William W. Stueck, Jr.

William W. Stueck, Jr.Distinguished Research ProfessorĀ 2001

William Stueck is an expert on U.S. diplomatic history during the Cold War and author of The Korean War: An International History, which was described in the Times Literary Supplement as “the best single volume we have on the Korean War.” Dr. Stueck, who has been studying the Cold War for more than 30 years, drew on archives from seven countries and the United Nations plus visited Korea many times during the 15 years it took to write the book. The Korean War focuses on diplomacy and the critical role of the conflict in the Cold War. Dr. Stueck argues that the timing, course and outcome of the Korean War was in effect a substitute for World War III. He credits the United Nations contributions to derail all-out world war by providing a way for less powerful nations to restrain U.S. aggression. His findings include:

  • The Korean War played a pivotal role in rearming the West and expanding U. S. global military commitments;
  • There were several times when the Korean War could have flashed into a wider conflict, but secret political pressures from numerous quarters kept it from expanding;
  • The Korean War contributed significantly to the prestige of the “new” China after the country was taken over by Communists in 1949;
  • The conflict enhanced the long-term prospects for a Sino-Soviet split; and
  • The Soviet Union was the prime loser in the war.


Since the book’s publication, Dr. Stueck has delivered invited papers at three conferences in Seoul, two research institutes in Beijing, and seven venues in the United States and Canada. He has been interviewed by ABC World News, CNN, Voice of American and the History Channel during the recent media coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Korean War. He has also been interviewed by a French television network. In addition to the Korean War volume, Dr. Stueck published two volumes on American policy toward China and Korea during the Truman period, which established him as a leading scholar of U.S.-East Asian relations in the early Cold War. He is now preparing a much needed historical survey of the Korean-American relations from the mid-19th century to the present.

Dr. Stueck was awarded the 1986 Stuart L. Bernath Lectureship Prize for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the 1995 Senior Fulbright Scholar at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea.

Previous Award

Albert Christ-Janer AwardĀ 1997