Documenting Coastal Night Raids of North Korea, October 1950

Among the unique sources for Korean War history available in the United Kingdom, those associated with Labour MP Tom Driberg are particularly intriguing. I first became aware of Driberg as part of an article project entitled ‘British Responses to Korean War Crimes’ (co-authored with Hannah Dawson, forthcoming in English Historical Review, 2019). Initially, Driberg appeared as a voice of conscience in the House of Commons calling … Continue reading Documenting Coastal Night Raids of North Korea, October 1950

Poking the Wasp Nest: Shen Zhihua’s Controversial Speech on North Korea

Why should we care about scholars in China, or the complaints they have toward North Korea? Usually, readers take interest in Chinese scholarly debates because something specific and enticing has been translated into English implying that a Beijing policy shift toward North Korea may be in the offing.    Shen Zhihua’s March 2017 speech in Dalian became the latest in this periodic series of subterranean … Continue reading Poking the Wasp Nest: Shen Zhihua’s Controversial Speech on North Korea

Napalm and Invasion: North Korean War Memory and British Sources

In a recent post on his black-and-white personal blog, the North Korea scholar B.R. Myers criticizes a recent ream of journalistic think pieces about the function of Korean War memory in the DPRK. The essays, Myers writes, uncritically accept the argument that North Korean memories of US bombing from 1950-53 are a foremost justification today for the pursuit of a nuclear deterrent. To put it another way, Myers … Continue reading Napalm and Invasion: North Korean War Memory and British Sources

Britain’s Global Cold War: Publications by Alexander Nicholas Shaw

One of the nice things about my job is that I get to work with some the most talented young historians in the field today. Alexander Shaw is one of those  working and publishing in international history. He is active in archives including the UK ‘Migrated Archives’ and addresses many questions pertinent to readers of this website. His work on British policy towards East & Southeast … Continue reading Britain’s Global Cold War: Publications by Alexander Nicholas Shaw

The Bombs Kept Falling in the Wake of Hiroshima

In a Saturday essay for the Yorkshire Post, a very fine newspaper based in Leeds, I argue that there is more continuity than rupture in the historical legacy of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima: On the 70th anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima, it bears recalling that it was the atomic method of devastation, and not the devastation itself, that shocked observers in 1945. The … Continue reading The Bombs Kept Falling in the Wake of Hiroshima

On Memorial Day, and Korea

One day in May back in the 1990s, an old man stood about ten meters from a small flag on my father’s grave in Minnesota and gave a speech about Korea, the ‘forgotten war.’ For me, the war hadn’t been so much forgotten as learned and immediately neglected. One simple dot-matrix printout had been made (being a hoarder who needs to read everything multiple times … Continue reading On Memorial Day, and Korea

Notes on the Sinchon Massacre

The death of North Korean civilians at Sinchon is significant on a few levels. On the one hand, it calls our attention to the always fractious topic of war crimes in Korea, and the contested nature of the memory of those crimes. On the other hand, the Sinchon massacre has underpinned a great deal of anti-U.S. propaganda in the DPRK and today remains a touchstone … Continue reading Notes on the Sinchon Massacre