Faculty Publications

Title

Vicissitudes of the Korean war and insight from Prospect Theory: Dashed victory, military fiasco, and over-prolonged stalemate

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Gains, Loss-aversion, Losses, Prospect theory, Reference points, Risk-embracing

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Korean Journal of Defense Analysis

Volume

26

Issue

2

First Page

155

Last Page

173

Abstract

The paper shows that in spite of the growing concerns of the entrapment of the U.S. troops in Korea and increasing likelihood of the exploitation of the situation by the Soviet Union to launch global war or aggression in Western Europe, key decisionmakers such as U.S. President Harry S. Truman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff feeling the impact of losses in the Korean War responded to military setbacks during the war exactly in the same way as the prospect theory suggests: They embraced risk by fighting on in the hope to recoup the losses and jettisoned contingency plans that proposed the immediate withdrawal of forces from Korea to meet Soviet aggression elsewhere. Dean Acheson's instant accommodation of the losses and push for the withdrawal of the troops contradicts the theory, suggesting the need to further refine it by incorporating personality traits into its theoretical construct. © 2014 Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2014

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