During the early part of the 1900s, Japan seized control of Korea. Japan kept control of its Korean neighbor for over 35 years with often harsh policies and an attempt to eradicate Korean culture in favor of Japanese ideas and ways. As the end of World War II drew to a close, the allied leadership promised the Korean people that after Japan was defeated, Korea would be able to regain its independence. However, the former Soviet Union shared a border with Korea, and the USSR wanted a to expand into Korea themselves. So the USSR communist regime under Joseph Stalin declared war on Korea and invaded it just shortly before Japan surrendered to the United States.
After the World War II surrender, Japanese troops did not immediately leave Korea. So United States officials met with the officials of the USSR to decide on how to remove Japanese troops from Korea. The United States agreed to Soviet occupation of the northern part of Korea with the U.S. occupying the southern part. The dividing line was the 38th parallel of north latitude. The southern part was called the Republic of Korea and the northern portion the People's Democratic Republic of Korea.
Efforts to reunify Korea failed. North Korean forces invaded South Korea in 1950 and President Harry Truman authorized the use of American land, sea, and air forces in Korea to defend South Korea. Shortly thereafter, 15 other nations that belonged to the United Nations joined the U.S. in fighting the North Koreans.
Sample some of the following activities to learn more about the Korean War.
Places To Go People To See Things To Do Teacher Resources Bibliography
The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about the Korean War..
Use this interactive map/timeline to learn about the major events in the Korean war.
Find out why Korea has had many different names.
Come see the National War Memorial in Washington D.C.
Visit Korea via this collection of maps that detail the country and the military offensives.
Virtually visit North Korea. North Korea is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and is ruled by the Communisty party. Its capital is Pyongyang.
Virtually visit South Korea. South Korea is the Republic of Korea, and its capital is Seoul.
This collection of history examines the War through the eyes of individual participants in policy development, battlefield combatants, and observers affected by the human tragedy of the war.
Meet some families whose sons or daughters are still missing in action from the Korean War and learn about their efforts to work with the North Korean government.
President Harry Truman appointed General Douglas MacArthur as supreme commander in the Korean War. Read the text or listen to an audio file of his farewell speech to Congress where he said, "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away." Visit his gravesite in Norfolk, Virginia.
This site features a perspective on the events surrounding the Korean War from the point of view of a North Korean. Young Sik Kim's account of his childhood (1935-1955), which is published on this site, is arranged chronologically. His memoir describes Japan, the Soviet Union, and America's occupation of North Korea.
Remember the casualties of the Korean War which included over 4.5 million civilians.
Discover the worldwide participants in the Korean War.
Spend time with military veterans called the “forgotten fighters” who served valiantly in the Korean War.
Read personal remembrances of Korean War veterans.
American troops were not the men and women involved in the Korean War. Learn about the United Nations forces from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Luxembourg, as well as other countries.
Learn about the history of the war, see images, and read personal accounts of the men and women involved.
Find information about the history of the Korean War, a timeline of the events, a guide to the artillery that was part of the war, information about the military units, photographs, and more.
Find general resources about the war, information about aerial and naval operations, personal narratives, and information about the participation of other countries in the conflict.
Remember the popular television program M*A*S*H which was about the Korean War. The program ran from 1972 to 1983.
The United States ships that were sunk in the Korean War were not sunk by big guns or aircraft. Find out what method the Korean army used to damage US war ships.
- Bachrach, Deborah. Korean War. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, c1991.
- Gay, Kathlyn. Korean War. New York: Twenty-first Century Books, 1996.
- Green, Carl R. The Korean War Soldier at Heartbreak Ridge.Mankato, MN, U.S.A.: Capstone Press; Chicago: Distributed by Childrens Press, c1991.
- Isserman, Maurice. The Korean War: America at War. New York: Facts on File, c1992.
- McGowen, Tom. The Korean War. New York: Franklin Watts, c1992.
- Smith, C. Carter. The Korean War. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Silver Burdett Press, c1990.
- Stein, R. Conrad. The Korean War: The Forgotten War. Hillside, N.J. : Enslow Publishers, c1994.