With her brother on her back, a war-weary Korean girl trudges by a stalled M-26 tank, at Haengju, Korea. on June 9, 1951.

With her brother on her back, a war-weary Korean girl trudges by a stalled M-26 tank, at Haengju, Korea. on June 9, 1951.

The Korean War was one of several military conflicts that occurred during the Cold War, as the United States and its allies attempted to stop the spread of communism. This conflict began on June 25, 1950, when North Korea, a communist nation, invaded South Korea.

Prior to World War II’s conclusion, North and South Korea had been a single country known as Korea. After the war, Korea became two countries. By invading South Korea, North Korea hoped to reunite the two nations as a single country under communism.

With North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, the United States feared the spread of communism. Determined to stop North Korea, the United States sought permission from the United Nations to support the South Korean government military. The United Nations granted permission to the United States to send troops to the two Koreas to free South Korea from North Korea’s military occupation. Although many of the soldiers sent to South Korea were members of the United States military, they were under the direct control of the United Nations.

Because of this and because the United States never formally declared war on North Korea, many people contend that the Korean War should be called the Korean Conflict rather than referred to as a war. Technically, these people are right from the American perspective, yet North and South Korea were clearly engaged in a war. The American troops, as well as those from other countries, were hoping to protect South Korea from communism and thus were participating in the Koreans’ war.

With the arrival of United Nations forces in South Korea with the Inchon Invasion, the tide of the war quickly turned against the North Koreans. The United Nations forces and the South Koreans quickly drove the North Koreans back into North Korea. The South Koreans and United Nations forces did not simply stop with the North Koreans’ withdrawal from South Korea. These forces continued to attack the North Korean military, hoping to free North Korea from communist control.

By October 1950, the United Nations troops had driven North Korean forces to the border of China. Fearful that the UN soldiers intended to invade China, another communist nation, Chinese military forces crossed the Chinese-North Korean border and launched an attack against the United Nations troops. By early 1951, the Chinese had driven the United Nations troops to the 38th parallel, roughly the original border between North Korea and South Korea. For the next two years a virtual stalemate existed around the 38th parallel.

While both sides launched numerous attacks against the other, neither side succeeded at dislodging its opponent. On July 27, 1953, both sides agreed to a ceasefire, essentially bringing the Korean War to an end. South Korea remained free from communism, and the original borders of these two countries remained essentially unchanged from before the conflict.

Most historians claim that the Korean War was a draw, with no clear victor. In essence, that is true. The United States, however, through the United Nations, did succeed in freeing South Korea from communism. At the same time, this victory was costly. Approximately one million South Koreans lost their lives in this conflict. A slightly larger number of North Koreans died, amounting to over eleven percent of this nation’s entire population. Almost thirty-four thousand Americans died, and another 100,000 soldiers suffered non-fatal wounds. At the end of the Korean War, more than eight thousand Americans were missing in action.

In this undated photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, distributed by Korea News Service, North Korean combatants plunge together with the tank unit in Seoul during the Korean War.

In this undated photo from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency, distributed by Korea News Service, North Korean combatants plunge together with the tank unit in Seoul during the Korean War.

In this undated photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, American combatants captured during the Korean War march down a street.

In this undated photo from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency, American combatants captured during the Korean War march down a street.

Tank landing ships unload at Inchon on September 15, 1950. American forces landed in Inchon Harbor one day after Battle of Inchon began.

Tank landing ships unload at Inchon on September 15, 1950. American forces landed in Inchon Harbor one day after Battle of Inchon began.

Troops of the 31st Infantry Regiment land at Inchon Harbor, Korea, aboard LSTs on September 18, 1950.

Troops of the 31st Infantry Regiment land at Inchon Harbor, Korea, aboard LSTs on September 18, 1950.

A young officer and his wife sit in their car at the dock and stare quietly at the waiting aircraft carrier before he leaves for Korea. San Diego, California, 1950.

A young officer and his wife sit in their car at the dock and stare quietly at the waiting aircraft carrier before he leaves for Korea. San Diego, California, 1950.

Singer Paul Robeson addresses a

Singer Paul Robeson addresses a “Hands Off Korea” rally from a sound truck at the corner of 126th Street and Lenox Avenue in the Harlem section of New York, on July 3, 1950.

This picture was taken by a USAF RF-80 photo reconnaissance plane of actual strafing attacks by 5th Air Force planes on North Korean targets. This shows a small village housing North Korean vehicles and troops. Burning jeep in the background and a T-3V Tank.

This picture was taken by a USAF RF-80 photo reconnaissance plane of actual strafing attacks by 5th Air Force planes on North Korean targets. This shows a small village housing North Korean vehicles and troops. Burning jeep in the background and a T-3V Tank.

A U.S. Marine (right) orders captured North Koreans to keep their hands up on September 20, 1950. In the background is one of the tanks which came ashore in the assault at Inchon.

A U.S. Marine (right) orders captured North Koreans to keep their hands up on September 20, 1950. In the background is one of the tanks which came ashore in the assault at Inchon.

A Korean child sits in smoldering ruins of his home destroyed by fire in the Suwon area on February 3, 1951, as allied troops burned dwellings which might provide shelter for red troops. Native water jars are the only possessions recognizable in ruins of other native homes in background.

A Korean child sits in smoldering ruins of his home destroyed by fire in the Suwon area on February 3, 1951, as allied troops burned dwellings which might provide shelter for red troops. Native water jars are the only possessions recognizable in ruins of other native homes in background.

A U.S. Marine tank follows a line of prisoners of war down a village street. September 26, 1950.

A U.S. Marine tank follows a line of prisoners of war down a village street. September 26, 1950.

Captured by American forces in the Taegu area of South Korea on October 8, 1950, these North Korean girls are marched to a train which will take them to a prisoner of war camp at Pusan.

Captured by American forces in the Taegu area of South Korea on October 8, 1950, these North Korean girls are marched to a train which will take them to a prisoner of war camp at Pusan.

Helicopters were used on the battlefront as liaison planes and for evacuating the wounded. Here, one of the helicopters takes off over the heads of First Marine Division troops in a forward position on a mountain slope.

Helicopters were used on the battlefront as liaison planes and for evacuating the wounded. Here, one of the helicopters takes off over the heads of First Marine Division troops in a forward position on a mountain slope.

A mobile army surgical hospital somewhere in Korea on October 26, 1951. The patient in the left foreground is receiving blood plasma, while behind him two operations are taking place, one at left and one in the center. Photographer Healy took the photos as he found them. Everyone was so busy that no one had time to pose.

A mobile army surgical hospital somewhere in Korea on October 26, 1951. The patient in the left foreground is receiving blood plasma, while behind him two operations are taking place, one at left and one in the center. Photographer Healy took the photos as he found them. Everyone was so busy that no one had time to pose.

Three Korean Communists in a fishing boat are captured by the USS Manchester off the coast of Korea on May 10, 1951.

Three Korean Communists in a fishing boat are captured by the USS Manchester off the coast of Korea on May 10, 1951.

A command post somewhere in South Korea on July 12, 1950, as American soldiers keep on the alert with their straw covered camouflaged weapons carrier.

A command post somewhere in South Korea on July 12, 1950, as American soldiers keep on the alert with their straw covered camouflaged weapons carrier.

F9F-2 floating on water after crash over bow of USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) near Korea. Cdr. R. Weymouth stands on the nose of the plane awaiting rescue.

F9F-2 floating on water after crash over bow of USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) near Korea. Cdr. R. Weymouth stands on the nose of the plane awaiting rescue.

Crew members of a marine battery launcher hold their ears and crouch to the ground as rockets are fired into the night sky.

Crew members of a marine battery launcher hold their ears and crouch to the ground as rockets are fired into the night sky.

Soldiers digging into bunkers atop Old Baldy in Korea in 1952.

Soldiers digging into bunkers atop Old Baldy in Korea in 1952.

Lt. R. P. Yeatman, from the USS Bon Homme Richard, rocketing and bombing a Korean bridge in November of 1952.

Lt. R. P. Yeatman, from the USS Bon Homme Richard, rocketing and bombing a Korean bridge in November of 1952.

Supply warehouses and dock facilities at this east coast port explode after para-demolition bombs were dropped from the Fifth Air Force's B-26 Invader light bombers. Wonsan, North Korea, 1951.

Supply warehouses and dock facilities at this east coast port explode after para-demolition bombs were dropped from the Fifth Air Force’s B-26 Invader light bombers. Wonsan, North Korea, 1951.

A U.N. soldier (left) stands guard at prisoner of war enclosure where a great mass of communist troops line up after their capture somewhere in Korea on March 21, 1951.

A U.N. soldier (left) stands guard at prisoner of war enclosure where a great mass of communist troops line up after their capture somewhere in Korea on March 21, 1951.

Pfc. Milton Reince of Green Bay, Wisconsin, adds a picture of Mitzi Gaynor to his bunkerful of pinups at his post in Korea on December 18, 1952.

Pfc. Milton Reince of Green Bay, Wisconsin, adds a picture of Mitzi Gaynor to his bunkerful of pinups at his post in Korea on December 18, 1952.

Crew members stand on top of their tank after they got stranded in river bed dip as they attempted to find a shallow crossing in the swollen Pukhan river. The tank was later towed out to safety by a tank retriever, April 7, 1951 in Korea.

Crew members stand on top of their tank after they got stranded in river bed dip as they attempted to find a shallow crossing in the swollen Pukhan river. The tank was later towed out to safety by a tank retriever, April 7, 1951 in Korea.

Bomber Command planes of the U.S. Far East Air Forces rain tons of high demolition bombs on a strategic military target of the Chinese Communists in North Korea on January 18, 1951.

Bomber Command planes of the U.S. Far East Air Forces rain tons of high demolition bombs on a strategic military target of the Chinese Communists in North Korea on January 18, 1951.

South Korean WACs trained and ready to join their men in the battle against Chinese invaders, display military precision as they parade through Pusan, main United Nations' fort city in Korea, on September 12, 1950.

South Korean WACs trained and ready to join their men in the battle against Chinese invaders, display military precision as they parade through Pusan, main United Nations’ fort city in Korea, on September 12, 1950.

High explosives rip through several spans of a railroad bridge outside Hamhung as United Nations forces blow up the bridge as part of their withdrawal to prevent its being used by Chinese Communists on December 19, 1950.

High explosives rip through several spans of a railroad bridge outside Hamhung as United Nations forces blow up the bridge as part of their withdrawal to prevent its being used by Chinese Communists on December 19, 1950.

American GIs thread their way over snow-covered hills North of Seoul, South Korean capital on January 14, 1951, during earlier stages of U.N. withdrawal.

American GIs thread their way over snow-covered hills North of Seoul, South Korean capital on January 14, 1951, during earlier stages of U.N. withdrawal.

A pair of bound hands and a breathing hole in the snow at Yangji, Korea, January 27, 1951 reveal the presence of the body of a Korean civilian shot and left to die by retreating Communists during the Korean War.

A pair of bound hands and a breathing hole in the snow at Yangji, Korea, January 27, 1951 reveal the presence of the body of a Korean civilian shot and left to die by retreating Communists during the Korean War.

All Sgt. Bernard Young lacks is a private secretary to complete his

All Sgt. Bernard Young lacks is a private secretary to complete his “office” setting, on May 3, 1951. The Detroit, Michigan, military policeman takes his ease in almost deserted Chunchon, South Korea after the bulk of UN forces had withdrawn southward. Only an infantry rear guard unit remained between him and the advancing Communists.

Paratroopers drop from U.S. Air Force C-119 transport planes during an operation over an undisclosed location in Korea, in October of 1950.

Paratroopers drop from U.S. Air Force C-119 transport planes during an operation over an undisclosed location in Korea, in October of 1950.

A long winding stream of Korean refugees board a vessel in Hungnam harbor, North Korea on December 21, 1950, as they flee the advancing Chinese Communists and North Koreans.

A long winding stream of Korean refugees board a vessel in Hungnam harbor, North Korea on December 21, 1950, as they flee the advancing Chinese Communists and North Koreans.

Tanks of the 1st Marine Tank Battalion bark death and devastation into the briefly day-lighted Korean night, as Marines fire a night mission at supply installations somewhere in Korea on January 16, 1952.

Tanks of the 1st Marine Tank Battalion bark death and devastation into the briefly day-lighted Korean night, as Marines fire a night mission at supply installations somewhere in Korea on January 16, 1952.

The First Division Marines land at a seawall, far behind the lines of the communist forces, during the Landing at Inchon.

The First Division Marines land at a seawall, far behind the lines of the communist forces, during the Landing at Inchon.

GIs and Korean service corpsmen stack up an enormous pile of empty artillery and mortar shell casings at a collecting point near the front, pointing to the huge amount of lead thrown at the enemy in four days of fighting for outpost Harry, on June 18, 1953.

GIs and Korean service corpsmen stack up an enormous pile of empty artillery and mortar shell casings at a collecting point near the front, pointing to the huge amount of lead thrown at the enemy in four days of fighting for outpost Harry, on June 18, 1953.

Maj. Gen. Blackshear M. Bryan, left, exchanges credentials with Communist Lt. Gen. Lee Sang Cho at the opening session of the Military Armistice Commission at the Panmunjom Conference House on July 27, 1953. At Lee's right is Chinese Gen. Ting Kuo Jo, and next to him is Chinese Gen. Tsai Cheng Wen.

Maj. Gen. Blackshear M. Bryan, left, exchanges credentials with Communist Lt. Gen. Lee Sang Cho at the opening session of the Military Armistice Commission at the Panmunjom Conference House on July 27, 1953. At Lee’s right is Chinese Gen. Ting Kuo Jo, and next to him is Chinese Gen. Tsai Cheng Wen.

Three happy fliers of the 18th Fighter Bomber wing let the world know how they feels as they returned from a combat mission over North Korea to learn of the armistice signing on July 29, 1953. Left to right are: 2nd Lt. John Putty, Dallas, Tex.; 1st Lt. James A. Boucek, Ottawa, Kansas,: and 1st Lt. Richard D. Westcott, Houston, Tex., waving from the back seat of the jeep.

Three happy fliers of the 18th Fighter Bomber wing let the world know how they feels as they returned from a combat mission over North Korea to learn of the armistice signing on July 29, 1953. Left to right are: 2nd Lt. John Putty, Dallas, Tex.; 1st Lt. James A. Boucek, Ottawa, Kansas,: and 1st Lt. Richard D. Westcott, Houston, Tex., waving from the back seat of the jeep.

South Korean women weep as they listen to President Syngman Rhee speak at a memorial service in Seoul, October 17, 1953. The service honored the 33,964 South Koreans killed in the last year of the war.

South Korean women weep as they listen to President Syngman Rhee speak at a memorial service in Seoul, October 17, 1953. The service honored the 33,964 South Koreans killed in the last year of the war.

PFC Donald Jones of Topeka, Kansas, pauses to read a sign just posted on the south limit of the demilitarized zone in Korea on July 30, 1953.

PFC Donald Jones of Topeka, Kansas, pauses to read a sign just posted on the south limit of the demilitarized zone in Korea on July 30, 1953.

(Photo credit: U.S. Navy / AP / Korean Central News Agency).