At the close of World War II the Allied nations liberated Korea from Japan, with the United States occupying the south and the Soviet Union controlling the north. Although the partition was meant to be temporary, the Korean peninsula soon became a reflection of early Cold War global divisions, with a Communist state arising in the north and a democracy in the south. The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korea invaded South Korea. Backed by the United Nations, President Harry S. Truman ordered US troops into South Korea to stop the invasion. Communist Chinese forces intervened on behalf of North Korea, and the fighting settled into a stalemate. Although it was never officially declared a war, the “Korean Conflict” continued until an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.
On the home front, the war intensified fears of communism, heightening political tensions during Truman’s presidency. After the armistice, the United States continued to station troops in South Korea to monitor the activities of Chinese and Soviet forces that remained in North Korea. More than six decades later, Korea remains two separate nations, with an armed border between them.