North Korea and South Korea was once one country combined. That changed soon
after World War II.
Since the Soviet Union controlled North Korea it was mainly
Communist. North and South Korea were separated on the 38th parallel line. The
United States controlled South Korea so it was mainly democratic. The Korean War
began on June 25, 1950, when troops from Communist-ruled North Korea invaded
The Korean War was the first war in which a world organization, the
United Nations (UN), played a military role. The UN thought that the invasion
was “a violation of international peace,” and demanded that the Communists
withdraw from South Korea. After North Korea kept fighting the UN asked it’s
member nations to aid South Korea with military help. Sixteen countries sent
troops to South America and 41 other countries sent military equipment, food,
and other supplies.
China fought on the side of North Korea, and the USSR gave
military equipment to the North Koreans. North Korea invaded South Korea because
there was a disagreement between the two countries. The UN General Assembly told
Korea to hold elections throughout the entire country. The elections were to
choose one government for the entire country.
The Soviet Union opposed this idea
and would not permit elections in North Korea. On May 10, 1947, the people of
South Korea elected a national assembly. The assembly chose to set up the
Republic of Korea. On September 9, North Korean Communists established the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
When both North and South claimed the
entire country, their troops collided. North Korea had about 135,000 soldiers in
their army. Most of the soldiers fought for China or the Soviet Union in WWII.
North Korea had many advantages over the South Korean Army.
The North had
airplanes, artillery, and tanks. South Korea had about 95,000 soldiers, few
planes or heavy guns, and absolutely no tanks. When the UN joined with South
Korea, at their strongest, they had about 1,110,000 soldiers. Approximately
590,000 were South Koreans, and about 480,000 were Americans.
The other 39,000
were from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, and other countries. At
one point during the war North Korea had the South pushed so far south that the
only city they could retreat to was Pusan. Finally, after years of fighting, the
Korean War ended on July 27, 1953. The UN and North Korea signed an armistice
A permanent peace treaty between South Korea and North Korea had
never been signed. However, US military presence is being maintained constantly
to discourage any aggression between the two countries.