June 28, 1950: Seoul falls to North Korea


In a desperate attempt to stop North Korean troops from capturing Seoul, the South Korean Army blows up the Hangang Bridge across the Han River. It is the only path of escape for thousands of refugees who are fleeing the invading army. When the bridge is detonated, hundreds of refugees are killed.  At the [...]

June 27, 1950: Truman calls for ‘police action’


On June 27, President Truman tells Congress that he had already approved the use of the U.S. Air Force and Navy to defend South Korea.  He calls it "a police action," fully mindful that Congress would have to approve a Declaration of War. On the same day, the United Nations Security Council passes American-drafted [...]

June 25, 1950: Korean War begins


At dawn on Sunday, June 25, North Korean troops begin a full-scale invasion along large portions of the 38th parallel. The attack begins with heavy artillery fire followed by waves of Soviet-built T-34 tanks and an overpowering assault by the North's well-trained infantry. Outnumbered and ill-prepared, South Korean troops are no match and are [...]

May 10, 1948: South Korea elects first national assembly


Although the stated intention is for a unified Korea, leaders on either side of the 38th parallel fail to agree on a plan for elections. The government in the south elects its first National Assembly and adopts a constitution as the Republic of Korea. Dr. Syngman Rhee, educated at Harvard and Princeton and a [...]

April 22, 1951: Chinese launch ‘Spring Offensive’


The Chinese launch their "Spring Offensive" — also known as the Fifth Offensive — with the intent of re-taking Seoul. With 700,000 men, several battles begin, including the Battle of the Imjin River just north of the 38th parallel. China's commander-in-chief General Peng Dehuai proclaims before the battle that the "puppet" armies of the United [...]