and Space Administration
The 1950s were marked by the cold war, a period of tenuous nonaggression between the world's superpowers: the USA and the USSR. At its core was the mutual fear that either side could use its growing arsenal of atomic weaponry to destroy much of civilization. Early in that period, in 1950, the tension in Korea grew into a localized “hot war” that pitted the United States and the Republic of Korea against Soviet-armed North Korea and the Peoples Republic of China. The Korean War was a conventional war; no atomic or thermonuclear devices were deployed. However, many American lives were lost, mostly because of the precipitous demobilization of the U.S. forces after WWII, which left the United States largely unprepared to mount even a limited war in Asia.
The war ended in a stalemate in 1952, the same year that Eisenhower succeeded Truman in the White House. Both sides were back where they had started: the United States and Republic of Korea on the southern side of the thirty-eighth parallel and the North Koreans and Chinese on the northern