The Hidden History of the Korean War: New Edition
By I. F. Stone and introduction by Tim Beal and Gregory Elich
The revival of a classic work of journalism which exposes the gap between the official story and reality
At the height of the McCarthy era and the inception of the Cold War, the great journalist I.F. Stone released The Hidden History of the Korean War, a courageous work of investigative journalism that demolished the official story about America’s so-called “forgotten war.” As the war spiraled to its conclusion, Stone closely analyzed openly available U.S. intelligence narratives on the war’s official start, and the actions of key players like John Foster Dulles, General Douglas MacArthur, and Chiang Kai-shek. The result of his investigations was a controversial book that raised questions about the origin of the war, showed that the U.S. government had manipulated the United Nations, and gave evidence that the U.S. military and South Korean oligarchy dragged out the war by sabotaging peace talks. Stone made a strong case that there were those in the U.S. government and military who saw instability in the region as in the U.S. national interest.
Today, proxy wars are openly practiced for the sake of securing economic dominance—but when it came to news coverage of the Korean War, the story was purposefully buried at the very instant the war set the stage for relations with East Asia. When it was first published in 1952, The Hidden History of the Korean War met with a near-total press blackout and boycott—never receiving a single rebuttal, or answer, from official U.S. sources. First circulated during the long years of the Korean War, and then republished during the Vietnam War, much of what Stone wrote in The Hidden History of the Korean War was further validated forty years after its publication, when declassified documents from U.S., Soviet and Chinese archives illuminated this controversial period in history. With a new introduction by Tim Beal and Gregory Elich, 70 years after its initial publication The Hidden History of the Korean War remains a powerful dissemination of the ‘hidden history’ behind the dominant historical narrative. And as we revisit I.F. Stone today, it further dawns on us that the tangled sequence of events leading to the Korean War were obfuscated in plain sight in order to prep the ground for a never-ending Cold War which aims to secure enduring American hegemony in East Asia, above all else.
May 2023, 408 pages. Monthly Review.