Graduate Program

Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion

Fall 2021

Thesis Director

John H. Bickford III

Thesis Committee Member

Michele McDaniel

Thesis Committee Member

Edmund F. Wehrle


This content analysis investigated coverage of the Korean War in recent high school U.S. history textbooks. Open coding techniques applied to six textbooks yielded data for the following categories: background of the war, the outbreak of the war, the sequence of the war, the conclusion of the war, the devastation of war, the effects of the war, U.N. and U.S. politics, the Chinese intervention, General Douglas MacArthur, and African Americans in the military. Data from these categories were compared and scrutinized against historians’ knowledge using axial coding techniques. This study's findings support past research on Korean War coverage in high school textbooks regarding casualties (Fleming & Kaufman, 1990; Herz, 1978; Lin et al., 2009; Y. Suh et al., 2008). Textbooks offer an unnuanced account of the Korean War which overutilizes American perspectives, minimizes the interwar period, avoids violence, omits racial issues, and ignores Korean history vital to understanding the conflict's origins. The Korean War is a topic of great potential through which topics like democracy and state-building may be explored in rich detail. Despite the Korean War’s potential in social studies classrooms, textbooks do little to correct its reputation as the Forgotten War.