Korean War

The soldier etched on this monument is a tribute to the nearly 36,000 armed forces who lost their lives, and the more than 10,000 who were wounded and every other soldier who fought during the three-year conflict. His attire symbolizes the harsh terrain and extreme weather these brave patriots endured.

On June 25th, 1950, the young Cold War turned bloody. North Korea’s invasion of South Korea brought about a United Nations’ “police action” against the aggressors producing heavy military involvement by the United States.

Throughout the summer of 1950, the U.S. and the other involved United Nations’ states scrambled to contain North Korea’s fast-moving army, assemble the forces necessary to defeat it and begin to respond to what was a global military challenge from the Communist world.

Though America’s Armed Forces had suffered from several years’ of fiscal constraints, U.S. materiel reserves held large quantities of modern ships, aircraft, military equipment and production capacity that could be reactivated quickly and the Reserve forces included tens of thousands of trained people, whose World War II experiences remained fresh and relevant.

In September 1950 a daring amphibious invasion at Inchon fractured the North Korean war machine. And UN armies pushed through North Korea. However, with victory seemingly in sight, China and the Soviet Union intervened, on the side of their Communist neighbor. The UN Army was forced back into South Korea. Eventually, the Chinese army was contained and forced to retreat.

By the middle of 1951, the front lines had stabilized near where the war started. Negotiations began amid hopes that an early truce could be arranged. This took two more years, during which the U.S. Navy provided extensive air and gunfire support.

Finally, on July 27th, 1953, with a new regime in the USSR and the weakening of a final Communist offensive, negotiations concluded and fighting ended. The Cold War, considerably warmed up by the Korean experience, would maintain its costly existence for nearly four more decades.

Often called the forgotten war, Korea was the first battle fought during the Cold War and remains unresolved to this very day. Still divided along the 38th Parallel, communist and anti-communist troops — including American peacekeepers — watch each other warily every day across the “no man’s land” of the demilitarized border.

The Korean War did not get much media attention in the United States until 1972 when the television series M*A*S*H immortalized the conflict and brought the war into the homes of millions of Americans. Set in a field hospital in South Korea, the shows final episode in 1983 is the most-watched series finale in television history.