At the time it was fought, the war in Korea was unique in recent American military experience. Unlike World Wars I and II, which were vigorously prosecuted on the battlefield until the enemy surrendered unconditionally, the Korean conflict ended without clear-cut military victory for either side. It was fought with limited means for limited objectives. In fact, political efforts to resolve the conflict at the negotiating table predominated during the last two years of the conflict. During this period, neither side sought a decision by military means. The conflict in Korea also was an important milestone in the "cold war" relations between the Communist and non-Communist nations. By launching an unprovoked attack on a militarily insignificant country located in an area where none of their vital interests were involved, the Communists appeared to leaders of the non-Communist states to be giving proof of their aggressive designs for world domination. As a result, the United States reversed the policy of reducing its military establishment and launched an impressive expansion of its armed forces. At the same time, the United States joined with its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partners to create a military command for the alliance and to incorporate German forces in it. In the Far East, the United States also acted to shore up the defenses of the non-Communist world by entering into treaties with Australia and New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, and Nationalist China. The Korean War provided the first wartime test for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acting as part of the machinery set up by the National Security Act of 1947 and its 1949 amendment. In this capacity, they provided strategic direction to the United Nations (UN) forces in the field and were the agency by which President Truman exercised overall control of war strategy. When the focus shifted from combat to armistice negotiations, the JCS continued to play an active role.
Washington D.C. : Defense Technical Information Center, 1998.
Book — 1 online resource (xi, 338 pages) : illustrations
Established during World War II to advise the President regarding the strategic direction of the armed forces of the United States, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) continued in existence after the war and, as military advisers and planners, have played a significant role in the development of national policy. Knowledge of JCS relations with the President, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense in the years since World War II is essential to an understanding of their current work. An account of their activity in peacetime and during times of crisis provides, moreover, an important series of chapters in the military history of the United States. For these reasons, the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed that an official history be written for the record. Its value for instructional purposes, for the orientation of officers newly assigned to the JCS organization, and as a source of information for staff studies will be readily recognized. The series, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Policy, treats the activities of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since the close of World War II. Because of the nature of the activities of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as the sensitivity of the sources, the volumes of the series were originally prepared in classified form. Classification designations, in text and footnotes, are those that appeared in the original classified volume. Following review and declassification, the initial four volumes, covering the years 1945 to 1952 and the Korean war, were distributed in unclassified form within the Department of Defense and copies were deposited with the National Archives and Records Administration. These volumes are now being made available as official publications.