This program will address how the Korean peninsula was tragically split, why it remains so, and its contemporary implications. Once part of the Japanese Empire, the Korean conflict degenerated into a stalemate. Most important was the admission by then US Secretary of State Dean Rusk on how the 38th Parallel was agreed to as the infamous demarcation line; why the decision was made to cross the 38th parallel; and how George Kennan urged Truman not to. This last development is most significant. And, how the stalemate in Korea impacted whether the U.S. would intervene in North Vietnam in April-May 1954 to relieve 15,000 French paratroopers surrounded by 55,000 Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu.

Our speaker, Mark Albertson, is a frequent presenter at the Library. In fact, according to his blog, in each of the last three years, he has logged 200-plus appearances. Mark is a military historian with a commanding knowledge of geo-politics. He is the historical research editor at Army Aviation magazine and is the historian for the Army Aviation Association of America. He has authored several books: USS Connecticut: Constitution State Battleship; They’ll Have to Follow You! The Triumph of the Great White Fleet; On History: A Treatise. He is at work on a two-volume history on the saga of Army aviation. Mark teaches history at Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut.