71 years ago, on June 25th, 1950, North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel intent on reunifying by force the Korean Peninsula which had been divided in 1945 by the winners of World War II. The United Nations intervened and 16 nations from around the world sent their soldiers to defend the South, while the North received support from 5 communist nations. About 4 million people lost their lives. This tragic war came to an end with the signing of the armistice on July 27th, 1953. What historical background and motives led to this fratricidal war? Why was this relatively unknown nation seen as so important that so many forces came from all over the world to defend it? As a peace treaty was not signed with the armistice, the two countries are still technically at war; they remain separated by a 241 km long, 4 km wide demilitarized zone.
Today, just a few Korean War veterans are still alive. We will hear from some of them; but our panel of speakers will also tell us of the different ways that Korea has expressed its gratitude to the veterans. They will provide historical analysis of the motives behind this conflict and insight into the ongoing significance of both this nation’s division and its eventual reunification.