Story: Asian conflicts

Kiwi soldiers at the 38th parallel

Kiwi soldiers at the 38th parallel

Gunner Alex Searle (left), from Christchurch, and Bombardier Jim Nielsen, from Auckland, stand by a sign indicating the 38th parallel, probably in the early or mid-1950s. This was the border between North and South Korea until the outbreak of the Korean War. The parallel had been the site of clashes in 1948–49. On 25 June 1950 North Korean tanks and infantry launched a major invasion across the border. By the time New Zealand troops arrived in Korea, on 31 December 1950, the war had changed completely. The North Korean forces had been halted and forced to retreat. UN forces had crossed the 38th parallel into North Korea in October 1950, with the intention of unifying Korea by force. China responded by sending in a major intervention force. The Chinese pushed the UN military back across the 38th parallel to well south of Seoul. By March 1951, in a series of advances involving New Zealand troops, UN forces pushed the communists back to roughly the 38th parallel.

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Alexander Turnbull Library, War History Collection (DA-01514)
Reference: K-0840

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Ian McGibbon, 'Asian conflicts - Korean War', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 13 June 2024)

Story by Ian McGibbon, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 1 Feb 2016