The Korean War
The Korean War is often referred to as the forgotten war. There exist no monuments in Washington D.C. to acknowledge the thousands of American soldiers who fought valiantly and died for their country's political interests. There are no annual parades, and little information in text books to shed light on the war. Korea was a bloody war. The United States sustained over 140,000 casualties with 33,000 killed in action, yet the U.S. never formally honored its fallen soldiers.1 The war was another chance to indirectly overpower communism in the beginning of the Cold War. Interestingly it was fought on Asian soil through Asian politics. The lack of interest by the American public following the war reflected a national desire to forget the events of the war as quickly as possible. However, the Korean War must be remembered in order honor those whose who died for their country's political convictions.
For hundreds of years Korea was dominated by the Chinese empire. During World War II, Japan seized Korea from the Chinese and used its natural resources to fuel its war effort. After Japan was defeated by the allies, Korea became occupied by the Russians in the North and the Americans in the South. Both the U.S. and the Soviets realized Korea was a strategic country; it was important to occupy because it lay in-between China, Japan, and the Soviet Union. North and South Korea was divided by the 38th parallel, it evenly split the country into two regions. Both Russia and America became politically involved in Korea, therefore, each set up strong military and governmental ties.2 The United States wanted Korea to be held under democratic rule, while the Soviets wanted communist rule. They took these conflicting views to the United Nations (UN.) which had just been set up to prevent another world war and help with international elections.3 The UN. decided that both sides of Korea should have their own elections. The elections were held on January 12, 1948.4 Since North Korea favored communism, the people elected the Russians and Kim Il Sung, a former guerrilla leader. South Korea favored democracy and formed the Republic of Korea (ROK) under U.S. educated, Dr. Sygman Rhee.5 The Soviets withdrew from North Korea in 1949. They left a communist dictatorship with a well trained, well armed, North Korean-Soviet army. In fear of the North Koreans newly developed strength, the U.S. left South Korea with some small arms and military advisors. American troops left Korea at the end of 1949.6
Both the North Koreans and the Russians wanted to overthrow South Korea to expand their empire. Above all, Russia had a chance to oppose its economic and military rival, the United States. North Korea, armed with Soviet tanks, boats, planes, and guns, planned a surprise attack across the 38th parallel into South Korea. Late Saturday evening on June 24, 1950, president Henry Truman got a urgent phone call. Truman was informed that a well organized and many...