In from the Cold

In from the Cold

Reflections on Australia’s Korean War

Edited by: John Blaxland orcid, Michael Kelly, Liam Brewin Higgins

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Open hostilities in the Korean War ended on the 27th of July 1953. The armistice that was signed at that time remains the poignant symbol of an incomplete conclusion – of a war that retains a distinct possibility of resuming at short notice.

So what did Australia contribute to the Korean War from June 1950 to July 1953? What were the Australians doing there? How significant was the contribution and what difference did it make? What has that meant for Australia since then, and what might that mean for Australia into the future?

Australians served at sea, on land and in the air alongside their United Nations partners during the war. They fought with distinction, from bitterly cold mountain tops, to the frozen decks of aircraft carriers and in dogfights overhead. This book includes the perspectives of leading academics, practitioners and veterans contributing fresh ideas on the conduct and legacy of the Korean War. International perspectives from allies and adversaries provide contrasting counterpoints that help create a more nuanced understanding of Australia’s relatively small but nonetheless important contribution of forces in the Korean War. The book finishes with some reflections on implications that the Korean War still carries for Australia and the world to this day.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Mar 2020
ANU Press
Australian War Memorial
Arts & Humanities: History; Social Sciences: Military & Defence Studies
Australia; East Asia: North Korea, South Korea

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In from the Cold »

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Part 1. Politics by other means: Strategic aims and responses (PDF, 1.7MB)

  1. Setting a new paradigm in world order: The United Nations action in Korea (PDF, 0.2MB)Robert O’Neill doi
  2. The Korean War: Which one? When? (PDF, 0.2MB)Allan Millett doi
  3. China’s war for Korea: Geostrategic decisions, war-fighting experience and high-priced benefits from intervention, 1950–53 (PDF, 0.3MB)Xiaobing Li doi
  4. Fighting in the giants’ playground: Australians in the Korean War (PDF, 0.2MB)Cameron Forbes doi
  5. The transformation of the Republic of Korea Army: Wartime expansion and doctrine changes, 1951–53 (PDF, 0.2MB)Jongnam Na doi

Part 2. Korean skies and Korean waters (PDF, 0.8MB)

  1. The air war in Korea: Coalition air power in the context of limited war (PDF, 0.2MB)Richard Hallion doi
  2. Offensive air operations over Korea: The first challenge for Australian naval aviation (PDF, 0.3MB)Jack McAffrie doi

Part 3. From generals to lieutenants: Command in the war (PDF, 0.8MB)

  1. Australian higher command in the Korean War: The experience of Brigadier John Wilton (PDF, 0.2MB)David Horner doi
  2. The reliving of minor tactics: Reflections of a platoon commander’s war in Korea (PDF, 0.2MB)Colin Kahn doi

Part 4. The war on the ground (PDF, 2.2MB)

  1. The Battle of Maryang San: Australia’s finest feat of arms in the Korean War? (PDF, 0.2MB)Bob Breen doi
  2. Conquering Kowang San, Assaulting United: Myth and misunderstanding in the shade of Maryang San, October 1951 (PDF, 0.2MB)Nigel Steel doi
  3. The Battle for Hill 317 (Maryang San): One man’s account (PDF, 0.2MB)William Purves doi
  4. The Samichon: A final barb in the Hook, 24–27 July 1953 (PDF, 0.2MB)Michael Kelly doi
  5. Continuing the legacy and beginning a new era: Australian nursing in the Korean War (PDF, 0.2MB)Rebecca Fleming doi

Part 5. Legacies (PDF, 1.0MB)

  1. From Korea to Vietnam: Australian strategic policy after the Korean War (PDF, 0.2MB)Peter Edwards doi
  2. China and the Koreas: An Australian perspective (PDF, 0.2MB)Rowan Callick doi

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