The Korean War: Handbook of the Literature and Research

By Lester H. Brune; Robin Higham | Go to book overview

10
Sino-Soviet Historiography
and Research Materials

Lester H. Brune

Sergei N. Goncharov, John W. Lewis, and Xue Litai Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao, and the Korean War ( 1993) is a seminal work in the historiography of relations between the People's Republic of China and the former Soviet Union. The three authors admit that their work is not the final, definitive study, which only future declassified documents can reveal, and already Michael Sheng ( 1994) offers an alternative to their interpretation. Nevertheless, their data and the collegiality of this joint venture are a milestone in the study of the origins of the Korean War and Sino- Soviet interaction. As the book's preface indicates, the Soviet, Chinese, and Korean sources they found throw new light on the topic, with new materials including manuscripts of Mao Zedong, some of which are translated in their appendix; the personal archive of I. V. Kovalev, Joseph Stalin's representative to Beijing; and interviews with officials and scholars of the three nations.

Undoubtedly the value of Uncertain Partners heralds a new era of historical study about the cold war, but future study depends on access to documentary evidence that is still classified or withheld and on the coordination of the new evidence with the previous work of Western Sinologists and Sovietologists, as John W. Lewis' presence in the above study illustrates. Much is being gleaned from archives and new publications in Moscow and Beijing, but the enthusiasm of researchers using these resources has already disclosed pitfalls to avoid by using the new information within the context of past study to yield properly balanced literature that is checked carefully with other sources.


CHINESE HISTORIOGRAPHY

As Chen Jian indicates in Chapter 11 of this book, documents have become available to provide new knowledge about China's role in the

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