Daniel Halliday
Apr 3 · Last update 5 mo. ago.

What can we learn from the Korean War?

The Korean War was a proxy war fought between North and South Korea, but also part of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and part of the direct fallout from World War Two. Being fought between 1950 and 1953 the Korean War is historically overshadowed by the much larger conflicts of the Second World War and the Cold War, and it often referred to as “the forgotten war” as a result. What happened from the Korean War, why is it still relevant today, and what can we learn from this conflict?
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Military regulated prostitution
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Actually the second US military intervention in Korea
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MK-ULTRA - A period of shocking CIA research
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Propaganda and misinformation
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Proxy wars led to a military industrial complex
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An aerial warfare revolution
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Frozen conflict
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A forgotten war of attrition
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A nuclear near miss
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Military regulated prostitution

Prostitution was seen as a “necessary evil” by the US Army when the US occupied South Korea following the Second World War, and it was this thinking that led to US authorities taking over the controversial “comfort stations” that Imperial Japan had established in Korea during the war. Sex work then became a core industry of the towns that grew around the US military bases established during the Korean War, so much so that by the 1960s “Camptown prostitution and related businesses on the Korean Peninsula contributed to nearly 25 percent of the Korean GNP” [1]. There remains in the Korean psyche a clear dichotomy to this day over the views of prostitution under the occupations of the Imperial Japan and of the United States. Even though the US Army inherited the infrastructure from the Japanese, the US Army or government are rarely mentioned on the controversial “comfort women” issue even though they played an active role in continuing this industry in its place of origin in one form or another until the present day.

politico.eu/article/my-body-was-not-mine-but-the-u-s-militarys [1] web.archive.org/web/20130430220310/http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2896741

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Daniel Halliday
Jul 16
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Actually the second US military intervention in Korea

Although a much smaller event, the first military action of the United State undertook in the Korean peninsula occurred nearly a century before the Korean War in 1871, when US land and naval forces were sent to establish diplomatic ties with Korea following the destruction of the General Sherman merchant steam ship in 1866. Korea had maintained isolationist policies for centuries, so following a disagreement over allowing American forces to explore the area Koreans fired at the expedition, and following 10 days without an apology the American forces under Rear Admiral John Rodger's command launched a retaliatory assault on the forts surrounding Seoul. 650 Americans captured the forts killing 350 Koreans, however Korea continued to refuse to negotiate with foreigners, the expedition ultimately failed and the United States couldn’t establish diplomatic ties, something achieved by similar Japanese gunboat diplomacy in 1876.

globalsecurity.org/military/ops/sherman.htm

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Daniel Halliday
Jul 16
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MK-ULTRA - A period of shocking CIA research

During the Korean War the CIA began to research mind control techniques following the fairly rapid rate of breakdowns and defecting of US soldiers upon capture. Under the code name MKUltra the Office of Scientific Intelligence of the CIA and the US Army Biological Warfare Laboratories collaborated in testing illegal psychological torture techniques on unsuspecting victims including electric shocks, isolation, sleep and sensory deprivation, hypnosis, the administration of mind altering drugs and verbal and sexual abuse and humiliation. Human experimentation was carried out by the CIA and US Army from 1953 until records of MKUltra were destroyed in 1973 by CIA Director Richard Helms following the Watergate Scandal, so it is impossible to gauge the scale of abuse that the CIA subjected people to. This operation and possible Biological Weapons campaigns the US military also stands accused of started during the Korean war and were continued into the Vietnam War, remaining some of the darkest chapters in American military history.

thenation.com/article/cia-didnt-just-torture-it-experimented-human-beings

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Daniel Halliday
Jul 16
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Propaganda and misinformation

Propaganda was an important part of the Korean War on all sides, being used to form a feeling of national identity in this recently divided region while generating anger toward the enemy. In North Korean the Soviet Union started using propaganda to develop a cult of personality around Kim Il-sung, something that intensified greatly after the war, propaganda becoming a ubiquitous part of North Korea society. South Korea also carried out a propaganda campaign facilitated by the US, depicting Stalin and Mao as attempting to exploit the peninsula, Kim Il-sung getting fat from the suffering of the North Korean people, and mostly encouraging surrender before certain death. Propaganda is an important part of war, but in the Korean War propaganda went much further and was involved in establishing the identity of these two new states, before, during and after the war.

paperlessarchives.com/korean_war_propaganda_leaflets.html

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Daniel Halliday
Jul 14
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Proxy wars led to a military industrial complex

Build upon a foundation of pre-20th century US internal conflict, support of international conflicts and then direct involvement in the First and Second World Wars, the United States noticed the economic benefits of being involved in perpetual warfare and the Korean War was one of the first examples of proxy warfare involving the United States. The United States did not often engage in proxy warfare before the Second World War, but the post-WW2 ideological tensions that led to the Cold War caused the US to change their military foreign policy and the Cold War that followed was played out in a series of proxy conflicts across the globe. From the Korean War it is clear that such proxy wars can escalate friction between the supportive sides of such a war and rarely resolve any conflict between any of the countries involved. Eisenhower warned of the dangers of a military industrial complex in his farewell address in 1961, and it seems now more of a prediction than a warning as military expenses have tended to rise ever since.

introglobalsecurity.blogspot.com/2013/02/us-proxy-war-policy-during-cold-war.html

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Daniel Halliday
Jul 14
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An aerial warfare revolution

The Korean War was the first war to use jet aircraft, which occupied a central role in the conflict including comprehensive aerial combat, despite the United States focusing on small, fast and long-range weapons following the Second World War. The United States was therefore under-prepared for the outperforming Chinese and Russian MiG-15 aircraft they were met with in Korea, and elaborate “dogfights” became a distinct feature of this war. However the Korea War also became a milestone for support helicopters aiding in medical evacuations as road access often proved too difficult, medical air support reduced US casualties massively in this bloodbath of a conflict.

rbth.com/blogs/continental_drift/2017/03/23/mig-alley-how-air-war-over-korea-became-bloodbath-west-725501

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Daniel Halliday
Jul 14
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Frozen conflict

The Korean War “ended” with the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement in 1953; however with no effective peace treaty technically the war never came to an end and the two countries remain in “frozen conflict”. In fact fighting continued in the Korean DMZ Conflict, a series of armed clashes along the demilitarised zone between the two countries from 1966 to 1969. This situation remains tense to this day as diplomacy between the two Koreas and the United States remains in its infancy. If adequate diplomacy does not follow a period of warfare conflicts can continue seemingly indefinitely, and the pain, suffering and threat from warfare will just be placed on the heads of future generations.

iai.it/sites/default/files/iaiwp1124.pdf

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Daniel Halliday
Jul 14
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A forgotten war of attrition

A lot can be lost or forgotten in periods of warfare, and a huge amount of life is lost when fighting becomes a war of attrition. This war is often labelled ‘The Forgotten War’ in the United States, not just as it was sandwiched between other periods of warfare, but because it was a time of embarrassment, mismanagement, incompetence and war crimes for the US. But what is really forgotten in this war was lost in attrition; deaths, massacres, starvation, 82% of which was found out by the later South Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission to have been carried out by South Korean forces.

usip.org/publications/2012/04/truth-commission-south-korea-2005

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Daniel Halliday
May 12
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A nuclear near miss

Being just 5 years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and one year from the first soviet atomic bomb project, there was widespread talk amongst the American military of utilising another atomic bomb in the Korean War. Although he later denied it, at the time General Douglas MacArthur supported a plan using numerous atomic bombs, but later claiming to intend to only utilise atomic poisons. MacArthur’s plan consisted of dropping 30-50 atomic bombs across Manchuria, and radioactive cobalt into the Sea of Japan, to cause a 60 year long radioactive barrier between China and Korea. This unthinkable damage was thwarted by United States President Truman when he removed General MacArthur from command in 1951, which at the time was seen as an unpopular decision in the United States, but arguably avoided at best a nuclear catastrophe, and at worst World War Three.

b-29s-over-korea.com/NorthKorea-A-Bomb/US-Planned-To-A-Bomb-N-Korea-In-1950-War_02.html

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Daniel Halliday
Apr 3
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