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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

The Swedish Red Cross Hospital in Busan, 1950–1958: A Study of Its Transition from a Military to a Civilian Hospital

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2014, v.54 no.1, pp.133-156
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2014.54.1.133
Sigfrid Su-gun ÖSTBERG (University of Oxford)
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Abstract

This article examines the development of the Swedish Red Cross Hospital in Busan during 1950–1958, investigating how principal secondary actors affected the hospital’s transition from a military to a civilian hospital. Shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, Sweden, a neutral nation, offered to send a contingent to establish a mobile field hospital, which was to be under the command of the Eighth U.S. Army. This placed the nominally impartial hospital in a tense situation, forcing it to balance military and humanitarian objectives. In the end, a larger semi-mobile evacuation hospital was set up in Busan, where both UN soldiers and prisoners of war were treated; it came to be known as the Swedish Red Cross Hospital. The decrease in and finally the cessation of hostilities in 1953 made the treatment of Korean civilian patients possible and such work was conducted both at the hospital and off-site in other areas of Busan, though initially this was not formally sanctioned by American and UN authorities. Although still a part of the military system in practice, it became a stationary civilian hospital in 1954. After the main hospital closed in 1957, a pediatrics team remained for another year.

keywords
Korean War Sweden U.S. Army Red Cross hospital military civilian

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