The Korean War occupies a unique place in American history and foreign policy. Because it followed closely after World War II and ushered in a new era of military action as the first hot conflict of the cold war, the Korean War was marketed as an entirely new kind of military campaign. But how were the war-weary American people convinced that the limited objectives of the Korean War were of paramount importance to the nation?
In this ground-breaking book, Steven Casey deftly analyzes the Truman and Eisenhower administrations' determined efforts to shape public discourse about the war, influence media coverage of the conflict, and gain political support for their overall approach to waging the Cold War, while also trying to avoid inciting a hysteria that would make it difficult to localize the conflict. The first in-depth study of Truman's and Eisenhower's efforts to garner and sustain support for the war, Selling the Korean War weaves a lucid tale of the interactions between the president and government officials, journalists, and public opinion that ultimately produced the twentieth century concept of limited war.
It has been popularly thought that the public is instinctively hostile towards any war fought for less than total victory, but Casey shows that limited wars place major constraints on what the government can say and do. He also demonstrates how the Truman administration skillfully rededicated and redefined the war as it dragged on with mounting casualties. Using a rich array of previously untapped archival resources--including official government documents, and the papers of leading congressmen, newspaper editors, and war correspondents--Casey's work promises to be the definitive word on the relationship between presidents and public opinion during America's "forgotten war."