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The Korean War Quotes

They Said It

"Communism in Korea could get off to a better start than practically anywhere else in the world."

- Edwin W. Pauley, Truman's ambassador investigating reparations, traveling in the Russian zone of Korea in June 194626
"I will defend Korea as I would my own country—just as I would California."

- Gen. Douglas MacArthur to Dr. Syngman Rhee, President of the two-month-old South Korean Republic, October 194827
"In my generation, this was not the first occasion when the strong had attacked the weak….Communism was acting in Korea just as Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japanese had acted ten, fifteen, and twenty years earlier. I felt certain that if South Korea was allowed to fall, Communist leaders would be emboldened to override nations closer to our own shores."

- President Harry Truman28
"General Bradley said that we must draw the line [against Communist expansion] somewhere. The President stated he agreed on that. General Bradley said that Russia is not yet ready for war. The Korean situation offered as good an occasion for action in drawing the line as anywhere else."

- From the official minutes of President Harry S. Truman's meeting with his top military and foreign-policy advisers at the Blair House on the evening of 25 June 195029
"On the other side of every mountain [was] another mountain."

- Lieutenant Colonel George Russell, a battalion commander with the Twenty-third Regiment of the Second Infantry Division, describing conditions in Korea30
"I have just received the announcement of your appointment of me as the United Nations Commander of the international forces to be employed in Korea and can not fail to express to you personally my deepest thanks and appreciation for this new expression of your confidence. I recall so vividly and with such gratitude that this is the second time you have so signally honored me. Your personal choice five years ago as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan place me under an intimate obligation which would be difficult for me to ever repay and you have now added to my debt. I can only repeat the pledge of my complete personal loyalty to you as well as an absolute devotion to your monumental struggle for peace and good will throughout the world. I hope I will not fail you."

- Douglas MacArthur to Harry S. Truman, 11 July 195031
"[Repeating a question from the press:] He wanted to know what assurance we could give the American people that we aren't getting the tar licked out of us [by the North Korean army]. It has never happened to us. It won't happen this time."

- President Harry S. Truman, speaking at a press conference, 13 July 195032

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