Academic journal article Military Review

STALIN'S LAST WAR: Korea and the Approach to World War III

Academic journal article Military Review

STALIN'S LAST WAR: Korea and the Approach to World War III

Article excerpt

STALIN'S LAST WAR: Korea and the Approach to World War III, Alan J. Levine. McFarland & Co., Jefferson, NC, 2005.320 pages, $39.95.

Histories of the Korean War often depict North Korea as underestimating the United States' willingness to defend South Korea, and the United States' refusal to believe China when it warned against invading North Korea. Although both sides undoubtedly made such errors, any account that emphasizes these misunderstandings tends to take the war out of its larger context: that is. the worldwide rivalry of the early Cold War. Regardless, at the time, both sides viewed the war through the distorted prism of mutual suspicions and fears.

Alan Levine restores that wider context in Stalin's Last War: Korea and the Approach to World War III, in which he views the strategic direction of the war through the eyes of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union. Communist China, and both Korean governments. U.S. President Harry S. Truman, for example, regarded Korea as a deliberate Communist distraction from the defense of Europe.

Levine ties many divergent threads into his narrative, yet his underlying theme is quite controversial: He asserts that between 1951 and 1952 Stalin deliberately planned to conquer Western Europe before the United States could complete its rearmament program. …

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