By Bruce Cumings
A bracing account of a conflict that lingers in our collective reminiscence as either ambiguous and unjustly ignored For americans, it was once a discrete clash lasting from 1950 to 1953 that has lengthy been overshadowed via international battle II, Vietnam, and the battle on Terror. yet as Bruce Cumings eloquently explains, for the Asian international the Korean struggle used to be a generations-long struggle that also haunts modern occasions. And in a truly possible way, even though its real roots and repercussions remain both misunderstood, forgotten, or willfully overlooked, it's the conflict that helped shape sleek America’s courting to the world.With entry to new proof and mystery fabrics from either right here and overseas, together with an archive of captured North Korean records, Cumings finds the warfare because it was once really fought. He describes its commence as a civil battle, preordained lengthy prior to the 1st pictures have been fired in June 1950 by means of lingering fury over Japan’s career of Korea from 1910 to 1945. Cumings then stocks the overlooked heritage of America’s post–World conflict II profession of Korea, the untold tales of bloody insurgencies and rebellions, and the strong militaries geared up and outfitted by way of the US and the Soviet Union in that divided land. He tells of the us formally getting into the motion at the part of the South, and exposes as by no means sooner than the appalling massacres and atrocities dedicated on either side and the “oceans of napalm” dropped at the North by means of U.S. forces in a remarkably violent conflict that killed as many as 4 million Koreans, thirds of whom have been civilians.In sobering aspect, The Korean conflict chronicles a U.S. domestic entrance agitated by means of Joseph McCarthy, the place absolutist conformity discouraged open inquiry and citizen dissent. Cumings incisively ties our present international coverage again to Korea: an the USA with hundreds of thousands of everlasting army bases in another country, a wide status military, and an enduring nationwide safety country at domestic, the final word results of a really appropriate and restricted coverage of containment evolving into an ongoing and doubtless never-ending worldwide crusade.Elegantly written and blisteringly sincere, The Korean warfare is, just like the conflict it illuminates, short, devastating, and crucial.
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Additional resources for The Korean War: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)
The distinction is between the stereotypical judgment that Korea is just “Little China,” or nothing more than a transmission belt for Buddhist and Confucian culture flowing into Japan, and a nation and culture as different from Japan or China as Italy or France is from Germany. Korea also had a social structure that persisted for centuries: during the five hundred years of the last dynasty the vast majority of 40/655 Koreans were peasants, most of them tenants working land held by one of the world’s most tenacious aristocracies.
THE CONVENTIONAL WAR BEGINS The war Americans know began on the remote, inaccessible Ongjin Peninsula, northwest of Seoul, on the night of June 24–25, 1950, Korean time; this was also the point at which border fighting began in May 1949, and the absence of independent observers has meant that both Korean sides have claimed ever since that they were attacked first. During the long, hot summer of 1949, one pregnant with impending conflict, the ROK had expanded its army to about 100,000 troops, a strength the North did not match until early 1950.
His reasoning had little to do with Korea’s strategic value, and everything to do with American prestige and political economy: “prestige is the shadow cast by power,” he once said, and the North Koreans had challenged it; American credibility was therefore at stake. South Korea was also essential to Japan’s industrial revival, Acheson thought, as part of his “great crescent” strategy linking northeast Asia with the Middle East (and which we discuss later on). 60/655 George Kennan, who supported the June decisions, recalled from notes taken at the time that Acheson broke off collegial discussions on the afternoon of June 26: He wanted time to be alone and to dictate.
The Korean War: A History (Modern Library Chronicles) by Bruce Cumings