Facing them were over 459,000 Communist troops, more than half of whom were soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Since the political leaders of the two warring coalitions had signaled their willingness to halt the fighting, the generals on both sides proved reluctant to engage in any major new undertakings.
In the east, UN lines anchored on the Sea of Japan about midway between the North Korean towns of Kosong and Kansong.
From there the front fell south to the "Punchbowl," a large circular valley rimmed by jagged mountains, 3 before heading west across the razor-backed Taebaek Mountains to the "Iron Triangle," a strategic communications hub around the towns of P'yonggang, Kumhwa, and Ch'orwon.
The chief stumbling block was the inability of the parties to agree on a cease-fire line.
The Communists argued for a return to the status quo ante- that is, that the two armies withdraw their forces to the prewar boundary line along the 38th Parallel.These works will provide great opportunities to learn about this important period in the Army's heritage of service to the nation. Although the two principal parties to the conflict-the governments of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea)-were more than willing to fight to the death, their chief patrons-the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union on the one hand and the United States and the United Nations (UN) on the other-were not.Twelve months of bloody fighting had convinced Mao Tse-tung, Joseph V. Truman that it was no longer in their respective national interests to try and win a total victory in Korea.The Korean War was the first major armed clash between Free World and Communist forces, as the so-called Cold War turned hot.The half-century that now separates us from that conflict, however, has dimmed our collective memory.From there the front dropped south once again through the Imjin River Valley until it reached the Yellow Sea at a point roughly twenty miles north of Seoul.Manning this line were over 554,000 UN soldiers-approximately 253,000 Americans (including the 1st Marine, 1st Cavalry, and 2d, 3d, 7th, 24th, and 25th Infantry Divisions), 273,000 South Koreans, and 28,000 men drawn from eighteen countries-Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Great Britain, Greece, India, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, and the Union of South Africa.I hope that this series of brochures on the campaigns of the Korean War will have a similar effect.The Korean War still has much to teach us: about military preparedness, about global strategy, about combined operations in a military alliance facing blatant aggression, and about the courage and perseverance of the individual soldier.The costs in terms of men and materiel were too great, as were the risks that the conflict might escalate into a wider, global conflagration.Consequently, they compelled their respective Korean allies to accept truce talks as the price for their continued military, economic, and diplomatic support.