Korean War

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War broke out when Communist North Korea invaded the Republic of Korea. In response, 16 member countries of the United Nations, including the United States, joined with the Republic of Korea to defend freedom. ~ Myung-bak Lee
The tragedy of Korea is further heightened by the fact that its military action is confined to its territorial limits. It condemns that nation, which it is our purpose to save, to suffer the devastating impact of full naval and air bombardment while the enemy's sanctuaries are fully protected from such attack and devastation. ~ Douglas MacArthur
Of the nations of the world, Korea alone, up to now, is the sole one which has risked its all against communism. The magnificence of the courage and fortitude of the Korean people defies description. They have chosen to risk death rather than slavery. Their last words to me were: 'Don't scuttle the Pacific!' ~ Douglas MacArthur

The Korean War (in South Korean Hangul: 한국전쟁, Hanja: 韓國戰爭, Hanguk Jeonjaeng, "Korean War"; in North Korean Chosungul: 조국해방전쟁, Joguk Haebang Jeonjaeng, "Fatherland Liberation War"; 25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953) was a war between North and South Korea, in which a United Nations force led by the United States of America fought for the South, and China fought for the North, which was also assisted by the Soviet Union. The war arose from the division of Korea at the end of World War II and from the global tensions of the Cold War that developed immediately afterwards.

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Quotes[edit]

H[edit]

  • The Korean War claimed untold numbers of lives while leaving the peninsula in ruins. Pyongyang (and its Soviet and Communist Chinese backers) were directly responsible for the bloodletting. Southerners can clearly come to terms with past wrongs—as they have with the Korean War legacy. Their inability to do so vis-à-vis Japan to date carries major, and harmful, consequences for U.S. and allied strategy in the Far East.

L[edit]

  • We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, someway or another, and some in South Korea too.
    • Curtis LeMay, in Strategic Air Warfare: An Interview with Generals (1988).
  • Over a period of three years or so, we killed off — what — twenty percent of the population of Korea as direct casualties of war, or from starvation and exposure?
    • Curtis LeMay in Strategic Air Warfare: An Interview with Generals (1988).
  • Sixty years ago, at dawn on June 25, the Korean War broke out when Communist North Korea invaded the Republic of Korea. In response, 16 member countries of the United Nations, including the United States, joined with the Republic of Korea to defend freedom. Over the next three years of fighting, about 37,000 Americans lost their lives. They fought for the freedom of Koreans they did not even know, and thanks to their sacrifices, the peace and democracy of the republic were protected... On the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, I remain grateful to America for having participated in the war. At that time, the Republic of Korea was one of the most impoverished countries, with an annual per capita income of less than $40. In 2009, my country became a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Development Assistance Committee, the first aid recipient to become a donor and in only one generation.

M[edit]

  • The Puerto Ricans forming the ranks of the gallant 65th Infantry on the battlefields of Korea … are writing a brilliant record of achievement in battle and I am proud indeed to have them in this command. I wish that we might have many more like them.
  • The tragedy of Korea is further heightened by the fact that its military action is confined to its territorial limits. It condemns that nation, which it is our purpose to save, to suffer the devastating impact of full naval and air bombardment while the enemy's sanctuaries are fully protected from such attack and devastation. Of the nations of the world, Korea alone, up to now, is the sole one which has risked its all against communism. The magnificence of the courage and fortitude of the Korean people defies description. They have chosen to risk death rather than slavery. Their last words to me were: 'Don't scuttle the Pacific!'
  • "I remember the American troops searching all of us, and I remember I was very hungry," said Yang Hae Suk, then a girl of 13. "Suddenly, there were planes and bombs. My uncle covered his child, and I heard him say, 'Oh, my God.' I looked and saw his intestines had come out. The bullet had passed through his back and killed his daughter."
  • "They were shooting at us from this side. We ran out the other side, but they were shooting at us there, too," said Keom Choja, a woman who was 12 at the time. "I told my mother, 'I've been shot,' but she had my brother and sister, and she had to save them. She said, 'Follow me if you can' and went on."
    • [1] "U.S., S. Korea Gingerly Probe the Past," Douglas Struck, Washington Post, October 27, 1999.
  • "The American soldiers played with our lives like boys playing with flies," said Chun Choon-ja, a 12-year-old girl at the time.
  • "People pulled dead bodies around them for protection," said Chung Koo-ho, 61. "Mothers wrapped their children with blankets and hugged them with their backs toward the entrances. ... My mother died on the second day of shooting."
  • "I can still hear the moans of women dying in a pool of blood," said Park [Hee-sook], then a girl of 16. "Children cried and clung to their dead mothers."
    • [2] "War's hidden chapter: Ex-GIs Tell of Killing Korean Refugees," Sang-Hun Choe, Charles J. Hanley and Martha Mendoza, AP, September 29, 1999.
  • Chung Koo-shik, then 16, told The Associated Press that "the planes came, raining down bombs and big bullets. The planes shrieked past repeatedly. People ran for the shrubs and trees. A lot of people died. Something hot dropped on my back. It was the severed head of a baby."
  • Lee Yoo-ja, then a 26-year-old housewife, says "dirt and gravel rained down. Oxcarts were burning ... Dead bodies and cows were everywhere, spewing blood."
  • Yang Hae-sook says she lost an eye in the strafing, and was herded into the No Gun Ri bridge tunnels with other survivors. She was 12.
"We thought it was safe. The tunnel I was in was packed with people. I saw people from my village and thought it was okay. Then the shooting came. Bullets ricocheted off the concrete and hit the people like popcorn in a frying pan. Mother wrapped me with a quilt and hugged me. It was shooting from both sides. When there was shooting coming from one side, we rushed to the other side. When the bullets came, we could not even raise our heads. We just dug under dead bodies." Yang says she lost her grandmother, an elder brother and a baby brother, as well as an aunt and her husband and their two daughters, at No Gun Ri.
  • Park Hee-sook, who was 16, says she lost her father, mother and a sister before a U.S. soldier saved her. "It was still the first day of the shooting, and after lying under corpses, I decided to crawl out," she said. "I squirmed through piles of bodies. I was all covered with blood. I stepped out and stood there and shouted the only English word I knew. I said, 'Hello! Hello!' I just stood there and cried. From the hill, a soldier looked at me for a while with binoculars. He beckoned me to come up the hill. Some soldiers came and looked at me without talking. One of them checked to see if I was injured. ... They later sent me to the south on a truck."
  • Park Sun-yong, then 25, says she was desperate by the second day in the tunnels. "It was dusk. My 5-year-old son kept crying for food. My 2-year-old daughter had already been killed when her grandmother took her and walked outside in the hope of appealing to the soldiers.
"I crawled out with my son and climbed a hill. A terrible crackle of shooting came down and my son was hit in his thighs. Both his thighs were torn with bullets. It was strange, but my boy kept saying he wanted food and he wanted to go see his dad. I saw an American soldier and begged for mercy. I shouted to him that we were not bad people, not communists. But he shot at us again. A bullet ripped through my waist and hit my son's chest. I lay there still, my mind blank. Two soldiers came over, a fat one and a tall one. They looked down at us and talked to each other. Later more soldiers came and they wrapped my son in a white bag and buried him. They took me to an ambulance. That day, I saw the two faces of America."
    • [3] "Korean Villagers Recall Death and Terror Beneath A Bridge," Sang-Hun Choe, AP, September 29, 1999.

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