Key PlayersBy Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 20, 2003
Became president on April 12, 1945, after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. After World War II, U.S. troops occupied the southern half of Korea until U.N. sponsored elections could be held. When North Korean troops invaded the south in 1950, Truman had to decide whether sending U.S. troops to South Korea was worth the risk of starting World War III. Truman left office on Jan. 20, 1953, and retired to his home in Missouri. He died Dec. 26, 1972.
The former war hero was elected president in November 1952, in part because of a promise to go to Korea, which he secretly did before his inauguration. After a second term, Eisenhower retired to his farm in Gettysburg, Penn. He died of heart failure on March 28, 1969.
Became president of the Republic of Korea on July 20, 1948, and his government took over operations in the south from the U.S. military that August.
The Soviet Union chose this former guerrilla fighter to run the northern part of Korea. He was declared prime minister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Sept. 9, 1948. In June 1949, he became chairman of the communist Korean Workers' Party.
Mao and his Communist armies gained control of China in October 1949. He ordered his troops to cross into Korea on Oct. 8, 1950. Mao died in September 1976.
Was dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from 1929 until 1953 when he died after a brain hemorrhage. Stalin, whose troops had occupied the northern part of Korea after World War II, supported the Communist North Korean forces that invaded South Korea.
GEN. DOUGLAS MACARTHUR
Picked to replace MacArthur as supreme commander of U.N. forces. He retired in 1955 and became chairman of the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he served until 1960. He died in 1993.
Replaced Ridgway as commander of U.N. forces in Korea in May 1952. He took part in the signing of the armistice that ended fighting in July 1953, and retired later that year. He died in 1984.
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