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The French Participation in the Korean War and the Establishment of a “Path of Memory” in South Korea

By Laurent Quisefit

Center for Korean Studies, EHESS (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences), 22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75016, Paris, France


The contribution to the Korean War of medium powers or declining great powers like France has been scarcely investigated in-depth despite France’s marked contribution to the conflict, both diplomatically and militarily. Though its contribution modest by way of the number of troops sent to Korea and discreet on the diplomatic field, the French part in the war was significant, because it demonstrated the solidarity of the Allied powers united in the newly-established NATO. Moreover, the French battalions sent to Korea fought with gallantry and gained many medals, including silver stars. From the beginning of the 2000s, this overlooked history began to be noticed with the building of a “Path of the Living Memory of the French Contribution to the Korean War”. It was intended to inform visitors about a part of history, to transmit memory, and to strengthen friendship between France and Korea.