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In response to Mark Safranski's posting asking which 'alarm bells' should have rung for statesmen - surely the Korean conflict, with Chinese intervention and the occasional reference to the use of nuclear weapons, might be one possible candidate; the collapse of French power in 1954 in Indochina might be another; arguably, also, the USA's decision to abstain from involvement in the Chinese civil war after the ending of the Marshall mission had some lessons. Having said that, international conflicts probably always seem sufficiently different in their circumstances, with a logic of their own which can lead statesmen to sometimes avoid hearing the 'alarm bells'. Historians might note the 'alarm bells' in retrospect, of course, although they will no doubt want to engage in some debate about the concept itself. Paul Wingrove University of Greenwich London UK