The Decision on War in Korea: Revelations from the Russian Archives
The decision to launch a full-scale assault on the Republic of Korea in June 1950 brought incalculable suffering to Korea and its allies and continues to shape the life of the peninsula. Yet it was not until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 that records of this fateful decision became available to scholars. Dr. Weathersby, the first Western historian to examine Soviet documents on Korea, will discuss what Russian archives reveal about when and why Kim Il Sung, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong decided to use military force to bring all of Korea under communist control. She will conclude with thoughts about how knowledge of this history can inform our approach to inter-Korean relations today.
Dr. Kathryn Weathersby is a Professorial Lecturer in Korean Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, in Washington, DC, Adjunct Professor at Korea University, and Visiting Professor at Sungshin Women’s University, Seoul. She holds a Ph.D. in modern Russian history from Indiana University in 1990, with a second field in modern East Asian history. She taught Russian and East Asian History at Florida State University before founding and directing the Korea Initiative of the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. She has published and lectured widely on the Korean War, North Korean history, and the Cold War in Asia, and has consulted for several documentary films on the Korean War.