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Bainbridge Public Library hosts Korean War lecture series

Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division, cover up behind rocks to shield themselves from exploding mortar shells near the Hantan River in central Korea.  - Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division, cover up behind rocks to shield themselves from exploding mortar shells near the Hantan River in central Korea.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Despite the tragic loss of life and the lasting effect it had on our nation's international affairs, the Korean War is often referred to as "The Forgotten War." This July 27 marked the 60th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement, which ended the three-year-long conflict.

Laurence Kerr, retired U.S. diplomat, teacher and Bainbridge resident, will present an evening lecture series entitled "Korea: The Forgotten War."

The series kicked off Nov. 4 and continues from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bainbridge Public Library on Monday, Nov. 11 and 18.

The lectures are free and open to the public.

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when some 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army poured across the 38th Parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the south. This invasion was the first military action of the Cold War.

By July, American troops had entered the war on South Korea’s behalf. As far as American officials were concerned, it was a war against the forces of international communism itself.

After some early back-and-forth across the 38th Parallel, the fighting stalled and casualties mounted with nothing to show for them.

Meanwhile, American officials worked anxiously to fashion some sort of armistice with the North Koreans. The alternative, they feared, would be a wider war with Russia and China – or even, as some warned, World War III

The first lecture focused primarily on the historical background of the conflict, the post World War II strategic environment, the decision to go to war and the initial weeks of combat.

The Nov. 11 lecture discusses the Inchon landing, MacArthur's political and military decisions, China's entry into the war and the Chosin Breakout.

The Nov. 18 lecture finishes the story with the reestablishment of the 38th Parallel quasi-border, the ceasefire negotiations and a look at the current affairs of the region.

Kerr served as an Army officer from 1964 to 1974. He then joined the U.S. State Department, where his postings included Mexico, Chile, Guatemala, and the Republic of Georgia.

His teaching experience includes two stints as diplomat in residence at the University of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico, and three years in Washington, D.C., where he was associate professor of history at the National Defense University and distinguished lecturer at the Inter-American Defense College.

For more information, visit www.bainbridgepubliclibrary.org or the Kitsap Regional Library site at www.krl.org.

 

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