The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 390
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Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly
The 198os have resurrected the Korean War. In 1985, Edwin P.
Hoyt's The Bloody Road to Panmunjon appeared, followed in 1986 by
Bevin R. Alexander's Korea: The First War We Lost and in 1987 by Clay
Blair's huge, 1,136-page volume The Forgotten War: America in Korea,
195o-1953. Gary A. Yarrington, this exhibition's designer, stated that
the subtitle for this show might have been "The Forgotten War" rather
than "America's First Limited War." That would perhaps be appropri-
ate were it not for the recently renewed interest. The fact remains,
however, that many young people do not know that the United States
fought a war in Korea somewhere between the time of the Second
World War and the Vietnam War; but even if they do know, they are
usually unaware of its enormous casualties. The active phase of the war
ran somewhat less than three years, but those Americans killed in ac-
tion were 33,629 and those wounded in action were 102,284. In per-
centage of loss, these figures exceed those of the Vietnam War.
Sometimes one hears that the Vietnam soldier is forgotten. That may
be true, but compared to the soldier in Korea, the Vietnam veteran is
almost lionized. One must remember that there were no parades for
the returning troops from Korea, and those who had the misfortune of
having been prisoners of war were regarded as pariahs rather than pa-
triots. The United States Marine Corps, for example, meant precisely
what it said, "No Marine will be captured. He will die fighting against
overwhelming odds if necessary, but he will never surrender!" With
such a trenchant policy as that, woe to the poor devil who found him-
self in a North Korean prison camp.
One also might question the subtitle "America's First Limited War,"
because the United States has fought a number of limited wars. The
Tripolitan War and the Philippine Insurrection come rather quickly to
mind, the latter sustaining greater casualties than its parent, the Span-
ish-American War. Both of those conflicts fit the Clausewitzian defi-
nition of limited war; however, for the sake of brevity and of the mod-
ern American, the title does not offend. Certainly no one will argue
that this conflict was the first limited American war since the Second
As one enters the viewing hall, one is struck by a large dye-transfer
photograph of the principal participants at the Potsdam Conference
that took place late in the summer of 1945. Seated at a very large round
table are Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and their
advisors. Churchill and the principal Americans have autographed the
picture. Nearby is Truman's notation from his diary to the effect that he
had advised Stalin that the United States had produced a weapon of
enormous destructive capacity. He also noted Stalin's rather casual re-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/428/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.