Rethinking the Korean War: A New Diplomatic and Strategic History

By William Stueck | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Why the War Did Not Expand beyond Korea,
November 1950–July 1951

THE CHINESE SECOND-PHASE OFFENSIVE BEGINNING ON NOVEMBER 25, 1950, was to the Communist side what the Inchon landing had been to the United Nations. Like the Americans before September 15, the Chinese prior to December had given considerable thought to a military campaign to unify Korea. Mao's unsent telegram to Stalin of October 2 had emphasized the desirability of quickly wiping out the Americans on the peninsula. Such an outcome, rather than a prolonged stalemate, would reduce the prospects of the United States waging a major war against the Chinese mainland. Yet the expulsion of UN forces from all Korea would require large-scale Soviet matériel assistance, and Mao was prepared to fight a holding operation until such aid arrived and the CPV was fully prepared to use it. 1 MacArthur's final offensive made it impossible to avoid a direct military confrontation with the United Nations through the winter. Even then,

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