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Episode 28: London Stalling, introduces us to the British participation in the Korean War, and how utterly transfixed on the American partnership Clement Atlee's administration was. A guiding reason why the British and their Commonwealth allies took part in the Korean War can be explained by the Anglo-American partnership, and the pressures felt in London to support Washington in Asia, even though their policies and interests frequently conflicted there.
Several times, British and American allies butted heads over what to do in Korea, and the issue of how far to proceed once across the border and into North Korea was a very hot, sensitive topic as well. Once the Chinese intervened, the British felt all of their aims go up in smoke, and wished only to end the war as quickly as possible so that the defence of Western Europe could properly be organised. Rearmament, unlike in the US, was not a net positive for British policymakers, but a terrible cost, and it led to skimping on other plans such as the NHS in the name of the increasingly unpopular war. In this first of two part examination of the Anglo-American relationship in the Korean War, we see that initial optimism and passion for defending a victim of aggression soon degenerated into a campaign of diplomatic self-interest, and then into a dreary, messy stalemate which the British found they could not escape from.
Yet, in summer 1950, it could not be known where the war would end up, and positivity, twinned with the defence of its ally's interests, moved the British government to invest itself heavily in Korea, even while the shadow of the Second World War still loomed large and visibly in the British consciousness, not to mention in the every day lives of its citizens. The British had won World War 2, but they had been made to feel like a defeated nation ever since. Now their government, for a variety of reasons, had committed itself to yet another conflict which it could not afford. This was a July Crisis in 1950, but it was one of a very different nature to that experienced 36 years before.
"I Can't Escape From You", by Bing Crosby, released in 1936. Available:https://archive.org/…/78_i-cant-escape-from-you_bing-crosby…
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