Cover: Canada and the Korean War: Histories and Legacies of a Cold War Conflict, edited by Andrew Burtch and Tim Cook. Black-and-white photo: A soldier, looking directly at the camera, using his rifle as a crutch. His other arm is slung over the shoulders of another soldier, who is helping him make his way through the mud.
360 pages, 6 x 9
12 colour photos, 17 b&w photos, 6 maps
Release Date:01 May 2024

Canada and the Korean War

Histories and Legacies of a Cold War Conflict

Edited by Andrew Burtch and Tim Cook
UBC Press

Korea was the first hot war of the Cold War. It was also Canada’s most significant military engagement of the twentieth century following the two world wars. Canada and the Korean War gathers leading scholars to explore the key themes and battles of a seminal yet understudied conflict.

Canada had little stake and less interest in Korea before 1950, but the risk the conflict posed to the fragile postwar order was deemed too great for the country to stand on the sidelines. From 1950 to 1953, more than 30,000 Canadian military personnel served in the Korean War theatre, and “peacetime” defence spending reached an unprecedented level. Alongside the emerging American superpower, local forces, and Commonwealth allies, Canadians fought a determined, inventive enemy on the land, at sea, and in the air. The eventual armistice left an uneasily divided peninsula.

This timely collection synthesizes Canadian and international perspectives on a conflict that shaped not only the Canadian armed forces but also the evolving Canada-Korea relationship. In the process, Canada and the Korean War sheds light on how the war has been framed and reframed in public memory.

This superb study will interest members of the American, British, Chinese, and Korean military history community and will be highly relevant for undergraduate classes in Canadian military history, international history, and the Cold War. More broadly, its readership will extend to Canadian veterans, their families, and those with a general interest in Canadian military history.

Most Canadians may have forgotten the Korean War but many scholars have not. These very good essays look at Canada’s involvement in the conflict and also at the role of China, the two Koreas, the United States, and the Commonwealth. The coverage includes prisoners of war, veterans, medicine, and commemorations, and this is a very useful book for everyone interested in a conflict that, almost seventy-five years after it began, remains unresolved. J.L. Granatstein, author of Canada’s Army: Waging War and Keeping the Peace
These essays, masterfully edited by Andrew Burtch and Tim Cook, should forever make sure that the Korean War is Canada’s forgotten war no longer. Although the war may not have been a decisive one, the contributors show here how important it was (and is) to understanding our world. Michael S. Neiberg, author of When France Fell: The Vichy Crisis and the Fate of the Anglo-American Alliance
Korean War literature from a Canadian perspective has been sparse, until now. Every reader of Canada and the Korean War will learn about an aspect of the Korean War that they knew – and perhaps have thought – little about. Stephen Harris, chief historian, Directorate of History and Heritage, National Defence Headquarters
Andrew Burtch and Tim Cook have provided readers with one-stop shopping for anyone interested in Canada’s role in the Korean War. They are to be congratulated. Serge Durflinger, professor, History, University of Ottawa

Andrew Burtch is the Canadian War Museum’s historian for the post-1945 period and an adjunct research professor in the Department of History at Carleton University. He is the author of Give Me Shelter: The Failure of Canada’s Cold War Civil Defence, which received the C.P. Stacey Award for Military History.

Tim Cook, CM, FRSC, is the chief historian and director of research at the Canadian War Museum. He is a frequent media commentator and the author of over a dozen best-selling books. He is a four-time winner of the Ottawa Book Award for Literary Non-Fiction, two-time winner of the J.W. Dafoe Award, two-time winner of the C.P. Stacey Award for Military History, and recipient of the Charles Taylor Award for Literary Non-Fiction. For his contributions to Canadian history, he has been recognized with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, and the Governor General’s History Award. He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Order of Canada.

Contributors: Ted Barris, Meghan Fitzpatrick, Norman Hillmer, William Johnston, Youngjun Kim, Xiaobing Li, Brian McAllister Linn, Hector Mackenzie, S.P. MacKenzie, Richard Mayne, Tina J. Park, Ryan Touhey, Jonathan Vance, Michael Whitby

Introduction / Andrew Burtch and Tim Cook

Part 1: Canada, Korea, and Politics

1 Alignment without Illusions: Canada’s World, 1945–50 / Hector Mackenzie and Norman Hillmer

2 Canadian Political Leadership and the Korean War / Ryan M. Touhey

Part 2: Canada, Korea, and the War

3 The US Army and the Battle for Korea, 1950: Lessons Learned / Brian McAllister Linn

4 The Canadian Naval Experience Off Korea / Michael Whitby

5 Cut and Thrust: The Canadian Army in Korea, June 1950–October 1951 / William Johnston

6 Canada’s Defensive Battle, 1951–53 / William Johnston

7 The Commonwealth Division / S.P. MacKenzie

8 The Royal Canadian Air Force in the Korean War / Richard Mayne

9 China’s Battles for Korea / Xiaobing Li

10 Flesh and Blood: The Commonwealth Division and Medical Care in the Korean War / Meghan Fitzpatrick

11 Canada’s Korean War Dead / Andrew Burtch

Part 3: Korean War Memories and Legacies

12 The Korean War’s Prisoners / Jonathan Vance

13 Returning Home: The Canadian Veterans’ Experience / Ted Barris

14 The Korean War’s Impact on the Republic of Korea Army and the Korean People’s Army / Youngjun Kim

15 Canadian-Korean Relations since the Korean War / Tina J. Park

16 Canada’s Korean War in Commemoration, Memorials, and Memory / Tim Cook and Andrew Burtch

Selected Bibliography; Index

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