On September 15, 1950 — less than three months after the Korean War had begun, when the North Koreans had the South Korean, American and United Nations forces sequestered in the perimeter around Pusan in southwest Korea — Gen Douglas MacArthur, the commanding general of the United Nations forces in Korea, launched an amphibious attack and landed at Inchon (Inch'on) that abruptly changed the course of the war. Within weeks much of North Korea was taken by United States and South Korean forces [Source: Andrea Matles Savada and William Shaw, Library of Congress, 1990, 1993*]

MacArthur boldly landed his forces at Inchon, the port city for Seoul in west central Korea. US Marines rushed ashore, captured Inchon, and began driving North Korean (DPRK) forces north toward their country. This action severed the lines of communication and supply between the North Korean army and its base in the north. The army quickly collapsed, and combined United States and South Korean forces drove Kim Il Sung's units northward and into complete defeat. The invading forces were pushed back to near the Chinese border. Only the massive intervention of the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) in October averted the defeat of the North Korean forces. After that United Nations and communist forces fought to a standstill.*

Ryan Pickrell wrote in Business Insider: “By summer 1950, the Allies had been driven to the Pusan Perimeter, a defensive line on the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula where troops were forced to fend off waves of bloody North Korean assaults. Supreme Commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur pushed the idea of landing troops behind enemy lines, a plan initially deemed too risky. "The only alternative to a stroke such as I propose will be the continuation of the savage sacrifice we are making at Pusan, with no hope of relief in sight," he argued in late August. The landing, codenamed Operation Chromite, was ultimately approved given the desperate situation in the south. The surprise amphibious landing at Inchon by the Marines was a decisive victory for UN forces. The North Koreans were caught completely off guard. The forces that went ashore at the Yellow Sea port were able to break Communist supply lines, facilitate a breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, and clear the way for the liberation of Seoul. By October, the North Koreans were in full retreat as Allied troops crossed the 38th Parallel. The tides of battle would later change as the Chinese entered the war, but the landing at Inchon was nonetheless a remarkable achievement for the Marines. MacArthur called it "one of the most audacious and spectacularly successful amphibious landings in all naval history." [Source: Ryan Pickrell, Business Insider, November 10, 2020]

MacArthur had decided on an amphibious operation against the enemy even before the first clash between American and North Korean soldiers at Osan. On July 2, about a week after North Korea invaded the south and the North Korean War began, he asked Washington for a Marine regimental combat team (RCT). On the next day he ordered 1,200 specially trained operators for amphibious landing craft. He asked on 5 July for an engineer special brigade trained in amphibious operations and on the same day called for an airborne RCT "to participate in planned operations from 20 July to 10 August." [Source: U.S. Army in the Korean War: Policy and Direction: the First Year, U.S. Army Center Of Military History /]

MacArthur had conceived these "planned operations" a few days after the North Koreans struck. MacArthur then believed that he could land an assault force from the 1st Cavalry Division and the Marine RCT against the enemy's rear at Inchon as early as 22 July. This force would envelop Seoul and seize the high ground to the north. At the same time, all forces available to Maj. Gen. William F. Dean, commanding general of the 24th Division, would attack to drive the North Koreans back against the Han. Maj. Gen. Edwin K. Wright's planning group, JSPOG, worked out the details of this early plan. They assigned to it the code name Operation Bluehearts.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the Korean War

In July 1950, Douglas MacArthur was named commander of the United Nations forces in Korea. He said, "There is no security on this earth. There is only opportunity." By this time MacArthur was the hero of two wars, and the Mikado of Japan who was regarded as “senior to everyone but God.” U.S. President Harry Truman was suspicious of his plans and made sure his orders were written so MacArthur didn’t have too much discretion. MacArthur directed much of the war from his headquarters in Tokyo.

While many considered MacArthur brilliant, his military career also contained numerous examples of poor military judgment. He had few doubts about his own judgment, however, and for over a decade had surrounded himself with staff officers holding a similar opinion. MacArthur was confident of his capabilities to reshape Japan, but he had little knowledge of Chinese Communist forces or military doctrine. He had a well-known disregard for the Chinese as soldiers, and this became the tenet of the Far Eastern Command (FEC). [Source: “Two Strategic Intelligence Mistakes in Korea, 1950" by P. K. Rose, CIA, Center for the Study of Intelligence, CSI Publications, Studies in Intelligence Studies, fall-winter 2001]

After MacArthur pulled off his audacious, amphibious land at Inchon, far behind enemy lines, American force proved insufficient after the Chinese unexpectedly entered the conflict in November 1950. MacArthur wanted to go further and bomb and attack the Chinese beyond Korea’s northern border. Truman, fearful of a nuclear confrontation, said no. When MacArthur persisted, Truman fired him in April 1951. MacArthur famously proclaimed, “there is no substitute for victory.” Truman’s approval rating plummeted to a record low. [Source: U.S. News and World Report. January 30, 2006]

Gen. Douglas MacArthur

Incredibly headstrong, egotistical and arrogant, MacArthur served in three major wars (World War I, World War II and the Korean War) and had an a major impact and stirred up trouble in each one. As the lord of Japan after World War II he was regarded as “senior to everyone but God." He is one of the most controversial of all American generals. [Source: Geoffrey C. Ward, National Geographic, March 1992]

MacArthur was born January 26, 1880 in Fort Dodge, Arkansas. His father was a Civil War and Spanish-American War hero and the military governor of the Philippines under U.S. President William McKinley. MacArthur's mother was so determined that her son be a success that she took out a room at West Point so she could make sure the light was on in her son's room, showing that was studying. At West Point MacArthur graduated number one in his class with a grade of 98.15. Only two cadets were reputed to have had higher scores; one of them was Robert E. Lee.

In 1914, MacArthur took part in a mission in Mexico in which he said he killed seven men. He was denied the Medal of Honor because he could offer "no incontestable proof." In World War I, MacArthur was the chief of staff of the France-based Rainbow Division. On the front lines he refused to wear a helmet or a gas mask but wore a soft cap along with a cigarette holder and a four-foot woolen muffler knitted by his mother. Once, a shell exploded in the courtyard of a chateau where he was dining. Remaining seated, while all his guests hit the floor, MacArthur said, "All of Germany can not make a shell that will kill MacArthur. Sit down again, gentlemen, with me." By the end of World War I, the 38-year-old MacArthur had become a colonel, the head of the Rainbow Division, and earned seven Silver Stars for bravery, four other U.S. medals and 19 honors from Allied nations.

MacArthur had a reputation for fearlessness. He walked among bursting shells and artillery fire in war zones like it was nothing. He told Patton, when he flinched after an explosion, "Don't worry major. You never hear the one that gets you." MacArthur wasn't very popular among both officers and enlisted men because he was regarded as a seef-serving, publicity hound who blamed mistakes on subordinates while grabbing the glory for himself for successes, making sure his face and corncob pipe were in the newspapers under the headlines of important victories. Once MacArthur told a commander to capture a key town "or don't come back alive." When the commander achieved the objective and was heralded in the press for it, MacArthur threatened to reduce his rank and send him home.

MacArthur's Landing at Inchon

Instead of reinforcing the armies in Pusan, Gen. Douglas MacArthur pulled off a brilliant tactical maneuver and landed 70,000 troops behind enemy lines at Inchon, 32 kilometers (20 miles) west of Seoul, on September 15, 1950. MacArthur directed the landing from the deck of the U.S.S. Mount McKinley — an amphibious force command ship.

The main American landing force was a combined US Army and Marine Corps, and ROK (South Korean) force. US X Corps, led by Major General Edward Almond, consisted of 40,000 men of the 1st Marine Division, the 7th Infantry Division and around 8,600 ROK soldiers. The Inchon landing has been described by some as the Second D-Day. The first phase of a large plan to reclaim Korea, it was carried out by a force of 13,000 men from the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Netherlands. One woman was present, the famous Marguerite Higgins of the New York Herald Tribune.

One of the biggest difficulties of the landing was overcoming the extreme 10-meter tides that produce mud flats many kilometers out from the mainland. Because of the tides, the waters of Flying Fish Channel, which had to be navigated to carry off the landing, were accessible to oceangoing vessels for three-hour internals every 14 days, The rest of the time the area is comprised of mud flats that extend for up to five kilometers out from the rocky headlands.

The first soldiers of the Third Battalion of the Fifth Marine Division waded ashore at 6:33am. As MacArthur had predicted the North Koreans were caught totally by surprise. Only 400 inexperienced North Korean soldiers were stationed at Wolmido, an island where the soldiers came ashore and they offered little resistance. The U.S. Army bombed the island for five days before the landing. After seizing the island, U.S. Marines then had to wait until the next high tide for their tanks and troop carriers to be brought in. Only 21 soldiers were killed in the entire operation. All n’ alll the amphibious assault force faced few North Korean defenders at Inchon.

‘Everybody Get Down, Here We Go’

Accompanying U.S. forces at Inchon, Marguerite Higgins wrote in the New York Herald Tribune: “Heavily laden U.S. Marines, in one of the most technically difficult amphibious landings in history, stormed at sunset today over a ten-foot sea wall in the heart of the port of Inchon and within an hour had taken three commanding hills in the city. I was in the fifth wave that hit “Red Beach,” which in reality was a rough, vertical pile of stones over which the first assault troops had to scramble with the aid of improvised landing ladders topped with steel hooks. [Source: Marguerite Higgins, New York Herald Tribune, May 1, 1945, Sept. 18, 1950]

“Despite a deadly and steady pounding from naval guns and airplanes, enough North Koreans remained alive close to the beach to harass us with small-arms and mortar fire. They even hurled hand grenades down at us as we crouched in trenches which unfortunately ran behind the sea wall in the inland side. It was far from the “virtually unopposed” landing for which the troops had hoped after hearing the quick capture of Wolmi Island in the morning by an earlier Marine assault. Wolmi is inside Inchon harbor and just off “Red Beach.” At H-hour minus seventy, confident, joking Marines started climbing down from the transport ship on cargo nets and dropping into small assault boats. Our wave commander, Lieutenant R.J. Schening, a veteran of five amphibious assaults, including Guadacanal, hailed me with the comment, “This has a good chance of being a pushover.”

“Because of tricky tides, our transport had to stand down the channel and it was more than nine miles to the rendezvous point where our assault waves formed up. The channel reverberated with the ear-splitting boom of warship guns and rockets. Blue and orange flame spurted from the “Red Beach” area and a huge oil tank, on fire, sent great black rings of smoke over the shore. Then the fire from the big guns lifted and the planes that had been circling overhead swooped low to rake their fire deep into the sea wall.

“The first wave of our assault troops was speeding toward the shore by now. It would be H-hour (5:30 p.m.) in two minutes. Suddenly, bright orange tracer bullets spun out from the hill in our direction. “My God! There are still some left,” Lieutenant Schening said. “Everybody get down. Here we go!” It was H-hour plus fifteen minutes as we sped the last 2,000 yards to the beach. About halfway there the bright tracers started cutting across the top of our little boat. “Look at their faces now,” said John Davies of the Newark News. I turned and saw that the men around me had expressions contorted with anxiety.

“I turned and saw that the men around me had expressions contorted with anxiety. We struck the sea wall hard at a place where it had crumbled into a canyon. The bullets were whining persistently, spattering the water around us. We clambered over the high steel sides of the boat, dropping into the water and, taking shelter beside the boat as we could, snaked onto our stomachs into a rock-strewn dip in the sea wall.

“In the sky there was good news. A bright, white star shell from the high ground to our left and an amber cluster told us that the first wave had taken their initial objective, Observatory Hill. But whatever the luck of the first four waves, we were relentlessly pinned down by rifle and automatic weapon fire coming down on us from another rise on the right. There were some thirty Marines and two correspondents crouched in the gouged-out sea wall. Then another assault boat swept up, disgorging about thirty more Marines. This went on for two more waves until our hole was filled and Marines lying on their stomachs were strung out all across the top of the sea wall.

“An eerie colored light flooded the area as the sun went down with a glow that a newsreel audience would have thought a fake. As the dusk settled the glare of burning buildings all around lit the sky. Suddenly, as we lay there intent on the firing ahead, a sudden rush of water came up into a dip in the wall and we saw a huge LST (Landing Ship, Tank) rushing at us with the great plank door half down. Six more yards and the ship would have crushed twenty men. Warning shots sent everyone speeding from the sea wall, searching for escape from the LST and cover from the gunfire. The LST’s huge bulk sent a rush of water pouring over the sea wall as it crunched in, soaking most of us.

Bringing Ashore Tanks and Establishing a Beachhead at Inchon

Marguerite Higgins wrote in the New York Herald Tribune: “The Marines ducked and zigzagged as they raced across the open, but enemy bullets caught a good many in the semi-darkness. The wounded were pulled aboard the LSTs, six of which appeared within sixty-five minutes after H-hour. As nightfall closed in, the Marine commanders ordered their troops forward with increasing urgency, for they wanted to assure a defensible perimeter for the night. [Source: Marguerite Higgins, New York Herald Tribune, May 1, 1945, Sept. 18, 1950]

In this remarkable amphibious operation, where tides played such an important part, the Marines were completely isolated from outside supply lines for exactly four hours after H-hour. At this time the out-rushing tides — they fluctuate thirty-one feet in twelve-hour periods — made mud flats of the approaches to “Red Beach.” The LSTs bringing supplies simply settled on the flats, helpless until the morning tides would float them again. At the battalion command post the news that the three high-ground objectives — the British Consulate, Cemetery Hill and Observation Hill — had been taken arrived at about H-hour plus sixty-one minutes. Now the important items of business became debarking tanks, guns and ammunition from the LSTs.

“Every cook, clerk, driver and administrative officer in the vicinity was rounded up for the unloading. It was exciting to see the huge M-26 tanks rumble across big planks onto the beach, which only a few minutes before had been protected only by riflemen and machine gunners. Then came the bulldozers, trucks and jeeps. It was very dark in the shadow of the ships and the unloaders had a hazardous time dodging bullets, mortar fire and their own vehicles.

North Koreans began giving up by the dozens by this time and we could see them, hands up, marching across the open fields toward the LSTs. They were taken charge of with considerable glee by a Korean Marine policeman, Captain Woo, himself a native of Inchon, who had made the landing with several squads of men who were also natives of the city. They learned of the plan to invade their hometown only after they had boarded the ship.

Tonight, Captain Woo was in a state of elation beyond even that of the American Marines who had secured the beachhead. “When the Koreans see your power,” he said, “they will come in droves to our side.” As we left the beach and headed back to the Navy flagship, naval guns were booming again in support of the Marines. “This time,” said a battalion commander, “they are preparing the road to Seoul.”“

Success of the Inchon Landing and the Response in Beijing

MacArthur plan was daring and it defied all military conventions. MacArthur himself once said that he thought the chances of success were at best 5,000 to 1. The operation was a spectacular success. Half of his force reinforced positions around Pusan while the other half participated in the Inchon landing. Within days the stunned North Koreans were in disarray and on the run.

On the day of the landing General MacArthur sent a cheering report from the scene to the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "First phase landing successful with losses slight. Surprise apparently complete. All goes well and on schedule." By mid-day, Marines had seized Wolmi-do, the fortress island dominating Inchon harbor. By nightfall, more than a third of Inchon had fallen into their hands. Obviously enjoying his first taste of victory in Korea, the U.N. commander again proudly reported to Washington, "Our losses are light. The clockwork coordination and cooperation between the Services was noteworthy.... The command distinguished itself. The whole operation is proceeding on schedule." [Source: U.S. Army in the Korean War: Policy and Direction: the First Year, U.S. Army Center Of Military History /]

Response to the Invasion by North Korea, China and the Soviet Union

The strategic success of the Inchon landing was a clear signal that the invasion from the North had not only failed, but also that the DPRK (North Korean) forces could be destroyed by the US-led U.N. force. Two days later, a high-ranking Chinese delegation of intelligence and logistics officers arrived in North Korea to evaluate the military situation and prepare the battlefield for Chinese military action. [Source: “Two Strategic Intelligence Mistakes in Korea, 1950" by P. K. Rose, CIA, Center for the Study of Intelligence, CSI Publications, Studies in Intelligence Studies, fall-winter 2001]

On September 18, Stalin dispatched General H. M. Zakharov to North Korea to advise Kim Il-sung to halt his offensive around the Pusan perimeter and to redeploy his forces to defend Seoul. Chinese commanders were not briefed on North Korean troop numbers or operational plans. As the overall commander of Chinese forces, Zhou Enlai suggested that the North Koreans should attempt to eliminate the U.N. forces at Inchon only if they had reserves of at least 100,000 men; otherwise, he advised the North Koreans to withdraw their forces north. [Source: Wikipedia]

By late September, China had sent numerous diplomatic signals expressing its concern regarding a US occupation of North Korea. The Acting PLA chief of staff told the Indian Ambassador in Peking that China would never allow US forces to reach Chinese territory. The Indian Foreign Minister conveyed this message to the U.S. Ambassador in New Delhi; in Washington, the British Ambassador passed the same message to the State Department.

These private notices were matched by a 22 September public announcement in which the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman issued the statement “We clearly reaffirm that we will always stand on the side of the Korean people…and resolutely oppose the criminal acts of American imperialist aggression against Korea and their intrigues for expanding the war.” Also during this period, communications intercepts continued to identify massive PLA troop movements from southern and central China into the Sino-Korean border areas.

Advancing Out of Inchon

Operation CHROMITE stayed on schedule. In the wake of the Marines, the 7th Division landed and struck south toward Suwon. Kimp'o Airfield fell to the Marines on 19 September, and on the 20th General MacArthur could tell the Joint Chiefs of Staff that his forces were pounding at the gates of Seoul. So far, American forces had suffered only light casualties, while the North Koreans had lost heavily. At Inchon, supplies were being unloaded at the rate of 4,000 tons daily; and Kimp'o Airfield had swung into round-the-clock operation. When General Almond took command of all forces ashore in the Inchon-Seoul area at 1800 on 21 September, he had almost 6,000 vehicles, 25,000 tons of equipment, and 50,000 troops. [Source: U.S. Army in the Korean War: Policy and Direction: the First Year, U.S. Army Center Of Military History /]

Fortunately, the success of MacArthur's plan did not depend upon an immediate juncture of the Eighth Army and X Corps. For, although MacArthur had ordered General Walker to attack out of the Pusan Perimeter beginning on the day after the X Corps landing, the North Koreans along the Naktong fought as fiercely on 16 September as they had on the 14th, and for nearly a week stood off all attempts by Eighth Army to punch through their defenses. The main body of the North Korean Army appeared unaware of the landing at Inchon, approximately 180 air miles to its rear, and saw no reason to quit.

During October, the South Korean police executed people who were suspected to be sympathetic to North Korea, and similar massacres were carried out until early 1951.

Breakout from the Pusan Perimeter

On September 16, the Eighth Army began its breakout from the Pusan Perimeter. Task Force Lynch, 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, and two 70th Tank Battalion units (Charlie Company and the Intelligence–Reconnaissance Platoon) advanced through 170 kilometers of territory held by the North Koreans to join the 7th Infantry Division at Osan on September 27. X Corps rapidly defeated the KPA (Korea People’s Army, the North Korean) defenders around Seoul, thus threatening to trap the main KPA force in Southern Korea. [Source: Wikipedia +]

American troops succeeded in cutting supply and retreat lines of the overextended North Korean Army and “broke the back of the invasion.” Thousands of North Korean invaders encircled from behind were taken prisoner. But the success of the Inchon was perhaps too successful. It gave MacArthur a feeling of confidence that bordered on delusional and led him and his commanders to throw caution to wind and let their ambitions get the best of them.

KPA troops in the south, instead of effectively withdrawing north, rapidly disintegrated. Historian Bruce Cumings argues has argued that the KPA's rapid withdrawal was strategic, with troops melting into the mountains from where they could launch guerrilla raids on the U.N. forces spread out on the coasts. In any case this left Pyongyang vulnerable. During the general retreat only 25,000 to 30,000 KPA soldiers managed to reach the KPA lines. On September 27, Stalin convened an emergency session of the Politburo, in which he condemned the incompetence of the KPA command and held Soviet military advisers responsible for the defeat.

Recapturing Decimated Seoul

MacArthur's forces quickly advanced on Seoul as a United Nations army swept northward from Pusan. On September 25, Seoul was recaptured by U.N. forces. US air raids caused heavy damage to the KPA (Korea People’s Army, the North Korean army), destroying most of its tanks and much of its artillery. On September 29, MacArthur restored the government of the Republic of Korea under Syngman Rhee. H. Edward Kim wrote in National Geographic, "When the United Nation forces finally broke out of Pusan and moved northward we were able to return home. We found Seoul devastated, our house burned, my father's publishing business destroyed."

Not long after after that, Howard Sochurek in National Geographic, "I landed at Seoul's Kimbo airport...In that city of 1,700,000, the stench of death and the rubble of destruction were everywhere. Orphans, their clothes black from gutter living, pleaded for food. Live wires dangled from severed trolley cables. My jeep dodged gaping shell holes in the dusty streets." [Source: Howard Sochurek, National Geographic, March 1969]

Describing a civilian casualty near Namiseom near Seoul in October 1950, Reginald Thompson wrote, "There was a crack of carbines, a burst or two of automatic fire, somewhere away to the right, was a peasant woman crumpled into the ditch by the roadside with her two babes crawling upon her...she lay there, peaceful, seeming only to sleep. But dead. One babe sat on her belly, small hands reaching up to her face, stroking, pulling at her lips, growing frantic, inconsolable, its screams agonizing, as it knew, as it tried to suckle the warm still heavy breasts...The other child sat in a kind of torpor of dejection...Someone tried to divert the young child with an apple."

MacArthur and U.N. Forces Invade North Korea (September–October 1950)

On September 27, 1950, MacArthur received top secret National Security Council Memorandum 81/1 from Truman reminding him that operations north of the 38th Parallel were authorized only if "at the time of such operation there was no entry into North Korea by major Soviet or Chinese Communist forces, no announcements of intended entry, nor a threat to counter our operations militarily". On September 30, U.S. Defense Secretary George Marshall sent an eyes-only message to MacArthur: "We want you to feel unhampered tactically and strategically to proceed north of the 38th parallel." On September 27, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent to General MacArthur a comprehensive directive to govern his future actions that stated the that the primary goal was the destruction of the KPA, followed by the unification of the Korean Peninsula under Rhee "if possible". The Joint Chiefs added that these goals were dependent on whether or not the Chinese and Soviets would intervene, and was subject to changing conditions. [Source: Wikipedia]

On September 30, Zhou Enlai warned the U.S. that China was prepared to intervene in Korea if the U.S. crossed the 38th Parallel. Zhou attempted to advise KPA commanders on how to conduct a general withdrawal by using the same tactics that allowed Chinese communist forces to carry out the Great March and successfully escape the Encirclement Campaigns of Chiang Kai Chek and the Chinese Nationalists in the 1930s. Some historians have maintained that KPA commanders did not effectively employ these tactics.

By October 1, 1950, the U.N. Command pushed the KPA northwards past the 38th Parallel; South Korean advanced after them, into North Korea. MacArthur made a statement demanding the KPA's unconditional surrender. Six days later, on October 7, with U.N. authorization, the U.N. Command forces followed the South Korean forces northwards. The X Corps landed at Wonsan (in southeastern North Korea) and Riwon (in northeastern North Korea) on October 26, but these cities had already been captured by South Korean forces. The Eighth US Army drove up western Korea and captured Pyongyang on October 19, 1950. The 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team made combat jumps on October 20, 1950 at Sunchon and Sukchon to cut the road north going to China, preventing North Korean leaders from escaping from Pyongyang; and to rescue U.S. prisoners of war.

By the end of October, 1950, U.N. forces held 135,000 KPA prisoners of war. As they neared the Sino-Korean border, the U.N. forces in the east and west were divided from each other by 80 to 161 kilometers (50–100 miles) of mountainous terrain. At this point the KPA had suffered some 200,000 men killed or wounded for a total of 335,000 casualties since the beginning of the Korean War in June 1950, and had lost 313 tanks Only 25,000 KPA soldiers managed to retreat across the 38th Parallel, as their military had entirely collapsed.

The U.N. forces on the peninsula numbered 229,722 combat troops (including 125,126 Americans and 82,786 South Koreans), 119,559 rear area troops, and 36,667 U.S. Air Force personnel. Taking advantage of the U.N. Command's strategic momentum against the communists, General MacArthur believed it necessary to extend the Korean War into China to destroy depots supplying the North Korean war effort. President Truman disagreed, and ordered caution at the Sino-Korean border.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons.

Text Sources: South Korean government websites, Korea Tourism Organization, Cultural Heritage Administration, Republic of Korea, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Chunghee Sarah Soh in “Countries and Their Cultures”, “Columbia Encyclopedia”, Korea Times, Korea Herald, The Hankyoreh, JoongAng Daily, Radio Free Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, AFP, The Atlantic, Yomiuri Shimbun, The Guardian and various books and other publications.

Updated in July 2021

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