vintage, nostalgia and memories


May 14, 2012

Rarely Seen Photographs Capture Daily Life from the Korean War from the Early 1950s

In Korea, it's known as the "6-2-5 (yug ee oh) War," a reference to June 25, 1950, when the North Korean People's Army invaded the South. Among North Koreans, it's "the Fatherland Liberation War." In America, however, the Korean War is often called "The Forgotten War" — a jarringly dismissive, imperfectly accurate phrase to describe a conflict that killed millions of combatants and civilians on both sides, including close to 40,000 Americans.

The brutal conflict lasted for roughly three years, from June 1950, until 1953, when the United Nations Command, the North Korean People's Army and the Chinese People's Volunteers signed an armistice agreement. South Korean president Syngman Rhee refused to sign the document, however — meaning that, technically, North and South Korea have been at war (or, at the very least, have not been at peace) for the past six decades.

These photographs from the Korean War were taken by three of the era's finest photographers from LIFE magazine: Margaret Bourke-White, Carl Mydans and Michael Rougier.

An American serving in Korea, 1952. (Michael Rougier—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

South Korean and American officers pore over maps, 1952. (Margaret Bourke-White—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Turkish soldiers attend to a wounded prisoner, Korea, 1951. (Carl Mydans—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Troops on patrol in Korea, 1952. (Margaret Bourke-White—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Bullets and gunpowder, Korea, November, 1952. (Margaret Bourke-White—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

South Korean troops, 1952. (Margaret Bourke-White—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

LIFE's Margaret Bourke-White shares a meal with South Korean troops in the field, 1952. (Margaret Bourke-White—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Wounded South Koreans, 1952. (Michael Rougier—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

American and United Nations troops enjoy a Jack Benny performance at a USO show in Korea, July, 1951. (Michael Rougier—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Refugees cross into South Korea, March, 1951. (Carl Mydans—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Turkish Army soldier on duty in Korea, 1951. (Carl Mydans—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Fighter jets, F-86 Sabres, from the Fifth Air Force in Korea, 1953. (Michael Rougier—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Three soldiers, Korea, June, 1952. (Michael Rougier—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

An American military man takes a nap, Korea, 1951. (Carl Mydans—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)



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