Czechoslovakia and Poland: Supervising Peace on the Korean Peninsula 1953–1955
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This article analyses the dynamics and tactics of the communists in Asia in the immediate aftermath of the Korean War, linking the issue of armistice supervisit on the Korean Peninsula through the Neutral Nations' Supervisory Commission (NNSC – of which Poland and Czechoslovakia were members alongside Sweden and Switzerland) to the genesis of the International Control and Supervisory Commission in Southeast Asia (ICC – of which Poland became a member alongside Canada and India). The article argues that Poland, by acting for its own interests and as both an agent for Moscow and Beijing, which called for easing East-West tensions, moderated the Cold War in Asia to some degree while cautiously pursuing the communist cause. The article shows that North Korea contributed to the Cold War's intensification by adopting hard-line approaches in dealing with the West. The article further suggests that although neither Beijing nor Prague may have wanted to exacerbate the Cold War, problems of insubordination (and misunderstandings) contributed to Czechoslovak and Chinese military officials on the Korean Peninsula to cause tensions that went against the goals of the communist camp of relaxing East-West relations. The article concludes that both the Soviets and the Chinese needed an Eastern European country in Southeast Asia that could do both: advance the communist cause and be appealing to the West. The Poles, unlike thein Czechoslovak counterparts in the NNSC, seemed to be the match, especially since they were able to exhibit these two tendencies while serving on the Korean Peninsula. These flexible approaches most likely landed Poland a job as a member of the ICC. Finally, the article shows that the communist world was not always a united and monolithic entity as disputes and disagreements abounded, and that smaller nations like Czechoslovakia, North Korea, and Poland were active players with their own agendas and interests.
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