No Chinese Intervention in the Korean War

There was notable opposition to intervention within the leadership of the CCP, though ultimately Mao's firm support for intervention ultimately led to the deployment of the PLA into Korea. But let's say the opposition is convincing enough for Mao to ultimately stay out of Korea, how does that affect the Cold War, and American/Chinese/Soviet relations and policy going forward?

For starters the Korean War ends in a ROK/UN victory. Even without the the threat of the DPRK, there likely remains an American military presence in the Korean Peninsula, however this is now much closer to the Chinese. Unification of the Korea would likely also invigorated support in the States for a rollback policy going forward. Could we see an earlier rapprochement between the US and China without the two engaging in direct conflict, or would a military presence on the Manchurian border make the relationship even worse?
 
Didn't the Chinese intervention have more to do with the US drive to the Chinese borders and the airing of nuclear war on China?
 
This Korean War is July-December, including mopping up, for American forces, so 5-6 months, instead of the 36 months of OTL's Korean War (not necessarily only 1/6 of the casualties though, since it's a pretty intense phase of the war)

This all goes to set up my follow-up question, which is, “without the US getting “burned” in Korea by a Chinese intervention that reverses its gains and throws its forces back and forces a stalemate, without the US getting ‘Yalu River Syndrome’, how do later war(s) in Vietnam (or Indochina) go?”

Does the US intervene in Vietnam/Indochina early with its own forces in bulk? Perhaps right at the point when the French are determining they can't do it on their own anymore? That would be 1954 or so, all things being equal. And it would be through out all parts of Indochina, not just southern Vietnam at that point in time.

1954 might not exactly be the point of French exhaustion, it might come a year or two earlier, with more generous aid flowing to the Viet Minh from a China that is not fight in Korea.

Or, like in OTL, the politics and optics of directly taking over a mission from a colonial power may not be acceptable, and the US government might reluctantly let the French take a limited loss, partitioning Indochina while hoping to hold most of it with proxy states.

In that case, there may be a lull in the fighting in the mid and late 1950s, and the US may not send in its own troops until the 1960s.

But, the US might escalate more in the early 1960s, perhaps in Laos, or in South Vietnam?

Or perhaps Washington, like OTL, stretches out the period without its own ground troops, trying to handle Vietnam and Indochina through proxy states, massive aid, encadre'd combat "advisors", and regime change/renovation in Saigon (the Diem coup or equivalent), for as long as that appears a possible alternative to sending whole American infantry units or losing Saigon outright.

Even if American combat troop intervention is delayed until the mid-1960s, American military and civilian leaders can approach it from a different mindset without having experienced Chinese intervention in Korea. They would be more willing to escalate in the ground and air hard and fast, and cross geographical boundaries, counter-invading from South Vietnam into North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos without having a visceral negative memory of Chinese opposition.

I don't know if that keeps or puts a non-communist or communist government in charge of half, or even all of Vietnam by the 1990s, but many things in this ATL's 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and probably 1980s will probably be different from OTL.
 
There was notable opposition to intervention within the leadership of the CCP, though ultimately Mao's firm support for intervention ultimately led to the deployment of the PLA into Korea. But let's say the opposition is convincing enough for Mao to ultimately stay out of Korea, how does that affect the Cold War, and American/Chinese/Soviet relations and policy going forward?

For starters the Korean War ends in a ROK/UN victory. Even without the the threat of the DPRK, there likely remains an American military presence in the Korean Peninsula, however this is now much closer to the Chinese. Unification of the Korea would likely also invigorated support in the States for a rollback policy going forward. Could we see an earlier rapprochement between the US and China without the two engaging in direct conflict, or would a military presence on the Manchurian border make the relationship even worse?
Perhaps no Sino-Soviet split because the threat of the USA is closer?
 
Was the intervention the right decision for China?
Depends on your perspective.

If you see it as China pulling its weight for its side of the Cold War, removing a foreign power from its doorstep, and delivering as substantial blow to the imperialists, then it can only be a good thing.

If you're more inclined towards hindsight then China lost 100s of thousands doing the USSR's work for it, saddled itself with a burdensome, ungrateful, and uncontrollable "buffer" state, and antagonized two countries that would later become some of its most important economic partners.

So I'd split the difference and say it's a good example of how you can make all the right decisions and still mess up.
 
Depends on your perspective.

If you see it as China pulling its weight for its side of the Cold War, removing a foreign power from its doorstep, and delivering as substantial blow to the imperialists, then it can only be a good thing.

If you're more inclined towards hindsight then China lost 100s of thousands doing the USSR's work for it, saddled itself with a burdensome, ungrateful, and uncontrollable "buffer" state, and antagonized two countries that would later become some of its most important economic partners.

So I'd split the difference and say it's a good example of how you can make all the right decisions and still mess up.
Would the existence of the People's Republic be in danger had it not intervened?
 
There was notable opposition to intervention within the leadership of the CCP, though ultimately Mao's firm support for intervention ultimately led to the deployment of the PLA into Korea.

For starters the Korean War ends in a ROK/UN victory. Even without the the threat of the DPRK

Didn't the Chinese intervention have more to do with the US drive to the Chinese borders and the airing of nuclear war on China?

I'm guessing the only way to avoid Chinese intervention is for the evincing of American restraint…indicating a continued rump DPRK "tripwire" state and a UN restoration of status quo ante (pushed North, somewhat, never mind).

So despite my esteem of raharris1973, should we not look to American restraint, rather than Chinese, for this scenario.

And should not unbutchered pork, ham and bacon products take flight from the runway labelled as "date 1[1]: Sam R.?"

yours,
Sam R.

Notes
1: Australian for arsehole, in the physiological sense, due to the crenelated resemblance of the fruit.
 
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Was the intervention the right decision for China?
This was China coming from the Hundred Year's Humiliation from foreign influence. The newly established PRC did not want a foreign aggressor or their "puppet" right on its border.
Depends on the butterflies.
Lots of butterflies indeed. It would probably mean the Soviets are harsher towards any uprisings in their satellite states in Eastern Europe seeing the U.S. and their UN allies overthrow a communist government. This would mean a different Indochina War and possibly a harsher Malayan Emergency. The Huk Rebellion in the Philippines would still be crushed since the Huks did not have anything to counter anything the Philippine Air Force had.

China was definitely under threat. It could not even protect its own shores if the U.S. Navy and allies bombarded it. China in 1950 is just as poor as Sudan is today.
Do you believe the PRC was guilty of aggression?
Yes, the PRC was guilty, as with all aggressors in past wars.
 
All of it was entirely do to dougla's macarthur's hot headed fire eating (fanatical-radical-extremist's) anti chinese rhetoric that the (un army) in korea was seen by china not only as an existential threat but a imminent deadly threat to the very existence of china,

To remove this imminent deadly threat you need to remove dougla's macarthur from power befor 1950,

You can still have the (un army) on the yalu river were cooler head's on all side's lead's to china and the soviet's staying out of the korean war,

But this would push china even deeper in to the soviet camp to were the soviet chinese split doe's not happen,

And if there is no soviet chinese split both the soviet and chinese's (1950's-1990's) economy's would be fare fare fare fare better off as with out the need to permanently station million's of troop's on the soviet-chinese's border for decade's on end that all the men can be so much better used in the light and heavy industrie's as well as the farming and agriculture industry ect,
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But it would not be long till the next crisi's like say in this (atl) the american's deploy first strike nuclear missile's in korea in the 1950's aimed at beijing and vladivostok ect so that they can at any time decapitat the chinese government and (chinese navy) (soviet pacific fleet) (soviet pacific fleet headquarter's) ect befor they even know that they are under attack,

With the soviet and chinese's being forced to aim first strike nuclear missile's at korea that would add more then in (are time line) much much greater possibility's of accidental nuclear launch's and (miscalculation's) (misunderstanding's) (miscommunication's) ect on all side's,

In this (atl) were the american's dont get a bloody nose and (black eye) in the korean war will be fare more embolden to take impossibly dangerou's risk's than in (are time line) like nato intervening in the 1953 east german uprising and (plzen uprising) ect with a soviet nuclear response,

As well as a (atl) were (china-soviet's) stay's out of the korean war the american's would think that the red's were coward's and that now is the time to strike,

To remove the likely hood of a 1953 (nato-soviet) nuclear war the west need's to fight hard to stop the spread of mccarthyism,

And to remove the likely hood of other 1950's nuclear war's the west need's to fight hard to stop the spread of undesirable disinformation like the use of negative emotion's useing the (bomber gap) (missile gap) (sputnik crisi's) ect as fearmongering to get the public hysterically terrified to think irrationally,
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The 1960's was the reverse of 1950's mccarthyism's illogical fearmongering hysterical irrationally replaced by mcnamaraism's unhuman emotionles's (mathematical-scientific) nonmoral binary logic,

If america were to go in to the second indochina war in the 1960's or any other war's at that time with or with out red's involvement would entirely depend on mcnamaraism's binary logic of (0 or 1),

As for the 1960's the west need's to fight hard to stop the spread of mcnamaraism's and to rein in the monster that is the military industrial complex,
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By the 1970's in this (atl) all side's may have more or less fund some kind of peaceful coexistence.
 
China invaded not because it was afraid of US attack but because it wanted to complete Kim Il Sung's mission of conquering Korea. The "Imjin War II" narrative was fed to the domestic audience right alongside the "war to resist America and aid Korea" in order to drum up support, but it wasn't what Mao had in mind.

In fact, Chinese preparations for entering the Korean War started almost immediately after the war began, and from the beginning there was consensus that China should add its strength to North Korea's in order to win the war for the communists. The main reason why the Chinese didn't intervene earlier was because of Kim's insistence that he could do it himself and Stalin's fears about the war expanding. But there is little evidence that if the Allies stopped at the 38th Parallel there wouldn't have been a renewed communist push to the south; if anything "US restraint" could have only prevented a Chinese invasion inasmuch as such "restraint" would have involved letting Kim take over all of Korea!

--Chen Jian, "Far Short of a Glorious Victory:" Revisiting China's changing strategies to Manage the Korean War."
 
The biggest reason reason for Chinese intervention was because the Chinese Communists were convinced that the US wanted to unify the peninsula so they could use it as a a stepping stone to invade mainland China and so wanted North Korea to remain as a buffer zone.

Here are some ways to keep China from intervening:
1) US Secretary of State Dean Acheson's speech about the American defensive perimeter in East Asia includes Taiwan and the Korea (OTL by leaving Korea out, this convinced Kim Il-Sung that the US wouldn't intervene when he tried to reunite the entire peninsula.)

2) Have the US supply South Korea with anti-tank weapons

3) Make sure the US is focused on either liberating South Korea and restoring the 38th parallel as a border at the least or removed Kim Il Sung from power at the most. Be sure to emphasize that unifying the Korean Peninsula is not a goal
 
I assume the OP is disregarding the question of how and why Beijing makes this choice, so I will do so as well.

First, with no Chinese intervention, U.S. & Allied forces essentially take the entire Korean Peninsula, leading to a general collapse of the Kim regime. Kim Il-sung either dies in the fighting, is captured and taken by Allied forces to stand before a tribunal of some kind, or flees into Chinese or Soviet territory.

Post-war, the decision is taken to unify the Korean Peninsula under a single, unified Republic of Korea with a government based on Western systems. Pyongyang is renamed to one of its historic names, such as Kisong, and maybe replaces Seoul as the RoK's seat of national government. The functions of government are moved there in stages over the next few years.

In the modern era, the northern portion of the peninsula is not beset by disease and malnutrition, which is a good thing.

If either Kim Il-sung or any of his family survived the war, they carry on a "People's Government in Exile" in either Soviet or P.R.C. territory, but as years pass they are taken less and less seriously. If they base it in Soviet territory, the collapse of the U.S.S.R. in the 90s likely causes their disollution as well, though they may survive to relocate to China if Beijing sees any propaganda value.

The border between the Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China resembles the 38th Paralel DMZ situation IOTL.

Left-wing parties and movements are restricted at first, but over time as the RoK loosens up, this changes. Even so, left-wing parties are often monitored by intelligence agencies, and some of the more extreme leftist parties and organizations will remain banned for decades.

This is just what comes to mind over a few minutes.
 
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The biggest reason reason for Chinese intervention was because the Chinese Communists were convinced that the US wanted to unify the peninsula so they could use it as a a stepping stone to invade mainland China and so wanted North Korea to remain as a buffer zone.

Here are some ways to keep China from intervening:
1) US Secretary of State Dean Acheson's speech about the American defensive perimeter in East Asia includes Taiwan and the Korea (OTL by leaving Korea out, this convinced Kim Il-Sung that the US wouldn't intervene when he tried to reunite the entire peninsula.)

2) Have the US supply South Korea with anti-tank weapons

3) Make sure the US is focused on either liberating South Korea and restoring the 38th parallel as a border at the least or removed Kim Il Sung from power at the most. Be sure to emphasize that unifying the Korean Peninsula is not a goal

The problem with this is that one of the main reasons that the US had been pulling OUT of Korea was because of the Truman post-war defense cuts which left little enough supplies and forces in the area. (Hence part of the reason it was not included in the defined defense perimeter) Second was US forces and equipment were being pulled out of Korea was because the leader of South Korea Syngman Rhee was JUST as vocal and adamant about the "reunification of Korea by force of arms if necessary" as Kim was and the US didn't trust to leave behind or provide enough materials for his to carry that out. Rhee was not interested in 'defensive' weapons and wanted arms and support to go North as soon as possible and both MacArthur and Truman were worried he'd actually raid US supply dumps if given the chance.

Once the war started unifying the Peninsula WAS pretty much the goal as it was felt that North Korea could not be trusted to exist in any way with the South at that point. In China's case they literally owed favor to North Korea for providing support, aid and troops during the Chinese Civil War so it was always likely they would intervene if it came down to it. Not that the rhetoric of MacArthur among others didn't add incentive but culturally the Chinese were duty bound to help North Korea and the only thing that prevented earlier intervention was (as mentioned) North Korean insistence that they could handle things themselves and Chinese hesitations while they built up troops and support at the border.

Randy
 
Unification of the Korea would likely also invigorated support in the States for a rollback policy going forward.
Yes, it will be seen as more achievable.

But let's not overestimate the case of "the stupids" and "the cockies" the US would get from defeating and destroying North Korea with the 8th Army and its air forces. The US will be even more reckless and have more swagger about thinking it can put down Communists in Indochina. Maybe in some other places like Cuba. But the US is *not* going to fool itself into thinking taking down a country the size and population of China is just an easy walk in the park.

The US also likely will not fool itself that risking a tangle with the Soviet Army in the plans of northern and central Europe in the East German or Hungarian uprisings would go well.
Could we see an earlier rapprochement between the US and China without the two engaging in direct conflict, or would a military presence on the Manchurian border make the relationship even worse?
The relationship could go exactly as OTL or diverge to earlier rapprochement or later rapprochement.

I think a lot depends on how various regional crises play out, most of all in Indochina, but also in the Taiwan straits, the Sino-Indian border, etc.

One factor is I think the sooner the US has a Vietnam-like, grinding military setback, the more open the US will become to dealing pragmatically with, and recognizing Communist China. I do not think it was a mere coincidence that the US public and political class only found it acceptable on a bipartisan basis to normalize with China after the US felt it was losing in Vietnam and trying to get. So in that regard, if the US jumps into Indochina overconfidently in the 1950s and loses in a decade or so, maybe after or during that debacle its willing to finally talk to China, so that early war might support an earlier than OTL normalization.
But if the US doesn't get into Indochina fighting until the 1960s and only has a first massive was with the PLA then, maybe it delays rapprochement to even later than OTL, or even causes a US-Soviet rapprochement and anti-China alignment instead.

Perhaps no Sino-Soviet split because the threat of the USA is closer?
Maybe, but it could go any which way. As it was, the Sino-Soviet split broke out despite China being quite insecure, having inflicted famine on itself, and with the Chinese and Americans pursuing hardline policies against each other. Mao seemed to start it for idiosyncratic and prideful intramural and ideological Communist reasons, and unless what he was telling everyone publicly and privately was all lies, he had deluded himself into thinking that he could take ideological leadership of the Communist world, and use argument and charisma to force the Soviets and other Socialist states to resolve any points of ideological and national dispute between themselves and China by abject 100% surrender to China (read- Mao's) position.
Would the existence of the People's Republic be in danger had it not intervened?
Not really any more than it was *by intervening.* IMO.
Depends on the butterflies.
A lot of things depend on the butterflies.
I'm guessing the only way to avoid Chinese intervention is for the evincing of American restraint…indicating a continued rump DPRK "tripwire" state and a UN restoration of status quo ante (pushed North, somewhat, never mind).
So you don't take the objections voiced to Mao in his senior leadership group by Lin Biao and Zhou Enlai seriously?
Were they just "going through the motions," and hedging their bets for the historical and party record in case it turned out to be a fiasco, so they could profit.
If Mao slipped in the tub before the decision, and one of them took over, would being in his shoes have made them decide to intervene?
So despite my esteem of raharris1973, should we not look to American restraint, rather than Chinese, for this scenario.

And should not unbutchered pork, ham and bacon products take flight from the runway labelled as "date 1[1]: Sam R.?"
So you're saying now that that not only is China backing down impossible, but its the US that needs to restrain itself. But then you basically negate that by saying that could only happen if pigs can fly.

While I agree each side had strong drivers to escalate until locked into a stalemate and shown the futility and diminishing returns of further escalation, I do think non-escalation is possible and even plausible for either side.
It would probably mean the Soviets are harsher towards any uprisings in their satellite states in Eastern Europe seeing the U.S. and their UN allies overthrow a communist government.
I guess. They put these down in OTL, they will put them down in the ATL.
This would mean a different Indochina War

Yes, most definitely, even if the ultimate outcome is a a unified Communist Vietnam by 1975 or 1980, the path to get there will definitely be altered in lots of interesting ways.

possibly a harsher Malayan Emergency.

I really wonder what the harshness would be for, since the Malay commies and their ethnic Chinese host community was so hopelessly overmatched from the beginning.

he Huk Rebellion in the Philippines would still be crushed since the Huks did not have anything to counter anything the Philippine Air Force had.

Yep, no question.

China was definitely under threat. It could not even protect its own shores if the U.S. Navy and allies bombarded it. China in 1950 is just as poor as Sudan is today.

It could be flesh-wounded, but it had "stood up" and would have rallied to a defensive fight. And whatever the US could do to torture China from the air and sea, the US is *not* going to fool itself into thinking taking down a country the size and population of China is just an easy walk in the park.

You can still have the (un army) on the yalu river were cooler head's on all side's lead's to china and the soviet's staying out of the korean war,

You know an additional plausible PoD for the Chinese to stay would be if Stalin, instead of encouraging and pressuring the Chinese to get in, is so worried about escalation and broadening to hit the Soviet Union that he actually *forbids* the PRC to intervene.

In this (atl) were the american's dont get a bloody nose and (black eye) in the korean war will be fare more embolden to take impossibly dangerou's risk's than in (are time line) like nato intervening in the 1953 east german uprising and (plzen uprising) ect with a soviet nuclear response,

As well as a (atl) were (china-soviet's) stay's out of the korean war the american's would think that the red's were coward's and that now is the time to strike,

To remove the likely hood of a 1953 (nato-soviet) nuclear war the west need's to fight hard to stop the spread of mccarthyism,

And to remove the likely hood of other 1950's nuclear war's the west need's to fight hard to stop the spread of undesirable disinformation like the use of negative emotion's useing the (bomber gap) (missile gap) (sputnik crisi's) ect as fearmongering to get the public hysterically terrified to think irrationally,

I think this is an overly alarmist projection of what kind of case of "the stupids" and "the cockies" the US would get from defeating and destroying North Korea with the 8th Army and its air forces. The US will be even more reckless and have more swagger about thinking it can put down Communists in Indochina. Maybe in some other places like Cuba. But the US is *not* going to fool itself into thinking taking down a country the size and population of China is just an easy walk in the park.

The US also likely will not fool itself that risking a tangle with the Soviet Army in the plans of northern and central Europe in the East German or Hungarian uprisings would go well.

As for the 1960's the west need's to fight hard to stop the spread of mcnamaraism's and to rein in the monster that is the military industrial complex,
This is somewhat strange theory because actually while McNamara used quantitative business management methods, methods not exactly applicable to warfighting, especially in a counterinsurgency, reining in the endless service and corporate wishlist of the Eisenhower-era military industrial complex and keeping costs more reasonable compared to the 1950s was *exactly* what McNamara was trying to do in the Department of Defense.
A much shorter Korean War?
'M.A.S.H.' doesn't get made.
Something like it probably does, because an Indochina or Vietnam War is still highly likely, and producers may want to backdate it to Korea for reasons of discretion.
But there is little evidence that if the Allies stopped at the 38th Parallel there wouldn't have been a renewed communist push to the south
Well say the Allies did that, what would Kim Il Sung's move be? Would he be telling the Chinese, "alright, alright, hurry on down and help me finish this in my next offensive?" Or would he insist on trying once more to invade and conquer the south on his own without the Chinese? If the latter, how long would it take him to regroup forces to have a hope of attacking successfully?
I assume the OP is disregarding the question of how and why Beijing makes this choice, so I will do so as well.

First, with no Chinese intervention, U.S. & Allied forces essentially take the entire Korean Peninsula, leading to a general collapse of the Kim regime. Kim Il-sung either dies in the fighting, is captured and taken by Allied forces to stand before a tribunal of some kind, or flees into Chinese or Soviet territory.

Post-war, the decision is taken to unify the Korean Peninsula under a single, unified Republic of Korea with a government based on Western systems. Pyongyang is renamed to one of its historic names, such as Kisong, and maybe replaces Seoul as the RoK's seat of national government. The functions of government are moved there in stages over the next few years.

In the modern era, the northern portion of the peninsula is not beset by disease and malnutrition, which is a good thing.

If either Kim Il-sung or any of his family survived the war, they carry on a "People's Government in Exile" in either Soviet or P.R.C. territory, but as years pass they are taken less and less seriously. If they base it in Soviet territory, the collapse of the U.S.S.R. in the 90s likely causes their disollution as well, though they may survive to relocate to China if Beijing sees any propaganda value.

The border between the Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China resembles the 38th Paralel DMZ situation IOTL.

Left-wing parties and movements are restricted at first, but over time as the RoK loosens up, this changes. Even so, left-wing parties are often monitored by intelligence agencies, and some of the more extreme leftist parties and organizations will remain banned for decades.

This is just what comes to mind over a few minutes.
This projection is entirely convincing and plausible.
 
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