Economic Upheaval

Shop selling traditional and western goods, PM 2003.17.2886
Boy selling western and army surplus food, PM 2003.17.2928
Pusan shop with western overcoats, PM 2003.17.2939
Pusan street scene with mountains behind, PM 2003.17.2933
Men in cookware shop, PM 2003.17.2884
The black market, PM 2003.17.3203
Three prostitutes, PM 2003.17.88
Pusan bar, PM 2003.17.3119
Fisherman, PM 2003.17.3024

“Every now and then—when the black market looks too much like a great storehouse back home—the M.P.’s raid it all. This gives the market dealers a chance to make a fresh start, which they do usually about a half-hour after the raid is over.”

—Sister Maria Del Rey

As Korean production drew to a virtual halt and inflation soared, there were dire shortages of food and clothing. With the influx of soldiers, black market American goods appeared in street shops. Bars as well as prostitutes, catering to the international soldier population, proliferated during the war.