An Agreement Between the Commander-in-Chief United Nations Command and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army and the Commander of the Chinese People’s Volunteers Concerning a Military Armistice in Korea, 07/27/1953
The Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950, when the North Koreans invaded South Korea, officially ended with this armistice signed on July 27, 1953.
At 10 a.m., in Panmunjom, scarcely acknowledging each other, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison, Jr., senior delegate, United Nations Command Delegation; North Korean Gen. Nam Il, senior delegate, Delegation of the Korean People’s Army and the Chinese People’s Volunteers, signed 18 official copies of the tri-language Korean Armistice Agreement.
It was the end of the longest negotiated armistice in history: 158 meetings spread over two years and 17 days. That evening at 10 p.m. the truce went into effect. The Korean Armistice Agreement is somewhat exceptional in that it is purely a military document—no nation is a signatory to the agreement. Specifically the Armistice Agreement:
- suspended open hostilities;
- withdrew all military forces and equipment from a 4,000-meter-wide zone, establishing the Demilitarized Zone as a buffer between the forces;
- prevented both sides from entering the air, ground, or sea areas under control of the other;
- arranged release and repatriation of prisoners of war and displaced persons; and
- established the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) and other agencies to discuss any violations and to ensure adherence to the truce terms.
The armistice, while it stopped hostilities, was not a permanent peace treaty between nations.
President Eisenhower, who was keenly aware of the 1.8 million American men and women who had served in Korea and the 36,576 Americans who had died there, played a key role in bringing about a cease-fire. In announcing the agreement to the American people in a television address shortly after the signing, he said, in part,
"Soldiers, sailors and airmen of sixteen different countries have stood as partners beside us throughout these long and bitter months. In this struggle we have seen the United Nations meet the challenge of aggression—not with pathetic words of protest, but with deeds of decisive purpose. And so at long last the carnage of war is to cease and the negotiation of the conference table is to begin… . [We hope that] all nations may come to see the wisdom of composing differences in this fashion before, rather than after, there is resort to brutal and futile battle.
Now as we strive to bring about that wisdom, there is, in this moment of sober satisfaction, one thought that must discipline our emotions and steady our resolution. It is this: We have won an armistice on a single battleground—not peace in the world. We may not now relax our guard nor cease our quest.”
President Eisenhower concluded his announcement by quoting from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address.
via Our Documents
Desegregation of the armed forces did not occur overnight. Between 1948 and 1950, the Army in particular, resisted integration through bureaucratic tactics. General Omar Bradley, Army Chief of Staff, publicly declared “The Army is not out to make any social reforms.”
In opposition, President Truman told the military in January 1949 that he wanted “concrete results…, not publicity on it. I want the job done.” However, it wasn’t until the Korean War began on June 25, 1950 that integration became a battlefield necessity.
At the time of the armistice of July 27, 1953, ninety percent of the army’s units were integrated. On October 30, 1954, the armed services announced the integration of all of its branches.
Here, SFC Jasper and 1st Lt. Posey posing by the flag of their unit, 715th Truck Company, National Guard of Washington D.C., in Korea. The “Blair House” sign is the nickname for their units’ orderly room. December 8, 1951.
June 27 - Authorizing Use of Force in Korea
Teletype conference message authorizing full use of Far East Command (FECOM) naval and air forces against the North Korean forces invading South Korea. Records of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
On June 27, 1950, in response to a call for aid from the United Nations Security Council, President Harry S. Truman ordered U.S. Air and Naval Forces to defend South Korea against invading North Korean forces, the start of the United States’ involvement in the Korean War.