The struggle to fight a humane war : the United States, the Korean war, and the 1949 Geneva Conventions
Do the Geneva Conventions matter ?
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2017
The Korean War demonstrated the serious problems that the United States had adhering to the new 1949 Geneva Conventions and the severely limited protections that these new treaties provided. The protections for war victims were undermined both by serious gaps in the treaties that failed to provide much safety from bombing to civilians and by US deviations from the agreements in the handling of refugees and prisoners of war. However, Americans did not discard the agreements in the wake of their troubled Korean War experiences. Instead, the war helped to legitimize and lay the foundation for the further internalization of the new laws through their formal implementation, the public controversy they generated, and a boomerang effect of atrocity accusations. Despite failing to provide much protection for Korean War victims, the treaties were part of a broader international consensus-building process that helped to spread humanitarian norms.