East Asia ~ Wikimedia

I am currently on a trip to Seoul, Vladivostok and Tokyo to research locations for my upcoming historical-fiction novel covering the years 1940-1950.

My protagonists are:

  • a young Korean physician, trained in the Imperial Japanese medical system in colonial Korea (Chōsen), who joins anti-Japanese guerrillas in Manchuria and ultimately, escapes into Russia
  • a US Army officer (Nick from my first book Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War), stationed at MacArthur’s headquarters in occupied Japan, who is abruptly plunged into the battle for Korea


My current understanding of this post-WWII epoch (1940-1950) is this:

~In an effort to reunite the country, both North Korea and South Korea were authoritarian states that assumed very aggressive military postures in the late 1940s—both claim the other actually started the war.

~Just recovering from the devastation of World War II, the USSR was not in favor of precipitating nor encouraging new wars in Asia—nevertheless, the Soviets could not turn their back on emerging Communist states.

Although a few Soviet pilots participated in the war, Russian involvement in the Korean War was mainly the provision of equipment, training and technical support.

~ The United States, fearing South Korean President Syngman Rhee would start a war, restricted rearmament of the South to defensive efforts and provided a small advisory force for the Korean military.

Deeply immersed in Cold War ideology, the U.S. government was convinced the USSR was directly behind all efforts to extend Communism globally. Fearing a “domino effect” in East Asia, the U.S. government saw no alternative but direct military intervention when North Korea invaded the South.

~ Communist China, emerging from a long civil war (temporarily interrupted by common cause against Imperial Japan) was sympathetic to North Korea but, like the USSR, also not wanting to get involved in a new war.

Grateful to Koreans for their assistance in the 2nd Sino-Japanese War, Communist China felt an obligation to support North Korea, but resisted becoming involved in the war—until American troops were at the Yalu River and China responded with massive armed force.


Dear Reader: Any comments or alternative explanations would be greatly appreciated