Please Note: It is important to note that wars are intricate and complicated endeavors, and that these summaries are meant to provide a quick overview, and do not delve into the many complexities involved in each individual war.
Korean War → 1950-1953 (Cold War)
The action that effectively divided Korea into two nations happened in 1945 at the end of WWII. With the surrender of Japan, the US suggested that the Soviet Union should accept the surrender of Japanese troops in Korea north of the 38th parallel, while the US would take those from the south. This division was meant to be temporary, and it was believed that the two nations would be reunited through a democratic election.
The war officially began on June 24, 1950, when North Korea crossed the demarcation line and began the invasion of South Korea. The North Koreans viewed this as their chance to reunify the countries, but on their terms. Within three months, the North Koreans had captured almost the entire peninsula, forcing the South Koreans into a small section of Pusan. What was initially a civil war between North and South Korea soon became an international conflict when the US and the UN put their support behind South Korea, and the People’s Republic of China backed North Korea. The US viewed the actions of the North Koreans as proof that communism was an active threat to world peace. General Douglas MacArthur led forces, pushing the North Koreans back toward the 38th parallel. By October 1950, the US and its allies had almost reached the border between North Korea and China. The Chinese viewed this as a direct threat, and deployed troops into North Korea. US forces were almost immediately pushed back to the 38th parallel. Throughout early 1951 both sides, due to advancing and retreating, held possession of land in central Korea. By July 1951 a stalemate had been reached. The US and China had achieved their goal of keeping the 38th parallel as the demarcation line, but North and South Korea were not able to reunite their countries. Small skirmishes continued to breakout over the next two years, until an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. It is important to note that a formal peace treaty was never signed between the two nations.
US military casualties: 54,246
Surviving Minnesota veterans: 34,270