Conventional histories frame the Korean War as beginning on June 25, 1950 and ending on July 27, 1953. They overlook critical events in the lead-up to all-out war and the failure to end it. Without acknowledging Korea’s experience of thirty-five years of Japanese colonial rule, the insertion of Cold War geopolitics into the Korean peninsula at the close of World War II, the pre-war civil conflict among Koreans, and the three years of formal U.S. occupation in the south, it is impossible to understand the Korean War as both a devastating human tragedy and the initial collision among newly emerging global powers. We invite you to explore this Timeline to learn more about the lead up to and the course of the un-ended Korean War.
This timeline was adapted from Korea: The Unknown War by Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings and (London: Viking Press, 1988).