Intelligence and the Korean War

A - C

Aid, Matthew M.

1. "US Humint and Comint in the Korean War [Part I]: From the Approach of War to the Chinese Intervention." Intelligence and National Security 14, no. 4 (Winter 1999): 17-63.

U.S. intelligence "performed poorly during the early stages of the Korean War.... The American Humint collection program in the Far East and in North Korea itself was severely fragmented and poorly coordinated.... The Comint collection and processing efforts of the three American services in Asia were not integrated into the Far East Command's intelligence structure, and were not coordinated."

2. "American Comint in the Korean War (Part II): From the Chinese Intervention to the Armistice." Intelligence and National Security 15, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 14-49.

Anderson, Ellery. Banner Over Pusan. London: Evans, 1960.

The author, a British officer, participated in guerrilla/partisan operations in the Korean War.

Appleman, Roy E.

1. Disaster in Korea: The Chinese Confront MacArthur. Texas A&M University Military History Series, No 11. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1989. 2008. [pb]

2. South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu (June-November 1950). United States Army in the Korean War Series, U.S. Army Center of Military History. Washington, DC: GPO, 1961.

As one of the U.S. Army official histories of the Korean War [see also, Hermes, Truce Tent and Fighting Front (1966) and Schnabel, Policy and Direction: The First Year (1972)], the focus of this work is not on intelligence; but intelligence issues are addressed within the broader context of coverage of the war.

Arnold, Joseph C. "Omens and Oracles (Past Intelligence Failures)." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Aug. 1980, 47-53.

According to Sexton, the author covers the German Ardennes offensive of 1944, the Chinese intervention in Korea in 1950, and the Soviet deployment of missiles in Cuba in 1961.

Beaumont, Roger A. "The Flawed Soothsayer: Willoughby -- General MacArthur's G-2." Espionage 1, no. 4 (1985): 20-37.

Bernstein, Barton J. "The Week We Went to War: American Intervention in the Korean Civil War." Foreign Service Journal 54, no. 1 (1977): 6-9, 33-35; and 54, no. 2 (1977): 8-11, 33-34.

Petersen: "Contends that the United States misread Soviet and Chinese intentions and should not have fought in Korea."

Biderman, Albert D. March to Calumny: The Story of American POWs in the Korean War. New York: Macmillan, 1963.

Wilcox: "Discussion of brainwashing, propaganda, survival."

Bigelow, Michael E. "Disaster along the Ch'ongch'on: Intelligence Breakdown in Korea." Military Intelligence 18, no. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1992): 11-16.

Blair, Clay, Jr.

1. Beyond Courage. New York: McKay, 1956.

Petersen: "Escape and evasion in the Korean War.

2. The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953. New York: Times Books, 1987.

Boyd, Arthur L. [LTCOL/USA (Ret.)] Operation Broken Reed: Truman's North Korean Spy Mission that Averted World War III. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press, 2007

Peake, AFIO WIN 30-08 (4 Aug. 2008), declares that there are some "disturbing factors that increase common sense skepticism" about the story from 1952 related in this book. Lacking any evidence to support the story, this "is a prime example of a trust me memoir."

Breuer, William B. Shadow Warriors: The Covert War in Korea. New York: Wiley, 1996.

Cutler, Proceedings 122.7 (Jul. 1996), notes that "[s]ecret missions, guerrilla operations, and heavy propaganda all were components of the Korean War that have been overshadowed by the more conventional aspects.... Breuer paints a colorful picture of these behind-the-scenes war efforts." Wandres, NIPQ 12.3, is less impressed with the "colorful" aspects of Breuer's account, expressing considerable discontent with some of the author's "stylistic quirks." He concludes that Shadow Warriors "is cobbled together from bits and snippets of secondary information held together with all the sensationalism of supermarket tabloid journalism."

For Stoces, WIR 15.4, this book is "chock-full of amazing schemes and hair-raising anecdotes." It provides "much behind-the-scenes information and documentation about events that altered the course of the war and helped shape its inconclusive outcome." The Surveillant 4.4/5 reviewer says that the book is "[f]ast-paced and vivid" and "provides new information about the covert maneuvers conducted by the U.S., North Korea, South Korea, and Communist China."

Cagle, Malcolm W. "Errors of the Korean War." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Mar. 1958, 31-35. [Petersen]

Campbell, Kenneth J. "Major General Charles A. Willoughby: General MacArthur's G-2 -- A Biographic Sketch." American Intelligence Journal 18, no. 1/2 (1998): 87-91.

Tracing Willoughby's career with MacArthur in World War II and in Korea, the author finds that he was "an outstanding organizer. In a very short time in 1942 he created a coordinated and effective intelligence system in the SW Pacific area from bare bones." Later, in Korea, Willoughby's "estimates on the North Korean invasion and the Chinese intervention ... [were] not faultless, along with much of the Washington establishment," but he "became the point man for criticism."

Click for text of a longer version of this article, made available through the courtesy of Dr. Campbell.

Clark, Eugene Franklin [CDR/USN (Ret.)]. The Secrets of Inchon: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Covert Mission of the Korean War. New York: Putnam's, 2002.

According to Seamon, Proceedings 128.7 (Jul. 2002), this book tells the story of Clark's "extraordinary exploits ... behind enemy lines to gather vital intelligence for the Inchon landing."

Cohen, Eliot A. "'Only Half the Battle': American Intelligence and the Chinese Intervention in Korea, 1950." Intelligence and National Security 5, no. 1 (Jan. 1990): 129-149.

Clark comment: The author suggests that the intelligence failure that allowed China's entry into the Korean conflict in November 1950 to catch U.S. and U.N. forces off-guard was part of a larger operational failure. There certainly was some flawed analysis work at both the Theater and Washington levels, but some of those mistakes resulted from "data distorted and concealed by an ingenious and well-disciplined foe." Petersen call this an "outstanding article" that "presents a balanced and well-documented appraisal of the intelligence failure attending Chinese intervention."

Cohen, Eliot A., and John Gooch. Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War. New York: Free Press, 1990.

Wirtz, I&NS 6.3, says that the authors "move beyond the traditional analyses of military disaster by demonstrating how the performance of military organizations influences the outcome of battle.... [They] offer extraordinarily keen insights into some well-known events," including Pearl Harbor, the Chinese intervention in the Korean war, and the Yom Kippur war.

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