Korean War

Historical entity

A Cold War satellite war fought from 1950 till 1953 that resulted from Allied Powers occupying the formerly Japan occupied south Korea and Soviet troops occupying the north. N & S Korea, US, China, UN and USSR were involved.


Alternate names: Korean Conflict, 抗美援朝戰爭, 抗美援朝战争, 朝鮮戰爭, 朝鲜战争

The first video game about Korean War was released in 1982.

SSG, Alternative Software and SSI has published most of these games

USSR involvement in the armed conflict in 1950-1953 was non-existent or extremely minimal as far as I can tell, most fighting on that side was done by North Korea itself and People's Republic of China, though USSR may have supplied either or both of the two.

Also note that the war is not called civil war by all due to massive participation from both China and US.
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The Korean War ended in stalemate. As is often the case in such results, it is sidelined in international history compared to wars with clear victors. History tends to be written by the victors and a stalemate war has none. Just like history, the Korean War occurs as a subject of videogames much less often.

Military history defines the Korean Conflict (officially defined as a police action) as one of infantry attacks, air bombing raids, and trench warfare. However, this ignores the very complex political factors which influenced the war far more than the actual combat.

Often called The Forgotten War or The Unknown War in the USA because it was never officially a war of the USA and it ended in stalemate. Technically, it was a UN action. The TV series M*A*S*H drew much attention to the history, but many US residents mistakenly thought the conflict depicted was part of the Vietnam War. Because of the former lack of prominence of this war (in the minds of US residents), there is often some lament and sarcasm associated in these titles, since it obviously did involve the US. Sadly, To this day, the details of the Korean War remain largely unknown to US residents. Both conversely and logically, the Korean War was the first satellite conflict in the Cold War that set the pattern for the satellite conflicts that would follow (those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it).

It is called the 6-2-5 War (yuk-i-o jeonjaeng) in South Korea. Referring to its commencement date of June 25th.

It was officially called the Fatherland Liberation War (Choguk haebang chǒnjaeng) in North Korea. It is also called Chosǒn chǒnjaeng ("Joseon war"). Joseon is North Korea's name for Korea. But people in China increasing call it Chao Xian Zhan Zheng ("Korean War"). Chao Xian is China's name for Korea.

China officially named it War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea

"Korean War" often denotes the preceding and subsequent conflicts that are virtually inseparable from the 'official' war.

The Korean War is far to complicated to fully explain here. But here are some of the details. Japan ruled Korea at the end of WWII. Japan surrendered thus giving any authority they felt they had over to the Allied Powers. This is quite ironic since all major nations, including the United States and the pre-soviet countries had never recognized Japan's self proclaimed authority in Korea. US and USSR troops were already present in Korea in their efforts to wage war on Japan. To further complicate matters, the Japanese Army (including many conscripted Koreans) never left and were the ones delegated to work with the police in running the country (just as they had during the war). The Allies divided Korea at the 38th parallel selected for both existing troop locations, number of sea ports in each, and to place the capitol city in the agreed upon half; The Soviet Union and USA and sent more troops to 'their' halves of the country. At no time were the people of Korea consulted for any of this. Some Korean people supported the north, some the south, some the US, some the Soviets, some Japan, and on all sides were democratic and communist supporters. The USSR and US had actually agreed on the 38th parallel before the Japanese surrendered. The Japanese were actually asked to surrender Korea north of the 38th to the Soviets as a separate matter from surrendering the south to the USA. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) was backed by China and the USSR. The Republic of Korea (South Korea) was backed by the USA and the United Nations. Notably, supporters of the USA in South Korea did not get US cooperation if they were suspected of being communist. Despite the fact that one of the communist groups was the most prominent fighters of the Japanese. And the Japanese army was given authority because the US leaders were certain they were not communists (they could not be certain the Koreans would not vote for a Communist government). There was a concerted effort by US leaders to paint the conflict as Communist vs Democratic, rather than the Civil ware that it was. The Civil War quickly escalated into a major proxy war of the Cold War. Ironically, the US actually withdrew troops before the North invaded the South. But not before a CIA operator volunteered to stay as a spy. He was killed during his mission but his team managed to deliver the news of the impending invasion. South Korea invaded the North as 'a preemptive counterattack' but it was actually intended to be a provocation. However, this was not the first battle. Both sides had unofficially be attacking each other for quite some time. The civil war had been well under way long before the official invasions made it a satellite conflict. The US, under the UN, returned their forces to South Korea in response with support offered by the usual Red Scare tactics. Their forces were too late as North Korea was already well equipped by their allies. Most of the South Korean troops defected or retreated. The Red Scare tactics were also a problem for the US troops. They were officially only authorize to fight in North Korea if it was against Soviet or Chinese Communist forces. Thus these nations could arm the North Koreans to the teeth and the US would do nothing to prevent it but merely wait to be invaded by the overly equipped North Koreans. However, Defense Secretary George Marshall, apparently without authorization, secretly said to General MacArthur (incharge of the US troops) "We want you to feel unhampered tactically and strategically to proceed north of the 38th parallel". The UN also quietly authorized attacks in the North. They took the attack all the way to the Chinese board where MacArthur want to proceed with an invasion of China. China had supplied the North Koreans, but hadn't actually 'got involved' as the US had. This time he was actually prevented from disobey the president's official orders. But, some US bombers supposedly violated China's airspace, so China used this as justification to 'get involved' by declaring the "War to Resist America and Aid Korea". At this point the USSR was not officially involved. Yet they were sending MiG-15s with Soviet pilots against the UN aircraft. They viewed this a practice for someday fighting the US air force. The MiG-15s were painted as North Korean aircraft. Upon learning of this participation, the UN chose to tolerate it out of fear that the conflict would erupt in nuclear war should the Soviets become 'fully involved'. The Soviet's efforts resulted in many aircraft losses for the UN but was ultimately counter productive for gaining any advantage in the Cold War as the US retrofitted the F-86 specifically to counter the MiG-15s in Korea. The retrofitting of the F-86 was a direct result of the use of the MiG-15s in Korea. Both sides moved on to create better aircraft. The Soviets would continue to find uses for the MiG-15 but the F-86 did not last long after the war ended. Many pilots argue which aircraft has the advantage. Chuck Yeager maintains that they were an even match and that pilot skill was the determining factor when these aircraft faced each other. The Chines and Korean jet pilots lack experience and were at a disadvantage against UN jet pilots. Both craft had simular G-force tolerances. However, UN pilots were equipped with G-suits while the Soviets were not. This allowed UN pilots to maintain high G maneuvers for longer periods with less chance of a blackout (fainting). So the only real equipment advantage actually had nothing to do with the aircraft itself. F-86s, occording to some reports, downed 792 MiG-15s and 108 other aircraft. Only 78 F-86s were shot down. However, data from all sides contradict each other and exact numbers are not certian. It is known that F-86s were the most successful. Helicopter replace the jeep as the main medevac vehicle during the Korean War. The Helicopter was also developed as a close air support force. These were the cases for all sides. UN forces heavily bombed North Korean cities resulting in 50% dame to 18 of the largest. But the cities were largely evacuated of military assets anyhow. Navel battles were limited to a few small skirmishes. Early in the conflict, preparations were made for nuclear war by President Trueman. The possibly was announce (basically a threat) and the Chinese made counter preparations. Interestingly, MacArthur indicated that he would refuse any order to use nuclear weapons, not because he objected (he advocated it actually), but because the order would ceom from a civilian (Trueman). This was actually the last action in a series of disobedience and incompetence. It seems MacArthur did not agree that a civilian leader (the president) should command the military. This is directly against the US constitution that states the President is the supreme commander and chief of the armed forces. MacArthur had built his carrier on such insubordination which was tolerated during wartime since he had been overall effective. But Korea was not officially a war and his actions were very often provoking the Soviets and Chinese who had nukes to retaliate with. He was removed from command.

The Korean War ended in a stalemate. Even as all sides continued to combat each other trying to win full victory and capture all the other's territory for 2 years, all sides remained at the negotiating table. An Armistice Agreement was signed July 27th, 1953. But Republic of Korea President Syngman Rhee (of South Korea) did not sign. And the agreement was never official. None-the-less, exchanging prisoners, and remains of the dead commenced.

The conflict continues mostly in political and economic realms. But open warfare still occurs. Technically, the two states are still at war due to South Korea's leader never having singed the peace agreement. A mere ceasefire agreement is still in effect, despite quite a few violations of it.
South Korea remained stagnated for approximately 10 years after but became moving toward industrialized modernization, modern free-market economy, and became members of the OECD and G-20. In the late ninties the South began transitioning to full democracy. North Korea has made little progress since the end of the war. One the one hand, South Korea maintained a "Sunshine Policy" (see The North Wind and the Sun from Aesop's fables) toward North Korea untill 2008 and on the other maintained as strict anti-communism government. Sunshine Policy is basically is one of peaceful co-existence but not progress:
1. No armed provocation by the North will be tolerated.
2. The South will not attempt to absorb the North in any way.
3. The South actively seeks cooperation (as equals).
(4.) Unified Korea is still the stated long-term goal of South Korea. (but impossible as long the Sunshine Policy was in effect).
(5.) Separation of politics and economics. (Economics are not part of the Sunshine Policy, thus trade and humanitarian aid with the North is encouraged even if it violates Sunshine Policy)
(6.) Sunshine Policy requires reciprocity from the North
Points 4, 5, and 6 are vague and semi-official. For instance, South Korea often relents on point 6 and has even replaced it with "flexible reciprocity" putting themselves in the role of "elder brother" according to Confucian values. Or inotherwords, act first in hopes of reciprocity without specifically naming or requiring it.
Sunshine Policy largely came to an end in 2008. Since then both countries have treated each other as rivals, the South has withdraw "elder brother" efforts or the north has refused them. The South is nolonger as forgiving of the North's actions and the North has postured with nuclear efforts, military exercises and even open conflict. To this day, 30,000 US troops remain in Korea. Both sides acknowledge that reunification cannot happen as long as US troops remain. North Korea demands removal of US troops as part of any agreement. Nevertheless, reunification efforts have always preceded, with the assumption that US troops would withdraw at point in the exercising of said agreement when one is reached. The US has made no such concession and in fact was included in the "axis of evil" as defined by US president George W. Bush Jr. South Korean people remain conflicted about keeping the US as an ally while reunifying with the North, as the two seem mutually exclusive. However, the North was removed from the US 'list of states that sponsor terrorism' in 2008. North Korea is actively pursuing Uranium Enrichment. Possible purposes of this pursuit are nuclear powerplants, nuclear bombs, and other nuclear weapons ('dirty bombs'). Most nations proceed as if the North intends to create nuclear bombs and/or weapons. The North maintains a hereditary dictatorship, referred to by some as a Dynastic Stalinist dictatorship. Kim Il-sung (1912–1994) has been designated the Eternal President while his son Kim Il-sung, and presumable his decedents, act on behalf of eternal Kim Il-sung's authority. Technically, the office of president was abolished out of respect for Kim Il-sung (as no one but him will ever hold the office). North Korean maintains strict economic independence and has managed a 6–7% economic groth and even grew 3.7% during the global financial crisis of 2008–2009. But, it is extremely venerable to crippling internal crisises that have not overly effected other nations for over 100 years; Such as plagues, natural disasters, and famines. The 1996–1998 famine may have resulted in the deaths of 2 million North Koreans;mostly from pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea but also some starvation. North Korean has many small boats, some ocean boats, trams, railroads, subways, some airplanes, and 70% of the population used bicycles for trans transportation and trade. They rank very low in pollution, but not lower than than more modernized nation of Iceland due to significant use of fossil fuels (the lack of cars is a significant advantage). Privately owned vehicles are rare.

Parent groups

Civil war, Cold war, Stalemate War, Wars


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