North Korea: What happened in the Korean War? Why is Kim Jong-Un so angry at the USA?
In the USA, the Korean War is referred to as the ‘forgotten war’ because the conflict never resonated strongly with the American people.
But in North Korea, the Kim dynasty has used the brutal legacy of war to unite the North Korean people in opposition against the US ’enemy’.
Earlier this year, the 67th anniversary of of the start of the Korean War was celebrated in Pyongyang as “the day of struggle against US imperialism”.
On June 25 1950, the Korean War began when the North Korea People’s Army, under Kim Jong-un’s grandfather Kim Il-sung, invaded the South.
North Korean soldiers invaded the South by crossing the 38th parallel – the line dividing the US-backed South and Soviet Union-backed North.
The US led a UN coalition in the fight alongside South Korea, while China and Russia gave their backing to the communist North Korea.
The Korean War was devastating in terms of military and civilian casualties on both sides and millions were killed.
During the course of the three-year war, the US reportedly dropped 635,000 tons of explosives on North Korea, including 32,557 tons of napalm.
In a 1988 interview, Airforce General Curtis LeMay, who was head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, has spoken about the brutality.
He said: “We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, someway or another, and some in South Korea too.
“Over a period of three years or so, we killed off — what — 20 percent of the population of Korea as direct casualties of war, or from starvation and exposure?”
While the Korean War is long forgotten in the USA, there are constant reminders in North Korea such as the the Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities south of Pyongyang.
Historian Bruce Cumings told Newsweek: “Most Americans are completely unaware that we destroyed more cities in the North then we did in Japan or Germany during World War II…
“Every North Korean knows about this, it’s drilled into their minds. We never hear about it.”
After great bloodshed and millions of deaths, the fighting of the Korean War ended in an uneasy truce in 1953.
On July 27 1953, the war ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, so the North and South are still technically at war.
Nevertheless Pyongyang celebrates the moment as a win over the US and holds a national holiday, called Victory Day, every year on July 27.
Troops still square off along the world’s most heavily armed border along the Demilitarized Zone roughly on the 38th parallel.
Kim Jong-un fosters anger against the USA to shore up his regime and in retaliation against efforts to curb his nuclear programme.
The unpredictable North Korean leader has now entered into a war of words with Donald Trump to demonstrate his defiance against the USA.