’M*A*S*H’: Photos From the Real-Life WWII Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals that The Show Was Based On

by Will Shepard
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In the 1970s, the world was introduced to an incredible television show by the name of M*A*S*H. The show details life in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War.

M*A*S*H was based on the true stories of the army hospitals. The sets being used were as close to replicas of the real hospitals as the show could manage.

There are a number of shows that try and replicate a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH). However, not many shows portray the Korean War sets very well. M*A*S*H did an excellent job of getting the sets correct for their show.

So, it seems only appropriate to look a little deeper into what MASH systems looked like. The hospitals were designed to bring highly skilled medical staff as close to the front lines of war as possible.

(Photo by Sidney Schaer/Getty Images)

Just like M*A*S*H, the systems worked. Not only did it work, but it worked excellently. Reportedly, when victims got to the hospitals, their chance of survival was 97 percent.

“M*A*S*H” Depicts the Comedy that Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals Had to Inject into Their Daily Life

Again, similar to M*A*S*H, the people at the hospitals needed to continue to inject humor into their daily lives. Because they were seeing hundreds of injured patients every day, the staff had to find humor in dark things.

This idea was something that M*A*S*H took and ran with. Consequently, it launched an entirely new era of dark comedy television in America and the world.

(Photo by Stewart/U S Army/PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

While so many Americans were so intimately familiar with the Korean War, M*A*S*H did exceedingly well. In fact, the final episode of the show, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” had 125 million viewers.

The show was able to bring people a look inside of war that only those who experience have ever seen. Combined with comedy and drama, people fell in love with the show.

(Photo by Interim Archives/Getty Images)

Again, one of the most important pieces to M*A*S*H’s success was how well it resonated with the public. The storylines were closely interwoven with the current happenings in the war. Thus, the TV show was relatable to millions of people.

When the final MASH system was closed down in Korea in 1997, it was a spectacle. According to Considerable, M*A*S*H cast members from the show were invited to see the site closed down.

(Photo by Interim Archives/Getty Images)
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