AUTHORDingman, Roger
TITLEAtomic Diplomacy During the Korean War
PERIODICAL TITLEInternational Security
DATE PUBLISHEDWinter 1988-1989
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This article charts the development of "atomic diplomacy" during the Korean War, examining the military and political calculations surrounding nuclear weapons from 1950 to 1953. It demonstrates that the nature of U.S. involvement in Korea was driven not by tactical military goals but rather by a perception of nuclear superiority. Drawing from declassified top-secret materials from the period, the author details the U.S. attempt to utilize nuclear capability as a primary tool of conflict management. Moving chronologically, the author covers major events and decisions, many of which reveal diplomatic and military actions to be at odds with political intentions. The author's analysis supports the view that the Korean War was, for the U.S., the first in a "series of lessons that would eventually produce full understanding of the paradox of nuclear weapons: they confer upon those who possess them more responsibility for restraint than disposable power" (p. 91).

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