By Bruce Cumings
A bracing account of a battle that lingers in our collective reminiscence as either ambiguous and unjustly ignored For american citizens, it was once a discrete clash lasting from 1950 to 1953 that has lengthy been overshadowed by way of international struggle II, Vietnam, and the struggle on Terror. yet as Bruce Cumings eloquently explains, for the Asian global the Korean battle was once a generations-long struggle that also haunts modern occasions. And in a truly possible way, even supposing its actual roots and repercussions remain both misunderstood, forgotten, or willfully missed, it's the battle that helped shape sleek America’s courting to the world.With entry to new facts and mystery fabrics from either right here and in another country, together with an archive of captured North Korean files, Cumings unearths the struggle because it used to be truly fought. He describes its begin as a civil warfare, preordained lengthy sooner than the 1st photographs have been fired in June 1950 by way of lingering fury over Japan’s career of Korea from 1910 to 1945. Cumings then stocks the overlooked historical past of America’s post–World warfare II career of Korea, the untold tales of bloody insurgencies and rebellions, and the strong militaries equipped and built by way of the United States and the Soviet Union in that divided land. He tells of the USA formally coming into the motion at the part of the South, and exposes as by no means prior to the appalling massacres and atrocities dedicated on each side and the “oceans of napalm” dropped at the North via 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 warfare chronicles a U.S. domestic entrance agitated through Joseph McCarthy, the place absolutist conformity discouraged open inquiry and citizen dissent. Cumings incisively ties our present international coverage again to Korea: an the United States with hundreds of thousands of everlasting army bases overseas, a wide status military, and an enduring nationwide defense country at domestic, the last word results of a really appropriate and constrained coverage of containment evolving into an ongoing and likely never-ending international crusade.Elegantly written and blisteringly sincere, The Korean battle is, just like the struggle it illuminates, short, devastating, and crucial.
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Extra resources for The Korean War: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)
Only about 20,000 South Korean troops remained in the more distant interior. This was the result of a significant redeployment northward toward the parallel in the early months of 1950, after the southern 46/655 guerrillas appeared to have been crushed. The northern army had also redeployed southward in May and June 1950, but many KPA units—at least one third—were not aware of the impending invasion and thus were not mobilized to fight on June 25. Furthermore, thousands of Korean troops were still fighting in China at this time.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff remained “extremely reluctant” to commit infantry troops to the fighting right up to June 30, and were not consulted when Truman made his decision. S. Army was 593,167, with an additional 75,370 in the Marines. North Korea alone was capable of mobilizing upward of 200,000 combat soldiers in the summer of 1950, quite apart from the immense manpower reserve of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). S. ground forces was MacArthur’s conclusion, after visiting the front lines, that the ROK Army had mostly ceased to fight.
At the same time, the veteran industrialist Pak Hung-sik showed up in Tokyo and gave an interview to The Oriental Economist, published on June 24, 1950—the day before the war started. Described as an adviser to the Korean Economic Mission (that is, the Marshall Plan), he was also said to have “a circle of friends and acquaintances among 50/655 the Japanese” (a bit of an understatement; Pak was widely thought in South and North to have been the most notorious collaborator with Japanese imperialism).