The Korean War

I wish I had come with a better prior knowledge of the Korean War.

The North Koreans are on a mission to educate us about it. I found that I had to temper my very rudimentary notions about it (e.g. “they” started it), when I found myself in a huge room of the War Museum showing clips of newspapers relating to it. I like this one, dated October 31st, 1949 (9 months before the start of the war), where General Rhee from Seoul briefed Macarthur on his readiness for war. Right now I’m feeling that this is a case of “he said, she said” and I have some homework to do.

The facts, in brief: In June, 1950, the North invaded the South and quickly occupied 90% of the peninsula (including, therefore, Seoul). The US then jumped in and helped South Korea push back the Communists North Korean forces North, all the way up to the Yalu river (the Northern border of the Korean peninsula, the border with China). This, as you can imagine, prompted China to get involved, and very quickly again the dividing line came right back around the 38th parallel, where the current DMZ (De-Militarized Zone, which we’ve recently seen in pictures), is located. After this followed a murky 2-year period with lots of skirmishes and minor attacks but a lot of threats from both sides. An armistice ending this state of affairs was signed in July, 1953. No formal end of the war has been declared