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44. See, e.g., the coded message N 20412, June 1951, ibid., file 339, pp. 4-6. 45. Ibid., file 338, pp. 98-99. 46. Coded message N 3557, 13 June 1951, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 337, pp. 31-32; see also file 339, pp. 6163. 47. Coded message N 635177, 24 June 1951, ibid., file 339, p. 78. 48. Coded message N 21334, 30 June 1951, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 339, p. 92. 49. Coded message N 3917,30 June 1951, ibid., pp. 9596.
Dr. Evgueni Bajanov is Director of the Institute for Contemporary International Problems, Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow, Russia. This article was originally presented to the conference on "The Korean War: An Assessment of the Historical Record,” held on 24-25 July 1995 at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, and sponsored by the Korea Society, the Korea-America Society and Georgetown University.
an awkward position.”48 Stalin rejected the idea, saying: “In your cable you proposed that we, from Moscow, should direct the armistice talks. This is, of course, unthinkable and not necessary. It's you, comrade Mao Zedong, who'll have to direct negotiations. We can at best give advice on some questions. We are not able to be in direct communication with Kim Il Sung. You must have direct communication with him."49
To raise the stakes at the forthcoming negotiations the communists decided to be more active on the front, to put additional pressure on the adversary as well as to improve their own defenses in case the other side would try to gain a military advantage.
Measures were also taken to upgrade the overall military potential of North Korea, making it ready for a prolonged war. Stalin satisfied the requests of his allies as much as he was able, except for the advisers. Periodically Stalin lashed at the Chinese for extravagant requests for weapons and unwillingness to share them with the North Koreans.
My analysis concludes here, leaving for other contributions a reexamination of the strategy and tactics of the communist side at the armistice talks and in the final stage of the war. In conclusion, I would stress that further archival research is needed to get definite answers to the following aspects of communist politics in the Korean war:
1. The exact reasons for the reversal of Stalin's position on the liberation” of South Korea. 2. The real motives behind China's initial refusal to enter the Korea War, and the total picture of Soviet-Chinese interactions on Korea in 1949-1950. 3. The detailed process of communist preparations for the war. 4. The events of the first days of the war and reaction to these events in Moscow, Beijing, and Pyongyang. 5. What further strategy Stalin had in mind when he ordered North Korean communists to evacuate the country in the autumn of 1950.
The Cold War International History Project awards a limited number of fellowship for scholars from countries on the other side” of the Cold War to conduct up to one year of archival research in the United States. Recipients are based at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Applications should include: CV; letter of nomination and three letters of recommendation; research proposal, indicating topic to be investigated and sources to be utilized; writing samples in English welcomed, though not required. Applicans should have a working ability in English. Preference will be given to scholars who have not previously had an opportunity to do research in the United States. Applications may be sent or faxed to: Jim Hershberg Cold War International History Project Woodrow Wilson Center 1000 Jefferson Dr. SW Washington, D.C. 20560 USA Fax: (202) 357-4439 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Shtykov report to Stalin, 2 May 1949, Archives of Foreign Policy, Russian Federation (AVP RF). See also Marshal Vasilevsky and Ambassador Shtykov's cable to Stalin on 20 April 1949, N 17064, APRF. 4. See, e.g., Stalin cable to Shtykov, 30 October 1949, APRF. 5. See APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 346, pp. 13-23, 46. 6. See, e.g., memorandums of conversations of ambassador Shtykov with Kim Il Sung and Pak Hon-Yong, 12 and 14 August 1949, and Charge’d'Affaires Tunkin's cable to Moscow on 3 September 1949, AVP RF. 7. See APRF, Fond 3, list 65, file 776, pp. 30-32. 8. See Shtykov cable to Stalin, 19 January 1950, AVP RF. 9. Stalin's cable to Shtykov, 30 January 1950, AVP RF. 10. See Shtykov cable to Stalin, 23 March 1950, AVP RF. 11. See Shtykov cable to Stalin, 15 May 1949, AVP RF; cable to Stalin by General Kovalev about a conversation with Mao Zedong, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 331,
12. Shtykov cable to Moscow, 12 May 1950, AVP RF. 13. Coded message N 2220,3 May 1950, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 331, pp. 59-61. 14. Shtykov cable to Stalin, 12 May 1950. 15. Coded message N 5500, 14 May 1950, APRF, Fund 45, list 1, file 331, p. 55. 16. See Ambassador Roshchin's cable to Moscow, 14 May 1950, AVP RF. 17. APRF, Fund 6, list 9, file 14, p 57. 18. Shtykov cable to Stalin, 1 January 1950, AVP RF. 19. Shtykov cable to Stalin, 12 May 1950, AVP RF. 20. Coded message N 34691 /sh, 1 July 1950, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 346, p. 104. 21. Coded message N 405809, 2 July 1950, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 346, pp. 105-107. 22. Coded message N 75021, 28 August 1950, ibid., pp. 5-6, 10-11. 23. APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 347, pp. 12-15. 24. Coded message N 600262/sh, 27 September 1950, APRF, Fund 3, list 65, file 827, pp. 94-96. 25. Coded message N 600508/sh, 30 September 1950, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 347, pp.41-45. 26. Roshchin cable to Moscow, 2 July 1950. 27. Stalin cable to Roshchin, 8 July 1950. 28. See, e.g., Mao's conversations with Soviet academician on 19 and 28 August 1950, and Zhou's comments on 14 September 1950 to Roshchin. 29. Roshchin cable to Moscow, 13 July 1950, AVP RF. 30. Coded message N 4581, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 334, pp. 97-98. 31. Roshchin cable to Moscow, 3 October 1950, coded message N 25199, ibid., pp. 105-106. 32. See Stalin's cable to Kim Il Sung (quoting Stalin's earlier message to Mao), 8 October 1950, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 347, pp. 65-67. 33. Coded message N 4829, 14 October 1950, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 343, p.77. 34. Coded message N 9768. APRF, Fond 3, list 1, file 336, p. 5. 35. See APRF, Fond 3, list 65, file 371, 35-37. 36. Ibid., list 1, file 336, pp. 88-90. 37. See coded message N 15603, 16 January 1951, APRF, Fond 3, list 1, file 336, pp. 81-82. 38. Coded message 15994, 21 January 1951, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 335, pp. 37-40. 39. See APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 337, p. 44. 40. See APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 337, PP.
47-48. 41. Ibid., Fond 3, list 65, file 828, p. 123. 42. See APRF, Fond 45, list I, file 337, pp. 78-82. 43. Ibid., p. 118.
1. See, e.g., coded message N 121973,2 May 1947, The 8th Directorate of the General Staff, Soviet Armed Forces, pp. 4-6, Archives of the President of the Russian Federation (hereafter APRF); cable from Ambassador Shtykov to the Soviet Foreign Ministry, 19 January 1949, APRF. 2. APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 346, pp. 13-23, 46.
Recent recipients of CWIHP fellowships include: Vytas Berenis (Insitute of Culture and Arts, Vilnius); Wanda Jazarbek (Insitute of Political Studies, Warsaw); Michael Latysh (Institute of Slavonic & Balkan Studies, Moscow); Michael Lesniewski (Warsaw University); Bartek Pawlak (Warsaw University); Michael Skapa (Charles University, Prague); and Wenqian Gao (Research Center on Party Literature, Beijing).
As regard to the strike, I incontinued from
leaders in the north, through Kim Il Sung, structed as follows: umes remain: Vol. 1, 149 pages (from Sept. tried to persuade or even threaten leftist
Continue the struggle until the 5-Nov. 16, 1946); Vol. 2, 141 pages (from leaders in the south, who were against the demands of various economic Dec. 1, 1946-Feb. 5, 1947); Vol. 3, 193 merger, into accepting Pak Hon-yong's line claims, wage increase for workers, pages (from July 7-Aug. 29, 1947); Vol. 4, and the merger. For instance, when Kang the release of the leftist leaders 72 pages (from July 26-Sept. 6, 1948). The Jin, a leftist leader in the south who was from prison, the cancellation of the periods of Aug. 1945-Sept. 1946, Feb.-July against the merger, visited North Korea, Kim warrant of arrests of Communist 1947, Sept. 1947-July 1948, and Sept. 1948 Il Sung, apparently under the direction of leaders, and revived publication of to 1951 have been lost.
Shtykov, met with Kang and reported the banned leftist newspapers are met. In the diaries, of course, Shtykov wrote details of the meeting to Shtykov on 22
Stop the strike when the demuch about strictly military affairs. How- October 1946.10
mands are met. ever, the majority of the diaries were de
Declare that the strikers) will voted to the political and economic situation
I met with Kang Jin. I told him
continue to talk with the American in Korea after the liberation from Japanese
that he had to take full responsibility
Occupation Government on the isoccupation in August 1945. The first vol- for the failure of the merger. I also
sue of transition of power to ume deals with the September 1946 General told him, “Although I don't know
People's Committee (in the south). Strike, the October 1946 Uprising, and the whether you are a running-dog of
Demand that the American Ocmerger of the three leftist parties in the
American Imperialism, you are help
cupation Government not oppress south; volume two covers the election for
ing Americans enormously. ... Com
the organizers and supporters of the People's committees of provinces, cit
rade Pak Hon-yong's decision is not
the strike. ies, and counties, and the Assemblies of the
only his but also 400,000 North KoCommittees in North Korea; the third vol
rean Party members'. ... You have to
Probably the most striking evidence of ume includes the Second Soviet-American
admit that you made a mistake if you intervention was that Shtykov funneled 2 Joint Commission, when Shtykov himself
truly want to be a real revolutionary million yen to support the General Strike was the head of the Soviet Delegation; and
which you have not been.”
and later 3 million yen for the October Riot.14 finally volume four covers the cabinet for
There are some problems in analyzing mation of the Democratic People's Repub
After the success of the merger, Shtykov the diaries. First, the information in the
ordered General Romanenko, the Director of lic of Korea (North Korea).
diaries is so fragmentary that it is nearly Most important, the diaries vividly show the Soviet Military Administration in the
impossible for us to understand completely north, to telegraph Pak Hon-yong as follows: how certain situations evolved. They also that the Soviet Stationary/Occupation Army
“Congratulations on the hard-earned but sucintervened deeply in and exerted an enor
contain many abbreviations which can be mous influence on not only North Korean
cessful merger."l1 Even after the merger, understood only by the author himself and but also South Korean politics.8
Shtykov and the Soviet leaders closely grammatical errors which are open to a variThe merger of the three leftist parties
worked with Pak and even supported him ety of interpretations. Above all, Shtykov and the September General Strike/October financially from time to time. 12
wrote as if he were giving orders to Korean Uprising in the south are the two most
It has been a widely accepted view that leftist leaders: according to the diaries, the
the September General Strike and the Octoconspicuous examples of the Soviet inter
Korean leaders were simply automatons. vention. In the case of the merger of the ber Taegu Riot (or Uprising) in the south had
Therefore we must interpret historical events parties, the Soviet Army played the role of nothing to do with the Soviets. However, the
very carefully, comparing information from moderator and leader in the process . Inter- Shtykov Diaries shed new light on this issue.
the diaries and that from other sources. The strike and the riot broke out to a certain estingly, despite the efforts by Shtykov and
Still, the Shtykov diaries are undoubtextent spontaneously under KCP leadership. edly among the most important documents the Soviet Army to make Kim Il Sung the
But the incidents themselves provoked the representative of the will of the Soviets, the
to emerge on Soviet policy toward Korea intervention of Soviet leaders in the north. South Korean leftist leaders preferred to
from 1945 to 1951 and the emergence of the On the other hand, Communist leaders in the deal with the Soviets directly rather than
Cold War in East Asia. From the diaries, it south had to consult with the Soviets when with Kim Il Sung. This demonstrates that
is evident that Shtykov and the Soviet Army the leftist leaders in the south did not yet
the General Strike transformed into an armed in North Korea played a major role in the approve Kim's leadership. In the process of riot. In their wholehearted support for the
decision-making: Soviet policies in Korea the merger, the Soviet Army consistently strike and riot, Shtykov and the Soviet lead
were planned at Shtykov's desk and apsupported Pak Hon-yong, head of the Koers did not refrain from giving advice:
proved by the higher ranking Soviet army rean Communist Party (KCP). The reasons Shtykov gave specific instructions to Com
leaders and later by Moscow. After he munist leaders in the south, and these leaders were, first of all, that Pak controlled the
received approval from Moscow, the diaries often asked for the instructions of the Soviet biggest leftist party in the south; and second,
suggest, Shtykov and his lieutenants carethat Pak's transition of policy from coopera
leaders in the north.13 For example, Shtykov fully choreographed and directed the politi
wrote in his diary on 28 September 1946: tion to confrontation with the U.S. Occupa
cal drama of North Korean (and sometimes tion Government was consistent with that of
South Korean) politics. Although not all of DMITRII ANTONOVICH VOLKOGONOV
them were puppets of the Soviet Army, it is evident that North Korean Communist leaders like Kim Il Sung were under the tutelage of the Soviet Army. Even though the Soviet Army leaders tried to make their rule look like an indirect one, their intervention was always direct and full-scale. In other words, the Shtykov diaries show that the Soviet Army in North Korea was a de facto Occupation Army, not merely a “Stationary Army." In addition, we now know from the diaries that the Soviets were more deeply involved in politics and social unrest in the south than we had known previously; leftist parties in the north and south were strongly dependent upon the Soviets in the north and, ultimately, Moscow.
1. Lebedev, “S soznaniem ispolnennogo dolga,” in
General Dmitrii Volkogonov, a promi- pointed head of a special parliamentary nent Russian military historian, died of commission to oversee the handling of arcancer on 6 December 1995 at age 67. chives from the Soviet period. In that Volkogonov spent much of his career as a capacity, he helped secure the release of high-ranking political officer in the Soviet many valuable documents, including items Army, and for several years was director of from the Presidential Archive, the collecthe prestigious Institute of Military His- tion of highly-sensitive materials kept untory. More recently, he served as a military der the personal control of Soviet and then adviser to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Russian leaders. Even so, critics of and as co-chair of the joint U.S.-Russian Volkogonov frequently charged that he commission on prisoners of war. Even exploited his privileged access to the arwhile he performed these functions, he chives and held back from circulation the continued to work on lengthy books about most significant or sensational documents Soviet history. Beginning in 1989, for his own use. After a lengthy article Volkogonov published richly documented along these lines appeared in the newspabiographical studies of Josif Stalin (Triumf per Izvestiya in July 1994, Volkogonov i tragediya: Politicheskii portret I.V. sent a letter to the editor asserting that he Stalina, 4 vols. (Moscow: Novosti, 1989), had enjoyed no special access for his Stalin English ed., Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy, and Trotsky biographies, and that virtually trans. and ed. Harold Shukman (New York: all the documents he used for his Lenin Free Press, 1991]); Leon Trotsky (Trotskii: book were “accessible to everyone." Partly Politicheskii portret, 2 vols. [Moscow: as a result of this controversy, the translator's Novosti, 1992]); and Vladimir Lenin preface to the English edition of the Lenin (Lenin: Politicheskii portret, 2 vols. [Mos- biography was modified to include a pledge cow: Novosti, 1994), English ed., Lenin: A that all documents cited in the book, includNew Biography, trans. and ed. Harold ing those from the Presidential Archive, Shukman (New York: Free Press, 1994). would be made available to all researchers. Shortly before his death, he completed a Unfortunately, the access envisaged in survey of the whole Soviet period (Sem' that pledge has not yet materialized. RusPortretov (Seven Portraits)[Moscow: sian and foreign scholars who worked in Novosti, 1995]), which only recently ap- the Russian archives in 1995 (including peared in Russia.
myself) were summarily turned down when Having been an orthodox Communist they requested access to documents adfor most of his life, Volkogonov in the duced in the Lenin book. Whether because 1990s shifted toward a strongly anti-Com- of bureaucratic inertia or some other momunist position. As recently as when he tive, most of the senior archival officials in wrote his books on Stalin and Trotsky, he Moscow displayed no interest in gathering had glorified Lenin. But by the time he and making available the items that completed his study of Lenin in 1994, Volkogonov cited. One hopes that with Volkogonov had concluded that the founder Volkogonov's death, a renewed effort will of Bolshevism was in fact a “savage, cruel, be made to release for open research the uncompromising, remorseless, and venge- many documents he employed to such good ful” figure. Volkogonov said he had found effect. That would be a fitting tribute to a it “painful” to “shed [his) illusions” about courageous historian. the Soviet regime, but shed them he did. His final books provide overwhelming sup
Russian Research Center
Hyun-su Jeon is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences; this article was edited and translated by Gyoo-hyoung Kahng, a fellow of the Contemporary History Institute, Ohio University. A longer version of this article appeared in the Fall 1995 issue of the Korean-langauge publication Yoksa biyong (Critique of History).
STALIN, MAO, KIM, AND CHINA'S DECISION TO ENTER THE KOREAN WAR,
SEPTEMBER 16-OCTOBER 15, 1950:
article and translations by Alexandre Y. Mansourovl At 5:45 a.m. on 15 September 1950, the scholarly and eyewitness accounts of the negotiations between Stalin and Zhou Enlai 5th Marine Brigade of the X Corps com- preparation, implementation, and strategic on 10-11 October 1950, as well as the stillmanded by Maj. Gen. Edward M. Almond and military significance of Operation enigmatic October 1950 correspondence began its unprecedented amphibious land- Chromite, as well as the subsequent pros- between Beijing and Moscow.
9 ing onto the beaches of Inch'on. There were ecution of the war by the UN forces, includ- But due to the unavoidable lack of hard about 500 North Korean soldiers on Wolmi- ing the origins and aftermath of the reversal top-level archival evidence, these accounts do, a tiny island protecting the entry into the of fortunes for the UN troops in November fell far short of being able to reconstruct in Inch'on harbor, another 500 at Kimpo, and 1950.4 In addition, in his 1960 study China detail the attitudes and policy orientations of about 1,500 within Inch'on. They were
Crosses the Yalu, Allen S. Whiting persua- Stalin or other key Soviet leaders in Moscow confronted with more than 70,000 troops sively showed how national security con- and their representatives on the ground in from the United States, Australia, Canada, cerns, as well as domestic political and eco- Korea, nor the decision-making processes New Zealand, France, Holland, and the UK nomic considerations, may have led the taking place inside the Kremlin immediately disembarking from more than 260 ships. People's Republic of China (PRC) govern- after the U.S. landing at Inch'on and leading The surprise of the UN attack, and the pre- ment to decide to enter the Korean War. His up to the final Chinese decision a month later ponderant firepower and manpower of the preliminary conclusions were supported al- to intervene militarily in Korea. Moreover, U.S.-led forces, destroyed pockets of the most three decades later by Russell Spurr, this literature suffered from the lack of pre
5 dazed North Korean resistance within hours. who focused his research on the psychologi- viously classified Moscow-Pyongyang topBy the next morning the 1st Marines had cal background of the Chinese leaders' deci- level correspondence, and to rely primarily been able to squeeze the remnants of the sion to provide military assistance to a on the officially authorized, at times propaKorean People's Army (KPA) out of Inch'on friendly communist regime in Pyongyang. gandistic Chinese sources of the exchanges and had started their rapid advance towards Then, a wave of memoirs published in between the PRC and USSR leaders. Kimp'o and Seoul. Operation Chromite was the PRC by former high-ranking Chinese This absence of critical Soviet source a complete success and later labelled as "a officials, military leaders, and other insiders materials, consequently, gave birth to a nummasterpiece of amphibious ingenuity."3 In allowed scholars to reconstruct in great de- ber of academic debates. First, many schola little more than a week Seoul was recap
tail the relevant decision-making processes ars disagree in their assessments of Soviet tured by the UN forces. On 1 October 1950, in Beijing and Northeast China regarding and Chinese intentions and motivations in they crossed the 38th parallel, and began the merits of Chinese military intervention Northeast Asia and the nature and paramtheir rapid, sweeping advance northward. in Korea, including debates within the Polit- eters of their respective perceived national The KPA surrendered Pyongyang on Octo- buro of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) interests on the Korean peninsula at this ber 19, and soon the first Republic of Korea and among PLA senior commanders. These
. stage of the war. Second, an overarching (ROK) and U.S. battalions approached the works also brought to light some differences debate among historians involves a series of Yalu River on the Chinese-North Korean in the individual positions of Chinese lead- interrelated questions about alliance comborder.
ers, including last-minute doubts, reversals, mitments between Moscow and BeijingHowever, U.S. UN Commander Dou- disagreements, and vacillations on the part what commitments were made, why and glas MacArthur's promise to “Bring the of those involved, and analyzed the corre- how they were reached, whether they were Boys Home by Christmas” never came true. spondence between Mao Zedong and Zhou broken or honored, and how they affected The Thanksgiving offensive proved still- Enlai and their military officials, as well as the subsequent course of Sino-Soviet relaborn, for it was a new enemy that the UN other political, economic, military, and ad- tions (a good example of this is the claim troops confronted in Korea from then on: 36 ministrative events related to the war which advanced in some Chinese accounts that divisions of the Chinese People's Volun- occurred in China in August-October 1950.
Stalin, in his 10-11 October 1950 meeting teers (CPV) who entered North Korea in late However, what this literature still left to with Zhou, reneged on a prior commitment October-early November, supported by al- speculation was the Soviet side of the story. for the USSR to provide air support for the most twelve wings and air defense divisions Some of the books, especially Uncertain CPVs). This debate includes controversies of the Soviet Air Force operating from nearby Partners (1993), by Sergei N. Goncharov, related to the personal roles of Stalin, Mao, airfields in Northeast China. Recognizing John W. Lewis, and Xue Litai, and William and Kim Il Sung in manipulating one new patterns in the enemy's behavior, in his W. Stueck's recently published The Korean another's decisions regarding the war, espespecial communiqué to the UN dated 28 War: An International History, 8 discuss stra- cially the initial decision to initiate a largeNovember 1950, MacArthur called it “an tegic calculations which Stalin might have scale attack against the south in June 1950 entirely new war.” Indeed, it was.
made at this crucial juncture of the Korean and later over China's intervention. There is In the Western literature there are many War, the course and outcome of crucial also a cloud of uncertainty over the role of
Zhou Enlai as an intermediary between Stalin new evidence on the commonalities and dif- his exchange with Mao Zedong, Stalin held and Mao in managing (mismanaging?) the ferences in the Soviet and Chinese world Kim Il Sung and his Korean generals responSino-Soviet alliance, and the role of the views, and their respective views on the sible for failures at the battleground. In turn, Soviet ambassador to Pyongyang in the limits of the U.S. global power and likeli- Zhou Enlai blamed Kim Il Sung for withinitial stages of the war, T.F. Shtykov, as an hood of a U.S.-led escalation of the Korean holding military intelligence from the Chiintermediary between Stalin and Kim Il conflict, as well as on the varied significances nese and for ignoring Mao's warnings, isSung in the ill-fated handling of the USSR- of Korea, divided or unified, for the Soviet sued as early as mid-August, about the danDPRK alliance.
versus Chinese national interests. Also, the ger of a U.S. landing at Inch’on. Kim Il Shortly before the 40th anniversary of newly declassified early October 1950 cor- Sung, in turn, blamed his commanders for the end of the Korean War, the Russian respondence between Moscow and Beijing insubordination, Stalin for lack of commitgovernment released a new batch of previ- sheds dramatic new light on intra-alliance ment, and his Soviet advisers for profesously classified documents related to the bargaining between Stalin and Mao Zedong sional ineptitude. Reading the newly deevents on the Korean peninsula from 1949 regarding the terms of China's entry into the classified Russian telegrams, it is hard not to to 1953, including some correspondence Korean War, which is at variance with the ,
conclude that these mutual recriminations between Stalin and Kim Il Sung, Stalin and traditional Chinese and Western interpreta- undermined palpably the mutual trust among Mao Zedong, internal correspondence be- tions thereof. In particular, these Russian the leaders of these communist allies. tween the Kremlin and various Soviet gov- documents raise questions about the reliabil- The ciphered telegrams also reveal the ernment ministries involved in the prosecu- ity and even authenticity of Mao's telegrams atmosphere of confusion and discord that tion of the war in Korea, and ciphered tele- of 2 and 14 October 1950 as they appear in permeated relations between the Soviet and
2 grams between Soviet representatives in officially authorized Chinese sources, and Chinese leaders and their respective repreNorth Korea (known officially as the Demo- subsequently in scholarly literature. They
subsequently in scholarly literature. They sentatives and associates in Korea regarding cratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK) also reveal the depth of Stalin's and Mao's the military-strategic significance of the and their respective superiors in Moscow. personal involvement and the complexity of Inch'on landing. Stalin considered the In total, these new primary source materials policymaking processes in Moscow and Inch'on landing a development of vital straamount to well over a thousand pages and Beijing regarding the prosecution of the tegic significance, fraught with grave implicome from the Archive of the President of Korean War, as well as how domestic politi- cations for the KPA (Document #3). Therethe Russian Federation (APRF), the Archive cal considerations and bureaucratic politics fore, in his ciphered telegram dated 18 Sepof Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation in the USSR and PRC affected their respec- tember 1950, he directed that Gen. Vasiliev, (AVPRF) at the Ministry of Foreign Af- tive policy outcomes concerning military the Chief Soviet Military Adviser to the fairs, and from the Military Archive at the strategy and tactics. Finally, they reveal for (PA, and Ambassador T.F. Shtykov, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federa- the first time a series of decisions by the Soviet envoy to the DPRK, tell Kim Il Sung tion.
Soviet leadership to reduce the Soviet pres- to redeploy four KPA divisions from the This article introduces and analyzes a ence in Korea at that time, including three Naktong River front to the vicinity of selection of these newly declassified docu- CPSU Politburo conferences (on 27 and 30 Seoul. 10 Also on September 18, he ordered ments from the Russian Archives related to September 1950 and 5 October 1950) which Soviet Defense Minister Marshal A.M. the period after the U.S.-UN troops' landing considered the Chinese leadership's pro- Vasilevsky urgently to develop a plan for the at Inch'on on 16 September 1950, until mid- nounced reluctance to accommodate Stalin's Soviet Air Force to provide air cover to October 1950, when the PRC decided to prodding of Mao to send troops to rescue the Pyongyang, including the transfer of several send its troops to Korea to save Kim Il DPRK, leading to Stalin's 13 October 1950 Soviet Air Force fighter squadrons with Sung's collapsing regime. The newly re- decision to abandon North Korea and evacu- maintenance crews, radar posts, and air deleased documents primarily from the APRF, ate Kim Il Sung and the remnants of the KPA fense battalions from their bases in the Marioffer new information and insights into how to Northeast China and the Soviet Far East, time Province of the Soviet Far East (includStalin and his political representatives and as well as his dramatic reversal less than ing the strategic port city of Vladivostok) to military advisers in Korea; Kim Il Sung and twenty-four hours later upon learning of the
twenty-four hours later upon learning of the the airfields around Pyongyang (Document his close associates; and Mao Zedong, Zhou Chinese final decision to fight.
#1). Enlai and their personal representatives in The value of the ciphered telegrams lies In contrast with Stalin's judgment, neiKorea, viewed and assessed the strategic in the fact that they reveal the atmosphere of ther Shtykov nor Vasiliev seemed to grasp, and military significance of the UN forces' mutual finger-pointing which reigned in the let alone forecast, the strategic importance landing at Inch'on, recapture of Seoul, cross- offices of the Soviet, North Korean, and of the U.S. troops's amphibious landing at ing of the 38th parallel, and drive to the Chinese decision-makers after the Inch'on Inch'on—as Stalin harshly admonished them Yalu. These new archival materials provide landing. In the internal correspondence be- in a withering message on September 27 researchers with a fascinating window into tween Stalin and the Soviet political and [Document #3]. They believed it was a bluff the internal dynamics and politics of alli- military advisers in Korea, Stalin blamed aimed at distracting the attention of the KPA ance relationships among the Soviet Union, them for all the KPA failures in the Korean Command from the main southeastern front. PRC, and the DPRK from the aftermath of campaign, whereas in his correspondence Shtykov even suggested that an author of an the Inch'on landing until the Chinese cross- with Kim Il Sung Stalin blamed the KPA article in the Soviet newspaper Pravda about ing of the Yalu River. They present startling commanders for military defeats, while in the Inch'on landing should be brought to