The Korean War at a Glance
The Korean War never officially ended. Yet the 70th anniversary of the first "hot" conflict in a rapidly-developing Cold War is an occasion to reflect upon how deep divisions that had existed for generations on the peninsula were brought to the surface after Japan's surrender in August 1945.
Many consider the beginning of the Korean War to be on June 25, 1950, when North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel. However, the stage was set after Japan's surrender when the peninsula was divided between the two zones of occupation -- the Soviet Union to the north and the United States to the south. As tension between the two superpowers grew, eventually two independent governments formed. These countries are known as the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and have remained divided to this day.
While the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States has run its course, the Korean Peninsula remains a battleground not only between the two Koreas but between two superpowers. Although the Soviet Union has fallen, China has replaced them as North Korea's biggest ally. With communist North Korea backed by the PRC and capitalist South Korea backed by the United States, the battle between these two ideas that encompassed the Cold War remains a reality. So what does the future hold for the Korean Peninsula?
Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy
The Center for Korean History and Public Policy was established in 2015 with the generous support of the Hyundai Motor Company and the Korea Foundation to provide a coherent, long-term platform for improving historical understanding of Korea and informing the public policy debate on the Korean peninsula in the United States and beyond. Read more
The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region. Read more