The Korean War, Preliminary Activities, up to 25 June 1950



With the capitulation of Japan in the Summer of 1945, Korea, which had been under Japanese subjugation for over four decades, was presented with a new regime, as U.S. forces occupied its southern portion and Soviets moved into the north. During the later 1940s, the inital arrangements for a temporary Allied occupation led to a division of the country into two de facto states, neither recognizing the legitimacy of the other and each seeking Korean reunification on its own terms.

In the North, Korean Communists ruled their Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) with the full support of the Soviets, including substantial military aid. The southern Republic of Korea (ROK), in the hands of more conservative forces, was given modest military support by the United States, but deliberately not enough to produce an offensive capability, or, as events would show, even an effective defensive one.

Until quite late in the pre-war period, South Korea's infant navy received a particularly modest level of support. In fact, the ROK Navy's first significant ship, a former U.S. Navy 173-foot submarine chaser, was purchased on the private market with funds contributed by its own personnel. The United States did provide armament for the vessel, which arrived in Korean waters during the late Spring of 1950. The ROK Navy also had a number of minesweepers, very useful for clearing the explosive left-overs of the great Pacific War, a landing ship and some small craft.

The United States Navy maintained a small fleet in the Western Pacific, with some ships based in the Philippines and others in Japan. By 1950, this force had been reduced to one aircraft carrier and two cruisers, plus a number of destroyers and other ships. Occasionally, these units exercised with their counterparts of Great Britain's Royal Navy. They also maintained a sporadic presence in the troubled waters between mainland China and Taiwan, and "showed the flag" in ports throughout the Western Pacific, including those in South Korea.

In eary 1950, a speech by U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson famously omitted the ROK from the United States' defensive interests. A few months later, the DPRK's leader, Kim Il-Sung, shopped around a plan to reunify Korea by force, obtaining the consent of the USSR and China for what then looked like a quick and easy conquest.

This page features images of relevant activities that immediately preceded the outbreak of the Korean War.

Additional views that are closely related to the Korean situation in 1950, Occupation & Surrender of Southern Korea, 8-9 September 1945.

Overview of Korean War images, and links to more comprehensive pictorial coverage The Korean War, June 1950 - July 1953 - Overview & Special Image Selection.


Click photograph for a larger image.

Photo #: NH 97010

HMS Triumph

(British Aircraft Carrier, 1946)

Underway off Subic Bay, Philippines, during joint U.S. & U.K. naval exercises, 8 March 1950.
Planes on her deck include Supermarine Seafire 47s of 800 Squadron, forward, and Fairey Fireflys aft.
Photographed from a USS Boxer (CV-21) plane.

NHHC Collection

Online Image: 140KB; 740 x 540

 
Photo #: NH 97002

Pak Tu San

(Republic of Korea Patrol Craft, PC-701, formerly USS PC-823)

Receiving her 3"/50 main gun at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, March 1950.
Photograph released 17 March 1950 by 14th Naval District PIO, with the following caption:
"GUNS INSTALLED ON KOREAN PATROL CRAFT .... The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard on Wednesday started placing guns on the vacant mounts of the Korean Naval Patrol Craft 'Bak Dusan'. Scheduled for installation on the craft is one 3" anti-aircraft gun and six .50 caliber machine guns. The work at the local shipyard was authorized by the Secretary of Defense. Shown above are shipyard workers placing the 3" gun on the mount while Korean Naval Officers watch the operation. The 'Bak Dusan' which arrived in the Islands from New York on January 24, is enroute to its homeland."

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC Collection.

Online Image: 135KB; 595 x 765

 
Photo #: NH 96983

Seoul, Korea


Signs welcome sailors from USS Boxer (CV-21) and her escorts to Seoul, 7 April 1950.
Task Group 70.8 paid a three-day visit to South Korea during early April 1950.
Taken by a USS Boxer photographer.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the NHHC.

Online Image: 89KB; 740 x 615

 
Photo #: NH 96984

Seoul, Korea


Sailors from USS Boxer (CV-21) and her escorts with a Republic of Korea Army interpreter, at Seoul, 7 April 1950.
Task Group 70.8 paid a three-day visit to South Korea during early April 1950.
Those present are (from left to right):
PN3 H.F. Brinkley, USN; Kim Keyl, Eng. Sec. Headquarters, ROK Army; HM3 A.J. Partin, USN; and H/N C.A. Pair, USN.
Taken by a USS Boxer photographer.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the NHHC.

Online Image: 85KB; 595 x 765

 
Photo #: NH 96985

Seoul, Korea


Sailors from USS Boxer (CV-21) shopping for souvenirs while on liberty in Seoul, 7 April 1950.
Task Group 70.8 paid a three-day visit to South Korea during early April 1950.
Those present are (from left to right):
FA A.D. Crawford, FN Albert Zuniga and MM3c R.D. Williams.
Taken by a USS Boxer photographer.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the NHHC.

Online Image: 103KB; 740 x 625

 




For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

About Us | Privacy Policy | Webmaster | FOIA request | Navy.mil | This is a US Navy website