Caption: "Pfc. Preston McKnight, 19th Infantry Regiment, uses his poncho to get protection from the biting wind and cold, in the Yoju area, during break in action against the Chinese Communist aggressors. Janurary 10, 1951." On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began when soldiers from the North Korean People's Army crossed the 38th parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the south. This invasion was the first military action of the Cold War. By July, American troops had entered the war on South Korea's behalf. After some early back-and-forth across the 38th parallel, the fighting stalled and casualties mounted with nothing to show for them. Meanwhile, American officials worked to fashion some sort of armistice with the North Koreans. The alternative, they feared, would be a wider war with Russia and China. In July 1953, the Korean War came to an end. 5 million soldiers and civilians lost their lives during the war. The Korean peninsula is still divided today. Photograph credited to Corporal E. Watson, U.S. Army.
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