Spot Light: Japan to Korea
The Korean War lasted from 1950-1953, a product of the Cold War between Russia and the United States and the resulting split of the country of Korea into northern and southern regions. Thousands of young men left homes all over the United States to fight in the war. For many of these young men, their voyages overseas started in California, ended in Japan and finally Korea.
The item displayed here is a "boat newspaper," distributed aboard ships making the voyage from California to Korea. It includes a calendar marking the days of the month of February and the departure and arrival dates. In addition, it includes news from the home country of America.
The boat newspaper identifies the ship it was written for as the USAT General Nelson M. Walker. Formerly known as the USS Admiral T. Mayo, she was originally a military troopship which first saw service at the end of World War II. After the war, she was renamed and served as a civilian-manned Army transportation ship, and eventually, still manned by civilians, she transported American troops on behalf of the United States Navy. This was her status at the time of the Korean War and the time this newspaper was written.
Although the newspaper's connection to Illinois may not be immediately obvious, it does give a window into what this particular Illinoisan (Nathan Cooper) thought was worth saving from this important and pivotal time period. This should connect Illinoisans to broader historical events outside their immediate region, such as the Korean War.