The military postwar situation in America was, of course, a function of the new political world picture. In the decade following World War II the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as superpowers and major opponents in a steadily escalating Cold War. Eventually, the main insurance against a sudden heating up of this conflict became the threat of mutual nuclear devastation. The instability of the situation was soon evidenced: a hot war did break out in the early fifties. But the attendant restraining factors were also demonstrated: the war was waged mainly by proxy, as the United Nations "police force"--dominated by U.S. and ROK ( Republic of Korea) soldiers--battled Soviet-supported North Korean and Chinese troops in Korea. The new political and strategic situation forced the American military to reconsider aims and methods for war and peace. Among civilians the growing tension between the superpowers gave rise to an atmosphere of apprehension and hostility in regard to the Soviet Union and communism that soon reached near-hysterical proportions.
American military novels set between 1945 and 1953 reflect these developments. Previous chapters have testified to the presence of Cold War tensions in many of the occupation novels and a following section will deal with the violent eruption of these tensions as expressed in the Korean War novels. This chapter takes up an important category of narratives that treats the peacetime military in America during this period. In describing the general effect of the postwar dis-