Britain’s Korean War

Cold War diplomacy, strategy and security 1950–53

Coming just five years after the ravages of the Second World War, the Korean war was a deeply unsettling moment in post-war British history. This book is a study of Britain's diplomatic, military and security policy during the Korean War as seen from the perspective of the British Government. It explores the social and cultural impact of the Korean War (1950-53) on Britain. From allegations about American use of 'germ' warfare to anxiety over Communist use of 'brainwashing' and treachery at home, the Korean War precipitated a series of short-lived panics in 1950s Britain. The book charts the war's changing position in British popular imagination and asks how it became known as the 'Forgotten War'. The study presented argues that the British did have influence over American decision-making during the Korean War. Whereas the existing United Nations resolutions would permit 'swirling' across the 38th parallel operations of a politico-military nature would require further United Nations consideration. The British did not have a veto over American strategy in Korea - but under the Truman administration they came pretty close to one with respect to the widening of the war into China. The Attlee-Truman talks, in December 1950, secured for the British the watershed agreement of the right to be consulted on the use of the atomic bomb. The book also talks about General Douglas MacArthur, the 1951 Chinese capture of Seoul by communists, and the concept of a British 'Manchurian Candidate'-type figure indoctrinated by the Chinese in Korea.


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