On July 27, 1953, the Korea Armistice Agreement was signed at Panmunjom, ending three years of fighting. The truce which followed was an uneasy truce and Korea remained a divided country. Yet the United Nations intervention in Korea was a move of incalculable significance. For the first time in history an international organization had intervened effectively with a multinational force to stem aggression. The United Nations emerged from the crisis with enhanced prestige.
Both sides had reached their peak strengths just prior to the end of hostilities. On the Communist side the total manpower has been estimated at 1,155,000, of whom 858,000 were Chinese. In addition there were perhaps some 10,000 Soviet troops in various non-battlefield roles. The United Nations Command consisted of 272,000 South Koreans and 266,000 from the 16 nations represented in the formation. In addition there were thousands more employed along the lines of communication and in quasi-military roles.
Altogether 26,791 Canadians served in the Korean conflict, and approximately 7,000 continued to serve in the theatre between the cease-fire and the end of 1955. United Nations' (including South Korean) fatal and non-fatal battle casualties numbered about 490,000. Of these 1,558 were Canadian. The names of 516 Canadian war dead are inscribed in the Korea Book of Remembrance.
Although the Canadian contribution was but a small portion of the total UN effort, it was nevertheless considerable. Canada made a larger contribution in proportion to her population than most of the nations which provided troops for the international force. It also marked a new stage in Canada's development as a nation. Canadian action in Korea was followed by other peacekeeping operations which have seen Canadian troops deployed around the world in new efforts to promote international freedom and maintain world peace.
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