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    Museum Audio Tour 26: Modern Flight Gallery: Korean War POWs

    Museum Audio Tour 26: Modern Flight Gallery: Korean War POWs

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    Audio by NMUSAF PA 

    National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

    The majority of the 235 airmen captured during the Korean War were held in solitary confinement for a large part of their captivity. Prisoners suffered from bitter cold and inadequate food, clothing and medical care. Airmen, especially pilots, were considered potential sources of intelligence and were subjected to frequent psychological and physical torture. Debate over how to return prisoners of war on both sides began with the start of armistice talks in late 1951. The UN demanded that no prisoner be returned to communist control against his will. The communists immediately refused. When the UN revealed that more than half of the UN-held POWs did not want to return, tensions increased. The communists tried to sway world opinion against the UN by forcing "confessions" of atrocities against North Korea from American POWs. They also provoked riots inside UN-run POW camps to cause worldwide outcry against UN treatment of supposedly "helpless" communist prisoners. The communist stance concerning POWs changed abruptly with the death of Soviet leader Josef Stalin in March 1953. Weary of fighting, both sides soon agreed to exchange sick and wounded prisoners. Between April 20 and May 3, 1953, Operation Little Switch exchanged a total of 6,670 Chinese and North Korean prisoners and 669 UN personnel. The main prisoner exchange took place after the armistice was signed three months later. Operation Big Switch returned 75,823 POWs to the communists and 12,773 prisoners to the UN, that including 3,598 Americans. By February 1, 1954, all former prisoners choosing not to return to communist rule were released as free civilians.



    Date Taken: 12.31.1969
    Date Posted: 09.02.2015 12:10
    Category: Newscasts
    Audio ID: 41930
    Filename: 1509/DOD_102704213.mp3
    Length: 00:02:18
    Album Museum Audio Tour
    Track # 26
    Location: DAYTON, OH, US 

    Web Views: 2
    Downloads: 1
    High-Res. Downloads: 1