Active Defense: From Manchuria to Korea
The Chinese defense strategy was rooted in three elements underlying Mao’s intent: political legitimacy for the new regime, a geopolitical context in Cold War East Asia, and military and economic sources available for national defense. Mao’s thought process can be divided into three phases with a gradual increase in his commitment. The first phase indicated China’s “assistance role” during July–August 1950. The second phase, in September, evolved into a “proactive defense” as Mao believed it necessary to send Chinese troops to defend Manchuria in North Korea. The third phase consisted of an “immediate intervention” made in early October, when Mao decided to fight a full-scale war against the U.S. forces. Thereafter, the Korean War essentially became a conflict between China and the United States.