Wrong Turns In Korea

Miscalculations and blunders by world leaders precipitated the Korean War 60 years ago

On its 60th anniversary, the Korean War looks much like Vietnam, a pointless conflict that gained nothing for those who began it: North Korea’s Kim Il-sung and South Korea’s Syngman Rhee, with the consent of the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin and China’s Mao Zedong. Yet it was far worse than that: The bloodletting in that corner of northeast Asia was an exercise in human folly that cost all sides in the fighting nearly 4 million lives lost, missing, and wounded, not to mention the devastation of the peninsula from Pusan in the south to the Yalu River in the north. Not a single northern or southern Korean city escaped the ravages wrought by modern warfare. Public buildings and private homes were turned into piles of rubble, while thousands of refugees fled from the scenes of battle.

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The Ten Best Secretaries Of State…

When the first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, took office in 1790, his entire staff consisted of just six people, including himself and a part-time translator. The current Secretary presides over almost fifteen thousand employees scattered around the globe. During the intervening years, of course, the challenges facing Jefferson’s successors have changed dramatically as the infant republic has grown into a world power. Read more »

Dear Boss:

Unpublished letters from Dean Acheson to Ex-President Harry Truman

Dean Acheson, who served as Secretary of State under Harry S Truman from 1949 to 1953, kept up a lively and unusual correspondence with the former President after the two men left office. Acheson's letters were lively because their author was a witty and elegant writer; they were unusual because he was no sycophant. The letters reflect Acheson s respect and affection for his chief, along with a readiness to assert his own views that mixed inquiry, mischief, advice, and admonition, befitting a correspondence between two retired statesmen in a democracy.Read more »

Journey Into Our Times

The “conversion” of Arthur Vandenberg, told by a former Secretary of State, his sometime adversary but also his friend

 

The first time I worked with Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg was fairly early in the course of that change in his outlook on the world which one might call his long day’s journey into our times.

 
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