US Decides to Send Troops to Korean War: On This Day, June 27

A war-weary Korean at Haengju, Korea. 1951. (NARA)

On June 27, 1950, President Truman announced that the US would be sending air and naval troops to Korea. The conflict on the other side of the world had begun two days before when North Korea invaded South Korea in an effort to unify the two countries. The United Nations and the United States both intervened, hoping to stop the spread of Communism, but the war ended with a stalemate at the 38th parallel—which divides North and South Korea to this day. To relive history as it happened, visit the Truman Library, which has a collection of fascinating audio files on the progress of the war.

For many Americans, their view of this Cold War conflict is based on the long-running television show M*A*S*H. According to historian Allan R. Millett, "the Korean War was three different conflicts from the perspective of the disparate groups who fought in it. For North and South Korea, the conflict was a civil war, a struggle with no possible compromise between two competing visions for Korea’s future." You can learn more about the Korean War from Millett’s essay on the Korean War here at the Gilder Lehrman website.