China's Road to the Korean War: The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation

China's Road to the Korean War: The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation

China's Road to the Korean War: The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation

China's Road to the Korean War: The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation

Synopsis

Why did China enter the Korean War? What made Mao Zedong, only one year after the establishment of the People's Republic of China, decide to assist North Korea in fighting a coalition of nearly all of the Western industrial powers?

Excerpt

In October 1950, one year after the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC), Mao Zedong and the Beijing leadership sent “Chinese People's Volunteers”(CPV) to Korea to fight against United Nations forces moving rapidly toward the ChineseKorean border. Although China's intervention saved Kim Il-sung's North Korean Communist regime from imminent collapse, it was unable to fulfill the Beijing leadership's hopes of overwhelming the UN forces. Therefore, when the Korean War ended in July 1953, Korea's political map remained virtually unchanged, while America's military intervention in Korea and China's rushing into a conflict with the United States finally buried any hope for a Sino-American accommodation, and the Cold War in Asia entered a new stage characterized by a total confrontation between the PRC and the United States that would last nearly twenty years.

The newly established Chinese Communist regime faced enormous problems during its first year, including achieving political consolidation, rebuilding a war-shattered economy, and finishing reunification of the country. Why then did Mao decide to assist North Korea in fighting a coalition composed of nearly all the Western industrial powers? How was the decision made? What were the immediate and long-range causes leading to Beijing's decision to enter the Korean War? Finally, was there any opportunity that might have prevented the . . .

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