Masuda Hajimu (family name Masuda) is a historian at the National University of Singapore, and the author of Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World (Harvard University Press, 2015). His work concerns the modern history of East Asia, the history of American foreign relations, and the social and global history of the Cold War.
“What was the Cold War? Masuda Hajimu argues that it was more than an international confrontation between West and East blocs. It was also a social mechanism of purity and ordering at home, in the chaotic post-WWII world.”
Book: “Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World” (Harvard University Press, 2015) Articles, Book Chapters, and Reviews: “Reconsidering U.S.-Japanese Relations History,” The Oxford Handbook of American Foreign Relations, Robert David Johnson ed. (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), “People’s War at Home: Toward a Global and Comparative Social History of the Cold War World,” CWIHP e-Dossier Series (Cold War International History Project, forthcoming) and more
Cold War Crucible explores an intriguing central thesis: what if many of the widely-held assumptions about the nature of the Cold War were based on mis.conceptions? This book is “about” the Korean War, but not in the sense of being a blow-by-blow account of the confrontation between North Korea and China and the U.S.-led UN forces.
Masuda Hajimu talked about the political climate surrounding the Cold War […], and argued that the Cold War transformed from an emergent global war to social warfare and ultimately a citizens’ war.
In Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World, new this month, Masuda Hajimu reveals social and political forces normally seen as products of the Cold War actually to have been instrumental in fostering the conditions from which the conflict sprung. Below, he examines how the dynamics he identifies as having contributed to the pervasive global logic of the Cold War can be seen anew in our own time, when the “War on Terror” becomes ever more entrenched as the rubric with which we explain the world.
It is time to change our ways of thinking about the Cold War.
What I question in my recent book is actually an assumption that these two seemingly opposing opinions share and that goes unquestioned by them: that is, that the essence of the Cold War was the US-USSR confrontation.