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Begun as a war between South Korea Republic of Korea and North Korea Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea after the Norths invasion of the South the conflict swiftly developed into a limited international war involving the US and 19 other nations From a general viewpoint the Korean War was one of the by-products of the cold war the global political and diplomatic struggle between the Communist and non-Communist systems following World War II The motives behind North Koreas decision to attack South Korea however had as much to do with internal Korean politics north and south of the 38th parallel the boundary between the two republics as with the cold war Contrary to the prevailing view at the time North Korea apparently attacked South Korea without the knowledge of either the Soviet Union or the Peoples Republic of China The Soviet Union which expected a war at a later time was boycotting the UN when the attack occurred The Communist government of China meanwhile was hoping to invade the island of Taiwan without having to deal with a military response from the US Considerable civil strife south of the 38th parallel and growing opposition to South Koreas president Syngman Rhee persuaded the North Korean leader Kim Il Sung that he would be welcomed by many South Koreans as a liberator intent on overthrowing the Rhee government and reuniting the two Koreas As a champion of Korean unification Kim would also undermine ongoing opposition to his own regime in North Korea The war began on June 25 when the North Korean army substantially equipped by the Soviet Union crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea The US immediately responded by sending supplies to Korea and it quickly broadened its commitment in the conflict On June 27 the UN Security Council with the Soviet Union voluntarily absent passed an US-sponsored resolution calling for military sanctions against North Korea Three days later US President Harry S Truman
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