Korean War, International Relations, Britain


This paper considers Britain’s involvement in the Korean War. It argues that Britain’s developing relationship with the United States predicated their involvement. To substantiate the argument that Britain entered the war because of their relationship with the United States, I briefly outline the economic context of Britain’s decline situated in the economic historiography surrounding this period. I also explore the trend of imperial and international decline through the words of several principle historic actors of the time. With this context established, I will outline the elements of Britain’s special relationship with the United States. These elements will show why Britain’s engagement in the Korean War was essential to the solidification and longevity of the special relationship, and more broadly the survival of Britain itself. Together, these sources will bolster my argument that British involvement in the Korean War was based on American interests and highlight how the centering of the interests of Americans—not Koreans—fostered a lack of collective British mythology surrounding the war and contributed to its forgotten nature.