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Canada pledges military aid to South Korea

It is called Canada's "Forgotten War." Over 500 Canadians died in the United Nations' struggle to repel the communist forces that invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950. To the people they helped liberate, the Canadians were heroes. Yet those who made it home returned to an indifferent country and a government that took 40 years to officially acknowledge their sacrifice.

The United Nations is only five years old when the communist North Korean army attacks South Korea on the morning of June 25, 1950. U.S. President Harry Truman responds by ordering American fighters and warships to defend the southern republic. On June 29, amid heckles of "stupid jingos!" from a Quebec member of Parliament, Canada's Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister Lester B. Pearson tells Parliament that "Canada will do as she has always done - her full duty" to help defend South Korea.
Technically, Canada was never at war with the communist forces of North Korea and, eventually, China. Eager to preserve the United Nations image as an organization committed to maintaining peace, the Canadian government insisted UN operations in Korea be labelled a "police action." A police action was considered a limited military intervention with the goal of resisting aggression and restoring peace, not military victory.
Medium: Radio
Program: CBC News Roundup
Broadcast Date: June 29, 1950
Commentator: Blair Fraser
Duration: 3:29

Last updated: July 26, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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