With the recent death of Joseph Stalin in March of 1953 Russian forces would sign an end to their participation in the Korean War. China and North Korea, while both still at war with American forces, would find themselves in a position where they could not keep up their current fighting and so for a moment the front was generally quiet. During this lull in the war, it was agreed upon that from April 20th to May 3rd both North Korea and China would exchange sick and wounded POW’s with the United Nations, America included. This exchange would come to be known as Operation Little Switch. The United Nations received back 684 of its troops while the North Koreans received over 5,000 of their men, and about 500 civilians, along with 1,000 Chinese. The small number of UN forces released led to the United States accusing the communists of not releasing the proper amount of troops, and disagreements would continue over how troops were to be exchanged.
In the end 149 Americans were released.
Author – Gabriel Smith