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3 - The Elusive Peace of Panmunjom

from Part I - The Anti-linear Cold War

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2019

Matthew Craven
Affiliation:
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Sundhya Pahuja
Affiliation:
University of Melbourne
Gerry Simpson
Affiliation:
London School of Economics and Political Science
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Summary

Focusing upon the more-or-less contemporaneous Korean war, and the agreement ending the war at Panmunjom in 1953, this chapter focuses upon the way in which the Cold War is evoked, not in terms of a singular event with a singular beginning and a singular ending but, rather, as a series of events with multiple points of beginning and even multiple endings – an ‘end’ that does not occur all at once but is delivered in a series of instalments through time. In light of that analysis the question is raised whether the announcement that the Cold War is over is not merely a way of keeping it alive, preserving its historical valence in the present through its repression. What this brings into view, it is suggested, is the idea that the Cold War was not simply a titanic contest between self-styled hegemons, but rather a headlong struggle for the supreme model of political organisation in which command over history itself is one of the necessary objectives.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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