The Korean War
In 1950, there was less than fifty miles of paved road in all of North and South Korea combined.22
The Korean conflict was never officially declared a "war" by any of the foreign nations involved in the territorial struggle between the northern and southern halves of the peninsula. Throughout the 1950-53 period, Korea was officially deemed a "United Nations peace action."23
Though black soldiers had fought in every American conflict from the Revolution onward, Korea was the first war in which black and white US troops were officially integrated. (Some integrated American units fought in the Spanish Civil War, but those brigades were not officially deployed by the American government.) Desegregation in the US military became official policy when President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 on 26 July 1948.
General Douglas MacArthur never actually spent a single night in Korea during the entire time that he commanded American forces there. He did make an appearance in Pyongyang on 20 October 1950, when Ameican forces entered the North Korean capital, but then got back on his plane and returned to Tokyo that night.24
Up until March 1991, a Military Armistice Commission composed of Communist and anticommunist delegates continued to meet monthly in Panmunjom, the "truce village" that lies on the border between North and South Korea. But the delegates always failed to bring about any resolution to the stalemate that kept Korea divided in half. Then the US broke with tradition and appointed a South Korean general—rather than an American one—to handle the Korean Armistice Agreement. The North Koreans used this change as a rationale for refusing to engage in future talks, as they demanded dialog exclusively with the Americans. In 1994, they declared the Armistice Agreement an empty shell as a result of American actions. As US military aid to the South Koreans continues and North Korean intransigence remains intact, the future of the Armistice today appears precarious.25