This year marks the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel and invaded the South. The Korean peninsula had been under Japan's control until August 1945, after which the North was occupied by the Soviet Red Army while the Americans took the South, out of fear that the entire peninsula would come under Communist control. Subsequent efforts at a democratic unification failed. And both sides began to build regimes in their halves that served their strategic interests. In the South, the Republic of Korea under the pro-United States Syngman Rhee was established after an election in 1948. In the North the Democratic People's Republic of Korea under Communist leader Kim Il-Sung was set up with Soviet and Chinese support. On June 25, 1950, Kim, with the endorsement of the Soviet Union, invaded the South. The poorly-trained South Korean army was no match for his troops, and quickly collapsed. US President Harry Truman decided to take a firm stand and sent his troops to the South under the banner of the United Nations. And in July, World War II hero general Douglas MacArthur was designated the Supreme Commander. The initial results however, were a disaster and the US forces were nearly driven out of the peninsula. Only after 80,000 troop reinforcements landed at Inchon, west of Seoul on September, 15, was general MacArthur able to launch a counter-offensive and force the North Korean troops back. In early October, MacArthur sent the US-troops across the 38th parallel into North Korea. By October 19, the US troops had captured its capital, Pyongyang. As MacArthur continued to direct his troops northwards, there were signs that he sought to expand the war into the mainland. On November 27, 1950, the North Koreans joined by a 200,000-strong Chinese volunteer army, began its counter-offensive and inflicted heavy losses on the US forces. Two weeks after China entered the war, North Korea was cleared of US troops. At this stage a serious political conflict broke out between Truman and MacArthur, who was accused of ignoring orders from Washington, provoking China's entry into the war and causing huge American casualties. MacArthur was soon replaced by general Matthew Ridgway, who recaptured Seoul - taken earlier by the Chinese and North Koreans - and held back attacks along the 38th parallel. On July 27, 1953, an armistice was reached between the North and South. No peace treaty has ever been signed between any of the warring parties; and even now, the two Koreas remain theoretically at war. Today there are 37,000 US troops in South Korea and the 38th parallel is heavily fortified on both sides.