New poll aimed to measure knowledge and attitudes of Canadians related to what has long been referred to as the "The Forgotten War"

November 11, 2013

New poll aimed to measure knowledge and attitudes of Canadians related to what has long been referred to as the "The Forgotten War"

TORONTO — November 11, 2013 — Canadians don’t know many important details about Canada’s participation in the Korean War – in which more than 500 Canadians died – according to a poll conducted for Historica Canada by Ipsos Reid.  

On the 60th anniversary of the end of the fighting, which lasted from 1950-53, the poll aimed to measure knowledge and attitudes related to what has long been referred to as the ‘forgotten war.’ Fewer than half of respondents (44%), in fact, correctly identify the conflict as ‘The Forgotten War’ – and 72 per cent say they do not recall being taught anything about it. But at the same time, a strong majority believe that South Koreans are better off today because of Canada’s involvement in the conflict, and 69 per cent of respondents believe the conflict is important to Canadian history. Overall, there is strong support for encouraging greater awareness of that war along with Canada’s role in both world wars and other conflicts.

“The contributions and sacrifices that Canadians made in the Korean War were significant and the results have continuing resonance today,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President of Historica Canada. “We see an appetite among Canadians to learn more about those efforts, in keeping with a similar appreciation of the sacrifices of our veterans overall.”

The government of Canada has declared 2013 as the Year of the Korean War Veteran, and has sponsored a series of events on behalf of veterans and their families, including a number of pilgrimages to South Korea over the course of the year. The Memory Project (, operated by Historica Canada, includes 3,000 digitized artifacts and interviews with 420 Korean War veterans in which they discuss their experiences, as they also do in the Memory Project Speakers’ Bureau, in which Canadian war veterans visit schools to meet with students and describe their experiences.  This year, veterans have made more than 1100 such visits, reach more than 230,000 Canadians.

Click here to view full poll results.

Some key findings:

  • Fewer than four in ten (37%) Canadians correctly identify that July 27th is the 60th anniversary of the Korean War cease-fire, while most (63%) incorrectly identified another event as commemorating this particular anniversary.
  • Seven in ten (69%) who ‘agree’ (21% strongly/48% somewhat) that ‘the Korean War was an important conflict in Canadian history’, while three in ten (31%) ‘disagree’ (5% strongly/26% somewhat) with this stated significant to Canada’s history.
  • While most Canadians believe more military history should be emphasized, a majority don’t remember learning about the Korean War themselves.  Just three in ten (28%) ‘agree’ (8% strongly/19% somewhat) that ‘they remember learning about the Korean War in high school’, while seven in ten (72%) ‘disagree’ (41% strongly/32% somewhat) that they remember learning about the subject.
  • Support is strong (85 per cent) in favor of building a national monument in Canada that would honour those who have died in service in conflicts since the Korean War
  • Four in five (78%) Canadians ‘agree’ (34% strongly/53% somewhat) that ‘South Koreans are better off because of the Canadian involvement in the Korean War’, while only one in five (22%) ‘disagree’ (4% strongly / 18% somewhat).

An initiative of Historica CanadaThe Memory Project gives veterans and current Canadian Forces members the opportunity to share their stories of military service, through its online archive and volunteer speakers bureau. The Memory Project Archive provides an environment in which veterans of the Second World War and Korean War can have their memories preserved through oral interviews and digitized memorabilia, with over 2,800 testimonials recorded to date. Through The Memory Project Speakers Bureau, veterans and active service members share their military experiences in classrooms and community groups across Canada, reaching 1.5 million Canadians since 2001. Hear their stories at  

Historica Canada, formerly known as The Historica-Dominion Institute, is the largest independent organization dedicated to Canadian history, identity and citizenship. Its mandate is to build active and informed citizens through a greater knowledge and appreciation of the history, heritage and stories of Canada. Visit

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between July 2nd to 7th, on behalf of Historica Canada, formerly known as The Historica-Dominion Institute. For this survey, a sample of 1,009 Canadians from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval.  In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points had all Canadians adults been polled.


For more information:

Fadia Otariste, Communications Officer

t. 1.866.701.1867 ext 259