Guide The Korean War: An Interpretative History (Warfare and History)

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Although they all have in common that they depicted the lived experience of war, the way they were staged may also differ considerably from one state to another, reflecting a divided body of nations with different local concerns and, to some extent, different visions of the events. As pointed out earlier, most architects chose the nylon twill hooded ponchos soldiers used in the winter to illustrate the Korean War. The statues were made with more or less sophisticated combat boots, perhaps to symbolize the unpreparedness of US soldiers as realistically as possible.

Yet they all seem to have privileged an arguably informative and factual approach in their respective designs, with some significant exceptions. When the project was voted, it was decided that the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, like many other memorials, would incorporate the figures of both total US and UN deaths, though there were little discrepancies in the exact number of deaths.

The Korean Conflict

Instead, the ghostly figures in the Wall of Remembrance stand for the forgotten ones, including women and religious minorities like Jews. Interestingly, each panel contains part of a narrative of the conflict, with a short section about the pre-war context. What the whole narrative does not indicate, as it reduces the war to informative speech Barthes , is how they were killed, who took their lives or how those who witnessed, and perhaps even caused, these deaths live d with the trauma on both sides.

As new dead bodies were still unearthed in Korea by the s, different means have been employed to acquiesce the forgotten realities of war, especially after South Korea declassified some archives, including photographs capturing atrocities committed against Korean bodies by the South and endorsed by the US. In these paintings, the same propaganda strategies were used—the dehumanized figure of the American soldier suggests his lack of humanity towards the frail bodies of old people, young women and toddlers. It follows that Korean civilian figures who were caught between the controlled body of the US and North Korean soldiers remain unaccounted for in the memorialization of the war.

This suggests that while some bodies are sacred, others are unfit and perhaps even abject as they defile official historical discourses by shedding new light on aspects of the war that tend to be forgotten, such as war crimes for example. The latter is a derivative trope which infers meaning to the sacrifice of American bodies.

Korean War Revivalism in DPRK: Historical Consolidation and Personality Cults | Sino-NK

For the same reason, in order to represent the free world, the consecration of American bodies of memory was meant to be more inclusive in respect to the diversity of the US population. The Korean War was indeed the first that the US fought with a desegregated—or rather desegregating—army. Myrdal that had ever so slightly threatened the international reputation of the US during the Second World War had partly been resolved. To be represented, the Korean body has to be consistent with a given set of discourses and practices to fill the signifying blank left by the symbolic function of war in the creation of identities and boundaries in the post-colonial world.

If it cannot be consecrated, the Korean body then becomes part of the abject, i. Indeed, not only do wars have strict codes that shape the body, they also become the focus of a broader civilization process Elias that transcends them inexorably. The body proved to be flexible and multidimensional enough a concept to be taken in terms of representations exclusively. Because of its relationality, it clearly raises cultural and historiographic stakes making the understanding of the war phenomenon even more complex because it moves away from traditional paradigms to shift the focus onto the war phenomenon as it was bodily lived and as it was remembered from one country to another.

Table of contents

It is also essential to understand what separates the Korean War as it happened from its memorialization, commemoration and politicization on both sides of the Pacific. As far as US-Korea relations are concerned, there are numerous political and civic implications to this: insofar as the episteme of war constrains alternative discourses, it simultaneously creates the possibility of its own revocation.

As it was recently illustrated by the conjoined twins in T. Collective acts of remembrance reflecting the periodicities of political life on both sides of the Pacific indicate two antagonistic trends. Firstly, it highlights the formation of an international body of collective memories of war but always in opposition to an antibody or a nobody. As they can dehumanize individual bodies to turn them into enemies, these organizational bodies of memory wield power of legitimate violence. As these memories are always the products of a particular historical perception, commemoration endows the disincarnate ghost of the war with a body and shapes it according to specific discursive conventions pulling historic events out of their context and calling into question the cultural peculiarities of all the international actors that it seeks to incorporate into what could be called an exclusive regime of historicity.

All the references listed below were consulted to write this paper, including some that are not directly cited. In Naval War College Review. Paris: PUF, Barron, Leo. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, Barthes, Roland. Basaure, Mauro. Simon Susen and Bryan S. New York: Anthem Press, Bellah, Robert C. Jeffrey C. Alexander and Philip Smith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Brewer, Susan A. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Baik, Bong. Beyrouth: Dar al-Talia, Bourdieu, Pierre.


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Pascalian Meditations. Nice trans. Cambridge: Polity, The Logic of Practice. Stanford: Stanford University Press, Bouthoul, Gaston. Butler, Judith. London, UK: Verso, New York: Verso, Casey, Steven. Cho, Grace M. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Choi, Suhi. Reno: University of Nevada Press, Cole, Sarah.


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War and Cold War in American Foreign Policy –62 | SpringerLink

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