The Korean War: 1950-1953
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Over 500 Canadians died during the
Korean War when 26,791 served from 1950 to 1953.
Albertans were among those who served in Korea, although
there are no exact numbers of how many. But it was not
only military enlistment that carried an impact in the
province. The Korean War set the stage for the larger
Cold War that followed, and Alberta became the host of
several large scale Cold War efforts that included the
Distant Early Warning Line, set up to deter Russian bombers
from violating North American air space.
The seeds of the Korean War grew out
of an American led effort to gain support against Japan
during the Second World War. The United States offered
Korea to Russia as a part of the Russian region of
control at the Yalta conference in February 1945. The
leader of the Soviet Union, Josef Stalin, agreed to
this, but did not assist militarily to aid in the war
against Japan until after the second atomic bomb had
been dropped. Stalin had Soviet troops move into
Manchuria and was ready to take the Korean peninsula
when the surrender of the Japanese was announced.
The United States proposed that Korea
should be divided along the 38th parallel, with the
Americans claiming the south and the Soviets claiming
the north. Stalin agreed to this, and provided the
Communist government of North Korea with significant supplies
of military arms and advisors, but the United States did
not provide the same military support to the southern
part of Korea. Both the USSR and the United States
withdrew their military presence from Korea shortly
after the end of the war.
By 1949, North Korean's leader, Kim
Il Sung, told Stalin he intended to take military action
against the south to unite it under his rule. Stalin did
not oppose this plan.