Monday, June 04, 2007

Who's laughing now...

Tomorrow is Memorial Day here in Korea. Obviously, it is not a memorial for WWI or WWII but for the Korean War.

I just finished reading an hours worth of websites about the war so Im gonna purge some info here before I forget it.

The war is sometimes called The Forgotten War because it was jammed in between WWI and the Vietnam War, and in China they called it the War to Resist America and Aid Korea.

The crazy thing about the Korean War is that the North actually took over 90% of the country but couldnt get Pusan. If they obtained control of Pusan, they likely would have won but the Americans and other Allies were able to hold the city.

President Truman thought this was going to be the beginning of WWIII when North Korea attacked. You had the Soviets supporting the North and Truman knew America would quickly also be involved. They had doubts about the intentions of China, who would later be involved but only when they felt threatened that the Allies would continue onward and invade China once they took all of Korea.

Air raids and bombings by the Americans were quite brutal, but totally necessary. They destroyed just about every strategic bridge, railway, and port that could be used to the advantage of the North. Many cities were also leveled as well, along with their populations.

Both sides launched many major offensives and both sides pushed ahead and fell back.

Click this picture to see how close the North came to taking the whole peninsula.

These are the stats that tell the real story, from Wikipedia.

More than 80 percent of the industrial and public facilities and transportation infrastructure, three-quarters of all government buildings, and half of all housing was destroyed.

According to U.S. estimates, about one million South Koreans were killed or went missing in the conflict, 85 percent of them civilians. According to figures published in the Soviet Union, around 1.13 million people, or 11.1 percent of the total population, were killed in North Korea (with the total casualties of some 2,5 million).

Korean history is filled with hardships. This country has been through a lot of shit over the years. Being sandwiched in between China and Japan had led to countless occupations by both countries, and cities and towns have been destroyed by both nations.

When youre in this country you realize that there arent old buildings and wonderful architecture because they were destroyed during the Korean War, or the Japanese occupation. The cities are really quite bland because not much is older than 40 or 50 years old, and the majority of the buildings werent built nearly that long ago.

Just imagine St. Johns if you destroyed everything that was around in 1950 and started from scratch. It wouldnt nearly compare to its current version.

1 comment:

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