ROK/South Korea

War-Time Stamp Series

As printed in A Handbook of Korea;
9th Edition: 1993;

Early on the Sunday morning of June 25, 1950, without any warning or declaration of war, North Korean troops invaded the unprepared South across the 38th parallel. It was a well-prepared, all-out attack. South Korea’s troops fought bravely, but proved no match for the heavily armed Communists and the Russian T-3 tanks, who were not checked until they reached the Naktong River near Taegu.

The Republic of Korea appealed to the United Nations. In response, the Security Council passed a resolution ordering the Communists to withdraw to the 38th parallel and encouraged all member countries to give military support to the Republic. U.S. troops soon began to arrive, and were subsequently joined by those from 15 other nations: Australia, New Zealand, Britain, France, Canada, South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, Greece, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Columbia, the Philippines, Belgium, and Luxemburg. The three Scandinavian countries sent hospitals along with medical personnel.

Under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArther, the allied forces began to take the initiative, and after a surprise landing at Inch’On, pushed the Communists out of South Korea and advanced into the North.

But in October the Communist Chinese intervened, throwing such large numbers of troops into battle that the U.N. forces were forced to retreat. Seoul once again fell into Communist hands on January 4, 1951. The U.N. Forces regrouped and mounted a counterattack, retaking Seoul on March 12. A stalemate was reached roughly in the area along the 38th parallel, where the conflict had begun.

At this point the Russians called for truce negotiations, which finally began at Kaesong in July of 1951, and were transferred to P’anmunjom in November of that year. The talks dragged on for two years before an armistice agreement was reached on July 27, 1953.

By June 1951, Seoul had been occupied twice, by the North Korean/Chinese forces. Considering the loss of people and equipment, that occurred during the two occupations; plus the financial insecurity that ensued, one can understand the requirement for a War-Time -Surcharge, that the Postal Administration envoked.

War-Time Surcharged Stamps

During the period 1951.09.25 - 1952.02.10, the Bureau of Posts issued 44 stamps (22 Green background, and 22 Blue background) identifying the 21 participating countries in the U.N. Forces, which were then involved in the Korean War; (Both green-background and blue-background stamps were printed for Italy, 1951.10.25; with a crown on the Italian Flag. On 1952.02.10, a second set of stamps were printed for Italy, without the Royal symbol of the Crown). At the same time 22 Presentation Sheets, which included both the green & blue background images were printed, in the quantity of 2,000 each. These Presentation Sheets have become the most highly sought-after, over the years.

Countries Participating in the Korea War-Stamp Issue

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