The Bugler

Bugler Newsletter

Korean War 60th Anniversary

The History

The nation of Korea was split by agreement of the Allies at the conclusion of the Pacific War. The Korean peninsula had been ruled by Japan prior to the end of the war, but in 1945, following the surrender of Japan, American administrators divided the peninsula along the 38th Parallel, with U.S. troops occupying the southern part, the Republic of Korea, and Soviet troops occupying the northern part, called the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Cross border skirmishes persisted; tensions mounted. The situation escalated into open warfare when, on June 25, 1950, the Communist forces of North Korea, with backing from the Soviet Union, invaded their neighbor to the south. President Harry S. Truman ordered American troops to the Korean peninsula where they were soon joined by soldiers from 15 other United Nations member countries: United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey. The rapid Chinese counter-offensive repelled United Nations forces past the 38th Parallel. With support from external powers, what started as a civil war between political divisions turned into a proxy war between super powers involved in the larger Cold War. After three years, the fighting ended with the signing of an armistice on July 27, 1953 that restored the border between the two Koreas near the 38th Parallel and created the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a 2.5-mile-wide buffer zone. There was no victor, no victory. Peace was never declared; the country is still divided. On May 25, 2009, North Korea unilaterally withdrew from the armistice, returning again - almost 60 years later - to a state of war. It is still referred to as The Forgotten War.

The statistics

Though we tried to confirm numbers in writing this Bugler, we were not able to do so, as different sources give different figures.

The Korean War Educator site claims that "According to recent Department of Defense statistics, a total of 36,576 Americans died while serving in the Korean War. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation about the casualty figures for the Korean War. This is caused by the fact that casualty statistics recorded by the US government for that time period are generally of a global nature. One frequently sees the casualty figures for the war at 54,246. That is because the statistics also include 17,670 deaths that occurred outside of the Korean theater of battle. (For example, a person killed in an accident in Germany while the war was going on in Korea is considered by the government to be a

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