:02)
Kim Il-Sung died on July 8, 1994 and his son, Kim Jong-il came to power. Kim Jung-il pushed his father's nuclear program, knowing it was the country's greatest tool for negotiations.
A Hidden Chapter (07:20)
South Korea had a democratic government and civilian media in the late 1990s; war atrocities came to light. Reporters investigated allegations of American soldiers massacring Korean civilians. They uncovered the story of No Gun Ri.
The Axis of Evil (11:21)
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, American presidents have tried and failed to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program through economic sanctions. The country had its first successful test in 2006. President Donald Trump met with Kim Jung-un to discuss ending the program.
Credits: Korea: The Never Ending War (00:30)
Credits: Korea: The Never Ending War
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