I served in the Navy during the Korean War, and I've just finished writing a book, titled One Ship, Two Wars. The book is a historical coverage of the last part of the War in the Pacific, where my ship operated in the Okinawa Invasion, and the Korean War where I served.
I was on the Korean East Coast, involved in the Siege of Wonsan, when the cease fire was finally signed in July 1953. We evacuated a small contingent of US Marines from Yo-do, a tiny island in Wonsan harbor, where they had defended an outpost for two years, and a company of ROK Marines from the island of Yang-do, up the coast in enemy territory, in compliance with terms of the cease fire.They were tough hombres - commando types - who lived by their wits. It was an interesting experience dealing with them. They were mean as hell.
I can say we were all glad the shooting had stopped, because men were being killed right up to the last minute. The negotiations with the North Koreans had been drawn out over a period of nearly two years. The communists were masters of delay and procrastination. One of the big sticking points was the desire on the part of the communists to get all their soldiers back. Interestingly, thousands of the POWs held by the UN forces were refusing repatriation. They wanted to stay in South Korea where they knew things were better.
Casualties on both sides were heavy. But the North Koreans and the Communist Chinese suffered horrendous losses. The war solved no problems. The division line between North and South is virtually the same today as it was in 1953 (or even before the war started). North Korea remains isolated from the rest of the world today, unable to sustain itself without the help of China or through the illicit sale of contraband. The Soviet Union, its onetime supporter has gone "south." In the meantime, the Kim government has sacrificed the interests of its people in sadistic ways to build military might. It's a sad statement. Pathetic!
Why was the war started? Because of the desire on the part of Soviet Union to expand its sphere of influence, and because our government expressed, to the world, a lack of belief in the strategic importance of South Korea. These conflicting circumstances created a state of misunderstanding that allowed the war to ignite. It was one of the first examples of our nation's inability to demonstrate its determination and willingness to back up our interests with force. This has played out again and again around the world, and particularly in the Middle East and Africa over the past 12 years.
I hope you realize how important it is to have a president with the conviction and the determination to draw a line in the sand - and the desire to go after the bad guys.
If you're interested in gaining a better understanding of what's going on in the Arab world, read some of Bernard Lewis' books. I'm sure you can find several in your school library.
I'm happy you're doing this project. My book writing project has taken me a year of hard work, and I can tell you every bit of it was worthwhile and a terrific learning experience for me. I think you'll have the same experience.