At the close of World War II, the victorious Allied Powers did not know what to do with the Korean Peninsula. Korea had been a Japanese colony since the late nineteenth century, so westerners thought the country incapable of self-rule.
The Korean people, however, were eager to re-establish an independent nation of Korea.
Russia moved in to North Korea to "maintain order," while the United States took control of South Korea. Soon, the North Korean leader, Kim Il-sung, decided to seize South Korea as well, and establish a united communist nation.
In June of 1950, North Korea launched an attack across the 38th Parallel, touching off the Korean War.