Like the two world wars, the Korean War of 1950-53 was fought against a clearly defined enemy: this time, an expansionist Communist regime in North Korea supported by the Soviet Union and China. Yet the differences in Korea are startling. At the time, Europe and the United States were rearming to counter the threat of Soviet expansionism and nuclear weaponry. Although the Korean War had the potential to escalate into a global confrontation, it turned out to be a much more limited war. Canada, which had reduced its army to an airborne brigade group intended for North American defensive purposes, would not have to turn the entire nation to war production, invest as much money, or send as many troops as in the world wars. Canadians would not flock to recruiting stations in as great numbers; nor would they devote as many hours to patriotic "victory" organizations. Not surprisingly then, the Korean War has often been called Canada's "forgotten war" precisely because it was a limited conflict that gained neither the full attention nor the complete efforts of the nation.
It should be remembered, however, that more than 20,000 devoted and able Canadians fought in the Korean War. For them, the war was every bit as important, the threat of death as real. They fought for Canada and because they opposed Communist aggression. The 1,557 casualties -- 312 dead and 1245 wounded -- that the Canadian contingent suffered would not be in vain. As they had done in the world wars, Canadian troops in Korea distinguished themselves as a highly skilled, effective, and dedicated military force fighting for the cause of freedom.