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cesses in the struggle against American noticeable that Stalin tried to keep the USSR tween the USSR and the PRC reveals that troops.

?34 On December 4, Soviet deputy as much as possible out of direct participa- the fighting spirit of the communist side Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, talking tion in the war—if he agreed to send Soviet continued to deteriorate as that of the Amerito the Chinese Ambassador Wang Jiaxiang, advisers, pilots and other military personnel cans improved.44 The situation got so bad advised Beijing to continue its successful to Korea once in a while, every time he did that Stalin felt it necessary to criticize Mao offensive by crossing the 38th parallel. He so only after repeated pleas by Mao and for wrong tactics employed in the war.45 stressed that the Chinese had to exploit the Kim. Stalin did not always satisfy the reemerging opportunities to the full extent. quests of his allies about supplies of arma- 11. Communists seek an armistice Both sides agreed that Americans were con- ments, but for objective reasons: they wanted fused and had fallen into a very unfavorable than the USSR, still weak after WWII By June 1951 the situation at the front situation, that disagreements had developed and engaged in a global Cold War, could became so hopeless for the communists that between Washington and London. The Chi- provide.

they started to seek a way out. The question nese ambassador quoted reports from the On January 28, Mao informed Stalin of an armistice was raised by the North front that Americans were poor fighters, that the adversary had begun an unexpected

that the adversary had begun an unexpected Koreans and Chinese. Stalin had no choice much worse than the Japanese.”35

offensive and due to this the communist but to agree. Maneuvers around the armiOn December 7, Stalin and Mao agreed troops lost the opportunity to rest and to stice talks did not, however, prevent the to go on with the fighting and present at the undergo a restructuring. Instead they had to communists from looking for every opporUnited Nations tough conditions for a cease- launch a counterattack. After achieving an tunity to reinforce the army, to gain territory fire. On 8 January 1951, in a cable announc- operational success the Chinese side hoped and to strike at the opposite side. At the same ing the further advance of Chinese troops, to resume preparation for the final assault on time the communists constantly worried Stalin wrote: “From all my heart I congratu- the South.39 Stalin promptly agreed with the about attacks by the opposite side. The late Chinese comrades on the capture of strategy, stressing that “from the interna- conditions presented by the communists for Seoul. This is a great victory of popular tional point of view it is undoubtedly advis- an armistice were inflexible. It is also worth patriotic forces over forces of reaction.”'36 able that Inchon and Seoul are not captured noting that Stalin flatly refused to direct the On January 16, Mao suggested to Kim Il by the adversary, that Chinese-Korean troops armistice negotiations and quite rudely told Sung to reinforce and to restructure joint give a serious rebuff to the advancing troops Mao to do the job. Another prominent forces in Korea (in order “not to repeat of the adversary."

feature of this period was constant bargainmistakes committed by the Korean troops In late January/early February 1951, ing between Stalin and Mao about Soviet from June to September 1950”). After a Stalin criticized the structure, organization, military supplies and military advisers. Mao certain rest, Mao proposed that a spring and quality of the Korean armed forces, kept bombarding Stalin with new requests, (April/

May) offensive could start “with the suggesting substantial changes. His propos- and the Kremlin chief continued to rebuff purpose of achieving the final solution of the

als were immediately accepted by the Kore- Mao, sometimes with visible irritation. South Korean issue.” Mao did not exclude ans and supported by Beijing. By that time In June 1951, Kim Il Sung and Gao that the Americans, having learned about the first reports of the falling spirit of the Gang went to Moscow, where they conserious preparations on the Chinese-North Korean troops reached Beijing and Mos- vinced Stalin to agree to the necessity of an Korean side, would cease resisting and leave cow.41 That the situation for the communist armistice-seeking policy. However, at the the Korean peninsula. But even if Washing- side continued to deteriorate is quite clear same time the communists discussed meaton continued to resist, it would soon realize from a cable sent by Mao to Stalin on 1 sures to beef up their military capabilities that resistance was futile and evacuate its March 1951, in which the Chinese leader and to prepare for an offensive in August.46 troops from Korea. 37

admitted that a general offensive was no In ensuing communications, tactics were On January 19, Peng Dehuai reported to longer possible, that the adversary had supe- worked out on who would raise the issue of Mao that Pyongyang accepted Mao's plan of riority in weapons and dominated the air, the armistice first and how it would be done. a rest and thorough preparation for the final and that Sino-Korean troops were sustaining It was also decided to insist on restoration of assault (though Pak Hon-Yong tried to hurry heavy losses and urgently needed air cover the border line along the 38th parallel and on things up). It was also agreed that the North by Soviet air force units. Mao stressed that a small neutral zone on both sides. Mao Koreans could not advance alone; Chinese the communist side must prepare for a long suggested to raise, for the sake of bargainparticipation was needed. 38

war and admitted that American troops will ing, the issue of Taiwan and then to drop it.

not be driven out of Korea for at least a Simultaneously China requested from the 10. Euphoria disappears number of years. 42

USSR armaments for 60 divisions. Stalin

Stalin satisfied Mao's requests, imme- gave the OK, though he rebuked the Chinese By the end of January 1951, as docu- diately noting that large-scale military op- for trying to get all the weapons during one ments testify, the communists' euphoria erations were in the offing for Sino-Korean year, explaining that it was “physically imstarted to decline; soon it disappeared, re- troops.43 In the following months Moscow possible and totally unthinkable. "47 placed by worries, fear, confusion, and at promptly and favorably responded to all Preparing for the negotiations, Mao times panic. Reading the documents, one other requests of the Chinese, concerning cabled Stalin: “It is extremely important that also senses growing irritation among the first of all airplanes and air defense. you personally take charge of the negotiaranks of the communist allies. It is also Meanwhile, further correspondence be- tions in order to prevent us from getting into

you, comrade

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 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:


The Cold War International History Project awards a limited number of fellowship for scholars from countries on the other side" of the Cold Warto 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: wwcem 123 @sivm.si.edu

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,
5. See APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 346, pp. 13-23, 46.
6. See, e.g., memorandums of conversations of ambas-
sador 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
9. Stalin's cable to Shtykov, 30 January 1950, AVP RF.
10. See Shtykov cable to Stalin, 23 March 1950, AVP
11. See Shtykov cable to Stalin, 15 May 1949, AVPRF;
cable to Stalin by General Kovalev about a conversa-
tion with Mao Zedong, APRF, Fond 45, list 1, file 331,

pp. 59-61.

1. The exact reasons for the reversal of
Stalin's position on “the liberation” of
South Korea.
2. The real motives behind China's ini-
tial refusal to enter the Korea War, and
the total picture of Soviet-Chinese in-
teractions 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.

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 acade-
mician on 19 and 28 August 1950, and Zhou's com-
ments 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, pp. 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 1, 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 Rus-
sian Federation (hereafter APRF); cable from Ambas-
sador 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).

the Soviet Army in the north. The Soviet

As regard to the strike, I incontinued from page 69

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 lic of Korea (North Korea). ordered General Romanenko, the Director of

diaries is so fragmentary that it is nearly the Soviet Military Administration in the impossible for us to understand completely Most important, the diaries vividly show that the Soviet Stationary/Occupation Army north, to telegraph Pak Hon-yong as follows:

how certain situations evolved. They also intervened deeply in and exerted an enor“Congratulations on the hard-earned but suc

contain many abbreviations which can be cessful merger.”ll Even after the merger, understood only by the author himself and mous influence on not only North Korean

Shtykov and the Soviet leaders closely grammatical errors which are open to a varibut also South Korean politics. 8

worked with Pak and even supported him ety of interpretations. Above all, Shtykov The merger of the three leftist parties 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

the diaries and that from other sources. moderator and leader in the process. Inter- Shtykov Diaries shed new light on this issue.

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 General Strike transformed into an armed the leftist leaders in the south did not yet

in North Korea played a major role in the riot. In their wholehearted support for the decision-making: Soviet policies in Korea approve Kim's leadership. In the process of

strike and riot, Shtykov and the Soviet leadthe merger, the Soviet Army consistently

were planned at Shtykov's desk and apers did not refrain from giving advice: proved by the higher ranking Soviet army supported Pak Hon-yong, head of the Korean 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 received approval from Moscow, the diaries were, first of all, that Pak controlled the

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 politition to confrontation with the U.S. Occupa

wrote in his diary on 28 September 1946: cal drama of North Korean (and sometimes tion Government was consistent with that of

South Korean) politics. Although not all of



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 Osvobodzhdenie KOREI (Moscow, 1976), 79. 2. Zhdanov was the First Secretary of the party committee of Leningrad. Shtykov had absolute loyalty to Zhdanov. When Zhdanov died on 31 August 1948, Shtykov expressed his deep grief over his death in his diary. Diaries, 31 August, 1, 3 September 1948. 3. When the Communist regime was established in North Korea, Stalin immediately appointed Shtykov to this important post. Interestingly enough, Shtykov refused the offer at first because of his heart problem. However, he could not refuse Molotov's urgent request along with promise to send Shtykov to a center for medical treatment and provide him with competent aides. See Diaries, 2 December 1948. 4. Sovetskaia Voennaia Entsiklopediia (Moscow, 1980), 544 5. Ibid. 6. His memoirs stopped at the years of his childhood. Interview in 1995 with Viktor Terentevich Shtykov, General Shtykov's son, in St.Petersburg. 7. For example, Kravtsov, a special aide to Shtykov, recollected that he had burned in the 1950s all of his documents, including reports he had written. 8. For convenience's sake, I use North Korea and South Korea although there were only the de jure U.S. Occupation Government in the south and de facto Soviet Occupation Government in the north from 1945-1948. 9. The 3 November 1946 election in North Korea was another example. 10. Kim Il Sung's Report to Shtykov on Kim's meeting with Kang Jin. Diaries, 22 October 1946. 11. Diaries, 2 December 1946. 12. Diaries, 6, 7, 11, 12, 25, 27 December 1946 13. Diaries, 28 September, 7, 8, 22 December 1946. 14. At that time one seom of rice (a big sack of rice) cost 15 yen in the north and 150 yen in the south).

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

-Mark Kramer port for his ideological change of heart.

Russian Research Center In late 1991, Volkogonov was ap

Harvard University

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).



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.2 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,5 this literature suffered from the lack of predazed 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 1950.7 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

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