Dateline June 25th, 1950. 135,000 North Korean troops launch a surprise invasion across the 38th parallel of their southern neighbor South Korea. The invading force quickly sweeps aside the lightly armed RoK Army and soon occupy the capitol of South Korea, Seoul. American and South Korean troops fight a desperate battle down the peninsula until they are forced into the Pusan Perimeter.
Meanwhile at the United Nations, while the USSR is boycotting the Security Council, the United States gets the UN to authorize the use of United Nations forces to defend South Korea and repel the invaders.
As Pusan stabilizes, General MacArthur launches a bold, some would say foolhardy, invasion at Inchon. Soon MacArthur's forces are ashore and then they take Seoul, thus cutting off the invading North Korean armies' supply lines. Meanwhile 8th Army breaks out of the Pusan perimeter and launches a counter-attack against the now trapped North Korean forces. What ensues is a complete route of the North Korean forces and by November, 1950 MacArthur's United Nations forces are peering across the Yalu River and into communist China, for all intents and purposes North Korea no longer exists except as occupied territory.
Alas, just as certain victory was in the offering and many troops dreamt of being home by Christmas, communist China sends screaming across the frozen mountains of Korea tens of thousands of 'volunteers.' These new forces smash into the UN troops and force them back. On the Eastern coast, the Marines at Chosin Resevoir are forced back to the coast; they bitterly contest every foot of their forced march to the sea leaving no dead behind.
For the next two years across the mountains of central Korea the war would see-saw in a very bloody fashion pitting Chinese manpower versus Western firepower. Until finally in 1953 negotiations conclude an armistice that calls an end to the fighting. The last day of official hostilities was July 27th, 1953.
During these three bitter years of combat, more than 35,000 Americans gave their lives defending South Korea from communist tyranny. Many thousands of South Koreans, Australian, British, Greek, Turkish, and other UN members also lost their lives during these three awful years of war.
To this day, there is no true peace in Korea; only a very uneasy cease-fire between the two countries. North Korea keeps tunneling under the Demilitarized Zone to sneak saboteurs in. In the past North Korea has kidnapped Japanese nationals as part of their spy efforts. More horrible of all; while many North Koreans starve to death their glorious leader lives in luxury and dreams of being a nuclear power. All the while students in South Korea protest the 26,000 American troops stationed in their country, wanting them to go home. How short memory can be.
**yoo-gee-o is Korean for 6-2-5 the date of the invasion.