Japan had occupied Korea during World War II. After Japan’s defeat, Korea was divided along the 38th parallel into the Communist Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north and the U.S.-backed Republic of Korea in the south. After June 1949, when the United States withdrew its army, South Korea was left vulnerable. A year later, North Korean troops invaded South Korea. Truman reacted quickly. He committed U.S. forces to Korea, sent General Douglas MacArthur there to command them, and asked the United Nations to help protect South Korea from conquest.
MacArthur drove the North Koreans back to the dividing line. Truman then ordered American troops to cross the 38th parallel and press on to the Chinese border. China responded in November 1950 with a huge counterattack that decimated U.S. armies. MacArthur demanded permission to invade mainland China, which Truman rejected, and then repeatedly assailed the president’s decision. In 1951 Truman fired him for insubordination. By then, the combatants had separated near the 38th parallel. The Korean War did not officially end until 1953, when President Dwight Eisenhower imposed a precarious armistice. Meanwhile, the Korean War had brought about rearmament, hiked the U.S. military budget, and increased fears of Communist aggression abroad and at home. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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