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Friday, October 31, 2014

A Little Bit of History Never Hurt Anyone!

Those of us of a certain age will probably remember the television show MASH with a great deal of fondness. To this day I enjoy watching the reruns and laugh all over again. However, the historical details of the Korean War never really made an impact on  my psyche. The only city I remembered was Seoul.

En route to Daegu, which is where my son lives, we stopped about 45 minutes away in Waegwan. My daughter-in-law was born and lived there until she was married. Waegwan is on the Nakdong River, the longest in Korea. Historical the river at Waigwan was as far as Japanese tradesman were allowed to go in order to sell their wares at the market. In fact Waigwan means "Japanese Dwelling". During the Korean conflict part of the strategy was to destroy the bridge at Waegwan, including several hundred refugees trying to escape the North Koreans. The Americans believed they were North Korean soldiers in disguise.

Nakdong River at Waigwan
 In 1950 the North Korean Army threatened to overtake the Korean peninsula from the mountain
overlooking the town. From this vantage point, they would have been able to fire mortor on Daegu at the northern point of the Busan Perimeter and from this position cement their possession of the whole country. But for the UN troops entering the fray, the South Korean army would have been defeated. My daughter-in-law's father, a North Korean soldier, was wounded in the battle for Waigwan and may have been treated by an American MASH unit. He never returned to North Korea.

The American army under General MacArthur were able to turn back the North Koreans in Waigwan. all the way to the Chinese border. It was then that the Chinese army, with Russian help, were able to force back the UN forces to what is the present line of demarcation -- back and forth in what was really a war of attrition until 1953 when the demilitarized buffer zone was established -- and which remains to this day. The following link shows the above situation quite effectively ...

"Korean war 1950-1953" by Roke - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

11 comments:

  1. I was ten when that war ended, and became aware of it when my mother shushed me during the news one evening, "Don't you know there's a war going on." I had nightmares. What it must have been like for the citizens of both sides!

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  2. The Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC is incredibly moving. Thank you for enlightening me even more about this war.

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  3. Interesting history. I think MASH lasted longer than the war.

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  4. I loved MASH. But wars aren’t quite what they are on TV shows, are they. Korea is still a major problem now, what with sabre rattling in the North.

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  5. I remember listening to radio news back then and hearing how many Migs had been shot down.

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  6. And what the blazes the U.K, committed troops there for escapes me. The U.S. had made it clear whose zone of interest it was...how the world was going to be...just the start of U.K. politicians behaving as if the U.K. was a satellite state of the U.S.A,

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  7. History is always interesting and, in this case, I know nothing about the Korean war. I was a kid then, not living in the US.

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  8. Had a friend who spent his army hitch in the DMZ in Korea. He said it was a totally bizarre place to be; always on your toes, get close to the actual border and never a smile from anyone, etc.

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  9. Ditto"the fly in the web". ! It was an amazing time. It must be incredibly interesting to be there now though.

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  10. Dear Broad, I've read a couple of books about the Korean War and of course, I was in high school at the time and later met a young man at college--he dated my roommate--who had fought in the war. He didn't talk much about it. But he did shiver in the Kansas winter, remembering the cold of Korea. Peace.

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  11. I'm afraid most of my knowledge of the Korean war was gleaned from MASH (huge fan here) until recently, when I started to explore the background in light of the increased tension between the North and South. So this post has been very interesting. Thanks for the link.

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Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!