See Photos from the Early Days of the Korean War


On June 25, 1950, the Korean People’s Army of North Korea, with the backing of Joseph Stalin and against the backdrop of rising Cold War tensions, invaded South Korea. Two days later, having condemned the attack, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution recommending military assistance to the Republic of Korea, now known as South Korea. By July, the U.S. was embroiled in a war that would last three years and cost more than a million lives in battle and hundreds of thousands more among civilians.

Less than a month after fighting began, LIFE published a series of photos by photographer Carl Mydans, who had documented the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division’s landing in P’ohang-dong on July 18. Mydans captured the unease of entering the unknown—in a very literal sense, as members of the Division set sail from Japan without knowing their destination. Two weeks later, the Battle of…

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