Truman, MacArthur, and the Korean War

Overview

A general history of the critical first year of the Korean War, this study deals primarily with relations between General Douglas MacArthur and President Harry S. Truman from June 1950 to April 1951, a period that defined the war's direction until General Mark Clark, the final U.N. Commander, signed the Armistice two years later. Although the ever-changing military situation is outlined, the main focus is on policymaking and the developing friction between Truman and MacArthur. Wainstock contradicts the common ...

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Overview

A general history of the critical first year of the Korean War, this study deals primarily with relations between General Douglas MacArthur and President Harry S. Truman from June 1950 to April 1951, a period that defined the war's direction until General Mark Clark, the final U.N. Commander, signed the Armistice two years later. Although the ever-changing military situation is outlined, the main focus is on policymaking and the developing friction between Truman and MacArthur. Wainstock contradicts the common view that MacArthur and Truman were constantly at odds on the basic aims of the war. In the matter of carrying the fight to Communist China, MacArthur and the Joint Chiefs differed only on timing, not on the need for such action.

The end of the Cold War has provided historians with a better opportunity to study the forces that shaped the thinking of America's leaders at the time of the Korean War. The sheer quantity of material now available, while daunting, is filled with colorful and outstanding personalities, dramatic action, and momentous actions that have had an impact on world events even to the present day. Wainstock ultimately concludes that Washington placed too much emphasis on anti-Communist ideology, rather than long-term national interest, in the decision first to intervene in the war and later to cross the crucial 38th Parallel. He also emphasizes the important contributions of General Matthew B. Ridgway in stopping the Chinese offensive and in influencing Washington's decision not to carry the war to Communist China.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This book provides a general history of the early parts of the Korean War, from June 1950 to April 1951, paying particular attention to policy-making and the developing conflicts between Truman and MacArthur over the war's direction. Wainstock (history, Salem-Teikyo U., Salem, West Virginia) confronts issues such as the disagreements between Truman and MacArthur over Formosa and carrying the war to China, the role of the UN in the war, and how the war served American self-interests. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

DENNIS D. WAINSTOCK is an Associate Professor of History at Salem-Teikyo University in Salem, West Virginia.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Background to the Korean War 1
Ch. 1 Invasion and Response 15
Ch. 2 The North Korean Steamroller 31
Ch. 3 MacArthur's Counterattack 45
Ch. 4 Reunification and Red China 59
Ch. 5 Chinese Communist First-Phase Offensive 71
Ch. 6 Chinese Communist Second-Phase Offensive 87
Ch. 7 December's Closing Acts 99
Ch. 8 Defining a Political and Military Policy 111
Ch. 9 MacArthur's Dismissal 121
Ch. 10 Reaction and Return 129
Ch. 11 Recapitulation and Reflection 137
Notes 143
Selected Bibliography 173
Index 183
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