Why has the Korean War become so forgotten?

My suspected reason(s)...

- It ended in a stalemate. WW2 is remembered in the Anglosphere because 'we' won. Vietnam is remembered because 'the Americans' lost. How can you celebrate or villify a draw?
- The war [as mentioned] was pretty similar to WW2 - in tactics, in kit [only real exception; the Fagots - Sabre/Meteor jet dogfights]. Thus, it didn't generate many iconic pictures, weapons etc - and many of them could be mistaken for WW2 images.
- Korea merely confirmed the lessons from WW2 from the view of the Western officer's corps. Therefore, no need to be really remembered.
- It was 'relatively' small. WW2 featured [in the USA] 16.1m serving, with 1m casulties. 2.7m fought in Vietnam, and with 211k casulties. Korea only featured 1.8m and 129k respectively.
- There was rather little memorable 'home front' effects. For Americans, WW2 led to mass rationing, women working in factories and so on. Vietnam led to mass draft riots and protest songs. The Korean War led to a few early shortages and then strong surge in the economy, due to wartime spending - the main 'negative' Americans might have noticed was a uptick in inflation [the UK effects were stronger; increased military spend caused cuts which might have helped the Labour Govt lose the 1951 election].
- Censorship. It was the last conflict where it was fought without the glare of the modern media - and the military's efforts to stop/control journalists was pretty much successful. What's more, 'the Brass' did not feel they needed to do 'public relations' for the conflict [unlike WW1/2] which meant they didn't even have much incentive to do propaganda for it. Result; an 'information bias' against the Korean War rather than other conflicts - the lack of primary sources leading to a lack of the second, leading to lack of pop-culture etc.

All the above I'll argue hit each other to create a storm to 'forget Korea' in the West's mind. Creatives want to 'make a story set during a war' and they end up falling to WW2 by default. It's hugely well-documented, it's something almost everyone knows a bit about [this is a help in narrative terms; nobody has to explain why we're fighting Hitler or how it all started for the film to make sense!] and for the veterans, often will like to see/hear how they were great and won in the end against the Big Bad.

Vietnam caters for the other aspect needed in war films; the 'futility of war', the fear, the catch-22 situations, the 'caught by the machine' mentality and the 'banal evil' acts being done by and experienced by the lowly grunt. You don't need to know the 'why are we here' bit because most of the time, the characters don't know either.

Both of these have created a feedback loop; the fictionalised previous two wars dwarf Korea, so it continues well into the 21st Century.
 
what I honestly think is that the Korean War has been it’s been pretty forgotten because I know so little about it and two of my relatives father and my grandpa and my grandfather from different sides of my family.
 
A modernized people's democracy in the North pre 1980 ? ? Really ! :rolleyes:
It calls itself "the Democratic People's Republic of Korea", so it must be democratic, just like how the National Socialist German Worker's Party was actually socialist.:p

On another note, the number of Russian volunteers serving with the North Korean and Chinese forces makes it possibly the closest that the United States and Soviet Union actually got to fighting a war against each other.
 
Even in 1970, they were by many measures, dirt poor, with a GDP per Capita of like $300.
But they were on the way up, by 1977, that ratio had tripled.
At the same time, the DPRK was losing ground. They picked China over the USSR as patron, and China at that time, didn't have a lot of money to supply, and were unable to match the aid that the USSR and WP had bankrolled them to that point.
One would think that in choosing their benefactor, NK had made the better decision by aligning with the PRC, who under Deng would undergo explosive economic growth. As opposed to picking the USSR that was mired in the Brezhnev stagnation before going kaput by the turn of the 1990s. Yet that seems to not be the case, unless there was more to it than which neighbouring power Il-Sung chose to hitch his wagon on?
 
And, God willin' and the river don't rise, we won't.
Oh man was really looking forward to a nice discussion on ( armed ) Rhine barges vs tribal class destroyers. Really think Germans might have a chance !

ok I’m sorry was getting late here
I’ll sign out I got nothing to contribute
 
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NK had made the better decision by aligning with the PRC, who under Deng
But chose Mao, as he was leading up the premise that the USSR having lost their Mojo in denouncing Stalin and not pushing for revolution against the Capitalists.
All while Kim himself was drifting away from Marxism. In short, he started to really believe in his own BS, the He 'knew' the proper path, and that wasn't with the Soviets any longer,.

I'll bet that with Mao gone and China under Deng moving closer to the US(and State Capitalism!) caused no shortage of consternation to Fearless Leader, while China reluctanly stuck with them, having no-one else close to an ally with
 
It might be over-looked from a US perspective.

But what was (is) the impact from an Asian perspective?

The above Korean film could be telling in terms of renewed interest in Asia.

Japan and China are two countries which were very directly impacted.

Is it just as forgotten there as seems to be the case in US?
 
UK too. Won't comment on Canada or Australia.

In the British case, it may be that Korea has simply gotten lost in the din of other 'post-War' actions around this time; Suez, Kenya, Malaya etc.
 

Nick P

Donor
UK too. Won't comment on Canada or Australia.

In the British case, it may be that Korea has simply gotten lost in the din of other 'post-War' actions around this time; Suez, Kenya, Malaya etc.
I think you are right in that respect. Even the 'Forgotten Army' of WW2 in Burma and Malaya has seen more remembrance than those of Korea.

Just look at the list of Korean War movies and see how many are British... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Korean_War_films
Korea is mentioned as a characters background in other British shows such as The Blue Peter (main man was captured out there) and As Time Goes By where the couple lose touch because Lionel is sent to Korea in 1953.
 

DougM

Donor
First off the OP is absolutely right in that they kill Korea the forget war for a reason. My local TV does the same thing every year on Vetrins day and Memorial Day. They have a WW2 vet (not so much lately as getting hard to find) and a Vietnam vet and now usually a vet from the Middle East ( Afghanistan or Iraq). But never Korea.

This is not going to make me any friends but,.. (in my opinion)
The WW2 vets looked down there collective noses at Korean vets because they A) didn’t win and B) it was a “little war”. And considering how many WW2 vets existed it gave them a majority in most areas. You saw this in places like the VA and the VFW to name but two. Also in many cases the WW2 vets were the fathers of the Vietnam vets and they tended to not be as big of idiots towards them.
So the Korean vets got treated badly but kept their mouths shut,
Meanwhile the Vietnam vets complained to everyone every chance they got. And the organized to do it. There are illnesses that the Vietnam vets get treated for and get paid for that other vets don’t because they Vietnam vets have frankly taken the poor pity me train and ridden it to absolutely absurd levels.
Case in point. My father (Korean war) had a bone marrow issue. It ultimately killed him but the VA said it was not service related. My Uncle (WW2) had the same issue (mother’s Brother in law so not related by blood) and it killed him. My mothers brother (also WW2). Had the same basic symptoms bud died to fast to get diagnosed. All were told that it was not service related and thus the VA would treat them but no compensation and no travel or anything. So I had to spend two years taking my father into the hospital two days a week with the damage to my job from taking two days off.
Meanwhile a Vietnam vet with the same illness was getting picked up at home and driven in and was on FULL disability back dated to the first hint of a symptom and several other benefits. Why? Because the illness was possibly related to the defoliant Agent Orange. But Agent Orange was not used used in WW2 or Korea. Of corse other extremely nasty defoliants (some with many of the same chemicals) were but no one ever looked into this because the WW2 and Korean vets were not as well organized to bitch as the Vietnam vets are. So three vets fighting in the Pacific area around defoliant get a bone marrow diseare and get nothing but a forth belongs to a group that makes more notice and gets everything….
The Vietnam vets have very much figured out that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

So basically Korean vets were screwed because WW2 was bigger and Vietnam made more noice.

I will now pause here for everyone to bitch because I picked on those poor Vietnam vets….
 
It was sandwhiched between WWII and Vietnam. Even here in the Philippines, younger generations are not really aware of Filipino involvement in the Korean War and to an extent, the Vietnam War. Both only receive cursory mentions in our history books.
 
Another issue is the emergence of postwar (WW2) prosperity. North America (for obvious reasons) is the world's primary source for state of the art goods in the fifties, so the prosperity starts here in the late fifties, a good five years ahead of other developed countries. Television changes news and entertainment. Audio recording moves to stereo and high fidelity. Travel moves from railroads with sleeper cars to jet planes and rental cars. Air conditioning, clothes dryers and other appliances show up. After a Depression-era and war-based rationing and shortages, the prosperity exceeded expectation to the point it was projected on TV: Flintstones for the stone age in 1960, The Jetsons for the future in 1962, and Gilligan's Island for a deserted island in 1964. Society had entered such a new era that by the late sixties, Korea and WW2 are simply lumped together, even though there were technical differences.
 
Well apart from the answers already said, in Latin America it's forgotten because there was only one combatant who sent troops there, Colombia and those troops have a really dark history, they were sent by a dictator who murdered and oppressed the country for four years, and when those troops came back they committed a horrible massacre, so there isn't much to celebrate those troops for.
 
Censorship. It was the last conflict where it was fought without the glare of the modern media - and the military's efforts to stop/control journalists was pretty much successful. What's more, 'the Brass' did not feel they needed to do 'public relations' for the conflict [unlike WW1/2] which meant they didn't even have much incentive to do propaganda for it. Result; an 'information bias' against the Korean War rather than other conflicts - the lack of primary sources leading to a lack of the second, leading to lack of pop-culture etc.

Your comment on the media is apt because even though the war became unpopular with time the war time press controls kept the media from pulling a Vietnam. The war became unpopular, but it didn’t deeply scar the American psyche.
 
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I think at least in America, it's also been rather overshadowed by the mythical 50s "decade of prosperity". It's far more remembered in countries nearby though, so I think it's also a case of distance from the conflict.
 
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