The Wrong War: American Policy and the Dimensions of the Korean Conflict, 1950-1953
Published by: Cornell University Press
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Sales Date: 2023-09-15
Published: September 2023
300 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 in
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In 1951, General Omar Bradley declared publicly that war with China would involve the United States "in the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy." Despite the stated intent of the U.S. to keep the Korean conflict from spreading, the debate on extending the war was far more intense and protracted than previous accounts of this period have suggested.
Concentrating on the debate over expansion, Rosemary Foot reveals the strains it caused both within the U.S. bureaucracy and between America and its North Atlantic allies. She supplies important new information on the U.S. government's appraisal of Sino-Soviet relations between 1950 and 1953, and makes clear that a high proportion of U.S. officials came to recognize the limited nature of Soviet support for China. Explaining why the Eisenhower administration nearly unleashed nuclear weapons on China in the spring of 1953, Foot demonstrates that the Korean war would very likely have grown into a conflict of major proportions if the Chinese and North Koreans had not conceded the final issue of the truce talks?the question of the voluntary repatriation of prisoners of war.
Foot's understated and concise style may lead some readers to miss just how extensive and wise is her use of new archival materials and just how much she does to demolish the received wisdom on the Korean War. This book will remain a standard in the literature for many years to come.The American Historical Review
Foot deserves high marks for her careful research, clear and restrained prose, and sensitivity to the nuances of the various arguments bandied about within the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. Her study sets a high standard for scholars who intend to follow her path.Reviews in American History
A valuable, even exciting, study of decision making in a rapidly changing and complex environment. The book offers and provokes many challenging thoughts about the conduct of international affairs in general.History
Readers will appreciate Foot's trenchant prose. The Wrong War advances new and perceptive interpretations that shatter traditional assumptions about the way the United States fought for an acceptable outcome in Korea.Korean Studies
Foot has wrestled with a difficult objective in trying to prove that policymakers almost took an action that never in fact occurred. She does this cautiously and produces in the process an interesting new perspective on questions that received only simple answers in the past. The Wrong War is a significant step in the new scholarly reexamination of the Korean conflict.Pacific Historical Review
Foot has written an important volume. Among her most provocative observations is that leaders in Washington came to understand during the Korean war that the Soviets' support of their Chinese allies was considerably less forthcoming than one might have expected in view of the Sino-Soviet Pact of 1950. Foot provides a careful and thoughtful account of the discussion within the Eisenhower administration on the question of whether the United States ought to resort to such an extreme tactic.The Journal of American History