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The Korean War: The Forgotten War (1950-1953)
World War II and Vietnam both loom large in our popular culture. The Korean War does not. Yet this struggle, which killed 35,000 Americans and well over two million Koreans, deserves attention. The biggest military conflict of its time, Korea spread the Cold War from Europe to East Asia. It led to a drastic rise in U.S. military spending, accelerated atomic weaponry and alliance systems, and ensnared the US in Vietnam. Within the U.S., it enabled the rise of Senator Joe McCarthy and raised questions about civilian-military relations, limited war, POWs and “brainwashing.” Though historians differ about this war, they agree it never ended, as current missile tests and verbal threats illustrate. Michael Homel is Professor Emeritus of History at Eastern Michigan University. He specializes in 20th century American history and American urban history. He is the author of Unlocking City Hall: Exploring the History of Local Government and Politics, and other publications on urban politics and education.