The Korean War in World History

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The Korean War had two very different faces. On one level the conflict was local, growing out of the internal conditions of Korea and fought almost entirely within the confines of a small Asian country located far from Europe. The fighting pitted Korean against Korean in a struggle to determine the balance of political power within the country. Yet the war had a huge impact on the international politics of the Cold War. Combat threatened to extend well beyond the peninsula, potentially igniting another global conflagration and leaving in its wake a much escalated arms race between the Western and Eastern blocs. The conflict also left a Korea divided and in a state of perpetual tension that would survive the Cold War. The dynamics of that division remain today, threatening international peace and security in the 21st century. The essays contained in this book present the latest thinking on the Korean War, focusing on the relationship of each country to the war. William Stueck's introduction and conclusion link each essay to the rich historiography of the event and suggest the war's place within the history of the 20th century. The book at once features the accomplishments of noted scholars and lays the groundwork for the next generation of scholarship.