Allen Millett, a military historian and author, will talk about Korean war history as the next in the Hallock Lecture Series. The Columbus State University lecture series will be 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Cunningham Center on main campus.
Millett was beginning his Korean war history project when he decided to talk to three of his graduate students. All three of them had become military officers in South Korea.
He asked for “the most important thing Western readers should know about the war.” The Koreans said the conflict was "a total war between two irreconcilable revolutionary movements” that emerged from 1910-1945 Japanese colonial oppression "with different visions of what modern Korea should be," Millett said.
Millett's presentation, "Who Forgot the Korean War and Why?," takes the Korean perspective of Marxist-Leninists and nationals, who were at the center of the conflict.
Millett, a former Marine officer and now the director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans, calls the Korean War, "the forgotten war." It is the shadows of World War II and the Vietnam War.
Usually, when the war is studied, it's studied from the American, Chinese and Russian perspectives, and not from the Korean point of view.
Millett interviewed Koreans who experienced the war from both sides, which ultimately resulted in his work, which includes a “Korean perspective that also accommodates the U.S., PRC (China) and USSR perspectives and deals with the Cold War rivalries and the decolonization wars of Asia, which includes the struggle for Korea,” he said in a release. “The advantage to this approach is that it places the Koreans at the center of their own terrible history” and provides for a more complete foundation to “understand the possibilities and problems of nation-building as well as the perils of postcolonial politics.”
Three million Koreans died in the war, with the majority who were not combatants, Millett said.
Millett’s Korean War research made for the books, "The War for Korea, 1950-51: They Came from the North" and "The War for Korea, 1945-50: A House Burning." He also wrote "The Korean War," a guide for researchers.
Millett is recognized as one of the top experts on the Korean War, and also is a senior military advisor for the National World War II Museum and earned the prestigious Pritzker Military Library Literature Award in 2008 for lifetime achievement in military writing.
The Hallock Lecture Series is coordinated by the Department of History and Geography and made possible through a gift from the Richard R. Hallock Foundation.