Korean War

Interviews

April 1949

Where did it happen?

Korea is situated on the Korean Peninsula in North-East Asia. To the northwest, the Amnok River separates Korea and China and to the northeast the Duman River separates Korea from China and Russia. The Yellow Sea is to the west, the East China Sea and Korea Strait is to the south, and the Sea of Japan is to the east.

Why did it happen?

Until the end of WWII the area was ruled by Japan. Following their defeat the American administrators divided the peninsula along the 38th parallel with the north being occupied by Soviet troops

and the southern half occupied by American troops.

Background

In 1948 tensions were running high all over the world. The Soviet and Chinese governments were Communist and the Americans were deeply suspicious of them. As the dislike grew between the regimes it meant that Korea was two very different countries north and south of the 38th parallel. North Korea was supported by the Soviets and South Korea was supported by the Americans. When North Korea launched an attack on South Korea on 25th June 1950 it was almost as if the Soviets had launched an attack on America. It became a “proxy war” where effectively Soviets and Americans were at war with each other but they were fighting through Korea.

The United Nations – and specifically the Americans – came to the rescue of South Korea in fighting off the invasion. The People’s Republic of China came in to support North Korea.

Once China entered the conflict the situation became even more dangerous. China helped push the United Nations Forces back over the 38th Parallel with the Soviet Union supplying North Korea and China with materials.

The Korean War combined both WWI and WWII strategies where swift infantry attacks were followed by air bombing raids. The initial campaign went to trench warfare, lasting from 1951 before it reached stalemate and an armistice in 1953.

In total 33,629 Americans, countless Koreans, 717 Turkish soldiers and 1,109 British troops gave their lives during the struggle. Almost 100,000 British troops fought in Korea in a conflict as bloody as any seen before or since. Yet many veterans consider it to be the war our country has forgotten. The

Korean War combined both WW1 and WWII strategies where swift infantry attacks were followed by air bombing raids. The initial campaign went to trench warfare, lasting from 1951 before it reached stalemate and an armistice in 1953.

In total 33,629 Americans, countless Koreans, 717 Turkish soldiers and 1,109 British troops gave their lives during the struggle. Almost 100,000 British troops fought in Korea in a conflict as bloody as any seen before or since. Yet many veterans consider it to the war our country has forgotten.