On this day: a memorial service in Korea

WAR & CONFLICT BOOK ERA: KOREAN WAR/DEATH & DESTRUCTION

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3rd December 1950: A wounded chaplain is photographed conducting a memorial service over the snow-covered bodies of dead US Marines.

The image was taken during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War.

On this day: Australians in Korea

7th November 1950 Troops from C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), watch for the enemy while a village in the valley below burns. The village was set on fire b

A village in a Korean valley burns on the 7th of November, 1950 as troops from C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) look on. They are searching for enemy soldiers.

17 000 Australians served in the Korean War between 1950 and 1953.

The image is from the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

On this day: Seoul in Ruins

WAR & CONFLICT BOOK
ERA:  KOREAN WAR/DEATH & DESTRUCTION

This photograph, dated the 1st of November, 1950, is from the US Army archives and shows an elderly woman searching through the rubble of Seoul over four months into the Korean War.

It would be more than three years between the beginning of the war and the 1953 armistice. However, Korea remains divided.

On this day…

USS_Manatee_(AO-58)_HMAS_Warramunga_(I44)27th June 1951 A United States Navy fleet oiler (left) refuels a Royal Australian Navy destroyer (right) off the Korean Peninsula during the Kore

27th June 1951: The United States Navy fleet oiler, USS Manatee (left) refuels the Royal Australian Navy destroyer, HMAS Warramunga (right) off the Korean Peninsula during the Korean War.

On this day: the death of a dictator’s mother

Kim_Jeong_Suk_1 North Korea in 1945 Korean anti-Japanese guerrilla, a Communist activist, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung_s first wife, Aged 25

In her mid-twenties in 1945. X

Kim Jong-suk, a Korean anti-Japanese guerrilla fighter, Communist, and mother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, died on the 22nd of September, 1949.

North_Korea_-_Great_Mother_(5015266475) Great Mother Kim Jong Suk safeguarding Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung at the risk of her life.

The “Great Mother” as a fighter in a propaganda painting. X

Twenty-nine at the time of her death, while the official state explanation is that she died of the hardships of fighting for Korea, it is thought she possibly died either giving birth to a stillborn son, from tuberculosis, or from a gunshot wound. Her death is not even mentioned in her biography.

Heo_Jong-suk_and_Kim_Jong-suk_ather_in_Pyongyang Heo Jong-suk and Kim Jong-suk 1948.

The year before her death. X

Kim Jong-suk was the first wife of Kim Il-sung, and the grandmother of current leader Kim Jong-un. She is buried in the “Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery” near Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea.

Christmas as a prisoner of war.

The Chungkai Camp was operated by the Japanese during World War Two, and prisoners – including soldiers from Britain and the Commonwealth – were made to work on the Burma–Thailand Railway.

This “Christmas card” is in the collection of London’s Imperial War Museum, and was created in either 1943 or 1944. It depicts Father Christmas in a loincloth, carrying a sack of presents through a bamboo fence.

It was very dangerous to make images while a prisoner in the camp. One prisoner, Jack Chalker, reported his sketches of camp life being discovered by a Korean guard. Chalker was beaten for days as punishment.

the-chungkai-camp-was-operated-by-the-japanese-during-world-war-two-this-christmas-card-is-in-the-collection-of-londons-imperial-war-museum-and-was-created-in-either-1943-or-1944

Christmas Propaganda

As the Korean War entered its second year, and the second Christmas of the conflict came close, the Chinese government produced Christmas-themed propaganda leaflets to be spread amongst United Nations forces.

This leaflet is from 1951. It would be another year and a half before the war ended.

Whatever the colour, race or creed,

All plain folks are brothers indeed.

Both you and we want life and peace,

If you go home, the war will cease.

Demand Peace!

Stop the War!

X

china_christmas_card_korean_warleaflet-christmas-card-from-the-chinese-peoples-army-u-s-air-force-photo-1951

On this day: the assassination of Durham Stevens

DurhamWhiteStevensAmerican diplomat Durham Stevens was attacked by Korean independence activists Jang In-hwan and Jeon Myeong-un on the 23rd of March, 1908. He died two days later. 1903 Photograp.

Durham Stevens in 1903 X

American diplomat Durham Stevens was attacked by Korean independence activists Jang In-hwan and Jeon Myeong-un on the 23rd of March, 1908. He died two days later.

A picture of Jang In-hwan, assassin of Durham Stevens, taken while the subject was living in the United States. 1907A picture of Jeon Myeong-un, assassin of Durham Stevens, taken while the subject was living in the United States. 1907.

Jang In-hwan and Jeon Myeong-un, both photographed in 1907.

Both Korean men had moved to the United States, and the attack took place at the Fairmont San Francisco.

Stevens, who had been employed by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had spoken out in favour of Japanese influence in Korea, and Japan’s annexation of the Korean peninsula.

1907 view of the Fairmont Hotel from Powell Street San Francisco

The Fairmont San Francisco in 1907 X

Japan’s annexation and occupation of Korea was complete two years after Stevens’ death.

Stevens is remembered by Koreans as a traitor to their sovereignty, though at the time of his assassination many spoke out in his favour.