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The first comprehensive analysis of the Korean War and its enduring legacies through the lenses of intimate human and social experience.
"The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the origins of the Korean War in the context of an historiographical approach. There is essentially a traditionalist and a revisionist school of interpretation of the etiology of the Korean War. This paper explores in some depth these two schools of historical interpretation. Shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War, both blocs of Western and Communist countries revealed their sharp reactions concerning the origins of the war. Both respectively attributed the responsibility of the war to the other side; however, most Western countries conceived the war as a Soviet-international conspiracy. The U.N. decision procedure reflects that concept. That concept also provided the Truman Administration with a legitimacy of intervention in the war. Since the Korean War, the revisionists' explanation has been raised by many scholars. We can summarize the main revisionists' arguments under the following headings: (1) Truman's conspiracy theory, (2) Syngman Rhee's conspiracy theory, (3) North Korean self-determination theory. The revisionist theories seize upon the relationships between Truman's dilemma in domestic politics and Syngman Ree's aspiration for a united peninsula as the cause of the war. However, these arguments are unacceptable for the following reasons: Truman's domestic difficulties were insufficient to be the cause of the war and clearly the South Korean Army was not prepared for the war. On the other hand, the traditional explanations have focused on various aspects of Russian and North Korean conspiracies. If one may accept the conspiracy theory, it would be appropriate to examine five different interpretations that the U.S. policy-makers perceived. The five different views included: (1) the testing theory, (2) the diversion theory, (3) the Far Eastern strategy theory, (4) the soft- spot theory, and (5) the demonstration theory. Among the interpretations, U.S. policy-makers were inclined to focus on two hypotheses, the testing theory and the diversion theory. These hypotheses are substantiated by the memoirs of President Truman, George F. Kennan and Charles Bohlen. On the other hand, their memoirs also show that they did not have a clear- cut view of broader Soviet intentions, All five traditional aspects have received ample treatment by traditional scholars. But, among these, most scholars favored the Far Eastern strategy theory. Even within the traditional school, it is interesting to compare the interpretations of pre- and post- Vietnam War scholars. In conclusion, the revisionist school lacked adequate documentation, and overemphasized the role of Korean internal affairs, as well as the influence of U.S. politics without appreciation for the complexities of Far Eastern politics. The traditionalist treatment suffers from a lack of primary sources from the Russian, Korean and Chinese sides. Unless those countries publish the sources concerning the origins of the war, there will always be some confusion regarding the beginnings of that event. Finally, this historiographical survey reveals an overwhelming support of the Western contention that the origins of the Korean War stemmed from the socialist side, and reveals too little evidence to support the revisionist arguments."--Document.
This book takes a fresh look at the Korean War by considering the conflict from a Northeast Asian regional perspective. It highlights the connections of the war to earlier conflicts in the region and examines the human impact of the war on neighboring countries, focusing particularly on the ways in which the Korean War shaped regional cross-border movements of people, goods, and ideas (including hopes and fears). It also considers the lasting consequences of these movements for the region’s society and politics.
“A great journalist” raises troubling questions about the forgotten war in this courageous, controversial book—with a new introduction by Bruce Cumings (The Baltimore Sun). “Much about the Korean War is still hidden, and much will long remain hidden. I believe I have succeeded in throwing new light on its origins.” —From the author’s preface In 1945 US troops arrived in Korea for what would become America’s longest-lasting conflict. While history books claim without equivocation that the war lasted from 1950 to 1953, those who have actually served there know better. By closely analyzing US intelligence before June 25, 1950 (the war’s official start), and the actions of key players like John Foster Dulles, General Douglas MacArthur, and Chiang Kai-shek, the great investigative reporter I. F. Stone demolishes the official story of America’s “forgotten war” by shedding new light on the tangled sequence of events that led to it. The Hidden History of the Korean War was first published in 1952—during the Korean War—and then republished during the Vietnam War. In the 1990s, documents from the former Soviet archives became available, further illuminating this controversial period in history.
" The Korean War in World History features the accomplishments of noted scholars over the last decade and lays the groundwork for the next generation of scholarship. These essays present the latest thinking on the Korean War, focusing on the relationship of one country to the war. William Stueck’s introduction and conclusion link each essay to the rich historiography of the event and suggest the war’s place within the history of the twentieth century. The Korean War had two very different faces. On one level the conflict was local, growing out of the internal conditions of Korea and fought almost entirely within the confines of a small Asian country located far from Europe. The fighting pitted Korean against Korean in a struggle to determine the balance of political power within the country. Yet the war had a huge impact on the international politics of the Cold War. Combat threatened to extend well beyond the peninsula, potentially igniting another global conflagration and leaving in its wake a much escalated arms race between the Western and Eastern blocs. The dynamics of that division remain today, threatening international peace and security in the twenty-first century. Contributors: Lloyd Gardner, Chen Jian, Allan R. Millett, Michael Schaller, and Kathryn Weathersby
A brief analysis of the controversies and perplexities of the Korean War, this study demonstrates that for fifty years the Korean War has been ignored, rather than forgotten.

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