Skip to comments.Carpet-Bombing Falsehoods About a War Thatís Little Understood (Korean war revisionism)
Posted on 07/22/2010 9:10:24 AM PDT by reaganaut1
Bruce Cumingss Korean War, [is] a powerful revisionist history of Americas intervention in Korea. Beneath its bland title, Mr. Cumingss book is a squirm-inducing assault on Americas moral behavior during the Korean War, a conflict that he says is misremembered when it is remembered at all. Its a book that puts the reflexive anti-Americanism of North Koreas leaders into sympathetic historical context.
Mr. Cumings is chairman of the history department at the University of Chicago and the author of The Origins of the Korean War, a respected two-volume survey. He mows down a host of myths about the war in his short new book, which is a distillation of his own scholarship and that of many other historians. But he begins by mowing down David Halberstam.
Mr. Cumings, who admires Mr. Halberstams writing about Vietnam, plucks the wings from The Coldest Winter, Mr. Halberstams 2007 book about the Korean War. The book, he argues, makes all the classic mistakes popular American historians tend to make about this little understood war.
Mr. Halberstams book is among those that evince almost no knowledge of Korea or its history and barely get past two or three Korean names, Mr. Cumings writes. Halberstam mentions the U.S. Military Government from 1945 to 1948, which deeply shaped postwar Korean history in one sentence, he adds. There is absolutely nothing on the atrocious massacres of this war, or the American incendiary bombing campaigns. Ouch.
Americans need to get past the idea, Mr. Cumings says, that the Korean War was a discrete, encapsulated story that began in 1950, when the United States intervened to help push the Communist north out of the south of Korea, and ended in 1953, after the war bogged down in a stalemate.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I wonder what fraction of young people know the U.S. fought in the Korean War, or even approximately when it occurred.
i saw it all at the 4077th... for 9 long years the brave north koreans battled to save their country from the intrepid likes of american fascists like winchester and honeycutt who sought to oppress the prolitariat in their capitalist ways...
In American academia, all you need to do is set the US in a bad light, make a bold controversial claim....... American is sort of like modern art, a pile of $hit that really says nothing to anyone but has self loving pseudo intellectual idiots that want to be different standing around and pontificating about its meaning. of course they all have their Euro gay shoes and glasses while they discuss the deep meaning of a Piss Christ or some work by Boise.
What you have today is that the “documentary,” even the “hard sciences,” are being contaminated with what amounts to BS (non scientific, illogical, mass produced junk that is marketed and sold like Global Warming). Look at Michael Moore and his so called documentaries. Crap....crap.....crap. But it sells, and it makes self important people have something to talk about, it allows them to feel like they have some depth, sophistication, culture...... Morons.
What do you expect from a lefty writing revisionist history about a communist fomented “civil war” and subsequent invasion by the chicoms? Notice that the review doesn’t even mention China?
Let's compare the two areas today. First we'll send Cumings on sabatical to North Korea for two years. Then we'll fatten him back up by sending him to the SK.
I don't recall the exact number produced by a survey but remember being astonished at how many Americans believe that WW II was fought in XIX century --- against the British. What should we expect them to know about a smaller war such as Korean?
I would automatically distrust any “history” written after about 1975 or so. Some of them may be creditable; most are little more than revisionist propaganda, attempts to erase our country’s future by rewriting its past.
Thanks for that link...I will check it out.
(one of my favorite aspects of FR is the abundance of great book recommendations I garner from being here...so...thank YOU!)
All I know is that the north korean commies fired on and hit the ship my Dad was on in 1952...and they’re still threatening anybody and everybody with war...
< sarc >
Carpet bombing in Korea...less than half of one percent of all missions during the war consisted of any type of strategic bombing...most missions were tactical support missions let by early model jets and a few B-26s and P51s from WW2.
Perhaps if MacArthur had has his way, everything north of the 38 Parallel, and definitely near to the Yalu River would have been a nuclear cinder however, that was never authorized by DC and NEVER happened.
“His book is a bitter pill, a sobering corrective.”
This book is BS.
The review of the new book gives no examples of any reliable evidence, so it is difficult even to assess its claims.
However, the author claims that we are ignorant in regarding North Korea as Stalinist. There is a difference, of course. But then to prove his point he says that there were never great purges in North Korea. The author (and reviewer) do not know the facts.
Kim Il Sung systematically eliminated all his opposition, including better-known communists. In one of his official biographies, it explains that when his forces were almost eliminated from Korea, he surprised everyone by launching a new, thorough purge. At the point when we are so weak, why does the Leader conduct a purge? people wondered. But the genius of the Leader (so his biography says) is that he realized that this was the best time to conduct a purge, to strengthen the resolve of his forces.
So there is evidence even in North Korean accounts, that purges were characteristic of the Kim regime. We have modern, first-person accounts of the prison camps in North Korea, and an interesting point is that most of them are by people who were imprisoned for rather minor reasons, or for being related to some suspected opponent. This is typical of a terror regime, and is just like Solzhenitsyn’s account in Gulag Archipelago.
The review reads more like a press release by the publisher. There is absolutely no attempt at balance, the reviewer seems completely unaware of any countervailing or contrary opinions, except to dismiss them, even the distinctly liberal David Halberstam’s.
No serious historian would make any of generalizations and conclusions that Professor Cumings toss off so casually.
My uncle was flying seaplanes at the end of WW2 and was stationed in north east Korea on the South China Sea. Planes from his group flying along the Manchurian border were fired upon by Russian planes. By then, our planes were dearmed. He mentioned this go me last week, again, saying he wanted to put the guns back in the planes and go up and get em. No luck.
Prior to the Korean war, the Stalin directed army had massacured many Japanese civilians who had settled into this area during the war between China and Japan.
Perhaps Professor Cumings and the progressives are preparing us for a Kim style regime rather than a Stalinist society?
I just thought it was an extraordinarily breathless and informationless review. It’s as if this was the first time the reviewer had ever heard of the Korean War.
Agreed, the don’t need facts because they have ideology.
I suppose most Americans got their impression of the Korean war from MASH. I avoided watching it, but to my knowledge the possibility that any Chinese soldiers were involved was never hinted at.
I read that when I was a sophomore in high school. Other books that I read as a teenager are listed here.
It deeply impressed me ... I asked my (retired officer) father about it, and he pulled the book off his shelf and handed it to me. It had been required reading for him as a junior officer.
It's well worth reading several times. I have my own copy, now.
Concur with “extraordinarily breathless and informationless review.” Reviewer didn’t cover the author and book as much as he lectured us with Cummings’ revisionist claims.
Bruce Cumings is a well-known scholar who is notorious for his pro-North Korea leanings and his Bash-America-First prose.
a squirm-inducing assault on Americas moral behavior during the Korean War
When will academia in America have a moment of honesty...
and just merge their departments of history with their creative
loved klinger... who’s transvestitism was just a ploy to get out... and not a lifestyle choice was a funny bit... lessened to some extent as the season went on...
i remember as a youngster thinking it was about the two vietnams, but realized i was mistaken when i found out i was living in two americas... aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggh
when will this conditioning stop....
Cumings is chairman of the history department at the University of ChicagoHuge surprise.
That’s a lie right there. The American forces firebombed entire towns and effectively destroyed most of the civilian infrastructure of North Korea as they were retreating from the PLA.
I’ve heard from actual surviving veterans of the war(on the Chinese side), about dozens, sometimes scores of frozen PLA and NK corpses, sometimes stripped naked in -40 degree weather, shot in the back of their heads execution style by U.S and UK marines.
And yes, from what I’ve heard as a child, PLA and NK troops did also committed atrocities, they would gag U.S Marines and then bayonet them in the stomach so that they would die slow and suffer as much as possible.
War is hell.
OK dude!! So you’re a Chicom pretending to be an American. Paid well by your Chicom slave drivers are you?
Hey, I’m as American as you are. Besides, I’m just recounting stories I heard as a kid from actual veterans of the Korean war. I’ve no doubt as to the honesty of those accounts, or do you believe that the U.S military is lily white and incapable of war crimes?