In the 1950 Korean War, two major powers fought over South Korea’s fate, the United States and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. After the North Korean forces launched the First Phase Offensive, and won the Second Phase Offensive, the UN and Chinese forces withdrew. By December, the UN and Chinese troops had reached South Korea. The United Nations Command (UNC) supervised the distribution and use of $450 million in humanitarian aid from 33 UN member states. After the fighting was over, UNC forces were able to recapture Seoul. By the end of the war, Chinese troops crossed the 38th Parallel and recaptured Seoul.
After a long and difficult winter, the X Corps of U.S. forces started pushing into North Korea in September 1950. During this time, the NKPA was forced to evacuate their prisoners as well. In late October, about 800 POWs were transferred from Manpo to the Apex Camps, near the Chinese border in Chungung. After the brutal treatment suffered by prisoners, the march was called the “Tiger Death March”. Many of the prisoners died during the 100-mile journey.
Despite the absence of artillery or armor, the KPA drove the Eighth United States Army southwards. The US troops were forced to engage the KPA in rearguard actions. The KPA advanced along the Korean Peninsula and purge the country’s intelligencesia. General MacArthur’s warning of Kim Il-sung led to the defeat of the ROK.
The rapid advance of the NKPA began in July 1950. The U.S. forces in South Korea responded by forming a defensive formation close to Pusan Harbor. During this time, the men captured at Pusan Perimeter was marched north in stages. They were finally driven through Pyongyang, Seoul. They were then taken to Manpo Camp, on the South bank the Yalu River.
The United States, the Soviet Union, and the British all supported the South Korean government. Three years later, the Korean War was over with millions of casualties and a demilitarized area. The Korean Peninsula is still divided with military personnel from both sides occupying demilitarized zones. The Koreans do not understand why the United States has such a strict policy towards their nation.
In 1950, the United States and many other countries sent troops to South Korea. The United States delayed training its troops and, by 1950, only half the ROKA infantry battalions had been ready for war. The United States offered assistance in the form surplus light weapons and supplies. This military support proved to be an invaluable asset in the struggle against the North Korean Army.
Nearly every major city was left in ruins by the Korean War, with approximately 1 million soldiers and civilians killed. The conflict saw the deaths of approximately 900,000. The death toll in this conflict is similar to that in World War II, but in a smaller scale. Its military could not keep up with the uprising.