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Publisher's Summary

The Korean War was a watershed event for a number of reasons. Not only was it considered the first military action of the Cold War, as well as one of the first to utilize jet planes kitted out with bombs and missiles, the United Nations immersed itself in the precarious politics of warfare for the very first time. A total of 41 countries gifted shiploads of provisions and equipment to South Korea. Another 16 countries provided their own soldiers to serve as backup for the South Koreans. Their mission, put simply, was to extinguish Communism on the Korean peninsula once and for all.

After a series of heated but unproductive negotiations that lasted two brutal years and 17 miserable days, North Korea and South Korea found themselves locked in a stalemate. Finally, on July 27, 1953, representatives from both parties gathered at the village of Panmunjom, located on a semi-neutral zone by the border. Here, they devised a document entitled the Korean Armistice Agreement and scrawled their names across the bottom of the parchment, calling for a ceasefire, effective immediately. In essence, this agreement was no more than a truce, for there were no victors. The agreement merely ensured "a suspension of open hostilities," a "transfer of POWs," and lastly, the formal establishment of the demilitarization zone, better known as the DMZ. To this day, no peace treaty has ever been signed.

Despite the fact the border between North Korea and South Korea remains tense, and former President Bill Clinton once branded it the "scariest place on Earth," more than 7.5 million tourists have visited the notorious demilitarized zone for one reason or another. There, they gazed upon a treacherous but evidently intriguing strip of land, guarded by estranged brothers with a chilling array of weapons directed at one another at all times.

The Korean Demilitarized Zone: The History and Legacy of the Border Between North Korea and South Korea examines one of the most dangerous locations on the planet.

©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

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