5 things you should know about the Korean War

Julia LeDoux
July 19, 2019 - 2:32 pm
Marines Korea

USMC photo

On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea – launching a conflict that technically is still on-going. As we mark the 69th anniversary of the start of the Forgotten War, here are five things you may not know about it: 

1. Fighting. Together. Even though President Harry Truman desegregated the American armed forces in July 1948, separate white and black units remained the norm at the start of the Korean War.  However, as casualties mounted, white units began accepting black replacements. By 1952, the entire Far East Command had been integrated, followed by the rest of the armed forces in 1954.

Integration
Archives.Defense.Gov

Dozens of remains handed over to the U.S. from North Korea

2. You’re fired. President Donald Trump wasn’t the first occupant of the White House to make that phrase famous (or infamous). Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur for insubordination and relieved him of his command of American forces in Korea on April 11, 1951. During the earliest stages of the war, MacArthur championed a policy of pushing into North Korea and, while Truman went along with this plan, he worried that China might intervene in the conflict. The Chinese did intervene, driving American troops back into South Korea by December of 1950. Truman refused MacArthur’s request to bomb China and to use forces from Taiwan to defeat North Korea, setting off the feud that eventually ended in MacArthur’s dismissal. 

Gen. Douglas MacArthur
7th Air Force

3.  What’s in a name? In the U.S., it’s called the Korean War or The Forgotten War. North Koreans call it the Fatherland Liberation War while South Koreans call it Six-Two-Five for the day it began. China calls it the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea.  

Korea
DVIDS

Korean War veteran living in unspeakable conditions? Not in this community

4. You’re our prisoner, sir: A month after hostilities broke out Maj. Gen. William F. Dean, commander of the 24th Infantry Division, became separated from the unit in Taejon while attempting to help wounded soldiers. Isolated in the mountains for the next 36 days, he lost 80 pounds before two South Koreans found him. They pretended to lead him to safety but instead turned him over to the North Koreans. Although Dean tried to fight the North Koreans, he weighed around 130 pounds and couldn’t offer much resistance. Dean was taken prisoner Aug. 25, 1950, and remained in captivity until the armistice was signed. 

Gen. Dean
Department of Defense

5. It ain’t over.  A July 1953 armistice treaty may have silenced the guns, but no official peace treaty exists between North and South Korea. The two nations are separated by a heavily fortified 2.5-mile demilitarized zone and tensions continue to remain high on the Korean Peninsula.  On June 30, Donald Trump became the first sitting president to visit North Korea when he met with the North’s Kim Jong-un.

DMZ
Department of Defense

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