Friday, August 31, 2007

Canadians in the Korean War

I post this purely because it amused me. I've been doing a bit of background research on the Canadian political debate over their presence currently in Afghanistan, but from time to time Google throws up something far more interesting than what you should be doing. This is a from a document about the experience of Canadian soldiers during the Korean War at the start of the 1950s. Life was pretty miserable, spending long periods of time in trenches in the freezing Korean winter:
The main meal of the day came at midnight, delivered in Dixies on the backs of Korean Service Corp soldiers. About three times a week the cooks dropped raw turkey legs into the boiling water in the Dixies and sent them to the front line. When they got to the soldiers, blood was still running from the legs. The cartons in which the turkey came were stamped "not for human consumption." Uneaten turkey was thrown into the barbed wire where the rats, much less fastidious than Canadian soldiers, feasted and multiplied.

Over the long nights the Chinese or North Koreans over loudspeaker from across no-man's-land frequently played sentimental songs. After a while a seductive female voice would say something like "American officers, American soldiers, this is not you war. Go home. A rich American capitalist is in Florida having turkey dinner with your wife, while you are in Korea freezing."

Asked how the propaganda affected him, one young soldier replied: "Not at all. First, I'm not American. Secondly, I'm not married. And thirdly, I don't want to eat any more damn turkey."

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