Korea War II... Some suggestions for lessons about the current situation...

To All the Teachers who want to teach their students to think for themselves: Consider the current crisis where U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening nuclear war against North Korea.

The vey dangerous situation we face now is an important case where working people have trouble figuring out where to stand. The corporate-owned media push misinformation and lies, repeating what presidents and pro-corporate pundits claim. What can teachers do in this situation? Here are a few suggestions:

Most of the discussion in American corporate media about the "threat" of nuclear weapons from North Korea has ignored many facts. A key one is that the United States (flying under the false flag of the "United Nations") obliterated everything above ground in North Korea during the first Korean War (1950 - 1953). Also left out is that the government of "South Korea" during those years consisted of fascists who had collaborated with the Japanese imperialists during World War II (which for Korea lasted decade until it ended in 1945, sort of). Teachers who want to begin providing students with lessons that can balance U.S. propaganda might begin with I.F. Stone's "Hidden History of the Korean War" and then go beyond Stone's early work to other more fact-based histories (like those by Chicago's Bruce Cumings).1) teach students to ask, What’s the other side?

America's corporate media doesn’t tell us that the North Koreans have experienced attacks by the U.S. from the start — after WWII when the US waged a brutal war trying to get control of the whole Korean peninsula — but were not able to defeat the freedom fighters in the north. This is why the North Koreans believe that they need to have nuclear and other powerful weapons, to defend themselves against the nuclear superpower.

In this period they have been threatened by the US “war games” in South Korea that practices using nuclear weaponry, which are scheduled twice a year. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea—DPRK-- are also faced by 30,000 US troops and 91 military bases in South Korea. Is it any wonder that DPRK feels they are facing a bully that they must stand up to if they hope to remain an independent country.

2) A second thing to teach students is to ask questions, like:

a) what gives the U.S. the right to have the largest number of nuclear weapons in the world? Isn’t the U.S. the only country to ever use nuclear weapons — at the end of World War II when it dropped atomic bombs on civilians in two Japanese cities — not targeting military installations?

b) what is the law about wars? Which textbooks or media inform us that international law says that-- no country has the right to attack another country that has not attacked it (see the UN Charter, which the US signed). Yet the US has repeatedly broken this law—for example, in the case of Vietnam and Iraq. Yet the US hasn’t been punished. It’s only working people who have come out in their hundreds of thousands—millions worldwide-- who have accused the U.S. of being a criminal and demanded an end to these wars.

I’d like to hear from other teachers about how they approach the problem of helping their students to defend themselves against brainwashing. And I welcome any questions and views you have about the current crisis caused by years of U.S. threats against North Korea.

If you would like me to come to your class, I will discuss what students can do to find information they need in order to come to their own conclusions, and not be made into puppets who repeat what the media tell them.


I also urge everyone to come out to the January 21 multi-issue demonstration on the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration—at 1 p.m. near Trump Tower on Wabash and Wacker Drive, to be followed by a march through the LaSalle Street financial district. Demonstrators will be targeting all the crimes of the government against working people—including immoral and illegal wars and threats of war like the one against North Korea.


Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

2 + 3 =