Why has the Korean War become so forgotten?

The Korean War seems to have become a footnote in modern history, overshadowed by its large-scale predecessor World War II and its more infamous dark successor Vietnam. Well, up to 3 million people died in this "footnote", so you have to wonder how it got swept under the rug of modern culture. Granted, this obviously isn't the case in the Koreas themselves, but outside of that it's rather obscure.

My guesses for why are the following:
  1. As mentioned, the fact that it was so soon after the global scale World War II meant it would play second fiddle in relevance. And that its successor was Vietnam, a dark hour in American history, put memories of Korea on the backburner.
  2. The war as we know it lasted just over three years, but much of action within it was just over one year. After the initial push by North Korea to the edge and almost taking the South, the American-led counterattack pushed the North Koreans back up to China, where the Chinese then sent their entire army to overwhelm the UN forces back to the original border. Essentially, the remaining 2/3's of the war had been border conflicts and sporadic attacks. Tellingly, the vast majority of casualties were in the first year, rather than the next two. With that, there's no grand conclusion. On that note...
  3. It ended in what was basically a stalemate. No epic final battle of any kind, just ending one day on a boring old ceasefire. Nothing was accomplished in the war by the end. As such, it's hard to paint it as a triumph like WWII, or a tragedy like Vietnam. It just came and went.
That being said, I do lament not really having any major Korean War media. The war would've made for a great story, especially with having North Korea almost take the peninsula, only for the South assisted by a US-led UN force make the counterattack, and then China comes in and all hell breaks loose. Watching a video by The Armchair Historian really made it look intense.

But those are my guesses. Any other reason why this has been swept under the rug?
 
From a technology perspective its basically an extension of WW2, with some swept wing jet fighters on top. In contrast Vietnam was an entirely different generation of technology which generates interest.
 
Compared to WWII and Vietnam a much smaller number of Americans were drafted to fight in Korea. If you got drafted you weren’t joining a generation defining event. You simply missed out on how most of your friends were getting on with life in post-war America. It wasn’t a short and victorious one like the Gulf War either. Korea was also unpopular because everyone had enough of war after the last one ended quite recently.

WWII was a very short war by contemporary standards. We think of that war as a noble crusade where people volunteered to go after Pearl Harbor but the reality is war weariness had settled in by late war. Part of the reason for dropping the nukes was the fear that options like prolonged blockade would not be tolerated by a public increasingly tired of it. Korea was an extension of WWII. It was a fight by the victors over the spoils. If you watch war movies of the 50s on WWII and Korea it typically took on an anti-war tone rather than the patriotic wartime propaganda films of the 40s.

So people had become jaded, and most families didn’t have someone fighting it.
 
It occurred relatively quickly after WWII. My grandfather fought in both.

The result of an indecisive stalemate which persists to this day doesn't help. It wasn't a grand, hard-fought victory like WWII or an embarrassing loss like Vietnam, in the long run its biggest impacts were to solidify the Cold War in addition to the Berlin Blockade and the fact that Korea to this day is split between a modernized, democratic South and a backward, authoritarian North.
 
Well OP if you’re that hurt about the absence of Korean War media then suicide is painless.

the Korean War figures in a variety of non American narratives for a variety of reasons. It rebooted Japan’s economy. It was an excuse for Soviet sphere journalists to mingle. There’s Wilfred Burchett’s reporting, and passport woes. There are a lot of non US perspectives on Korea. The British and Australian military historical perspectives are interesting. The KIMH book is quite good and it’s bias is easily read through.
 
and the fact that Korea to this day is split between a modernized, democratic South and a backward, authoritarian North.
That’s a consequence of the late 1980s. Prior to the 1980s and as a result of the Korean War Korea was split between a modernised people’s democracy in the north and a backward, authoritarian South.
 
It's still widely remembered in the PRC as a defining conflict, but I'm guessing you and most of the people on this forum cares little for the opinion of some minor 3rd world country already halfway into the dustbins of history...

On a side note the korean war was taught a bit in marine corps boot camp, for what it's worth... Cold weather boots and vertical envelopment comes to mind (so I forgot the 3rd important thing from boot camp, sue me).
 
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That’s a consequence of the late 1980s. Prior to the 1980s and as a result of the Korean War Korea was split between a modernised people’s democracy in the north and a backward, authoritarian South.
A modernized people's democracy in the North pre 1980 ? ? Really ! :rolleyes:
 
That’s a consequence of the late 1980s. Prior to the 1980s and as a result of the Korean War Korea was split between a modernised people’s democracy in the north and a backward, authoritarian South.
It's more nuanced than that. As to North Korea a cult of personality has been already long established by 1970 and economy was falling behind that of South. Meanwhile in South, opposition's success in electoral politics against the administration as well as infightings within the ruling party over the succession of Park threatened President'a authority, only to be solved when Park refused to appoint successor, crushed internal opposition and forced a truly dictatorial constitution in 1973.
 
Until the 1970's North Korea really was best Korea, after that it tanked really fast and South Korea became a prosperous democracy.
I would definitely agree with you that South Korea was something of a disaster in it's early years. Both politically and economically. However I would also argue strongly against North Korea ever being a modern people's democracy. Even back in the 1960s and the 1970s . It's so called heyday . Regards.
 
I would definitely agree with you that South Korea was something of a disaster in it's early years. Both politically and economically. However I would also argue strongly against North Korea ever being a modern people's democracy. Even back in the 1960s and the 1970s . It's so called heyday . Regards.
Yes, I also think that North Korea never was a real people's democracy, even in it's early stages. But it wasn't the totalitarian juche-fascist hellhole it is now.
 
The fuck man? I only said I wouldn't mind an epic Korean War movie. What's your problem?
lol, you complain about a lack of pop culture about the Korean War

someone posts about the most famous piece of Korean War pop-culture, and the reference sails over your head

have you thought that perhaps your OP was flawed

;-)
 
lol, you complain about a lack of pop culture about the Korean War

someone posts about the most famous piece of Korean War pop-culture, and the reference sails over your head

have you thought that perhaps your OP was flawed

;-)
I knew about Mash, but it's an old show. I was thinking something more recent.
 
There is a truly epic korean movie about the korean war, came out ~ 2005, about two brothers who ended up on different sides in the conflict. I just don't remember the name anymore.
 
There is a truly epic korean movie about the korean war, came out ~ 2005, about two brothers who ended up on different sides in the conflict. I just don't remember the name anymore.
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