We never talked about the Korean War when I was a kid. All the movies, TV shows, and comic books were about our great triumph in World War II. The Vietnam War was still raging…so the jury was out (but we were thinking, “how could we lose? America never loses!”).
The Korean War left us puzzled…it ended in a “tie”. The communists did not beat us, but we did not defeat them either. So…we just “ignored it” (sadly).
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950 when communist North Korea suddenly launched a blitzkrieg against the US-backed South Korea. The allied forces (later called “UN forces”) were sent reeling almost to the sea. General Douglas McArthur stabilized the American and South Korean forces, then in September launched one of the most amazing and surprising counterattacks in history– the landings at Inchon. The American Army and Marines landed far behind North Korean lines and quickly routed the enemy…even capturing Pyongyang!
However, as the UN forces approached the Chinese border in late November, ostensibly finishing off the North Korean army, the Chinese communists suddenly attacked with hundreds of thousands of troops.. overwhelming the UN forces and sending them into full retreat.
McArthur eventually was fired, the “front” stabilized, and neither side could gain the upper hand. This month, on July 27 1953, we mark the day in which both sides agreed on a cease fire. Not a peace treaty. Not an armistice or surrender. The war, which killed over 2.5 million Koreans and 37,574 Americans (plus others from Britain, France, and other UN nations), never ended.
The border between the two nations is the most heavily militarized border on Earth. The forgotten war continues…to this day.