U.S.-Soviet Rivalry in Manchuria and Korea

March 31, 1948

Report Outline
The Truman Doctrine and the Far East
Manchuria: Prize of the Chinese War
“Liberated” Korea and the Occupying Powers
Old Rivalries and the New Nationalism

The Truman Doctrine and the Far East

Throughout their modern history Manchuria and Korea have been pawns of great power rivalries. Today it is Russia and the United States, meeting in East Asia, whose policies will be the determining factor in the future of these areas. If China had emerged from the war as a strong, unified nation, Manchuria and Korea might have formed a bridge by which American and Russian interests could be joined. As it is, there is danger that they may become fields of battle between the giant powers.

The issue will be drawn on the subject of Communism. Manchuria has now become the stronghold of the Communist forces in China's civil war. During the last year these forces have succeeded in bringing almost all territory above the Great Wall of China under their control. No civil war is as yet being fought in Korea. But that is only because the military occupation by Soviet forces in the North and United States forces in the South has placed a solid barrier between Left and Right elements there. When and if that barrier comes down, and occupation forces leave, there is grave possibility of civil war in Korea that will rival in bitterness the present conflict in China.

U. S. Support for Governments Fighting Communism

If it is to be United States policy in the Far East, as in Europe, to support countries “which are threatened with Communist control,” this country will become increasingly involved in the civil wars of East Asia. At hearings before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on aid to China (Chiang Kai-shek) in March it was strongly urged that military assistance be made a part of the China program. And a special report to the committee by its consultant on Far Eastern affairs, William M. McGovern, said: “Any aid to China to be effective must start with assistance to China in putting a stop to the ruinous civil war which has now been going on for many years.” Secretary of State Marshall was severely criticized during the hearings for United States failure to extend a larger amount of military aid in the past.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Mar. 31, 1948  U.S.-Soviet Rivalry in Manchuria and Korea
Jun. 20, 1932  Japan, the United States, and Manchuria
Nov. 09, 1931  China, Japan, and Russia in Manchuria
Cold War
Conflicts in Asia
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
U.S. at War: Cold War
War and Conflict