Plausibility Check: Keeping China out of the Korean War

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Color-Copycat, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. Color-Copycat Banned

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    How would one go about doing this? Getting McArthur out of the picture a few years earlier? I've read that UN bombing runs against Chinese bases north of the Yalu were actually quite few in number, so keeping the Chinese out of the war might have to involve a curtail in the advance of UN ground forces as they near the border.

    However, simply stopping a few kilometers short of the Yalu would still leave a rump North Korean state whose mere existence would irk the South Koreans to no end, right? I can imagine that Seoul would demand the full eradication of the North Korean state, but would they be dissuaded if the US had heeded the many warnings about China's willingness to got war?
     
  2. Sumeragi Banned

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    Well, it depends on how far PRC was willing to go. If it did not interfere when only ROKA troops went north, there might be a slim possibility that we would have a reunified Korea. But then, just what was Mao thinking?
     
  3. azander12 Revolutionary Avocado

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    What about American negotiations with the Chinese, where they will annex much of the rump North Korean state (border will be set at the Yalu) and there will be a 40-kilometer DMZ on both sides of the river, in exchange for abandoning the DPRK?
     
  4. tallwingedgoat Well-Known Member

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    China's main worry was the US will eventually invade Manchuria like Japan did after absorbing Korea and put Chiang Kai-shek back in power. Manchuria had half of China's heavy industry, it cannot modernize with a military threat on the border. Plus the plains of Manchuria are far harder to defend than the mountains of Korea.

    There's pretty much two ways to resolve this concern. The simplest is to stop the UN advance mid way up North Korea, leaving enough of it as a buffer zone. The narrow waist of North Korea, running from Pyongyang to Wongsan would leave a viable buffer state for China's purposes.

    The second way would be for US to recognize PRC, drop its support for Chiang Kai-shek and court Mao like they did Tito. Mao was not happy with Stalin and was still open to the possibility of staying friendly with the West at the time.
     
  5. Color-Copycat Banned

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    IIRC, the US had dropped much of its support for Chiang by the time the Korean War rolled around. It was only after the Chinese involvement that Truman ordered US naval units to reinforce Taiwan in order to prevent China from getting at the thousands of Chinese POWs who opted to go to Taiwan instead of being repatriated after the war.
     
  6. Paul V McNutt Paul V McNutt Banned

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    On Different Workds there was a TL that had Truman bomb the Ysku and stop the Chinese from sending troops in. The North Koreans were only able to hold on to a small section of territory by the Chinese border.
     
  7. tallwingedgoat Well-Known Member

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    Not really. Truman was not fond of Chiang, but most Republicans were still keen on him. Mao was irked by US refusing to recognize his government after the establishment of the PRC. But it was only after the US Navy was ordered to defend Taiwan after the North Korean invasion of the south that China leaned towards the Soviet Union. The Chinese intervention in Korea came later.
     
  8. Paul V McNutt Paul V McNutt Banned

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    Forgot to subscribe
     
  9. Plumber Hagamos los EEUU Ackbar Mauritania!

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    And Truman cares about the Republicans why?
    Chiang was written off until the start of the Korean War.

    It's possible MacArthur's plane goes down after meeting with Truman on Wake Island. The ensuing confusion may make the Chinese wait it out and with a general in Korea who isn't fucking itching to start WWIII, it's possible they don't intervene.
     
  10. Dalmighty Well-Known Member

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    Would a Korean war still occur if the Chinese Civil War was stalemated on mainland China?

    A nationalist victory would probably make the ROC join the war against Korea in return for aid and supplies
     
  11. tallwingedgoat Well-Known Member

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    The China Lobby and the John Birch Society was at least as powerful as the Neo-Cons on the eve of the Iraq War. Also at the time the American intelligence community had very little idea about Chinese Communists. They believed Mao took orders from Moscow, and the Communist world was monolithic without internal rivalries. Under these conditions Truman wasn't going to take the political risk of recognizing the PRC or overtly abandon Chiang.
     
  12. Plumber Hagamos los EEUU Ackbar Mauritania!

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    Oh, that's true. Truman wasn't going to recognize the PRC, but he didn't like Chiang at all.
     
  13. RamscoopRaider Some Sort of Were-Orca, probably an Akhlut

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    Some Nuclear saber rattling might work for this, as in a threat of join in and get nuked.

    Key word might and I do not know how to get this saber rattling but it could work, China had no nukes and the USSR was in a position where the USA could wipe it out without taking too much damage, though Europe would not enjoy the experience
     
  14. dgharis Elitist toll collector

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    First, given the rabid anti-communist sentiment in the US at the time (the McCarthy era, roughly) chances of rapprochement with the PRC were roughly nil; it would have been political suicide for Truman or any other administration official to even propose such a thing.

    Second, the moment the US and ROK troops crossed the 38th parallel the Chinese started sending troops into Korea; by the time our forces reached the Yalu (which they did in one or two spots) there were upwards of 300,000 Chinese troops in Korea. The Chinese didn't mind the North Koreans being trounced, but having a US puppet state next to Manchuria was not acceptable and they were determined to preserve North Korea as a buffer state.

    And the US and ROK are not going to stop at the 38th parallel, not with McArthur in charge. He's going to attempt the conquest of North Korea, and the South Korean and US governments are in agreement with him on this.

    Oh, and nuclear saber rattling is going to provoke a strong reaction from the Soviets; while they're not the best of friends with Mao they're not going to just let us nuke the Chinese either. Furthermore, because it's a bluff and the Chinese know it's a bluff, they will interpret it as a sign of weakness on our part, which is exactly the wrong message to send.
     
  15. RamscoopRaider Some Sort of Were-Orca, probably an Akhlut

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    True it is a bluff, but the balance of forces is way against the USSR. That said I do not belive that this will likely keep China out, only that it is a possibility of sorts.
     
  16. Snake Featherston Banned

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    The UN decides having cleared the North Koreans out of South Korea is all it needs to do and stops its offensive right there and presents the Communists with the challenge of initiating another war or accepting an immediate and peremptory military defeat. China won't enter as UN troops never enter North Korea, much less the Yalu.
     
  17. dgharis Elitist toll collector

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    Picture MacArthur issuing an order to halt at the 38th parallel; not happening. He is going to keep right on going and both the South Korean and US governments are going to back him in doing so. And when he does the Chinese will march.

    Getting a halt at the 38th parallel requires putting someone other than MacArthur in charge, which, given his enormous prestige, is going to be difficult. Perhaps if Mac falls ill or is injured in an accident, maybe, but not otherwise.
     
  18. Plumber Hagamos los EEUU Ackbar Mauritania!

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    No one in Washington even thought of stopping at the 38th. If they did then they would birth McCarthyism two years early.
     
  19. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    Stopping at the waist (a little beyond Pyongyang-Wonsan line) would probably prevent open conflict, assuming US willing to let there be a rump N. Korea as a Chinese puppet state. Also if the US/UN stops there, less chance of the Chinese hitting as a big surprise and this line very defensible...
     
  20. BlondieBC Kaiser of Ozarks

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    The only way that MacArthur issues an order to halt is for it to be a order for a few days for the logistics to improve. Even this is very unlikely scenario.

    I can see a MacArthur more concerned about the Chinese, who maintains better formations and a slower advance to the north. Maybe give him a little better Intel, say a capture of a North Korean general who talks or some intercepted communications.