Unfinished War

This essay will examine a significant issue in history and consider Stalin’s role and the Soviet involvement in the Korean War (1950-53) with the substantial Russian documents.

In the mid-1990s, the Russian government declassified a number of important documents on the Korean War. In addition, a number of Russians and North Koreans who played military or political role in the war published their memoirs and allowed interviews on the subject. Before scholars gained access to previously top secret Soviet-era documents, they could only guess at the extent of Stalin’s involvement in the war due to lack of evidence. However, the new Russian documents made scholars able to verify the centrality and breadth of Stalin’s role in the Korean War. Moreover, it has brought a sharp change on the knowledge of the conflict in the historical literature.  

These recently available sources show the invasion of South Korea as a Communist initiative that demonstrated the aggressiveness of Stalin, even when no direct threat existed for his country (Leffler & Westad, 2010, pp.109). Moreover, the documents are clear that it was Stalin who made the decision about whether or not to invade South Korea, even though the invasion was planned by North Korean leader, Kim Il-sung who was firmly determined to unify the entire peninsula by military means (Keylor, 2003, pp.190).

It is an important issue because the invasion created a fear in the United States of the domino effect of Soviet Communism. Americans and their allies eventually intervened in the conflict with the goal of preventing the spread of Communism. For this reason, The Korean War is seen as a confrontation between the two opposing ideologies (Millett, 2001, pp.1-2). However, although the substantial evidences have resolved the question on the Soviet responsibility for the decision to attack South Korea, the interpretations of Stalin’s rational in approving the offensive have varied widely.   Therefore, this essay will...