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This chapter examines military attitudes toward “emotional injuries” resulting from the end of romantic relationships. Evaluations of why some men “cracked” evolved substantially from World War I to the present. Often, however, psychiatrists attributed servicemen’s maladies to deficient female love: whether that of mothers or romantic partners. In Vietnam, psychiatrists construed romantic rejection as a “narcissistic injury”: a blow to the ego that led men to decompensate in various ways. Alcoholism, going AWOL, self-harm, and violence directed toward others were all associated with Dear John letters. The chapter considers how the military medical and legal establishments adjudicated unlawful acts perpetrated by servicemen whose intimate relationships had recently been severed by letter. It focuses on two court-martial cases: a Korean War POW who briefly rejected repatriation to the United States in 1953, citing a Dear John as his motive for defection, and a Marine Corps private court-martialled in 1969 for killing four Vietnamese peasants. In the latter case, military lawyers deemed the defendant to have been temporarily insane after his fiancée sent him a Dear John.
Australia’s war effort during the last two years of the Second World War has been the subject of considerable criticism, much of it ill-informed. Some historians have claimed that the operations in Bougainville and New Guinea were part of an ‘unnecessary war’. The British historian Sir Max Hastings went further when he claimed that ‘as the war advanced, grateful as were the Allies for Australia’s huge contribution towards feeding their soldiers, there was sourness about the limited contribution by this country of seven million people’. According to Hastings, the Australians were ‘bludgers’, claiming, for example, that the government cut the army’s size by 22 per cent because of the ‘unpopularity of military service’.
In Strategy and Command, David Horner provides an important insight into the strategic decisions and military commanders who shaped Australia's army history from the Boer War to the evolution of the command structure for the Australian Defence Force in the 2000s. He examines strategic decisions such as whether to go to war, the nature of the forces to be committed to the war, where the forces should be deployed and when to reduce the Australian commitment. The book also recounts decisions made by commanders at the highest level, which are passed on to those at the operational level, who are then required to produce their own plans to achieve the government's aims through military operations. Strategy and Command is a compilation of research and writing on military history by one of Australia's pre-eminent military historians. It is a crucial read for anyone interested in Australia's involvement in 20th-century wars.
Since the turn of the millennium a number of novels that look back to the Korean War have appeared in English including Ha Jin’s War Trash, Hwang Sok-yong’s The Guest, Chang-rae Lee’s The Surrendered and Jayne Anne Phillips’s Lark and Termite. These works issue address a location, the Korean peninsula, that interrupts putatively global frameworks for understanding the contemporary. Korea’s postcoloniality remains suspended as it has manifested in two still divided nation-state and its ongoing civil war testifies to the fact that the Cold War’s putative end is not an entirely global phenomenon. Moreover, these works illuminate how the “contact nebulae” (to use Karen Thornber’s phrase) that define East Asia—the formations of transculturation indigenous to that region—are not only shot through by complex asymmetries of power but also intertwined with more global histories of war and empire. As such, the network of literary examined in this essay contribute to a theorizing of the contemporary and of world literature that is attuned tracking the dynamic interaction of the multiple temporal and spatial registers—global, regional and national—in which various modalities of worlding take place.
Looking at the Korean and Vietnam Wars, we evaluate the influence of casualties disaggregated by space/hometowns and time on mass opinion in both the Korean and Vietnam wars and on individual opinion in the Vietnam War. We find a powerful connection between US casualties and public support for a war consistent with our expectations about the importance of casualty trends, the geographic locations of casualty hometowns, and the interaction of these dynamics. Disaggregated casualties are better able to capture variation in mass public and individual wartime opinion than are logged cumulative national casualties – the standard wartime measure employed. We also find that the wartime information-opinion process operates more strongly in the ex ante identifiable early stages of a conflict, and less effectively later in a conflict when casualty expectations (and thus the value of new information) begin to harden. These results strongly support the general notion that casualty patterns act as an observable proxy for our RP/ETC process by capturing information that individuals draw on to generate ETC and formulate wartime positions, improving our ability to understand and predict wartime opinion.
Chapter 3 continues to tell a cultural history of the nuclear destruction by examining how US survivors reconnected with their families in the United States in the two decades after the war, often through relatives and friends stationed in Japan as part of the American occupation force, the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC; a research institute dedicated to the study of radiation effects on humans), or the US Army at war in Korea. I illuminate how these US institutions in Japan not only offered US survivors employment opportunities (frequently as translators), but also became a major obstacle to quietly hiding and healing from the bomb’s effect. The ABCC was particularly problematic in this regard, because scientists treated all survivors as Japanese whose bodies victorious Americans were entitled to examine, when in fact American survivors were trying to reestablish their US citizenship. American medical scientists’ understanding of survivors disrupted US survivors’ self-perception, causing a cleavage that was to persist in the nuclear medicine for years to come.
Gartner and Segura consider the costs of war – both human and political – by examining the consequences of foreign combat, on domestic politics. The personal costs of war – the military war dead and injured – are the most salient measure of war costs generally and the primary instrument through which war affects domestic politics. The authors posit a general framework for understanding war initiation, war policy and war termination in democratic polities, and the role that citizens and their deaths through conflict play in those policy choices. Employing a variety of empirical methods, they examine multiple wars from the last 100 years, conducting analyses of tens of thousands of individuals across a wide variety of historical and hypothetical conditions, whilst also addressing policy implications. This study will be of interest to students and scholars in American foreign policy, international politics, public opinion, national security, American politics, communication studies, and military history.
Widely regarded as one of the earliest examples of Asian American literature, Younghill Kang’s 1937 novel East Goes West wields many of the signifiers of the immigrant novel, including an incisive critique of American racism and capitalism. However, East Goes West is only a part of his body of work, the majority of which goes ignored by Asian American scholarship. It is an understandable neglect, for Kang’s biography and writing resists conforming to the neat contours of existing paradigms. In one period, he traveled among New York’s literati as a writer, genial native informant, and advocate for Korean liberation from Japanese colonialism, and in another period toiled in obscurity as a journeyman intellectual. Yet even as he did so, glimpses of his ambivalence – veiled criticism of the US literary scene, open admiration of Japanese poetry, and increasing alarm regarding the US empire – complicate the narrative. This chapter frames the entirety of Kang’s work and life through a transpacific lens to fully comprehend his multivalent writerly projects.
At the conclusion of World War II, the Western victors found that the defeated peoples of Germany and Japan ready for a return to the comparative liberalism of the 1920s. In the meantime, there was an emerging conflict—the Cold War—with another victor: the Soviet Union. Soviet support of a military invasion of South Korea by the Communist North in 1950 provoked unwarranted fears of an imminent World War, and these were taken to require the assemblage of a vast arsenal of weapons designed to deter a war that neither side had any intention of starting. The Cold War also came furnished with a set of alarming crises. In the most famous, the Soviets sought in Cuba to solve two problems that essentially didn’t exist: a potential US invasion and a strategic “imbalance” that was irrelevant because neither side had any intention of initiating a nuclear exchange whatever the disparity of the arsenal. But leaders on both sides were successful at keeping the crisis from escalating. Even if the missiles had been installed in Cuba, however, the only consequence would be that, like other nuclear forces, they would have spent the next decades gathering dust.
Describes the circumstances that led to the Accord and the terms of the agreement: removal of the remaining interest rate ceilings in return for a Federal Reserve commitment to support Treasury offerings priced at market.
Adventure magazines constructed a version of World War II and Korea that depicted heroic men as warriors, protectors, and sexual conquerors. Here was both a friendly genre for veterans and a way for curious young men to get a glimpse of what war might be like. Many of these wartime stories were written by veterans themselves. Some wrote to honor their fallen comrades, others to deal with the traumas of war by sharing their experiences, still others to advocate for veterans’ rights and opportunities in an increasingly consumer-oriented society. The narratives were simple in construction, stories of good versus evil revolving around individual men or small groups of heroes. A militarized version of masculinity seemed an antidote to Cold War emasculation. In these storylines, tough men survived the worst of war and proved that democracy could still produce the best soldiers. Adventure magazines also demonstrated that war was meritocratic – anyone could be a hero. Yet the magazines’ stories and the vibrant artwork skirted the harsh realities of war, focusing on individual triumphs rather than the horrors of combat. By avoiding the truths of war’s ugly side, adventure mags constructed a battlefield memory that relied mostly on an imagined reality.
The end of the war released a pent-up demand for goods and services that had long been unavailable, while the task converting a war economy back to peace conditions called for continuing restraint. In asking voters for patience during the 1946 election, Ben Chifley assured them of the benefits that would flow. ‘Australia was entering a golden age’, he said. With so many chafing at the shortage of housing and household goods, the opposition derided the prime minister’s claim, but he was vindicated. The third quarter of the twentieth century was an era of growth unmatched since the second half of the nineteenth century. The population almost doubled, the economy grew threefold. There were jobs for all who wanted them. People lived longer and better. They expended less effort to earn a living, had more money for discretionary expenditure, greater choice and increased leisure.
Following his prizewinning studies of the Vietnam War, renowned anthropologist Heonik Kwon presents this ground-breaking study of the Korean War's enduring legacies seen through the realm of intimate human experience. Kwon boldly reclaims kinship as a vital category in historical and political enquiry and probes the grey zone between the modern and the traditional (and between the civil and the social) in the lived reality of Korea's civil war and the Cold War more broadly. With captivating historical detail and innovative conceptual frames, Kwon's moving, creative analysis provides fresh insights into the Korean conflict, civil war and reconciliation, history and memory and critical political theory.
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.
It is critical to understand how to use military force to achieve the political aim sought. This requires conducting a rational assessment of the situation, developing a strategy or plan for getting there, and determining the means required for fulfilling the plan and achieving the political aim. Critically, one of the worst failures of previous limited war is thinking that the forces must be “limited” because the political objective is. This is a fallacy. One can use overwhelming force in a war fought for a limited political aim. One should – at the least –
The first thing we have to do is fix how we think about limited war. To do this we have to repair how we think about all wars. The basis of our approach is to start with the political aim. This is established by the policymakers. The political and military leaders should then develop a grand strategy for fighting the war, meaning using all of the elements of national power in pursuit of the objective. Military strategy is an important part of this and is supported by operations, which then dictate battles and tactical responses. We must also be careful to avoid jargon and unclear terms such as “total war” because these are based upon undefinable concepts, such as the means used. Existing ideas on limited war are also of little use and must be replaced because they are built upon a Cold War situation that no longer exists, based upon poor and inconsistent definitions, and take as their archetypal case study the Korean War, which is misunderstood by those who write about it. The most prominent limited war writers also assume a form of rationality on the part of opponents that logically cannot be expected.
It is critical to understand the political objective or aim for which the war is being fought. These aims can be offensive, such as seizing a piece of a neighbor’s territory, or defensive, meaning holding what one has. This gives us a firm analytical foundation and the why of the war. One must understand the value each combatant places on the objectives because this helps determine the nature of the war, how long it will be fought, where, and at what cost. But we must remember that the objectives can change. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes this is bad. Leaders must understand when this happens and the effects, because changing the objective means you have embarked upon a different or even a new war and thus changed its nature. For example, the US changed from a limited to an unlimited objective during the Korean War when it decided to destroy the North Korean regime and unify the peninsula. In Iraq in 2003, the US fought the war to overthrow Saddam’s rule – an unlimited aim – but was soon fighting to prop up the new government it had established – a limited, defensive aim. The political aim determines everything.
Beginning with Harry Truman and the Korean War, America’s so-called “first limited war,” too often US leaders have refused to admit that the US is at war, been unclear about what they want, and failed to seek victory. Helping drive this is broken ideas about limited war that intertwine all US thinking about war and poisoned the US ability to fight any war. We need a clear foundation for critically analyzing our wars. The only thing that provides this is the political aim. Do we seek regime change, or something less than this? Anything less is a limited political aim. Our definitions of and ideas about limited war are generally based upon the military means used, something too subjective to provide a basis for analysis. You must understand the aim to understand the nature of the war. If you don’t understand the nature of the war, it is hard to figure out how to win it. Cold War works on limited war also taught us to not seek victory, which injured the US ability to do just this. If you aren’t trying to win the war, you aren’t trying to end it. This leaves us with “forever wars.”
How can you achieve victory in war if you don't have a clear idea of your political objectives and a vision of what victory means? In this provocative challenge to US policy and strategy, Donald Stoker argues that America endures endless wars because its leaders no longer know how to think about war, particularly limited wars. He reveals how ideas on limited war and war in general evolved against the backdrop of American conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. These ideas, he shows, were flawed and have undermined America's ability to understand, wage, and win its wars, and to secure peace afterwards. America's leaders have too often taken the nation to war without understanding what they want or valuing victory, leading to the 'forever wars' of today. Why America Loses Wars dismantles seventy years of misguided thinking and lays the foundations for a new approach to the wars of tomorrow.