“The war in Korea has already almost destroyed that nation of 20,000,000 people. I have never seen such devastation. I have seen, I guess, as much blood and disaster as any living man, and it just curdled my stomach the last time I was there. After I looked at the wreckage and those thousands of women and children and everything, I vomited… If you go on indefinitely, you are perpetuating a slaughter such as I have never heard of in the history of mankind.”
General Douglas MacArthur, speaking to US Senators at a hearing after his dismissal. Quoted in “The Korean War’s Brutality,” May 2, 2017, in www.warisboring.com.
[Ed. Note: Just in case our collective memory has been blotted out by recent events, here is a brief outline of our adventures in Korea. The Japanese occupied the Korean Peninsula from 1910 through 1945. Anticipating Japan’s defeat at the end of WWII, the US and Soviet Union had agreed on dual occupation. In August of 1945 the Soviets entered Korea from the north, and in September, the US sent troops in from the south. After three years, the US installed a government under Syngman Rhee, while the Soviets supported Kim il Sung in the north. Both powers withdrew ground troops in 1949. On June 25, 1950, Kim invaded the south in a bid to reunify the peninsula under his leadership. In July, the UN and US sent in forces under General Douglas MacArthur; by September they had pushed the Northern army out of the South. MacArthur then decided to pursue reunification himself – marching troops into the North, threatening to bomb China and ignoring that country’s warnings against encroaching on their territory. In April 1951, President Truman removed MacArthur for insubordination. Before the fighting ended, three million Koreans (more than half of them civilians) and more than 50,000 Americans had lost their lives. An armistice was signed in 1953; the country remains divided and the war technically continues today. The North continues to live in that memory.]