PBS film ‘KOREA’ eyes social, political tolls of Korean WarHistorians in the News
tags: documentaries, Korea, PBS, Korean War
To escape the poverty of South Texas migrant camps, Homer Garza joined the U.S. Army. Months later he and his company found themselves surrounded in South Korea by an invading North Korean force.
Garza’s story is one of many shared in the PBS documentary “KOREA: The Never-Ending War.” The film, a production of WETA Washington, is scheduled to air on most PBS stations Monday and examines the lasting social and political costs of the Korean War — a conflict largely forgotten in the U.S. It also tells the story of a war that redefined the region from the perspective of families, U.S. veterans and journalists.
Filmmaker John Maggio said he wanted to create something that wasn’t focused on solely on views of ambassadors and historians but real people affected by the war. In addition, he wanted his project to explain why tensions between North and South Korea remain nearly 70 years after a series of diplomatic blunders and violent massacres.
“I also was curious. My uncles fought in the Korean War and never talked about it,” Maggio said. “My granduncles were in World War II and always talked about it.”
Former CIA analyst Sue Mi Terry is among those interviewed in the film. But instead of merely laying out strategic mistakes made by the U.S., she details how an imaginary border — the 38th parallel — dreamt up by the U.S. eventually divided her family. Such painful family separations, and the legacy of violence, still define tensions that remain today.
“North Korea was completely flattened,” Terry said. “China gets involved and (Chinese Chairman) Mao Zedong lost his own son.”
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