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Ian_Lee

Motive for intervention in the Korean War

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Ian_Lee

What was PRC's motive in the intervention in the Korean War against UN forces in 1950?

The most common explanantion given by PRC sources was the letter written by Mao Zedong to Zhou Enlai in October 1950 that US forces along Yalu River would pose grave national security threat to the newly-founded PRC.

So was that the only motive?

General Mac Arthur had already called the boys home by X'mas by that time. Why would Mao risk to launch a war with UN while Stalin already refrained?

On the other hand, though Koreans had close relationship with CCP since 1920s, Kim Il-Sung himself did not. In fact, Kim served in the Soviet Red Army when WWII ended.

So why was Mao so eager to intervene in Korea while other politburo members hesitated?

Since so many fellow posters like to guess Mao's motive in GLF, CR,....etc., let me also guess Mao's motive in 1950.

Mao was very familiar with Chinese history. He must have studied behaviors of some emperors he fervently admired.

Maybe he was emulating what Kublai Khan was doing in 1281.

In 1279, Kublai Khan finally finished the Southern Sung Dynasty. In 1281, Yuan launched the second invasion campaign against Japan. The total force amounted to 130,000 with the bulk consisting of -- 100,000 -- newly surrendered Southern Sung soldiers departing from the ports of South China by ships to Japan.

The Kamakura Bakufu panicked. Fortunately for Japan, Kamikaze saved her and most of the Yuan battleships capsized off the shore of Kyushu.

For Mao, he might plan to "expend" the surrendered KMT soldiers in 1950 as Kublai Khan did with the surrendered Sung soldiers. During the swift demise of KMT on Mainland between 1946-1949, hundreds of thousands of KMT soldiers were besieged and later surrendered in Harbin, Changchun, Shenyang and Beijing. Out of the 1 million KMT soldiers in 1945, Chiang only took about 200,000 to Taiwan in 1949.

I guess at least 500,000 surrendered KMT soldiers had been conscripted into PLA during this period. Since Mao was uneasy about this huge potential 5th column, the best way to "expend" them was to disguise them as "volunteers" to Korea to face US firepower.

Judged by the estimated 1 million PVA death by US source, most likely all these "volunteers" had been "expended" by 1953.

In 1953, out of 171,000 Chinese and North Korean POWs held by UN, an astonishing 83,000 refused to be repatriated to Mainland China. Most Chinese POWs chose to go to Taiwan. (The ratio of Chinese POWs refusing to be repatriated was higher than their North Korean counterparts.)

General Peng got the job done. But too bad he was too careless and let Mao's oldest son become the "collateral damage". No wonder Peng was purged in Looshan 5 years afterwards.

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roddy
I guess at least 500,000 surrendered KMT soldiers had been conscripted into PLA during this period. Since Mao was uneasy about this huge potential 5th column, the best way to "expend" them was to disguise them as "volunteers" to Korea to face US firepower.

Have you got a source for that? Other than 'I guess'.

Roddy

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Ian_Lee

Roddy:

If I have the source, then I would not guess. Since PRC still has not declassified the archived documents of Civil war and Korean war (I bet they never will), I can only rely on simple arthmetic and reasonable estimate.

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roddy

So is there any evidence at all that part of the motivation for entering Korea was to slaughter 500,000 KMT soldiers? Anyone else hold this opinion? Because I've just done some very basic research and can't find anything relevant.

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niubi

there's been a lot of scholarship on china's role in the korean war in the past decade. i haven't read much on the subject myself, but do remember during the mid-1990s there was a lot of new information and scholarship making waves at the time. my particular interest was china-vietnam relations when i was a grad student so i didn't follow the korean stuff much.

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Quest

A typical Western article would have something like this - "Over a million Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese communist government according to reliable sources." or "Sources estimated that hundreds of thousands of students were killed in the TianAnMen massacre."

You see "sources" a lot, but never know who these sources really are.

It was really nice of Ian_Lee to use "I guess".

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Guest cavebear

I am pretty sure that the number of the KMT soldiers conscripted into PLA is much much more than 500,000.

More than a few KMT armies simply converted to PLA armies as a whole.

Even in most of those top-class PLA troops ( 4th Field under lin biao), most soldiers used to serve in KMT army who volunteered to join PLA as POW.

It is well known in China. Many of these converted soldier later became officers ( even Generals-- all the way up to the top rank--Full General) .

That's why the proposal in Ian Lee's poster is so ridiculous. If you do not trust them, you do not keep them in the army with weapons.

I guess the reason so many were not willing to go back to China is because China does not honor returning POW. PLA wanted its soldiers to fight to death.

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Ian_Lee

Cavebear:

Please don't label my post "ridiculous" if you don't like the content. I never describe your post with this adjective though.

Thanks for asserting that the surrendered KMT army conscripted into PLA might exceed 500,000.

I remember that the former KMT commander of Peiping (Beijing) General Foo Tso Yi had been treated by CCP as a "vase" and put him in the post as Head of Waterwork Department. But did he yield any real power?

Moreover, a lot of KMT generals were treated as "war criminals" instead of POWs. Some were not released until the early '70s. Was imprisonment as long as a quarter century justified merely because they didn't rally behind CCP (many of them had fought hard against the Japanese during WWII)?

By the way, those KMT soldiers turned "volunteers" in Korea could hardly be real volunteers at all. Just common sense, after fighting 8 years with Japanese and 4 years with CCP, the only wishes of those surrendered KMT soldeirs might be go home for reunion with their wives and kids. Who would be interesting to fight for Kim Il-Sung?

Of course, those surrendered KMT soldiers were equipped with weapons to fight with UN. How? Very easy. Haven't you heard the "human wave" strategy? Those surrendered KMT soldiers would hold rifles on the front while real PLA soldiers holding machine guns and stationed on the rear. The KMT soldiers could only charge forward and if they chickened out and turned backward, they would be killed by the PLA.

Such tactic of course cost heavy casualty. That is why US estimated PVA lost as many as 1 million soldiers.

Why so many PVAs didn't want to go home? The answer is very simple.

Because Mao would probably "expend" them again for the worldwide proletariat movement. Those who didn't die in Korea might be sent right away to Indochina to fight under General Giap against the French.

Of course, those POWs were not stupid and chose Taiwan.

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Guest cavebear

Ian,

I did not mean to hurt your personal feelings. I had the impression that your original poster was copied here from somewhere else. I oppologize.

Now let's go down to some of the points:

1) True those surrendered KMT generals only became "political vase". But when I said some of the POW rose to hight positions I meant they did it from the bottom of the rank---common soldier (there was no private)--all the way up to Full General. They are trusted because they are volunteers.

CCP army soldiers are volunteers--that's why they won the battle of China--unfortunately after so many years some people still fail to see this simple fact or they just refuse to see it. In the civil war many KMT POW chosed to go home instead of joining the CCP army because they missed home so much.

You may want to use the widely applicaple "brain washing" theory to explain this.

Anyway those soldiers are not KMT soldiers forced to fight in CCP army. they formed the bulk of the best CCP armies that destroyed KMT armies.

Before going to Korea, those soldiers fought in many battles against KMT armies in which they killed many KMT soldiers.

one example: The commander of the Army 54 ( one of the top three in china) said in 1948 in Northeast China: my soldiers had been almost exclusively KMT POWs many many battles ago. The same army then fought all the way from northest to Hainai dao.

No way CCP would want to loose these soldiers as it did not have any other ones.

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Guest iunknown

Ian_Lee, your words is very logical. But I have to say that your logic is totally in a western way. I do not know how to explain it but I can say definitely there are NO SUCH MACHINE GUN team in CCP. You can ask any Chinese the story about Qiu Shayun(邱少云) and Huang Jiguang(黄继光) who is so called POWs by you guys.

Frankly, I am upset. What is your feeling if I call General Robert E. Lee POW?

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Guest iunknown

"In 1953, out of 171,000 Chinese and North Korean POWs held by UN, an astonishing 83,000 refused to be repatriated to Mainland China."

----- Mr Lee, I'm as astonishing as you. If you do some further research in UN database, you may know more than 141,000 out of 171,000 are Korean. In another word, no more than 30,000 are Chinese. So can you tell me where these 50,000 Chinese who refused to go to Mailand China come from? Thanks.

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Ian_Lee

Unknown:

Thanks for pointing out my omission. It should be:

"In 1953, out of 171,000 Chinese and North Korean POWs held by UN, an astonishing 83,000 refused to be repatriated to Mainland China and North Korea."

But I would still raise the questiion why such a high ratio of PVA and North Korean POWs refused to be repatriated.

I don't look from a western viewpoint but a human point of view.

Assuming that those KMT soldiers conscripted into PLA were not POWs, would they be still willing to serve as "volunteers' to fight for the cause of Kim Il Sung after spending 8 years fighting against Japanese and 3 years in civil war?

I bet 99 of 100 would want to go home to see their wives and kids.

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Guest iunknown

how much you wanna bet? I think I will earn money:)

I'm kidding......

The situation is this. Suppose you are a KMT soldier. You surrendered to PLA. Then, your mother sent you a mail that CCP gave your family enough food, gave your family land to do agriculture and sent your son to school which was your dream when you were a Child. 2 years later, you are informed that you may LOST ALL OF THEM, because a powerful country which invaded China for several times want to invade China again from Korea. What will you do? Westerners are brave, but Chinese are not coward too.

What Japanese do if they were defeated? suicide. But in Chinese philosophy if do not have son, you do not have right to siucide.(不孝有三,无后为大!) They also cannot return, because they will make their family 'lose face' to escape. So the only choice is go to Taiwan. Moreover USA army ask poeple from Taiwan to supervise the stalag. Most of people refused to go to Taiwan was ill-treated according to articles by General Clark.

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Quest
So is there any evidence at all that part of the motivation for entering Korea was to slaughter 500,000 KMT soldiers? Anyone else hold this opinion? Because I've just done some very basic research and can't find anything relevant.

I guess Ian_Lee used to be a KMT himself, and he hates CCP so much that he thinks every thing the CCP did was fundamentally evil. Also, I guess again that KMT probably means Taiwanese and CCP means Chinese to Ian_Lee, and to him they are two different races.

I don't know who they sent to fight the Korean war, but all of them were the sons of the Chinese people. They joined the army either to defend China or to help their family or simply conscripted. To the average soldier, what was the difference between CCP or KMT? To the CCP leaders, how would isolating a large force of former KMT soldiers benefit them? If I were the leader, I would split and mix them within the CCP ranks to make them truly my own soldiers, or just disband them and send them home.

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Ian_Lee

Quest:

Every poster is anonymous in the cyberspace. But I do welcome your wild guess on my identity. Anyhow, it is irrelevant.

Before PRC declassified its archives (it has become more open recently in declassifying many '50s documents but not those related to Korean War), different theories would be surfacing about its motive to participate in the Korean War.

Of course, you are entitled to stick to PRC's official story line.

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Ian_Lee

Cometrue:

Your link basically repeated what I wrote about the widely-believed motive of PRC entering the Korean War against UN:

The most common explanation given by PRC sources was the letter written by Mao Zedong to Zhou Enlai in October 1950 that US forces along Yalu River would pose grave national security threat to the newly-founded PRC.

Nothing new.

On the other hand, my post tried to explore the deeply underlying motive.

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Guest cavebear

Ian Lee,

If seems that you read more doc in English than (simplified) Chinese.

Here are two stories I want to share with you.

1) You've heard of one of KMT 5 Elite troops, 74th Division ( very wellknown in Mainland China)?. We were taught in School that it was the first elite KMT troop to be anilated, which was considered a huge achievement by the CCP troops, as it had posed such a threat to the CCP. What most of us did not know is that it was reduilt, based on its POWs released by the CCP as well as those cadets in its training camp. The rebuilt 74 division was again quite a headeache for CCP before it was destroyed again later. It was rebuilt yet again, but this time the third 74 divison is a rubish army and easily destroyed for a third and last time.

It was the time when CCP needed the soldiers the most. But those loyal KMT POWs were still allowed to make it back to the KMT army.

2) Quite a few sources in China in the last decade revealed the "shocking"fact that in some very "extremely difficult" moments the officers in the CCP army had to keep an eye on the homesick soldiers to prevent them from running away. But the general line is seldom crossed:

If you run away with youself, ok, you are just a homesick chicken; Running away with your gun means you plan to join the enemy army, if you get caught, you are executed.

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Ian_Lee

Cavebear:

I read a lot about Korean War from sources in Mainland China.

One of the most unforgettable story was that after the war ended, many PLA soldiers were invited by Kim Il Sung to stay put in North Korea.

Why? Because the war had greatly diminished the number of male Korean in the north.

I read that one PLA soldier was given eight North Korean girls as wives by Kim Il Sung.

I pity that PLA soldiers had to still "fight" on bed during the night time for Kim after 3 years!

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