Remembering a ‘forgotten war’

Monday marked the 69th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.

Today, North Korea threatens the world with tests of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads, and the recent summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un sought to find a path to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

All of us, though, should not forget that long-ago fight where so many brave souls lost their lives.

The Korean War was a result of the division of the Korean Peninsula at the end of World War II. Just like in Germany, the Soviet Union agreed with the United States and Great Britain to divide Korea into two occupational zones — the North run by the Soviets and the South run by the U.S. and the British.

Soon after, two separate countries emerged. A communist country, the Korean Democratic People’s Republic, was formed in the North in 1948. The Republic of Korea — a democratic government — was established in the South. Tensions soon began to mount.

Finally, on June 25, 1950, some 90,000 North Korean troops invaded the South, crossing the 38th parallel. President Harry Truman immediately dispatched naval and air support for the embattled South. On June 27, he told the nation the U.S. would intervene to prevent the loss of an independent nation to communism.

Truman was convinced the Soviets were behind the invasion — the North used Soviet-made tanks and weapons. With the Soviets absent from the meeting, Truman convinced the United Nations Security Council to approve the use of force against the North.

After three years of war and the lives of 150,000 American, South Korean and other Allied forces, an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. The peninsula itself paid an even higher price — an estimated 1 million South Korean civilians were killed. North Korea lost some 800,000 soldiers and 200,000 civilians.

For the last six decades, that shaky truce has withstood dozens of incidents and bombastic threats from North Korean dictators. It was too large of a conflict to ever be forgotten.

We can only hope that it is not on the verge of resuming.

(Source: The History Channel, history.com)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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