Friday, June 26, 2009

57% of 20-Somethings Ignorant of Korean War

Source: Korea Times

Fifty-nine years after the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War, nearly four in 10 South Koreans aren't familiar with the tragic fratricidal war, according to a recent survey.

A survey of 1,000 adults over 19, conducted by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MPAS) in April, showed that 36.9 percent of respondents said they didn't know when the Korean War had broken out.

By age, 56.6 percent of those in their 20s said they didn't know when the war had occurred, while 28.7 percent of those in their 30s and 23 percent of those in their 40s said the same thing, it said.

``This is a very serious problem that more and more people, especially youngsters, are not well aware of or not interested in the Korean War, where millions of South Koreans were killed,'' an official of the Ministry of National Defense said. ``Pan-governmental efforts are required to make people understand properly about the Korean War and, in particular, educate youngsters about the war and history.''

The official referred to a survey last year, suggesting that more than 35 percent of elementary school students misunderstood that the Korean War had broken out following the South's invasion into the North.

The war broke out on June 25, 1950, when North Korean troops invaded the South, crossing the 38th parallel, the line diving the two Koreas. Twenty-one countries dispatched troops under the United Nations flag to fight against North Koreans backed by China.

The war resulted in a devastating death toll with at least 2 million Korean civilians killed, according to data. South Korea sustained more than 1 million casualties, while estimated communist casualties were 2 million. Casualties among the United Nations allies totaled 16,532.

The war ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. The two Koreas remain technically at war.


Similar to the previous article about Korean-Canadians being sympathetic to North Korea I find this story puzzling. How can South Koreans not know their history? In Canada WWI and WWII were more than 60 years ago but all Canadians know the stories and pay our respects everytime there's Remembrance Day or an anniversary.

Is the South Korean school system just not teaching anything related to the war? If so that's a shame cause all war veterans should be rememebered. Why is there no hatred at all between the two Koreas? Is it foreshadowing for a possible reunification? That's seems to be a pipedream. As the article states, the two countries are still at war. IIRC The Vietnam war ended nearly 35 years ago and the two sides still hate each other. They still argue over the flag every day!

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