The Children of War

Shoeshine boy, PM 2003.17.3042
Children playing war games, PM 2003.17.824
Swinging on Quonset hut frame, PM 2003.17.3015
Korean schoolgirls playing on train platform, PM 2003.17.3063
Young boy playing baseball, PM 2003.17.1351
Shoeshine boy at work, PM 2003.17.3129
Shoeshine boys, PM 2005.11.1
Boy selling pinwheels, PM 2003.17.2892
Boys in front of clinic, PM 2003.17.3136
Children looking in shop window, PM 2003.17.3195

“I adopted [15-year-old] Kim. Or perhaps it was the other way around. I gave him tent space and part of my rations and whatever odd bits of clothing and gear I could scrounge. In return, he policed our quarters, washed my clothes and guarded my belongings. . . .”

—U.S. Marine Corps Technical Sergeant Robert H. Mosier

Among the most visible casualties of the Korean War were families. An estimated 100,000 children were left on the streets and in orphanages. On the streets children survived as beggars or as shoeshine, errand, and houseboys, with a few informally and temporarily “adopted” by U.S. soldiers. Because of the enormous difficulties, only a small number of elite children were lucky enough to attend makeshift schools.