The Korean War Remembered: An international perspective

Prof. Michael Devine
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 -
7:30pm to 9:00pm
Second floor Residents’ Lounge, Somerset Palace
10,000 won for non-members and 5,000 won for students (with student ID); free for members

How is the Korean War remembered by the nations involved in the conflict of 1950-1953?  How can a war that is not yet ended be memorialized and consigned to history?  Korea remains the “forgotten war” for many Americans – overshadowed by the victory of the “greatest generation” just five years earlier. Even today, as tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, most Americans hold only vague memories of the war’s causes and its significant consequences in shaping the international order of East Asia.  The war is ever present, however, in the lives and memories of Koreans living both North and South of the DMZ; and, on a divided Korea peninsula, competing historical narratives vie to establish legitimacy for rival regimes and complicate any effort at reconciliation.  Meanwhile, the People's Republic of China holds its own unique understanding of the war and its significance.

This presentation will examine the evolving international memory of the war from June 1950 to the present in an international context. The public memory of the Korean War in the United States, the two Koreas, China and United Nations Command allies will all receive attention.  Of special note will be the belated efforts to honor the service of Korean War veterans in the United States, South Korea and elsewhere. As diplomats and political leaders struggle to resolve international conflict, endeavors to memorialize the Korean War have brought to the public a fresh awareness and a greater understanding of the war’s troubled legacy.

Michael J. Devine is a Senior Fulbright Lecturer at Sogang University and an adjunct professor of History at the University of Wyoming. During his forty-year career in the administration of historical institutions, he held positions as director of the Harry S. Truman Library (2001-2014), director of the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming (1991-2001), and Illinois State Historian (1985-1991). He has twice served as a Senior Fulbright Lecturer, Korea (1995) and Argentina (1983). In 1998 he was the Houghton Freeman Professor of American History at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Graduate Center in Nanjing, China. He received his MA and PhD in American History from Ohio State University.


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