#510: The Greatest Battle of the Korean War
The Korean War is often overlooked by Americans. But this forgotten war played a big role in shaping the world order in the second half of the 20th century. What’s more, one of the most heroic and harrowing military operations in U.S. history took place deep in the snowy and bitterly cold mountains of North Korea, creating a legendary group of fighters who became known as the "Frozen Chosin."
My guest today has written a book that captures this event in military history. His name is Hampton Sides and his book is On Desperate Ground: The Marines at the Reservoir, the Korean War’s Greatest Battle. Hampton and I begin our discussion exploring why the Korean War is the forgotten war in American history and how the United States got involved in a conflict on the Korean peninsula in the first place. Hampton then talks about General Douglas MacArthur and how his unbridled ambition and hubris, as well as other glaring failures among military brass, led American troops into a frozen trap set by the Chinese. Hampton and I then discuss the epic Battle of the Chosin Reservoir and how 20,000 Marines fended off annihilation at the hands of over 300,000 Chinese soldiers in weather conditions that dropped to 20 degrees below zero. We end our conversation discussing the legacy of the Chosin Reservoir campaign.
Get the show notes at aom.is/koreanwar.