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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Warfare by Other Means

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Warfare by Other Means Economics, demographics, cultural, technological, and other factors that have affected the course of history.

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  #46  
Old 16 Feb 17, 12:57
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Major difference between HCM and Kim Il-sung

Ho Chi Minh was never a combatant. He was Comintern agent for the majority of his life up until 1943-44. His supposed return to Vietnam in 1941 would have been for a few brief hours stepping across the border for the 8th Plenum, if in fact the 8th Plenum took place in the cave at Pak Bo. (there are contrary accounts) His role in Vietnam's history was purely political. Giap and Nguyen Binh were the guerrilla leaders, with Giap leaning to the conventional and Nguyen Binh to the terrorist sides. Giap laid the basis for what became the VM conventional units, and Nguyen Binh amalgamated anti-French forces in the South to create the infrastructure we would later call the Viet Cong.

Kim Il-sung was first and foremost a combatant, famous as the "general" who took over the North Korean town of Gapsan (also Kapsan) close to the Chinese border for a single day in the late 30s. Some seven Japanese police were killed, but in that dark period for Korean independence, it was a morale builder throughout the peninsula. His guerrilla band consisted of both volunteers and the "volunteered" (via the Dr. Zhivago method), the latter usually from Korean farm families in Manchuria. Once the Japanese refined their counter-guerrilla campaign in Manchuria to a carrot and stick approach (Yes, the Japanese were quite capable of treating key regions with other than the Nanjing massacre approach), Kim Il-sung's 'division' became little more than a small band and finally took refuge in the USSR. Andrei Lankov, a Ph.D. from the Uni of Leningrad now St. Petersburg, who did post-grad studies at Kim Il-sung university, judges that Il-sung was only a nominal Communist at best, and that his real love was the Army.

According to one Russian history buff I once traded emails with, Kim Il-sung's WWII unit, the 88th "Strelnaya" Bde, was just another ordinary light infantry brigade in the Soviet Far East. However, while its leadership was Russian, there were some field grade Chinese and Soviet Koreans in the unit, and far more, to include Jurchens, among the rank and file. But, according to one poorly translated bio of Kim Il-sung written by a Korean leftist who was no admirer. Il-sung's 'battalion' was a small battalion of East Asians whose role was cross-border reconnaissance, always in civilian attire. Again, in this bio, the author states that during his time there, he only crossed into Manchuria himself from two to five times. My military experienced inclines me to accept this version of the 88th "Sniper" Bde. Having seen their non-aggression pact unilaterally dissolved by the Germans, the Soviets certainly had reason to keep an eye on the Japanese in Manchuria, and Il-sung had both the experience and personnel to do so.

Lankov sees Il-sung's early 1945-48 role as a symbol. The Soviets promoted him Major and presented him to the public in Pyongyang as "the great Korean General Kim Il-sung". He functioned as the 25th Soviet Army's "go to" guy for organizing what became the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, it's security forces, and Army. Once in charge, it was Il-sung who pushed Stalin and Mao to commit to the Korean War, and the rest, as they say, is history. Post-Koran War, Il-sung set about creating the great myth of the Kim family's role in Korean History, then purged the Korean Communists who posed a threat to his leadership, followed by those Koreans with Chinese PLA connections, followed by those with Soviet connections, in this last case simply ordering them out of the country to the USSR.

It is my opinion that the surest sign of Kim Il-sung's legacy is the North Korean Special Forces and its Reconnaissance Bureau. This includes the North Korean parachute, amphibious, and light infantry brigades, but most especially the Reconnaissance battalions from the lowest level up.
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Last edited by lirelou; 16 Feb 17 at 13:09..
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  #47  
Old 17 Feb 17, 07:29
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Originally Posted by Half Pint John View Post
What is the comparison that you find between Korea and Nam?
thanks for all the replies
.....not worth 50,000 US lives
.....militarily, -- as stated before, South Korea was easier to defend/cut-off because it was ''surrounded'' by sea
.....Korea closer to a built up, friendly bases/harbors--Japan and Okinawa--making military operations easier, more efficient, ''faster''..

I've got some pertinent quotes on some of lirelou's comments, but I'll post later when I get home to give you the book titles

Last edited by Moulin; 17 Feb 17 at 08:55..
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  #48  
Old 18 Feb 17, 08:49
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..sorry I forgot that I had returned the books---so I can't source it, but I think it was a North Vietnamese that said something like, ''democracies will not fight long in places far away, for irrelevant reasons'''
..this is just common sense, yes? Somalia is a great example
---people are dying and need an outside force to come in to stabilize ( a key point ) the situation
..this seems like a good, humanitarian reason to send troops
..seems like a clear mission-- one the Somalians would want gratefully
....but then we are getting US soldiers killed by some Somalians....1 is captured....it appears the whole city is against the US
yes, get the hell out of there
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  #49  
Old 25 Feb 17, 16:13
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Originally Posted by lirelou View Post
Whether or not they are important to the US is a decision made by every incoming administration. There was little doubt that the Korean War was in our interest in the minds of early 1950s Americans. So yes, t was worth it. The decision to support Taiwan was likewise judged worth the effort, and it consisted of maintaining a naval presence rather than fighting a war. Luckily, China was satisfied with shelling Taiwan's Pescadores holdouts rather than attempting a cross-straights invasion.

Did we pay an important part while they were getting on their feet? I presume we did. And since they are still around, it apparently was worth it. Ditto for whatever we invested in Greece.

As for the "would it have been better..." Well, it would have been far better had we invested it in health care, etc. Hey, I would have far better teeth. But we didn't. Yet we did build an interstate highway system, upgrade the railroads, launch an unparalleled advance in civil aviation, vaccinated kids against polio, sent men to the moon, etc., etc., etc., so apparently whatever we spent was well within our economic capabilities.

What has crippled us is not so much what we overspent decades ago as much as the inevitable result of our success. Much of the infrastructure we put up in the 50s and 60's has been swamped by the population growth in the country at large, coupled with the demands of that population for inexpensive goods, which the Chinese seem to produce at a price Americans prefer to pay.
That has helped you, not crippled you. During the Vietnam War the Chinese supplied weapons to people the US was at war with. Now they sell you cheap clothes, watches etc. Do you really have to ask which is best?
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  #50  
Old 26 Feb 17, 14:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrey View Post
That has helped you, not crippled you. During the Vietnam War the Chinese supplied weapons to people the US was at war with. Now they sell you cheap clothes, watches etc. Do you really have to ask which is best?
Do not think that China does not also sell arms today..........

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/849186.shtml
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  #51  
Old 15 Mar 17, 02:53
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The superpowers that were totalitarian states where Marxism-Leninism had come to power through violent revolution or revolutionary war and espousing world revolution as an ideological tenet or doctrine were a real and positive military threat to the Western world during the Cold War, especially in the immediate 2-decade post-war period from the Second World War, i.e. 1945-65, and had to be confronted wherever it was aggressively seeking its expansion by force of arms. Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, and lesser dictators such as the late, great Kim Il-sung and that great example of a Stalinist ideologue and dictator of yesteryear, Albania's own Enver Hoxha (No revisionist wimp was he! I thought the world of Enver!), were exceedingly confrontational towards the U.S.-led West in the post-war period and sought its destruction.

The East-West ideological conflict was not just some kind of wraith or a figment of the Western world's imagination but an obviously concrete and very real threat to the world's peace and security. Marxism-Leninism/Communism was not economically viable in the long term and would have certainly collapsed sooner or later under the weight of its own inherent economic unsoundness and systemic flaws, but it had to be confronted when and where it was still a viable and potent threat before its inevitable decline as a moribund economic and political system had set in.
Sometimes I miss the Cold War.
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