The Korean War, which
spanned the years 1950 to 1953, claimed millions of lives, involved
over a dozen nations, and nearly led to a Third World War. The
casualty figures below represent only military casualties, and does
not include North and South Korean civilians, whose numbers are
estimated to be in the millions.
It is interesting to note
several facts about the United Nations forces (also referred to by
historians as "The Allies," and as "Western Forces"):
Of all the UN nations
involved in combat in the Korean War, all but Turkey (neutral), and
Columbia (not involved in combat) were significant participants in
World War Two, which had just ended less then five years before the
Korean War began in 1950.
Also, of the UN nations
involved in the Korean War, several had been involved in other wars
and conflicts in the short period of time between the end of World
War Two and the Korean War.
The United Kingdom had been
drawn into combat in several areas, in 1945 and 1946, including the
early stages of the Greek Civil War, the early stages of the
Indochina War, and the Indonesian War of Independence.
the British were engaged in
at the same time they were fighitng in Korea includes a war in
Palestine (1944-1948), the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), a brief war
with Egypt (1951-1952), and the start of the Mau Mau Insurgency in
France also had engaged in
several conflicts between World War Two and Korea. These
putting down a rebellion in the French colony of Syria (1945),
crushing a rebellion in the French colony of Madagascar (1947), and,
in the most significant French war of the decade after World War Two,
the major conflict in French Indochina (1946-1954) in which France
lost a war to Communist Vietnamese forces allied to the Soviet Union
and Communist China.
The Netherlands had
attempted to re-assert colonial rule over the Dutch East Indies
colonies, but lost the Indonesian War of Independence
Greece endured a bitter
civil war against Communist rebels from 1945-1949.
Communist Casualties in
Action (Never Found)
7,110 + 14,00 who
*The Soviet Union
was not an official participant in the Korean War, but in reality,
the Soviets had over 72,000 military personnel in North Korea, and
hundreds of Soviet Air Force pilots secretly flew combat missions
against UN forces. The Soviet pilots flew in planes with North Korean
or Chinese markings, and at first were forbidden to speak in Russian
on their radios. Eventually, this directive was changed, and American
and other UN forces could clearly hear the enemy pilots speaking
Russian to each other. While the U.S. military and government knew
the Soviets were intervening in combat in Korea, the decision was
made to keep it a secret from the public. According to a book written
by a former Soviet officer, titled Soviet
Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth
Century , Soviet
losses in Korea amounted to 299 men (mostly pilots), and a loss of
335 Soviet-piloted planes.
In the years between World
War Two and the start of the Korean Conflict, all three Communist
participants had engaged in various military actions.
China endured a
continuation of the bloody civil war between the Nationalist
goverment of Chiang Kai-Shek and the Communist forces led by Mao
Tse-Tung after the surrender of Japan. From 1945 to October of 1949,
the Chinese Civil War was waged, with the Communists taking over
mainland China and the Nationalists retreating to the island of
Formosa (better known now as Taiwan). In 1950, the People's
Liberation Army (the Communist Chinese military) invaded and occupied
Prior to the invasion of
South Korea by the North Koreans, the two rivals had engaged in
low-level cross-border conflicts for several years.
After World War Two, the
Soviets consolidated their hold on Eastern Europe, while the Soviet
military also fought against anti-Soviet guerrillas in the Ukraine
and Baltic States regions.