Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Intimacies of ConflictCultural Memory and the Korean War$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Daniel Y. Kim

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479800797

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479800797.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

“He’s a South Korean When He’s Running with You, and He’s a North Korean When He’s Running after You”

“He’s a South Korean When He’s Running with You, and He’s a North Korean When He’s Running after You”

Military Orientalism and Military Humanitarianism

(p.31) 1 “He’s a South Korean When He’s Running with You, and He’s a North Korean When He’s Running after You”
The Intimacies of Conflict

Daniel Y. Kim

NYU Press

Through a carefully contextualized analysis of Samuel Fuller’s 1951 film The Steel Helmet, this chapter illuminates several tropes that circulated in contemporaneous US depictions of the Korean War: an interracial group of US soldiers, a Korean orphan, and enemy soldiers who disguise themselves as refugees and routinely violate other rules of war. In this movie are the remnants of a prior racial ideology that had demonized the entire Japanese population during World War II and the emergence of a new one that emphasized lawfulness as the primary criteria that could distinguish between subjects of color—both American and Asian—who were loyal and those who posed a threat. As this film demonstrates, the integration of the US military, and particularly the incorporation of Japanese American and African American soldiers into formerly all-white units, became vital during the Korean War to US assertions of its own ethical superiority over the Communist enemy, as was its soldiers’ humanitarian commitment to protecting Korean civilians—especially orphans. Ultimately, this chapter demonstrates how The Steel Helmet both crystallizes the emergent racial ideologies of US Cold War liberalism—especially their legalistic aspects in regards to war and their espousal of military multiculturalism—and then shatters them.

Keywords:   African American soldiers, Cold War, humanitarianism, Japanese American soldiers, Korean War, laws of war, liberalism, military integration, military multiculturalism, Orientalism

NYU Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.