The Korean War: Handbook of the Literature and Research

By Lester H. Brune; Robin Higham | Go to book overview

9 The Korean Scholars on the
Korean War

Kim Chull Baum

The Korean War, which started on June 25, 1950, and came to a truce on July 27, 1953, was one of the biggest in the history of the world. The number of servicemen killed in the war ranked sixth following those in World War II, World War I, the Napoleonic wars, the Spanish Civil War, and the Thirty Years War. Moreover, most of the big powers of the world were involved in the war under the United Nations flag.

Nevertheless, the Korean War has been defined as a limited war, which ended with neither side's emerging as a victor or a loser. The characteristics and origins of the war have yet to be fully clarified, and the North Korean aggressor is still denying its responsibility. Under these conditions, divergent views have confronted scholars, particularly regarding the origins of the war.

The Korean War has been an attractive subject of study for many scholars around the world because it brought about significant changes not only in the political, economic, and social status of the Korean peninsula but also in the cold war structure of the world. Carroll Blanchard ( 1964) Korean War bibliography points out that over 10,000 articles had been written as essays, books, or newspaper articles by 1960. Since then, scholarship devoted to the study of the Korean War has continued to expand, in both quantity and quality. A turning point in the study of the war came in the 1990s when the Soviet Union began to release some war-related documents, which it had held secret in its archives. The release of these and other documents provided new information for the debate among various scholars by favoring an orthodox interpretation of the war, especially regarding the origins of the war.

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