There are no “forgotten wars.” We may choose to talk about them, to write about them, or to learn from them. Or we may not. It is a question of what value we place on the lessons. Some eras, forged in strife and hardship, embrace history’s lessons, and consume narratives of past conflict with an eager inquisitiveness; other epochs, softened by luxury and lassitude, are largely immune to the lessons of the past. In the end, it is always a matter of choice.
In late November 1950, units of the First Marine Division were moving cautiously through the frozen hills of North Korea. Temperatures were subzero, every single day. It was so cold that spit would freeze in mid-air before hitting the ground.
And little did the Marines know that out there, waiting for them in the frozen wastes, was the largest ambush in modern military history. At least 80,000 Chinese who had infiltrated into Korea from Manchuria.
The armies of North Korea burst into South Korea in June 1950 and quickly overwhelmed its forces, confining them to a perimeter around the city of Pusan. Douglas MacArthur, in what can only be called a brilliant counterstroke, hit back with an amphibious landing at the city of Inchon.