Outline of major events


The Korean War began with North Korean forces launching a surprise invasion, crossing over the 38th parallel at dawn on June 25th, 1950. The war lasted for three years and one month and as Korea and UN Forces together stopped the spread of communism, it is regarded as a war to protect world peace and a victory for free democracy.

Background and Cause

Influenced by the escalating tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union after World War II, South and North Korea were divided along the 38th parallel soon after liberation in 1945 and were in conflict against each other. Even after the Korean government was established in 1948, there was sharp conflict among rightists and leftists leaving South Korean society extremely unstable. The Korean War broke out against this backdrop of instability, as well as Stalin’s strategy to communize the world and Kim Il-sung’s ambition for unification through military force, sparked by Mao Zedong’s promise of support.

Korean War Sites

Source : KBS

Comparison of Military Forces (as of 06.24.1950)

Republic of Korea(ROK) Armed Forces Korean People’s Army(KPA)
103,827 Troops 201,050
0 Tanks 242
1,051 Artillery 2,492
22 Aircraft 226
36 Naval Vessel 110

International Support (63 Countries)

Area of Support
(Number of Countries)
Combat Troops (16) United States, Great Britain, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Philippines, Thailand, Netherlands, Columbia, Greece, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Belgium, France, South Africa, Luxembourg
※The United States, Great Britain, Canada and Turkey each dispatched over 10,000 troops per year.
Medical Support (5) Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, India
Support of War Goods (32) Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Liberia, Lebanon, Mexico, Bermuda, Venezuela, Iran, Taiwan, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Switzerland, Syria, Argentina, Cuba, Iceland, El Salvador, Austria, Honduras, Uruguay, Israel, Jamaica, Egypt, Indonesia, Chile, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Panama, Pakistan, Hungary
Postwar Recovery Support (7) Germany, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Vatican City, Haiti, Paraguay, Peru
Countries Declaring Intent of Support (3) Nicaragua, Bolivia, Brazil

Casualty Statistics

Area of Support
(Number of Countries)
Republic of Korea(ROK) Armed Forces U.N. Forces
(U.S. Forces)
ROK Forces 137,899 40,667 (36,940) 178,566
Wounded 450,742 104,280 (92,134) 555,022
Missing in Action / Captured 32,838 9,931 42,769
Total 621,479 154,878 (137,250) 776,357

※ Casualties for North Korean Forces(estimated) : 1,773,600 (Killed/Wounded:1,646,000, MIA/Captured:127,600)

Civilian Casualties

Killed Wounded Missing/Captured Total Etc.
373,599 229,625 387,744 990,968 Refugees(3.2 million)
Orphaned (100,000)
Killed 373,599
Wounded 229,625
Missing/Captured 387,744
Total 990,968
Etc. Refugees(3.2 million)
Orphaned (100,000)

※ North Korean Civilian Casualties(estimated) : 1.5 million

Source : Data Source: ROK Army Military History Institute, Organized by the Korea Defense Daily, Edited by Jeon Ok-shin