Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

How Stalin and Mao colluded to carve up the Korean Peninsula

November 19th, 2011 . by Errol

Lee Chong-sik, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Pennsylvania was interviewed by The Joongang Ilbo about his views on Stalin’s role in instigating the Korean War.

Here’s the cutdown version.

In Manchuria, the Chinese Communist Party engaged in a fierce civil war with Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party. By August 1945, Stalin had decided that the Communists could not win. As such, he encouraged them to stop fighting while he sought ways of forming a secret alliance with the Kuomintang.

But this all changed after the London Conference, when Soviet-U.S. ties switched from a framework of cooperation to confrontation. Stalin even ordered China’s 300,000 Communist Party soldiers to be dispatched to Manchuria. This led to intense fighting between the Communist Party troops backed by the Soviets, and the Nationalist Party troops backed by the United States.

In the beginning, the nationalists lost ground, but they managed to turn the tide by mobilizing more soldiers. The Communist Party troops retreated to the region now known as North Korea in May 1946.

North Korea was [then] turned into a rear base for the Chinese Communist Party from May 1946 at the order of Stalin, and the North became involved in China’s internal war. Just as Manchuria was off-limits to U.S. forces during the Korean War, North Korea, between May 1946 and 1948, was a sort of a holy place that could not be trespassed on by the national party.

The Communist troops were reorganized in the North and trained by Soviet forces. Due to Stalin’s desire to use the region as a rear base for China’s Communist Party, the division of the Korean Peninsula seems to have been inevitable.

Chinese Civil War: Sept-Nov 1948. History Department of the United States Military Academy

Chinese Civil War: Sept-Nov 1948. US Military Academy History Department

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