After the war, tensions continued to simmer in many parts of Asia. The first armed conflict erupted in 1950, when forces from the northern half of Korea, which had been placed under Russian supervision after World War II, invaded the U.S.-controlled south. The United States and its allies, fearing communist ambition, agreed to help defend the south under the United Nations banner. By the time General MacArthur organized the movement of troops and war supplies, South Korean forces had been pushed into the far southern tip of the Korean peninsula. On September 15, 1950, in one of the most daring and successful military maneuvers of modern times, MacArthur landed troops at Inchon, far behind North Korean lines. The result was a rout of enemy forces, and the North Koreans were pushed back nearly to China. Fearing an invasion of its territory, China joined the war and launched a full-blown counterattack. Eventually a stalemate was reached near the thirty-eighth parallel, where Korea had been initially divided.
Not wanting to expand the conflict, President would not accept MacArthur's urgings to carry the war across the Korean border into Chinese territory. MacArthur, in turn, made public his dissatisfaction with Truman's position. So began a power struggle that culminated in April 1951, with Truman's dismissal of MacArthur for insubordination. While Truman's popularity plummeted, MacArthur returned home to a hero's welcome. In retrospect, however, the consensus among historians is that MacArthur was unwise to challenge Truman as he did, and he left Truman no choice but to fire him. The Korean conflict dragged on for another two years until an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, which ended the fighting and created a demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
Today opinions about General MacArthur remain strongly divided. Some remember him as a brilliant tactician and brave soldier. Others recall his arrogance, penchant for self-serving publicity, and intolerance for criticism. However he is remembered, MacArthur remains one of the most compelling figures of the twentieth century.