Read The Origins of the Korean War, Volume I: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947 by Bruce Cumings Online


Distributed for Yuksabipyungsa Press Bruce Cumings maintains in his classic account that the origin of the Korean War must be sought in the five-year period preceding the war, when Korea was dominated by widespread demands for political, economic, and social change. Making extensive use of Korean-language materials from North and South, and of classified documents, intelliDistributed for Yuksabipyungsa Press Bruce Cumings maintains in his classic account that the origin of the Korean War must be sought in the five-year period preceding the war, when Korea was dominated by widespread demands for political, economic, and social change. Making extensive use of Korean-language materials from North and South, and of classified documents, intelligence reports, and U.S. military sources, the author examines the background of postwar Korean politics and the arrival of American and Soviet troops in 1945. Cumings then analyzes Korean politics and American policies in Seoul as well as in the hinterlands. Arguing that the Korean War was civil and revolutionary in character, Cumings shows how the basic issues over which the war was fought were apparent immediately after Korea's liberation from colonial rule in 1945. These issues led to o the effective emergence of separate northern and southern regimes within a year, extensive political violence in the southern provinces, and preemptive American policies designed to create a bulwark against revolution in the South and Communism in the North....

Title : The Origins of the Korean War, Volume I: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947
Author :
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ISBN : 9788976966124
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 637 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Origins of the Korean War, Volume I: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947 Reviews

  • morning Os
    2019-05-07 17:14

    Authors should think about the main audience -- grad students preparing for their general exams. WHY writes huuuuge books like this, and especially vol.2???Not necessarily dry, and I wish I had time to really enjoy the information. Details are good for researchers but I see that curious but busy non-academics can easily get lost in them.

  • Jana
    2019-04-29 20:30

    I couldn't get past the first chapter, so put off was I by the professorial tone and "in" comments. A shame, as he is so often quoted as the one of the experts on the war. Perhaps I'll give it another try some day.

  • Jim
    2019-04-22 18:32

    North Korea, like Cuba, is a country suspended in time, one that exists off modernity’s grid. It’s a place where the cold war never ended, where the heirloom paranoia is taken down and polished daily.Shuji Kajiyama/Associated PressBruce CumingsTHE KOREAN WARBy Bruce CumingsIllustrated. 288 pages. Modern Library. $24.RelatedExcerpt: ‘The Korean War’ (July 22, 2010)Korea’s cold war chill is heating up. Four months ago a South Korean warship was sunk, and a South Korean-led international investigative team concluded that North Korea was responsible. Next week the United States and South Korea will begin large-scale naval exercises off the coasts of the Korean Peninsula and Japan in a show of force.The world will be watching, and here’s a book that American policymakers may hope it won’t be reading: Bruce Cumings’s “Korean War,” a powerful revisionist history of America’s intervention in Korea. Beneath its bland title, Mr. Cumings’s book is a squirm-inducing assault on America’s moral behavior during the Korean War, a conflict that he says is misremembered when it is remembered at all. It’s a book that puts the reflexive anti-Americanism of North Korea’s leaders into sympathetic historical context.Mr. Cumings is chairman of the history department at the University of Chicago and the author of “The Origins of the Korean War,” a respected two-volume survey. He mows down a host of myths about the war in his short new book, which is a distillation of his own scholarship and that of many other historians. But he begins by mowing down David Halberstam.Mr. Cumings, who admires Mr. Halberstam’s writing about Vietnam, plucks the wings from “The Coldest Winter,” Mr. Halberstam’s 2007 book about the Korean War. The book, he argues, makes all the classic mistakes popular American historians tend to make about this little understood war.Mr. Halberstam’s book is among those that “evince almost no knowledge of Korea or its history” and “barely get past two or three Korean names,” Mr. Cumings writes. “Halberstam mentions the U.S. Military Government from 1945 to 1948, which deeply shaped postwar Korean history — in one sentence,” he adds. “There is absolutely nothing on the atrocious massacres of this war, or the American incendiary bombing campaigns.” Ouch.Americans need to get past the idea, Mr. Cumings says, that the Korean War was a “discrete, encapsulated” story that began in 1950, when the United States intervened to help push the Communist north out of the south of Korea, and ended in 1953, after the war bogged down in a stalemate. The United States succeeded in containment, establishing the 2.5-mile-wide demilitarized zone that still runs through Korea’s middle, but failed miserably at the war for the north, an attempt at Communist rollback.Mr. Cumings argues that the Korean War was a civil war with long, tangled historical roots, one in which America had little business meddling. He notes how “appallingly dirty” the war was. In terms of civilian slaughter, he declares, “our ostensibly democratic ally was the worst offender, contrary to the American image of the North Koreans as fiendish terrorists.”Mr. Cumings likens the indiscriminate American bombing of North Korea to genocide. He writes that American soldiers took part in, or observed, civilian atrocities not dissimilar to those at My Lai. An official inquiry is needed into some of these events, he writes, for any kind of healing to begin. (He also writes that this war, during which nearly 37,000 American soldiers died, deserves a memorial as potent and serious as Maya Lin’s Vietnam memorial.)Among the most important things to understand about North Korean behavior then and now, Mr. Cumings writes, is the longtime enmity between Korea and Japan. Japan took Korea as a colony in 1910, with America’s blessing, and replaced the Korean language with Japanese. Japan humiliated and brutalized Korea in other ways. (During World War II the Japanese Army forcibly turned tens of thousands of Korean women into sex slaves known as “comfort women.”) About this history Mr. Cumings writes, “Neither Korea nor Japan has ever gotten over it.”North Korea, which is virulently anti-Japan, remains bitter and fearful of that country and of the United States. It will do whatever it can to stay out of the hands of South Korea, where leaders have long-standing historical ties to Japan.Mr. Cumings, in “The Korean War,” details the north’s own atrocities, and acknowledges that current “North Korean political practice is reprehensible.” But he says that we view that country through “Orientalist bigotry,” seeing only its morbid qualities. We wrongly label the country Stalinist, he argues. “There is no evidence in the North Korean experience of the mass violence against whole classes of people or the wholesale ‘purge’ that so clearly characterized Stalinism,” he writes.The most eye-opening sections of “The Korean War” detail America’s saturation bombing of Korea’s north. “What hardly any Americans know or remember,” Mr. Cumings writes, “is that we carpet-bombed the north for three years with next to no concern for civilian casualties.” The United States dropped more bombs in Korea (635,000 tons, as well as 32,557 tons of napalm) than in the entire Pacific theater during World War II. Our logic seemed to be, he says, that “they are savages, so that gives us the right to shower napalm on innocents.”“The Korean War” has its share of awkward sentences, and Mr. Cumings makes at least one mistake of his own, referring to Michael Herr’s 1977 nonfiction book “Dispatches,” about the Vietnam War, as a novel.But this lean book may put some readers in mind of “Wartime,” Paul Fussell’s acidic attack on some of the comforting myths about World War II. Mr. Cumings’s prose, at its best, is reminiscent of Mr. Fussell’s stylized, literate high dudgeon.Witness the carnage in this passage from early in “The Korean War”: “Here was the Vietnam War we came to know before Vietnam — gooks, napalm, rapes, whores, an unreliable ally, a cunning enemy, fundamentally untrained G.I.’s fighting a war their top generals barely understood, fragging of officers, contempt for the know-nothing civilians back home, devilish battles indescribable even to loved ones, press handouts from Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters apparently scripted by comedians or lunatics, an ostensible vision of bringing freedom and liberty to a sordid dictatorship run by servants of Japanese imperialism.”This year is the 60th anniversary of the Korean War’s conventional start. Even from this distant vantage point, Mr. Cumings writes, there are still multiple unpleasant facts Americans have not learned about this war, “truths that most Americans do not know and perhaps don’t want to know, truths sometimes as shocking as they are unpalatable to American self-esteem.” His book is a bitter pill, a sobering corrective.

  • Jessie
    2019-05-01 17:25

    A brilliant work of craftsmanship, based on research of declassified U.S. reports, memoirs, books, articles, newspaper articles and other sources on the events surrounding the Korean War. The book mounts a powerful challenge to a long-held “official story,” which asserts that North Koreans and the Soviets schemed to invade South Korea. In its place, Cumings advances a revisionst view that both sides of the 38th parallel could have started the war. He also offers a critical assessment of the U.S. occupation of South Korea, and a more favorable view of the Soviet Union as light-handed occupation which allowed Kim Il-song to do what he wanted to do. I also liked how he traces the deep ideological origins of the war to the colonial period, when the Japanese exercised "divide-and-rule" policy toward Korean nationalists. Overall, the book is empirically rich, theoretically sophisticated, and beautifully written-very rare for a book on Korea!

  • Aniko
    2019-05-15 19:25

    Not free from fault, of course (as no scholarly book is), but an excellent account of the tumultuous and highly controversial post-liberation years of Korea. Americans should read this more to see where their good will tends to lead....

  • Pranjal
    2019-05-01 17:16

    Outstanding and important work, especially since most histories of the Korean War start in 1950.