Understanding the Korean War

The Participants, the Tactics, and the Course of Conflict


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About the Book

This is a study of the Korean War of 1950–1953 from the inside—the nuts and bolts of armed conflict. The perspective is American, with the principal focus on the relationships of the people involved: North and South Koreans, the Chinese and Soviets, and how the U.S. and its allies engaged with them all. The lives of ordinary soldiers are examined—U.S. forces, with attention paid to the other side as well. The book examines such important aspects of military operations as supplies, equipment and weapons, tactics and strategy, intelligence, and psychological warfare, as well as the effective elimination of racial segregation in the U.S. military. Also studied is the vexing matter of prisoners of war, on both sides. Finally, there is an effort to fit Korea into the generalities of American military experience in Asia, from the war with Japan to Vietnam.

About the Author(s)

Arthur H. Mitchell is a distinguished professor of history at the Salkehatchie Campus of the University of South Carolina. He lives in Allendale, South Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Arthur H. Mitchell
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 308
Bibliographic Info: 19 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6857-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0133-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface: The Evolution of a Reluctant Soldier 1

Introduction 7

One. Prelude to War 11

The Korean Past (by Joseph Bibb Siren) 12

Two Koreas 18

An Army at Rest 27

A First World Army 42

White Allies 43

Two. Participants in War 64

Conflicting Koreans 64

Americans and Koreans 74

Chinese and American Soldiers 95

Communist Bloc: Russians, Chinese and Koreans 104

United States and Other United Nations Supporters 109

Race in War 111

GI Joe and Other Soldiers 121

Three. Aspects of a War 143

Uncle Sam’s Supplies 143

Contrasting Tactics and Weapons 149

On the Sea and in the Air 162

Intelligence and Special Operations 179

Psychological Warfare 187

Prisoners of War 195

Back Home 215

Four. Peninsula War, International Consequences 230

China Confronts America 230

Cease Fire 232

Strategies and Outcomes 234

United States 237

People’s Republic of China 238

Republic of China (Formosa Annex) 241

USSR 242

Japan 243

Britain 244

France and Vietnam 246

Turkey 247

Conclusion: The Measure of It All 253

Reference Notes 261

Bibliography 284

Index 295

Book Reviews & Awards

Choice Outstanding Academic Title
“of the many works on the Korean Conflict, this may be among the most balanced…high praise must also go to Mitchell for his analyses. A lucid writing style, thorough documentation, and a superb up-to-date bibliography make this a required purchase…essential”—Choice.