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

Recent Histories of (Local) Violence in the Korean War

Today I received a stunning new text: Su-kyoung Hwang’s monograph Korea’s Grievous War (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). A link to the publisher’s description of the book is here. Dr. Hwang received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, teaches at the University of Sydney, and has put together a very impressive work. She appears to go well beyond the issues laid out in Kim Dong-choon’s book from … Continue reading Recent Histories of (Local) Violence in the Korean War

Occupying North Korea, Witnessing Massacre? Military Sources and the Question of US/UK Forces in Sinchon

The North Korean state claims that US troops arrived in Sinchon, Hwanghae province, on 17 October 1950 and promptly began butchering civilians, culminating in over 35,000 dead by the time of their retreat on 7 December. To my knowledge, no serious writing outside of North Korea has been made to determine if the body count is accurate. However, writers and scholars like Hwang Sok-yong and Kim … Continue reading Occupying North Korea, Witnessing Massacre? Military Sources and the Question of US/UK Forces in Sinchon

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