Following the 70th anniversary of the Korean War outbreak in 2020, the year of 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of establishing the United Nations (UN) Cemetery in 1951. In light of these two significant milestones, this thesis examines the transition period from the UN Cemetery to the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea (UNMCK), mainly focusing from 1955 to 1960.
The study researches the historical process from the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution 977(X) (Resolution 977(X)) in 1955 to the signing of the “Agreement with the United Nations and the Republic of Korea on the Establishment and Maintenance of the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea (Agreement)” in 1959. Also, the research scrutinizes the aspects of the transfer ceremony from the UN Command to the United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea (UNCURK) of taking over the UNMCK in March 1960, which remain unexplored in the existing literature.
Expanding its meaning as the UN's symbolic milieu, the decision-making process of contention, compromise, and cooperation among the UN allied nations during the Korean War demonstrates a collective response of common destiny in the period of Cold War. In this regard, Resolution 977(X) and the Agreement, which provide the cause for the burial ground of the fallen soldiers fought under the UN Command, can be understood as significant milestones in the history of both the Republic of Korea and the UN.
Moreover, the study suggests that we should correct the misinformation regarding the management and signing of the UNMCK by analyzing the historical papers of the United Nations Archives and Records Management Section (UNA), UN materials, and newspaper articles. In particular, the UN archival documents, which are the first materials to be released, are expected to expand the scope of existing military research by filling the gap in academic discourse on the Korean War and the UN.