The Role of the USSR in the Korean War as Estimated by US Intelligence

Keywords: Korean War; USSR; USA; CIA; internationalisation of internal conflict; PRC; DPRK


This article considers the role of the USSR in the Korean War of 1950–1953. Although Russian and foreign historians have published several works based on a comparison of Soviet, Korean, Chinese, and American documents describing the involvement of the USSR and Stalin personally in the preparation of the DPRK army’s invasion of the south, several issues require further clarification. This article is devoted to the perception of the American intelligence agencies of the USSR’s role in the war and to determining the degree of effectiveness of the information support in the conflict provided by the analysts of the US intelligence community. Special attention is paid to cases when analysts made correct conclusions and forecasts based on open sources which were not adequately assessed at the higher levels of intelligence and political hierarchy. The authors employ comparative analysis, historical imagology, and the new history of the Cold War. The war in Korea is seen as an internationalised internal conflict involving additional actors on both sides, usually with goals other than those officially declared. The analysis refers to FBIS electronic archive collections, documents of the State Department, the CIA, the US National Security Council, various narrative materials, and the Soviet press. The article considers the causes of the war, the circumstances behind the failures of US intelligence in 1950, and the conditions in which the negotiations for a truce on the Korean peninsula were conducted. The authors conclude that Stalin considered the conflict in Korea to be a local one. US intelligence recorded this detail, but the political leaders of the US regarded the war in Korea as the beginning of a global communist offensive initiated by Moscow.

Author Biographies

Valery Yungblud

Dr. Hab. (History), Professor, Vyatka State University.

36, Moskovskaya Str., 610000, Kirov, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-2706-3904

Denis Sadakov

PhD (History), Associate Professor, Vyatka State University.

36, Moskovskaya Str., 610000, Kirov, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0003-4308-7276


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How to Cite
Yungblud, V., & Sadakov, D. (2019). The Role of the USSR in the Korean War as Estimated by US Intelligence. Quaestio Rossica, 7(4), 1324–1338.