Ohio Veterans Home Museum

Korean and Vietnam Wars Collection

Background to the Wars

Korean War:

The Korean War was just one many conflicts that occurred during the Cold War Era in an attempt to stop communism. In June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea in hopes of reuniting the two nations together under communism. As U.S. politicians feared the spread of communism to other parts of the east and beyond, the United Sates sought permission from the United Nations to intervene. The U.S. never officially declared war on North Korea, as U.S. troops were under direct control of the United Nations. By 1953, a ceasefire was declared that restored the border between the North and South Koreas at the 38th Parallel. While it had no clear victor, the Korean War impacted Ohioans greatly. Nearly 2,000 Ohioans were killed during the war with nearly another 5,000 wounded. Back home, Ohioans experienced increasing measures to stop communism. Agencies like the Ohio Un-American Activities Committee worked to root out communists in the State.

Vietnam War:

The United States’ involvement in Vietnam began in the 1950’s and lasted until 1975. The military conflict in Vietnam stretches back to its status as a French colony. Under communist leader Ho Chi Minh, many Vietnamese rebelled against the French during the 1940’s. In 1954, the Geneva Accords created two separate Vietnams in 1954 with Ho Chi Minh and Ngo Dinh Diem as the respective leaders of the North and South. The United Sates actively supported Diem and sent advisers to assist his administration. During President Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency, the call for war escalated due to the North Vietnamese purportedly sinking the USS Maddox and the USS Turner Joy in the Gulf of Tonkin. While the U.S. never officially declared war, by 1973 over 57,000 American lives were lost and over 150,000 wounded. Some estimates pinpoint the combined Vietnamese loss at nearly three million. Nearly 3,000 Ohioans died during the war. Critically, Ohio actively participated in protesting the war. Most of the protests occurred on college campuses throughout Ohio with the most famous protest occurring at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.

Click on the images below to learn more about the objects.

Map of Korean War
U.S. Navy Patrol Knife-Vietnam
'Huey' Door Gunner's Helmet
'Huey' Door Gunner's Helmet