Truman, MacArthur, and the Korean War

Truman, MacArthur, and the Korean War

Truman, MacArthur, and the Korean War

Truman, MacArthur, and the Korean War

Synopsis

A general history of the critical first year of the Korean War, this study deals primarily with relations between General Douglas MacArthur and President Harry S. Truman from June 1950 to April 1951, a period that defined the war's direction until General Mark Clark, the final U.N. Commander, signed the Armistice two years later. Although the ever-changing military situation is outlined, the main focus is on policymaking and the developing friction between Truman and MacArthur. Wainstock contradicts the common view that MacArthur and Truman were constantly at odds on the basic aims of the war. In the matter of carrying the fight to Communist China, MacArthur and the Joint Chiefs differed only on timing, not on the need for such action.

Excerpt

This book is a general history of the first year of the Korean War. More specifically, it deals primarily with the period from June 1950 to April 1951, which defined the war's direction until General Mark Clark, the final United Nations commander in the Korean War, signed the armistice on July 27, 1953.

Although the study gives attention to the ever-changing military situation, its main focus is on policy-making and the developing conflicts between Truman and MacArthur over the war's direction.

The sheer quantity of the material I used was daunting, but it was filled with colorful and outstanding personalities, dramatic action, and momentous decisions that have influenced world events to the present day.

The study raised a number of questions. Were the disagreements between General Douglas MacArthur and President Harry S. Truman over Formosa and carrying the war to Red China as pronounced as commonly thought? How far apart on these issues were the Joint Chiefs of Staff and MacArthur? Just how great a role did the United Nations play in the Korean War? How wise was Truman's decision to cross the 38th parallel? Did MacArthur play a crucial role in it? Did intervention in the Korean War best serve America's national self-interests?

My research owes much to the trail-breaking contributions by scholars who have written military studies, general histories, and monographs on the Korean War. I am also grateful to my colleagues and to the librarians, Phillis Freeman and Jackie Isaacs, at Salem-Teikyo University in Salem, West Virginia, for providing me with helpful advice and assistance during my research and writing.

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