The Korean War, often called America’s Forgotten War, was an armed conflict between several parties who participated in WWII. The Korean Peninsula had been ruled by Japan since 1910 but after Japan’s defeat in WWII in 1945, the victorious Allies divided the Korean peninsula at the 38th parallel with the Soviets in the north and the Americans in the south supporting the native populations. Reunification efforts and cross-border raids continued from 1945 until North Korean forces invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950.
UN forces joined the Americans in the South to repel the invasion while the Communist Chinese entered the conflict on the side of the Soviets and the North Koreans. This conflict escalated quickly and for a time, there was fear of nuclear war, but the nuclear threat was abated when the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. The armistice formally established the 38th parallel as the dividing line between North & South Korea and created the DMZ, a 2.5 mile wide demilitarized zone that acts as a buffer between the two countries.
Since the armistice, the paths of the two Koreas have diverged in a dramatic way. South Korea, with American help, has modernized and adopted a free market system. Its citizens enjoy a annual per capita income in excess of $20,000 and South Korea participates in the G20 conferences. In contrast, North Korea has suffered under the despotic rule of various leaders while its citizens starve to death regularly and struggle to survive on a per capita income of less than $2,000 per year.
South Korea’s prosperity is secured even today by a large contingent of American forces, usually in excess of 30,000 personnel. These soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen provide a valuable service to the peace of the world, and their success has been enabled by their predecessors, who fought and died in the Korean War. If you meet a Korean War veteran, thank them for their service and show them that their personal sacrifice is not forgotten. For God & Country!.