The Korean War in Britain

Citizenship, selfhood and forgetting

By Grace Huxford

The Korean War in Britain


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1895-0
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: May 2018
  • BIC Category: Modern History, History, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, HISTORY / Military / Korean War, Humanities / Social & cultural history, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Korean War
  • Series: Cultural History of Modern War


The Korean War in Britain explores the social and cultural impact of the Korean War (1950-53) on Britain. Coming just five years after the ravages of the Second World War, Korea was a deeply unsettling moment in post-war British history. From allegations about American use of 'germ' warfare to anxiety over Communist use of 'brainwashing' and treachery at home, the Korean War precipitated a series of short-lived panics in 1950s Britain. But by the time of its uneasy ceasefire in 1953, the war was becoming increasingly forgotten. Using Mass Observation surveys, letters, diaries and a wide range of under-explored contemporary material, this book charts the war's changing position in British popular imagination and asks how it became known as the 'Forgotten War'. It explores the war in a variety of viewpoints - conscript, POW, protester and veteran - and is essential reading for anyone interested in Britain's Cold War past.


'The book's greatest strength lies in the way in which it covers broad and challenging themes - identity, masculinity, popular opinion, citizenship, and memory, to name just a few - while never losing sight of the centrality of the war itself. It consistently knits together the larger discussions and grounds them firmly within the historical context of the early Cold War. In this way, the book makes a significant contribution to scholarship on this topic and goes some way to ensuring that the Korean War will not be forgotten.'
Charlie Hall, University of Kent, Journal of Contemporary History Book Reviews, Vol. 54, Issue 3

'Huxford's is [therefore] both an essential book for those interested in the Korean War and the domestic history of the Cold War. It is also a fruitful jumping-off point for future work on how the Cold War was experienced and how historians can approach the topic.'
Twentieth Century British History


Introduction: The Korean War in Britain
1. No woman wants any more war: popular responses to the outbreak of war
2. You're in Korea my son: experiencing battle
3. Citizen soldiers: national servicemen in the Korean War
4. Brainwashing in Britain: Korean War prisoners of war
5. How to bring the boys home: popular opposition to the Korean War
6. Forgetting Korea: the Korean War in popular memory, 1953-2014


Grace Huxford is Lecturer in British History at the University of Bristol

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