national library service for the blind and physically handicapped. we administer audio and braille books to individuals throughout the country as a u.s. citizen living abroad. i am very proud to introduce sheila miyoshi yager who earned her phd in anthropology from the university of chicago. she is an associate professor and director east asian studies at oberlin college. she has written extensively on modern content for a korean politics and history and is the author of several books on korea and east asia, including the politics of identity, history, nationalism and the prospect for peace in post-cold war east asia. narratives in nation building an efficient, a genealogy of patriotism ruptured histories, war or the post cold war in asia. her new book, "brother at war:
the unending conflict in korea" is the military, political and cultural history of the war seen as spamming in 1945 to the present and its global impact told from the north and south korean and chinese news. please join me in welcoming, sheila miyoshi yager. [applause] >> well, thank you very much for that warm introduction. thank you ladies and gentlemen for this wonderful crowd, which is a tribute to this festival. so it is my first experience here and a true pleasure to be here. my book is called "brother at war: the unending conflict in korea," which was published in july of this year in which many
of you may note is the 60th anniversary of the korean war armistice. and that date is significant because even though the fighting in korea stopped in 1953, the war continued. no peace treaty was ever signed at the conclusion of the fighting. said the korean war is in effect a war without end. that anyone in washington predicting some 60 years ago that u.s. troops, president truman sent to korea in july 1950 would still be there in september 2013 would have been laughed out of town. truman himself dismissed the idea as entirely preposterous and set the korean police action that was called back then was supposed to be a very brief affair. most people thought it would be over in a matter of weeks. once the north koreans realized
that they were fighting americans and not south koreans, so everyone said, they would run back north for the 38th parallel. this did not happen of course. more than six decades later, the korean peninsula has remained roughly divided by the conflict has begun. the dnc that separates north and south korea is the most heavily fortified border in the world. 2 million soldiers face each other along for two and a half wide mile strip of land on the 1551 demilitarize sound. president clinton once called the dmz quote the scariest place on earth. so how did we get to this point? since the late 19th century come in the korean peninsula has been the point of
confrontation amongst the great powers. first china, japan, russia and the united states accession
exerted some form of control over the korean peninsula. the end of the second world war however left only two great powers by an over korea, the united states and the soviet union, which divided the korean peninsula at the 38th parallel. by then korean people have divided themselves into parties under the tutelage and with the support of these two patrons. two antagonistic regimes were born. communists in the north and conservatives in the south company each of his dreams for unifying the korean peninsula under their rules that any means of achieving this on their own. now it's commonly believed that the korean war started on june 25th 1950. this is actually not quite true because even before kim il-sung launched his invasion of south
korea with stalin backing, koreans have been fighting a bloody civil war for nearly two
years. the division of the peninsula at the 38th parallel rise to structured polity whose contents are exacerbated by regional, religious christian versus communists and class divisions. between 1948 in 1950 come in nearly 100,000 people perished during those bloody conflicts. many of them innocent civilians caught up in the fighting as leftist guerrillas in the south tried to topple the south korean regime headed by statement read. the sudden leftists are supported by the communists in the north and when it became clear that the spring of 1950, however the south korean regime could not be toppled from within, kim millstone approached stalin. he wanted the soviet tatars support to invade south korea in order to unify the peninsula under his rule. the attack will be swift in the war will be over in three days
can assure the soviet dictator. stalin's motivation for backing kannel songs and vision plans are unclear, but what is certain is neither him or stalin believed the united states would interpret in korea. but of course i'll stalin and kim were sort of a mistaken. when north korean forces clashed 38th parallel south in june 25th, may 250, the u.s. under u.n. mandate to intervene and this is because truman immediately sought stalin's hand and a north korean invasion. kim's quest to unify the peninsula under his own control was now viewed in the context of the cold war. within days of the north korean invasion, americans involvement in the water had made korean civil war global. july 1950, truman ordered
american troops to south korea in order to stop the north korean onslaught. it may not tober and 1950, when the tide of the war had changed in september, china entered the war. by the end of 1950, 10 nations had ground combat troops to join the americans in the koreans. never before in modern history has so many nation committed themselves to a common political and military endeavor as they did during the korean war. the flow of campaigns and battles in the late 1980s to 19 for the one under constant reorganization much a complex mix-and-match maladies come which pose formidable challenges. language barriers were once a challenge. greek, turkish, thai, french, spanish, dutch. the number of other dialects were the times he used for the
combat units. other language barriers were never completely overcome, english was the lingua franca of the burden of translation was left to you unit that provided english-speaking personnel to translate materials, operations and orders, to tie instructions into their language. feeding the troops provided another significant challenge. the turks were muslims than they were for big to eat pork. the greeks could not eat corn, carrots or asparagus that required olive oil for cooking. indians are mostly vegetarians. the filipinos required additional rice while the vegan, french and dutch consumed greater quantities of bread and potatoes than the american day. clothing also produced a share of difficulties. the thai, filipino and greek soldiers requires mauler clothing, but the most critical
area, weapons and ammunition was not a major problem however because as most u.n. troops, except for the commonwealth unit were given american arms. but the greatest challenge of the coalition was integrating the korean war into the u.s. army. by the summer of 1951, over 200,000 south korean soldiers and neighbors became part of the economy. calling the eighth army u.s. army was a significant misnomer by the summer of 1951. more appropriately be u.n. army in korea since less than half of the million man were actually americans. for most countries that sent military forces to korea, it was the first time in their history to participate in it were not for comcast, occupation or defense by territory, rather the were missing as the non-united
nations and the concept of collective security was supposed to uphold. but idealistic ideology did not mask the brutality of the fighting. because the civil war in korea never really ended, but simply merged with what we now know was the korean war, so violence of the fighting took the level of viciousness that was different i think in any other war americans have thus far experience. one of the worst atrocities occurred in the outskirts of the city of tejon. the official u.s. history of the war described what happened as one of the greatest mass killings of the entire korean war, estimating that 5,007,000 civilians were slaughtered by the north korean people's army. many witnesses later described the horror they saw a man to the city. a former south korean guard
recalls i answered the present and bought them out to discover the corpses. they were black and covered with flies. i was speeches. i couldn't believe how cool it is civilians were killed. i mobilized 300 to 400 people to clear up the bodies. it took me three days to do it. at first i thought of them individually, but there were so many bodies be buried them in groups and larger holes. i don't have an exact count, but it was between 400 to 500 people. the discovery of mass murder solidified in the minds of americans and others that they were doing with a quote, unquote a natural enemy, one who had no regard for human life. but it turned out that the south koreans could be just as brutal. right before tejon south of the communists in july 1950, south korean forces were faced with a dilemma of what to do with the thousands of suspect he
communists they have imprisoned before the invasion began. they were in prison for petty crimes, then the rest have been in the city before the communists took it over. all the prisoners were executed due to fear they met later showing up with them korean army. when south korean soldier later brought about the incident. i don't regret the killing of communists who were convicted and sentenced to death, but the others i wonder what kind of people that our nation who allowed them to be executed as well. when the city was retaken by u.n. forces are not tober 1950, the terms of the earlier massacre perpetrated by south korean forces were conflated with the vic and so the later north korean killings. buried beneath the story of the north korean massacre quite literally as it turns out was the forgotten story of the south korean carnage. the tides of cruelty continued with the tides of four s. north
and south koreans try to outdo each other in eliminating suspected collaborators from the other side. the american people were appalled. by the time the war upon the 30th parallel of 1951 when armistice began, the majority of americans had turned firmly against a lawyer. now it's important to keep in mind that although we now see the korean war as a victory, mostly because we know a south korea became the wilson know what north korea became the would have the korean war veterans memorial in d.c. to commemorate that it very, the korean war was actually an extremely unpopular war by the time the fighting ended in 1953. certainly no one could've ever imagined imagined that south korea could go on to become the economic, political and cultural powerhouse that it is today and
the sacrifices made on behalf of this beleaguered nation would have paid off so handsomely. while there were no organized protests against the korean war like they were against the war in vietnam, was extremely unpopular nonetheless. so how did americans and their anger and frustration? one way was to openly question the legitimacy of the war itself donna cooper of memphis, tennessee, for example returned a purple heart awarded to her fallen son, paul cooper writing to president truman in october october 1951, quote, to me my son is a symbol of the 109,009 would've been sacrificed in this needless slaughter of so-called police action that has not and could never be satisfied to really explain to americans. washington d.c. took even more
drastic action. he refused to accept the awarded medal of honor and silver star on behalf of his two sons, robert and sharon could retrospectively who died within days of each other because he said truman was unworthy to confirm the nation's highest award for valor on his son or any other american son. from these germanic actions come stories all published in the national local newspapers at the time get the sense of just how sad that the americans were with the war. it was also the main reason why truman decided not to seek a second term. truman's approval rating sank to a mere 22% in february 1952 as an eisenhower's client-side vic to reelection was largely due because he promised to end the fighting in korea, which he did.
eisenhower once said he considered the armistice to be one of the greatest accomplishments of his presidency. yet although he stopped the killing, he did not in the war. this is because the armistice did not resolve the fundamental problem that had precipitated kim il-sung's invasion of south korea. the nation remained divided here to this day, no peace treaty has been signed between the belligerents to bring the war to an end. but followed instead was a long and simmering confrontation between north korea and south korea that took the form of a contest in legitimacy, a brothers for between two impossible regimes, each holding half of the peninsula and each claiming to be simply korea. which korea would become the legitimate korea?
as surprising as it might sound today, the answer at first appear to be the north. it has been able to rapidly rebuilt after the war with the generous help of its communist backers and bigger industries and better rested people aware that her. its gross domestic per capita was twice that of the south. in fact, north korea attract so much money as a socialist state in the 19th 60s that many wealthy korean families living in japan decided to return to the socialist fatherland. nevertheless there were signs the north defendants he could not be maintained. by the late 1960s, production rates begin to slow from the field by eternal deficient is that the stalinist system. the number of incidences of lung dmc also underwent a dramatic as kim il-sung realize the window for reese achieving
reunification was rapidly closing. instead of the soviet union or china for that matter supported another war on the korean peninsula, they were very careful to keep kim il-sung in check. soviet leader with an impression i was not about to repeat stalin's mistake. by the 1970s it was clear which korea came out on top. thanks i urge you exported strategy of south korea's president but the heat, the soft economy began to rapidly take off. it was called the big push. one story goes that he heard there was a global lender for ocean going tankers. he semitone xiang, the founder and told him to start building ships. he landed to contracts for 260,000 oil tankers by offering cheaper prices and quicker delivery than his competitors.
sean didn't seem too concerned by the fact that south korea had no shipyards to build the ship. he simply saw this problem by showing the two workers to barclays bank in london, which lent him enough capital to build up, but no korea knew how to do this. again, chong was undeterred. he sent 16 engineers to scotland to learn how. both ships are finished and delivered before the deadline and underclass and today, south korea is the largest shipbuilding nation in the world. when the industrial giants of the 20th century wind up comment andrew carnegie, henry ford, kyl coto, a korean captain of industry will be among them. by the 1990s, it was clear which korea had won the war, but the contrast between the two states could not have been starker. one was a regional power,
prosperous, democratic with a growing international reputation. in 1998 seoul olympics vividly showcased to billions around the world that south korea was no longer the poverty-stricken ward in the past, but a vibrant, rich and modern society. the other korea had becoming a dependent nation wracked by poverty, isolation and repression. the demise of the soviet union in 1991, russia and china said the amendment of the friendship system and demand for high currency for exporters resulted in a steep decline in the north korean economy. a series of flags in north korea's agricultural says added to kill young's misfortune. the result was a famine on a massive scale in which an estimated 2 million of his people perished from starvation.
the contest for korean legitimacy was over. the south had won the war. there was only one nation on earth that does not see it that way and today the reversal on the fortune of the two countries, south korea's prosperity, democracy and cultural power seat next to the calamity of the kim dynasty's unrealized utopia on what explains the theory of north korea's predicament and its extraordinary refusal to open up to the rest of the world. to enact vital reforms that might improve the lives of its citizens would also mean exposing them to what happened to their brothers just south of the dmz. the more north koreans know about the south, the less likely they are to put up with conditions of poverty and repression at home. and this is what the north
korean regime fears most. south of the border, however, the end of which it is contest has had different effects. often manifest in a surprising lack of concern about the north's dangerous sounding poster. the streets and alleys among them, south korea's premier shopping districts bustled with carefree shoppers at a pyongyang threatened to launch a nuclear strike against sold this past march. the seeming indifference between pyongyang's threat extends to south korea's interest in reunification. in the 1990s, more than 80% of south koreans believed that unification was a vital national goal. today, just one in five south korean teenagers believe unification is imperative. a fraction of those who believe
this and their parents and grandparents generations. the north of them was 23 million people, still under threat of starvation and imprisonment, ruled by a totalitarian regime that has threatened to become a rogue nuclear power. since north korean leaders know that the major security threat to their hold on power is internal, not external. it is the uncensored flow of information directly to the north korean will, which they fear most. so how will the korean war finally and critics i think the answer will largely depend on whether pyongyang slaters had swallowed their pride, admit defeat and embark on a path of incremental reforms, carefully but tristan shielded by china. this'll be the real task to the kim kim jong l. regime and the
final resolution of the long damaging and game of the korean war. in the meantime, however, we must never forget that the remaining vague terms of the korean war are the north korean people who continue to suffer in silence to this day. it is they who bore the brunt of the unresolved conflict, starved and ignored these past 60 years. for the rest of the world has moved on from the water, celebrating our triumph with the morals and attributes. it is the north korean people who continue to endure the unendurable. i'd like to end this with a short poem, a senior north korean profit in a commercial who descended to the south in 2004. the poem is called the executioner.
whenever people are gathered, their gunshot to be heard. today is the crowd looks on, a man is executed. you are not to feel any sympathy. even when he said, you must kill him again. the speaker's words were interrupted. bang, bang, bang. the rest of the messages delivered. the crowd is silent. his crime to steal a bag of rice, his sentence 90 bullets and it's hard. his occupation, firmer. thank you. i'd be happy to take any questions. [applause]
>> professor yeager, i'm going to ask you a question. in the early 1950s not only was the united states out war with the koreans, but the french down the road were at war with the vietnamese. now, atchison, truman threw a lot of money, a lot of supplies, a lot of guns to that effort. why was that we did not cite vietnam or the world, but we went into korea? pretend you're in the white house at deciding what strategy to take. >> why we the united states decided to stay korea? was basically because the north koreans invaded south korea on june 25th, 1950. it was at that point after the north korean invasion we were fighting north koreans. password reset that they began to supply the french into china.
the two events actually are connect to it. >> when eisenhower came, he did provide continuous arms and people into vietnam. it was like the two sister was going on. >> it's kind of interesting because the korean war ended in 53. and then there was this great battle jammed into a 1954 when the french were going to lose into china, right? it was at that point when the french basically asked the americans, are you going to help us? eisenhower quite wisely said no. they were not going to help the french and they were going to allow the north vietnamese to take over. the reason for that was because they just ended the korean war is extremely unpopular and he did not believe the american people would support another war in asia.
interestingly, 10 years later when johnson was faced with a similar problem, whether or not to interview in vietnam, the korean war took on a different view. by 1965, the korean war was seen as a big jury that we had after outdraw soft i stopped communism in asia and it was the korean war analogy that largely formed johnson's decision to send troops in march 1965. do not thank you. >> thank you. >> first, i did spend military time in korea. now this is 50 years ago, not 60. and i have always been interested in the view from your side as to what you think the chinese goal is. at this point in time, obvious
at the north koreans there's don't develop a nuclear. they're still developing rocket. they still have a very, very soft economic base. my view is if you take away the chinese support, it will collapse. what is in that? >> well, very simply the chinese want stability in the data's quote. if they do not support the north korean regime, basically all have 23 million starving people planning their borders. so it is two thirds and if she can do need to keep the status quo in north korea, simply to maintain stability and peace. i should say also the united states, south korea, russia, all the regional powers that won a significant regime collapsed because it would be too destabilizing for the region. simply put, that's the reason
china continues to support north korea. >> it's a strange way to maintain stability. >> it's worked for the last 60 or so. >> if you caught a stable. >> that's true. >> yes, thank you. >> i have two questions. first come you said earlier in the immediate aftermath of the korean war in the late 50s and 60s, north korea actually looks like it would be the more successful of the two koreas, that was built more to receiving the repair damage of the war more thoroughly than the south had. my first question is to what extent do you think that was actually just propaganda? it was very common for the communist countries during the cold war to do pillage style propaganda and only show the world that is fixed up and repaired and not let them see the other 90% of the country. to what extent was it true?
>> that's an interesting question. they actually did that and in the 1950s stop keeping economic records. so we do know it was a lot better off than it is for example today. north korea was viewed as a model of socialist states. it can be this fantasy wide a lot of korean families in japan, for example, decided to come to north korea because they thought is the land of opportunity. so there is hard evidence that the north koreans were actually economically ahead of the south until the mid-1960s. >> i have a second question. you also talk about the recent survey of south korean teenagers, where they said they really didn't care about reunification. to what extent do you think attitudes of that generation might change as they get older?
>> you mean how the younger generation might later think about unification? >> yes, as they get older. >> the younger generation or interest in reunification cover which means they continue the korean peninsula. i don't think there is the well anymore of the south korean people to sacrifice for unification. >> okay, thanks. >> thanks. >> thank you. as you know, south korea has a one-man precedent for the first time in its history and of course she has a legacy and that her father held several before her. i wonder if you have any impressions are incisor thoughts about whether having a woman in that kind of leadership role makes any difference horace at the same thing, different day. and being a woman and the conservative society.
>> the current president probably could not have been president without her father, who is the person i talked about. so more than being a woman, she is the legacy of past you need. so i'm not quite sure that it actually changes much the perception. it is her link relates to the former president to really lay the groundwork for south korea's americo that gave her the platform to become president. yeah. >> thank you. i've been reading some of the stories from those that escaped north korea. horrifying stories but don't think the very social, personal relationships are basically at the clue of a society have been destroyed and have a whole generation without that framework. i'm just curious on your
thoughts, is that anywhere you out about, discuss and consideration if there's any chance that north korea workers every unification, what that would mean. you have such different cultures now it sounds like with than without the ties that time people together. >> a lot of people say north korea and south korea are so not only economically different, but culturally, socially, they're basically just nations, that unification is to happen would be tremendously difficult to overcome that. and the longer the division continues, the harder it is to ever bring it back together. a lot of people say because of the two cultures into society, and the prospect of unification becomes dimmer and dimmer and dimmer.
>> in your referendum to the eisenhower presidency and then jumping to the johnson presidency, where the seeds of vietnam planted during the eisenhower and kennedy administrations? >> well, context of the cold war, yes it definitely works. i mean, when we decided to get involved in korea in 19 d., we started to fund the french, right? so our involvement became that much more involved in that. so of course there was a correlation between our involvement in korea as well as vietnam because we are fighting a communist enemy.
>> hi, good afternoon. i enjoyed your speech. is there any information that the north korean people are getting or is it a total news blackout? what does the west do about getting information to plant some seeds about what is going on in the rest of the world? >> well, there is indication that for example in pyongyang, which is the capital of north korea, there is information that comes obviously through china. it's not clear about the rest of the country how important they are. but pyongyang is the kind of showcase city. only 15% of what they called the core class that was being the beat of the leave pyongyang. so they are the most reliable political class. so i%so they are the most reliae political class.
so information does float slightly into pyongyang, but whether it reaches the other 85% of the people is not cleaner, has not. >> are the chinese interest it in moderating the north korean government? >> yes, of course. it is for china's benefit they did doesn't want to continue to support north korea definitely. so it does not north korea to confirm incrementally without destabilizing the regime so much that it would collapse. china right now is investing a huge amount of money resources and training to develop north korean industries. for example in the far northeast areas. it's a kind of controlled incremental investment. it doesn't want north korea, but it's still one summer at warm so i can incrementally reform itself. >> thank you very much.
the division. not talking about later. >> to victory in conflict. >> the question is, how the north koreans been treated to that economy after the migration? >> right. >> many of the great industrialists law, one of the examples, the north koreans, many north korean industrialists were actually from north korea. turned out one of the great generals the lead to success in the korean war was also from our career. so many of them and treated
highly to suffer in society. >> the second part of that is, with that aging heritage, the younger generation might not have the link to north area, the -- >> right. it is precisely because there is no lincoln no real memory. we grew up with the division. but i don't think that -- my personal opinion, partly unification will not happen. i now think that it will. i now think that the south korean people, the and regeneration are interested enough for them to make any kind of sacrifices. % year much. >> thank you. >> i can only take one more question. okay. two more questions. abcaeight. >> i wonder if you care to share anything or if you could share prior to kimmel says innovation
and korea. >> i don't -- what led up to the invasion. obviously he felt confident enough to be a will to win the war. right after the division, 1945, north korea, the russians came in. there were very quickly able to create a stable regime. the south koreans they created instability. so when he saw the situation, he actually believed when he invaded the south