Korean MemorialKorean War & Korea Defense Service Veterans, Lake Co. (FL), Chapter 169

Why "The Forgotten War?"

Why is the Korean War often called "The Forgotten War?"

The most frequent reason given for calling the Korean War the Forgotten War is that it followed World War II so closely, and that the Vietnam War, which came soon thereafter, was such a major engagement for the United States. By comparison with these two wars, historians considered the Korean War insignificant.

But I think there was more to it than that. Our President, Mr. Truman, did not want to call it a war because he would have had to have the support of Congress to engage in "war." Therefore, he called it a "Police Action!"

No one really understood Korea, the GIs who fought there certainly did not. Our own State Department was on record as not willing to defend Korea.

Militarily there were lots of reasons to want to forget the Korean war. Like our government, our military leaders at all levels did not understand Korea, at least when the war began. All the officers, and thence the troops, firmly believed that once the North Koreans saw the U.S. troops they would turn tails and run back above the 38th parallel. Instead, the North Koreans drove their Russian built and supplied T-34 tanks right through early U.S. defense lines and kept going south. We had no defense for these monsters!

General MacArthur and his staff must be included in these unknowledgeable American Officers who did not understand Korea. And he exacerbated the situation in the fall and winter of 1950 when he sent ill prepared and supplied American troops into North Korea, and then he and his staff refused to believe that Chinese Communist troops were already in North Korea. When the Chinese finally entered the fray in full force late November 1950, thousands of American GIs lost their lives to combat, freezing or starving to death, or dying for lack of adequate medical, nutritional and other care in Prisoner of War encampments.

Yes, there are lots of reasons why everyone wants to forget the Korean War! Tom J Thiel, 2/1/2012. Korea 1951-52.

"Korean War, Why is it called the Forgotten War?" Richard C. Kagan, 2007