Last week marked the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War; a war that gave rise to one of the most intractable conflicts in modern history. Technically still at war, North and South Korea were torn apart in the shadows of the early phase of the Cold War and in some ways represent one of the last remnants of it.
Yet the war itself, as well its veterans, are often overlooked; a mere footnote in the long, epic and tragic saga of the 20th century.
But to understand the current conflict, to see how deep the antipathy and fear go, it is important to look back at the war and to remember that the seeds of Kim Jong-Il’s madness, the source of China’s intransigence and the root of South Korea’s fear were sown in the conflict that a war-weary and exhausted world fought in 1950-53.
Here are some interesting resources on the topic:
- The Boston Globe’s Alan Taylor takes us through some harrowing and haunting images of the war in a new picture series.
- BBC provides an excellent overview of the war and its most important phases.
- An Institut für Strategie- Politik- Sicherheits- und Wirtschaftsberatung (ISPSW) brief seeks to put together the North Korean puzzle.
- The 1953 Armistice Agreement in our Primary Resources section shows how the war turned into the stalemate we know today.
- A chapter from the Canadian Military Journal on the contribution and strategic effects of Canadian and Australian involvement in the war.