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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 07, 1951

REPORT ON THE WAR AND POLITICAL SITUATION IN KOREA

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Dodin reports on the Korean War in regards to its economic and political impact in North Korea.
    "Report on the War and Political Situation in Korea," January 07, 1951, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Polish Foreign Ministry Archive. Obtained by Jakub Poprocki and translated by Maya Latynski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114929
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Polish Embassy Beijing, 1 February 1951

in Beijing SECRET [stamp]

Korea, 7 January 1951

REPORT No. 03/4/

1. War situation

After completing the first phase of attack and fortifying the rears, the Korean armies together with Chinese volunteers crossed to the second phase of the attack on 1 January of this year. These actions had been preceded by great activeness of the partisan units. Especially to the north of Pyongyang and in the region of the city of Jangjin. These units attacked staffs, tore up bridges, exploded transports with American troops. The partisan units on the east coast, where the cooperation of individual groups was well organized, acted broadly. In the area of Gowon they used human resources in order to prevent the retreat and to destroy the enemy and tear down 10 bridges, 50 communications lines, they exploded over 20 trains with materiel and troops. They attacked a mine in Gowon, chasing away the Syngman Rhee-ites. The partisans in the Gumi region, ca. 50 km. north of Deagu, are also very active, where the Americans were forced to deploy the X Corps, which had escaped from Heungnam.

As a result of the attack of the people’s army, Seoul and Incheon harbor were liberated, as well as the strategically very important point, the city of Chungju, which allows us to enhance the offensive in the south, on the central front. Right now, the front runs in the west at the city of Suwon, centrally at the city of Jeongseon and in the east on the same parallel. The attack will probably go only on the western and central sectors, since in the east there are mountains which make an attack impossible and there is a complete lack of roads. We must recognize a new moment during the current offensive, the Americans are retreating almost without fighting, protecting their human resources from destruction. They are probably depositing their troops in the south, where they intend to defend themselves. They are only leaving groups of Syngman Rhee people as shields, so typical for imperialists. The Americans consider the evacuation of their troops from Jangjin as their greatest success, but they suffered fairly serious losses there. It was revealed that the Americans deployed all the forces they could mobilize, i.e., 7 American div[isions], 1 English brigade, 1 brigade of Turks and 6 div[isions] of Syngman Rhee-ites, for fighting in Korea during the November offensive. In that offensive, the Americans suffered approximately the following losses:

Americans and others Syngman Rhee-ites

Dead: 8,085 people 7,847 people

prisoners-of-war: 2,272   “ 5,353    “

Overall human losses over 23,700.

Captured:

cannon -   521 pieces

machine guns -   469   “

guns - 4,736   “

tanks -     55 “

cars - 1,953 “

and other materiel.

Currently, the Americans have begun to bombard the region of the city of Pyongyang and the city of Seoul very powerfully. More and more of the Korean air force is being introduced into the battle, but so far the Americans have a strong preponderance and total control of all roads. The inflow of Chinese volunteers is happening incessantly, it is true, in smaller numbers, but sufficiently big to guarantee fully victorious military actions. Presumably the offensive will continue to develop, especially in the western and central sectors and there will be one more wave of attacks, which needs to be solidly prepared. The Korean army’s fighting spirit is on a high level. The fighting conditions are very difficult here because of the terrain and the wilderness and because of quite low freezing temperatures.

In periods of spring and summer, it is only possible to travel on the main roads.

2. Economic questions

It is difficult to say anything about economic questions, since right now there is no economy at all, and plans are being developed.

The country is living on only irregular economic issues, which are intended to help the front and minimally to help the civilian population in their difficult situation, as well as the reconstruction of the destroyed industry and cities in the areas occupied by the People’s Army.

The question of raising the productivity of agriculture is being stated widely and the quick rebuilding of railroads is most important.

Competition is beginning to develop in the liberated areas, especially among railroad men who already have some very nice successes behind them. The production of some parts of armaments has even begun.

To this day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot say concretely what assistance is indispensable to them. They are as detached from the other ministries as we are. In any case, my last note on this question remains topical.

It needs to be said that the Hungarians and Czechs have developed a good reputation here since their assistance, not counting the Soviet Union and People’s China, is the most productive. Recently, 24 rail cars carrying medications, gifts for soldiers arrived in Manchuria from Hungary, and a greater number of cars from Czechoslovakia with warm clothing, shoes etc.

Our assistance ought to be quick and it would be worth designating a fast ship. It is a fact that we remain far behind, and we know almost nothing about what has been shipped from Poland and what the whole action has been.

On 31 December 1950 the Khabarovsk radio station broadcast that a large action of assistance for Korea has begun in Poland. I will not fail to convey this information to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK.

3. The political situation.

Mass rallies to mark Stalin’s 71st birthday have taken place in the whole part of the country liberated by the people’s army. The action of reconstruction is taking place everywhere, workers are taking on obligations to produce.

An incident in Pyongyang is characteristic, where after the entry of the Americans the workers escaped to the countryside taking with them the most valuable work tools and machine parts, and after liberation they made pledges and on 2 January of this year, the factory that makes parts for armaments was opened.

Apart from this, an action is being conducted among the peasantry to increase the harvest, threshing of rice and harvesting it for the military.

Volunteer brigades are forming to repair roads. In the region of Sinuiju alone, by the end of November of last year, the peasants collected 10,200 sacks of rice for the army, despite the fact that they had suffered horribly as a result of military action. An action of aid for the Chinese volunteers is also being conducted, health stations are being set up, special female health brigades have even been created.

The 3rd Plenum of the KWP Party, which took place in Ganggye, placed Kim Il Sung’s speech as the most important issue. (I have no new information to add to the previous piece of news.)

Apart from that, Pak Heon-yeong [Pak Hon Yong] gave a speech about the unity of workers’ organizations of north and south Korea. Of organizational issues, 6 members of the CC were moved to candidates. And 9 persons, including Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Pak Dong-jo [Pak Tong Jo], were moved from candidates to members of the CC. Comr[ade] Pak Jeong-ae [Pak Jong Ae] was chosen as secretary of the party. Ri Geuk-ro [Ri Kuk Ro] was chosen to serve as head of the labor department and Kim jang-gai [Kim Chan Chai] for communications.

In Korea, they consider CC resolutions to be secret and one cannot get any information from them. It can be seen clearly that the party is taking an increasingly consistent and Bolshevik direction.

Kim Il Sung, in his New Year’s speech described the most immediate tasks that stand before the Nation as:

1. Finishing the war victoriously in 1951,

2. Helping the front

3. Strengthening discipline in the rear

4. In the nearest future to rebuild the cities, villages, factories, transportation, schools and cultural institutions in all the liberated regions.

5. Fix the railways quickly and secure quick communications with the front.

6. The peasantry should fight to increase the harvest.

They judge the delivery of the accreditation letters by the Ambassador of the RP [Polish Republic] very positively.

The press is writing about the 2nd World Peace Congress in Warsaw, the letter from Premier [Józef] Cyrankiewicz to Premier Kim Il Sung concerning the taking of Pyongyang has been published.

Of very great importance for Korea is also the moral support of all nations without an exception.

Now that the materials have been received, Polish issues will take up more space here. There are still many points that I am trying to clear up, such as the peasant issue, that of political parties, the Unified Democratic Homeland Front and issues of the anticipated treasons by certain individuals.

I state once again that now the National Front and the party are stronger than ever not only because of the victorious offensive, but also because of the imperialists’ amazing barbarisms.

4. The situation of the civilian population.

The situation of the civilian population is tragic, they have no means of minimum sustenance. The Government’s help is not yielding any effective results yet.

The Americans, like the Nazis or even better, are herding the population south. Quick assistance is indispensable. Politically, the population is devoted to its people’s government.

The facts about American crimes are described in the enclosed note. Issues of Hygiene are catastrophic. The USSR has sent a mission of its Red Cross.

5. Issues of the RP Embassy […]

St. Dodin

1st Secretary of the Embassy of the RP in Korea

Charge d’Affaires