Skip to comments.Did Stalin Lure the United States into the Korean War?
Posted on 09/01/2018 3:57:25 PM PDT by CondoleezzaProtege
The following telegram from Joseph Stalin to Czechoslovak President Klement Gottwald on 27 August 1950 raises new questions about the origins of the Korean War. Did Stalin purposefully seek to entangle the United States in a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula? Did Stalin expect an intervention by the Chinese communists from virtually the beginning of the conflict?
First published in the original Russian in Novaya I Noveishaya Istoriia in 2005, two experts, Beijing University Professor Donggil Kim and University of Georgia Professor William Stueck, provide an initial assessment of this potentially significant new finding.
Kim argues that the document suggests that Stalin gave Kim Il Sung permission to attack South Korea on 25 June 1950 not because he felt the US would not get involved, but precisely because he wanted the US to become entangled in a limited conflict in Asia.
Other scholars have emphasized that Stalin secretly approved Kim Il Sung`s plan to attack during the North Korean leader's secret trip to Moscow in April 1950 only after receiving his assurances that South Korea could be overwhelmed so quickly in a matter of a few weeks, that Washington would be unable to rescue it.
William Stueck, argues that the document shows Stalin reassuring Gottwalda nervous allyabout the international situation, and, implicitly, his own infallible leadership. In the document, Stalin claims that events in Korea had unfolded according to his wishes. Stueck argues that UN intervention in Korea and the corresponding US military buildup in Europe were surely not the results for which Stalin had hoped.
(Excerpt) Read more at wilsoncenter.org ...
Prague, Soviet Ambassador
Pass Gottwald the following message orally. Put it in writing if he so requests.
"We view the issue of the Soviet Union's withdrawal from the Security Council on 27 June and the events which unfolded afterwards somewhat differently from Comrade Gottwald.
We left the Security Council for four reasons: first, to demonstrate solidarity of the Soviet Union with the new China.
Second, to underscore the foolishness and idiocy of the United States policy of recognizing the Guomindang puppet in the Security Council as the representative of China and not wanting to admit the genuine representative of China to the Security Council; third, to render decisions of the Security Council illegitimate by virtue of the absence of representatives of two great powers; fourth, to give the American government a free hand and give it an opportunity to commit more foolishness using a majority in the Security Council so that public opinion can see the true face of the American government.
I believe that we have achieved all of these goals.
Following our withdrawal from the Security Council, America became entangled in a military intervention in Korea and is now squandering its military prestige and moral authority. Few honest people can now doubt that America is now acting as an aggressor and tyrant in Korea and that it is not as militarily powerful as it claims to be. In addition, it is clear that the United States of America is presently distracted from Europe in the Far East. Does it not give us an advantage in the global balance of power? It undoubtedly does.
Let us suppose that American government continues to be tied down in the Far East and also pulls China into the struggle for the freedom of Korea and its own independence. What might come of this?
First, America, just like any other country, cannot cope with China, a country with such large armed forces at the ready. It follows that America would overextend itself in this struggle. Second, having overextended itself in this matter, America would be incapable of a third world war in the near future. Therefore, a third world war would be postponed for an indeterminate period, which would provide the time necessary to strengthen socialism in Europe, not to mention that the struggle between America and China would revolutionize the entire Far East. Does all this not give us an advantage from the perspective of the global balance of power? It unquestionably does.
As you can see, the question of whether or not the Soviet Union participates in the Security Council is not as simple as it might appear at first glance.
By virtue of all this, we cannot say that "the democratic camp has no need to leave the Security Council." Whether we leave or stay depends on the circumstances. We might leave the Security Council again and come back once again, depending on the international situation.
One might ask why we have now returned to the Security Council. We have returned to continue exposing the aggressive policy of the American government and to prevent it from using the flag of the Security Council as a smokescreen for its aggression. Now that America has become aggressively involved in Korea, it will be very easy to achieve this goal while in the Security Council. I think that this is clear and needs no further explanation.
27 August 1950
Let me see if I remember my American history. Who was the president in 1950? Why that would been Democrat Harry S. Truman! Maybe ol Harry was colluding with Stalin and the Russians to get us into the Korean War!
I have always wondered why the USSR abstained from Security Council votes on the Korean War. This allowed the US and South Korea to claim they had UN authority for their defense of South Korea. From then on, the USSR used its veto copiously, earning their ambassador the epithet Mr. Nyet.
Stalin was a dictator and a horrible person - but - give even the Devil his due. Who did we almost actually get into a war with - Russia or China?
I think Stalin was smart enough to realize that China was his real problem. Why not let the Americans come over here and finish them off. Hell, they just nuked Japan. Two or three into China and that should stop them.
It was actually a pretty good plan, except not even China was dumb enough to mess with Ike - so that ended it.
I believe this. Perhaps Stalin had figured it out, or perhaps he simply fell into a win-win situation. After adoption of George Kennan's "containment" strategy, the USA / Truman had drawn its "cordon sanitaire" to NOT include Korea. It is believed Stalin new this, so could tell Kim Il Sung to invade the South without fear of response. Once the US/Truman did, in fact, respond (due to fears of further aggression and political pressure), Stalin then had an active and organized Mao Tse-dong to make sure both sides bled themselves.
Of course Stalin would claim to another Communist vassal, after the fact, that he had it figured out all along....
Stalin was surely interested in finding out both how the PLA would perform against the Americans and how the Americans would perform. Militarily he learned that the USA does very well, politically he surely waxed optimistic.
They walked out. Then the vote for UN intervention was taken. Oops. They never walked out again after that.
Only....Stalin seriously dissed Mao Tse-tung on the latter’s official visit to Moscow where he kept the ChiCom leader waiting two hours outside his Kremlin office. Mao burned with resentment over this snub for as long as he lived. Ever afterward Red China was the USSR’s bitter rival for the title of “Mother of Revolutions” as Mao didn’t get along with Khrushchev, Kosygin, nor Brezhnev. What about the Ussuri River border clashes in 1969, nearly bringing the two communist powers to general war?
If Stalin so underestimated U.S. and Western resolve in the Korean Peninsula that he withdrew Soviet veto power in the Security Council just to draw an entire U.N. fighting force into the peninsula so they would get bogged down for years, then what was he thinking? The shooting stopped with an inconclusive ceasefire soon after his death, and little was gained as far as the world communist movement was concerned.
There’s often a tendency to ascribe to an enemy a wily cleverness that he may not actually possess. I think this to be the case here.
Stalin knew because Dean Acheson had said so publicly. Stalin probably also knew the state of American unpreparedness in 1950.
Truman had taken a meat ax to the defense budget and our military was in terrible condition. MacArthur had one full strength infantry regiment under his command - the segregated, all black, 25th Infantry. Unfortunately the 25th had the worse equipment in the army and was used as a dumping ground for incompetent white officers because the army thought blacks would not fight. Racism, both disparagement of blacks and underestimation of the Chinese cost us thousands of lives in that war.
The rest of MacArthur's command was under strength and out of shape from four years of garrison duty in Japan One example is the first US tanks to engage the North Koreans, M24 Chaffees. They fired one round and were disabled because they had no hydraulic oil for their recoil systems and their guns came off the trunnions and sort of rattled around inside the turrets. Seems Truman's pal defense secretary Luis Johnson had seen fit to cut recoil oil out of the budget. After the shooting started and money was no longer a problem MacArthur rounded up some old M4E8s that were rusting away on Guam and sent them to Japan where Mitsubishi was able to refurb them and send them into action.
The Truman administration had let our defensed down and Stalin made us pay. Stalin was probably justified in assuming the US wouldn't fight with an army in the shape it was in. He just underestimated the arrogance of MacArthur, the incompetence of Truman and the speed with which the US military was able to and mobilize and react.
No more “limited” wars.
If it’s not worth asking Congress to officially declare war, it’s not worth getting involved.
Otherwise, we’ll find ourselves in a never-ending state of pseudo-war, always needing to deploy our forces but with no realistic way of achieving victory.
Sort of like the situation our country is in right now.
It was the 24th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division that you are referring to.
The 25th Infantry Division was composed of the 19th Infantry Regiment. the 24th Infantry Regiment and the 34th Infantry Regiment.
The 24th Infantry Regiment was the only full strength Regiment of the 12 Regiments in Japan during the occupation of Japan. with a full compliment of 3 battalions.
There were four Divisions - ie 12 Infantry Regiments - in Japan during the occupation and on June 25th when the Korean war began. All Regiments were under strength with only two battalions except for the 24th Infantry Regiment. All battalions were under-strength and had an imcomplete TO&E.
Most of there equipment was outdated, inoperable or very poorly maintained.
Oops, the 19th and 34th were part of the 24th Infantry Division not the 25th Inf. Div. Other than that what I said is correct. The 24th Infantry Regiment was disbanded by October 1951 long after troubles in March of 1951 when the 8th Army began the spring offensive across the Han river had been detected.
You’re right. Sorry for the confusion.
Also doesn’t help that the UN was a backdoor for Communist infiltration (heck, the UN’s own charter was a blatant copy of the Soviet Constitution, and don’t get me started on how most if not all of its founders, including Alger Hiss, had explicit ties to the Communists).
Probably the only reason we even came close to victory was due to MacArthur, and he really shouldn’t have been fired. I know if I were in his position, I wouldn’t even retreat from China, go down to the last man, even if that last man is myself. May have a death wish, but I’d need one if Communism is to be thoroughly eradicated like the disease it really is. Besides, it would have helped clean up Truman’s mess in China especially when the only reason China went Communist easily was thanks to the double-crossing of the group we installed that was supposed to prevent it from becoming Communist.
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