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U.S. history teachers call for greater textbook coverage of Korean War

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Published : 2014-07-29 09:34
Updated : 2014-07-29 09:34

U.S. high school textbooks should increase their coverage of the Korean War as it is a great way to look at the Cold War, American teachers said Monday, emphasizing the conflict gets too little coverage compared with the Vietnam War.

"There is a real tangible gap that the Korean War is roughly one-third of the representation of the Vietnam War," Samantha Fraser, a history teacher at River Ridge High School in the U.S. state of Georgia, said during a press conference.

Fraser, 31, a granddaughter of Korean War veteran Harold Maples, is one of two U.S. schoolteachers, along with Kathryn Ricker of the same school, working on an ambitious project to get U.S. high school textbooks to increase their coverage of the Korean War.

Ricker, 43, also has an uncle, Kimball Brown, who is a Korean War veteran.

The two teachers, and the Korean War Veterans Youth Corps -- an organization of descendants of veterans -- and the Korean War Legacy Foundation, have jointly pushed for the project to boost the textbook coverage and awareness of the war.

"The Korean War is a wonderful way to look at the Cold War,"

Fraser said. "You understand that moment in time where people decided, and (former U.S. President Harry) Truman specifically, that we are not going to let Communism advance any further."

The decision on whether to use a nuclear weapon during the war and the "impact of having that available as an option has completely changed the way we do war for better or worse, and the Korean War is an amazing way to look at that," she said.

The 1950-53 war has often been referred to as "the forgotten war" in the U.S. due to the lack of public attention it received, even though 37,000 American troops lost their lives, more than 3,700 went missing and more than 92,000 were injured.

Fraser said it is important to have textbooks increase their coverage of the Korean War because texts are a "main resource for teachers, especially if they don't have a lot of knowledge about that particular topic." She added that American teachers are not likely to know a lot about the Korean War.

"With the Korean War being the forgotten war or forgotten victory, then most teachers, they are going to fall back on those two pages and that's all the kids are going to get," she said.

Still, Fraser said she and the descendants' organization plan to focus on reaching out to other history teachers to ask them to use "better textbooks" with greater coverage of the Korean War and to provide them with teaching materials and other supplementary tools.

The organization also created a "tool kit" that helps teachers and students interview veterans, she said.

"The best way for kids to learn about any war, including the Korean War, is to talk directly to veterans and hear their stories," Fraser said. "They are the best educators we have and you learn and remember much more from a veteran than from any textbook." (Yonhap)

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