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On This Day… The Day North Korea Declared War On South Korea

Written by: George Chittenden : 21 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 25th June back in 1950 when North Korea launched a surprise invasion on South Korea, with a convoy of tanks rolling across the border, kick-starting the Korean War. During the three brutal years that followed, at least a million combatants and an estimated 2.5 million Korean civilians would lose their lives. So folks why was Korea divided in the first place? From 1910 until the end of WWII, Korea was part of the Japanese Empire. After the war it was agreed to divide Korea in two, at a demarcation line known as the 38th parallel. The division was a clumsy, temporary solution. It was actually drawn with pencil using a National Geographic map by two junior American officers in President Truman's White House.

The 38th parallel was destined to create problems on the peninsular as leaders from both the north and south viewed themselves as the legitimate leader of a united Korea. North Korea didn’t waste time, and their 75,000-strong army who were trained and armed by their Soviet and Chinese communist allies reached the capital of South Korea, Seoul, only three days after crossing the border. American President Truman launched a US-led coalition that included troops from the UK, Canada, Turkey and other member states. After several years of bloody conflict an armistice was signed in July 1953, however no peace treaty was ever signed. Decades have passed, but finally an official end to the Korean War is on the horizon. In April 2018 the leaders of North and South Korea met and agreed to sign a treaty by the end of the year.

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