The Korean War, by Bruce Cumings

A few interesting facts about the Korean War:

Virtually any village suspected of harboring or supporting guerillas was burned to the ground, usually from the air.

A total of 36,940 Americans lost their lives in the Korean theater; of these, 33,665 were killed in action, while 3,275 died there of non-hostile causes. Some 92,134 Americans were wounded in action, and decades later, 8,176 were still reported as missing. South Korea sustained 1,312,836 casualties, including 515,004 dead. Casualties among other UN allies totaled 16352, including 3,094 dead. Estimated North Korean casualties numbered 2 million, including about 1 million civilians and about 520,000 soldiers. An estimated 900,000 Chinese soldiers lost their lives in combat.

The United States dropped 635,000 tons of bombs in Korea (not counting 32,557 tons of napalm) compared to 503,000 tons in the entire Pacific Theater in World War II.

The Korean War was the crisis that, in Acheson’s subsequent words, “came along and saved us”; by which he meant that it enabled the final approval of NSC 68 and passage through Congress of a quadrupling of American defense spending. More than that, it was this war and not World War II that occasioned the enormous foreign military base structure and the domestic military-industrial complex to service it and which has come to define the sinews of American global power ever since.

It was this war and not World War II which established a far-flung American base structure abroad and a national security state at home, as defense spending nearly quadrupled in the last six months of 1950, and turned the United States into the policeman of the world.

Later, in the Vietnam War:

…between 1965 and 1968, thirty-two tons of bombs per hour were dropped on the North.

The total quantity of explosives dropped is estimated to have been equal to 640 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs.