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HST 404 Special Topic: The Korean War, 50 Years After
Semester: Fall 2000
Time: 3:30-6:00pm
Instructor: Dr. Pingchao Zhu, History Department

June 25, 2000 marked the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War and the comemorary activities will continue into the year of 2003.  This course intends to introduce major issues of this conflict.  Discussions will devote to various views from parties involved in the war, including those from the United Nations, the United States and its allies, South Korea, North Korea, Communist China, and Stalinís Soviet Union.  The course will cover history of Korea, U.S. post-WWII East Asian policy, military campaigns, civilian experience, POWs issue, the Korean War cease-fire negotiations, scholarly debates, and the current South Korea and North Korea summit talks.   With the opening of Russian and Chinese government archives, more information about the insight of this conflict has been made available to scholarly research.  Students will be able to learn the war culture in both South Korea and North Korea, China, as well as the United States.  Throughout the entire course, we will try to explore answers to these questions: Why is the Korean War known as the forgotten war?  What are the lessons of the war?   What is the future of the Korean Peninsula?

My scholarly research area is the Korean War and my dissertation is about the Korean War cease-fire negotiations.  With the gradual release of vaious information from both the Chiense and Russian governments, the study of the Korean War has been updated with the help of translated materials regarding policy making process and other related issues from the  Russian and Chinese sources.  I am looking forward to working with our students who are interested in learning more about American foreign policy in general and the Korean War in particular.

For more information about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Korean War, please check the web site at





                Photos of the Korean War

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur greets Mr. John Foster Dulles, Republican Consultant to the State Department at the Haneda Air Force Base, Tokyo, Japan, June 21, 1950. Dulles, on a Far East fact-finding mission, had just left Korea and was in Tokyo when the first reports of the invasion arrived.
Photograph: U.S. Army, Corporal Dangel
Source: Truman Library


24th Infantry Division troops of Task Force Smith at Taejon railroad station on July 2, 1950. Photo: U.S. Army.
 Source: D.M. Giangreco, War in Korea: 1950-1953 (Presidio Press).


Machine gun emplacement overlooking the main highway bridge across the Kap-ch'on River on the outskirts of Taejon. Major General William Dean's 24th Division had been unable to maintain the Kum River line and fell back on Taejon by July 17, 1950. Photo: U.S. Army.
Source: Truman Library.


A grief stricken American infantryman whose buddy has been killed in action is comforted by another soldier. In the background a corpsman methodically fills out casualty tags, Haktong-ni area, Korea. August 28, 1950. Sfc. Al Chang. (Army)


Fighting with the 2nd Inf. Div. North of the Chongchon River, Sfc. Major Cleveland, weapons squad leader, points out Communist-led North Korean position to his machine crew. November 20, 1950. James Cox. (Army)


    Initially, only about 30,000 Chinese Communist Force (CCF) troops hit Eighth Army, but they crushed the ROK 6th Division and units of our 1st Cavalry Division, and drove our forces back to the Chongchon River. Then, the CCF seemed to disappear as though they had never existed.
    But they were only re-grouping while they analyzed our real fighting strength.
    On November 26, when Eighth Army again launched an assault, to get "Home For Christmas", the CCF struck again. This time, they struck with their full force, and drove Eighth Army into the longest continual retreat in US history.
    In the east, however, the CCF would have to meet the finest infantry in the world, our First Marine Division.


Chinese enjoying Korea's Winter Wonderland

Chinese armed with their Type 50 version of the Soviet model Model PPSh41 7.62mm submachine gun.  Though a propaganda photo, the Chinese did adapt well to the severe Korean winters, as compared to UN forces, at least early in the war.


1stMarDiv, 12/8/50, Koto-ri Breakout


Taejon, 9/50
South Korean Civilians murdered by retreating PLA
A few of the tens of thousands slaughtered by North Korea