Academic journal article Military Review

THE WAR IN KOREA, 1950-1951: They Came from the North

Academic journal article Military Review

THE WAR IN KOREA, 1950-1951: They Came from the North

Article excerpt

THE WAR IN KOREA, 1950-1951: They Came from the North, Allan R. Millett, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 20 1 0, 644 pages, $45.00.

This is the second volume of a projected trilogy on the history of the Korean War meant to synthesize, as much as possible, various national viewpoints. One of Allan R. Millett's goals is to put the Koreans back at the center of their own history. He portrays the political and military struggle in Korea in local terms as a struggle between two competing revolutionary movements, and in international terms as part of the Cold War. His first volume provides a succinct summary of Korean political history, 1945-1950.

After summarizing the events in the first volume, Millett narrates the war's first year when the communists, and then the UN, tried to unite Korea by force. He ends the volume with both sides determining how they will achieve a political solution after their military strategies have failed. Drawing on primary material from Russian, American, South Korean, and Chinese archives, he shows how the tensions between Stalin, Mao, and Kim were resolved and led to an invasion of southern Korea, and then repeats the process for U.S. relations with South Korea and the UN. Millett punctures myths and opens the way for a more dispassionate examination of the war and its implications, giving the reader detailed accounts of the decisions being made in Moscow, Beijing, New York, and Washington.

Millett easily shifts between the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of warfare and does not eschew high politics and diplomacy. …

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