When someone mentions the Korean War, everyone knows that it was a civil war between the North and the South Korea. But many don’t know how it actually got started. There are a lot of things that happened before the North Koreans decided to cross over the 38th parallel. The Korean civil war was just a small part of the whole war. The war also included more than just Koreans, like other countries such as Japan, China, Russia, and the United States. In the nineteenth century, Korea was just a small peasant society that paid tribute to the Chinese. But when the Russian and Japanese imperialism made a huge effect on the China, Korea was looked at differently. By the end of the century, Korea had become a prize in a three-way contest between China, Russia and Japan. In 1894, Japan defeated China, thus eliminating them from the contest. Then in 1905, Japan defeated Russia, making them the dominant power in Korea. In 1910, Japan took over Korea and made them into a Japanese colony. After struggling for forty years as a Japanese colony, Korea now had to struggle as a pawn in the newly created Cold War. The Americans decided to land troops to occupy Korea at the end of the war as soon as they found out that the Russia was interested in overtaking the Korea as their sphere of interest. The Soviet Union’s occupying Korea would create and entirely new strategic situation in the Far East. Though the Pentagon decided that interest towards Korea was not going to be a long-term interest to the US, their view changed drastically within three weeks. On August 10, 1945, dropping of the Nagasaki bomb finalized the participation of the US occupation in Korea. Unexpected by the United States, the Soviet Union agreed to accept the 38th parallel as their limit of advance. Russia and the United States met in Potsdam and decided that it would be for the best if they were to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces in Korea by dividing the country at the 38th parallel.
Korea had unexpectedly found themselves separated. North Korea was now set up to work as a satellite state for China and South Korea was to become a free nation prepared by the United States. By the year of 1950, the North Korea People’s Army was trained and equipped by the Soviet Union. North Koreans were now heavily trained and now had an aggressive military force. They were well equipped with Russian small arms, artillery, armor, and fighter planes. By 1950 the balance of power was moved drastically towards the North Koreans, making the South Koreans in a venerable situation. The North Koreans had the South outnumbered in every type of military force. North Korea decided to unify Korea by direct military action hoping that the United States would not interfere. North Korea felt that the United States would have too much too lose by interfering, so they went and decided to confront South Korea. During the period of June 15th through the 20th, the North Koreans secretly moved close to the 38th parallel. North Korean Forces invaded Republic of Korea territory at 4 a.m., crossing the 38th parallel. By 9 a.m. the city of Kaesong was captured with some ten North Korean tanks participating in the operation. From the nature of the attack and the manner in which it was launched, it constituted an all-out offensive against the Republic of Korea.
When the North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel on the 25th of June, it was more than just a struggle amongst Koreans. It was actually a clash between Russia and the United States. This war lasted until the year of 1953, finally coming to an end with the General Mark W. Clark signing the armistice. The Korean War wasn’t just a war that was between North Korea and South Korea. There were many different influences that led to the crossing of the 38th parallel by the North Koreans. When you break down the Korean War and see it for what it actually is, you can have a better understanding of what happened that led to the crossing of the 38th parallel on June 25, 1950. Though the actual civil war only lasted for 3 years, you have to take into account that it was the territorial fight against the other counties such as Japan, China, Soviet Union and United States that led to the civil war on the June 25, 1950. The whole war took from late 18th century to the mid 19th century. Korea basically became a target and a victim of the geographical and territorial reasons of the other countries.