Talk:Korean War/Archive 5

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Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6

Chinese participation

Although the western forces in Korea were in fact commanded by US generals and ultimately the US president in a crusade to "rollback communism", they were technically a UN "police" force. To avoid officially declaring war on US, Britain, France and other UN members, China did not send units of the People's Liberation Army but instead allowed volunteers of the People's Volunteer army to aid the Korean people. This is elaborated here and here Barjag 21:21, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

We know that China was officially non-involved. However, all the sources treat them as direct agents of the PRC. Your first link is dead and your second is irrelevant, as well as being an apparently non-reliable source. Eleland 04:32, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Considering Mao's own son was killed by a US air attack in Korea, it would be difficult to claim that the Chinese involvement was 'unofficial' Bleh999 13:41, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
The argument that China did not actively participate in Korea is further complicated by the fact that all of the PVA (or CPV) units that fought in Korea had the exact same PLA unit designation as they did before, during, and after action in Korea. It is very difficult to accept that a unit suddenly ceased to exist as an official Chinese government force (PLA) and was officially disbanded (so it wasn't an official government force), only to be reconstituted immediately with the same PLA designation under a non-governmental organization (PVA/CPV), but still supplied by the government, lead by PLA senior officers and communist party political commisars, and then disbanded when they either were rotated out of Korea or suffered so many casualties or other losess that they needed to regroup back in China and once again immediately reconstituted as an official PLA unit again. It was all merely a minor name game, nothing else was different. wbfergus 14:04, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

The American intervention was officially under the command of the United Nations even though this unit did not have either the express (yes vote) or tacit (abstention) consent of the USSR, a permanent member of the Security Council. It is unfair to try and legitimize the American intervention as part of a United Nations force when in fact it was directed by American generals and fought overwhelmingly by American troops. Although the military of the Chinese government did not officially participate in this conflict, this article improperly treats the Chinese People's Volunteers as part of the official Chinese military. If it must be written in this article that America officially acted under the UN, then it would be consistent to list the participation of the Chinese People's Volunteers rather than the forces of the Chinese government in Peking. Plus, the Soviet Union did not officially participate in this conflict either. The use of a few hundred military specialists does not constitute the involvement of actual combat troops. There were Soviet military advisers in support of the governments of Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, and Sudan in civil war. But the Soviets could not have been considered as participants in these conflicts due to the absence of combat troops. Barjag 18:11, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

No one disputes that the US dominated the military effort, but they weren't alone, your claim about the UN also applies to the Gulf War in 1991. Your argument that the PVA had no connection to the Chinese government is original research and won't be allowed here, the relationship between Peng Dehuai, Mao Zedong and communist party of China during the Korean war has been detailed quite extensively, Mao's own son was killed in a US air attack in 1950, the 'volunteer' bit was quite likely a propaganda tool, since it's hard to believe that it was indeed an all volunteer army. Soviet pilots did in fact fly aircraft for the communist forces in the Korean conflict (accounting for most of their successful air victories), so their contribution was actually quite significant Bleh999 17:19, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Your accusation that I'm engaging in original research is untrue. The Chinese government in Peking repeatedly asserted at the United Nations that Chinese men themselves had volunteered to repel the American invasion of Korea. It asserted that there was no Chinese armed intervention in Korea and that only Chinese volunteer forces were present. The claim that the Chinese volunteers were not such constitutes original research. Your characterization of Soviet participation is equally tenuous. Soviet pilots served unofficially in Angola yet no serious observer regards the USSR as an active armed participant in the Angolan civil war. It is a violation of NPOV to present the American intervention as officially part of a broad UN force but to consider that of the Chinese volunteers as part of the Peking government in China. Barjag 18:30, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Considering China was (and still is some extent) a repressive country, that executes and imprisons people for attempting to express individual choices and freedoms, (they even ban access to wikipedia which is why you can't be posting from mainland China) I have a hard time accepting their official word on the all volunteer army, this claim will be scrutinized as soon as I get time to research it more. Besides even if it were an all volunteer army (and there can be no coercion in 'volunteer') that obviously would not change who the leadership of the PVA was, which was the communist party of China. I'm not sure what the Angolan civil war has to do with this, if the Soviet pilots flew combat missions while the soviet union existed, they would be an active combatant, however the 'mercenary pilots' active in Africa from the former soviet union do not represent their Governments, they are guns for hire. Bleh999 17:58, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Hmmmm... Considering that the Korean War has been over for 54 years now, I think that if there was any validity to your claim that it was not an UN action, but instead an US action in Korea, that the United Nations would have 1.) Issued a proclamation denouncing the American Forces from using the "United Nations" name for the command headquarters in Korea, and 2.) Prohibited those same forces from using the United Nations flag, and 3.) None of the other UN countries involved would still have any forces there, even their ceremonial forces. These would have happened at the very least. And how is Bleh999's characterization of the Soviet pilots actually flying combat missions in North Korea tenuous, when it it is well documented, especially by the Soviet archives? Using a variation of your argument above, that what is said at the United Nations must be true, then you obviously just admitted that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Your arguments are not based on any fact, just conjecture that has already been easily disproven by numerous historians and countless "official" documents. wbfergus 18:55, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Regarding Soviet participation, the presence of a few dozen pilots does not render the USSR an active armed participant in this conflict. Soviet military specialists (including pilots) were present in numerous civil wars including those in Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Yemen. The Soviet role in these conflicts was similar to its role in Korea. As no serious observer regards the USSR as an armed participant either in Korea or the civil war in Angola where the USSR had a similar role, the characterization of the USSR as an armed participant in Korea constitutes original research. Regarding Bleh999, his argument that Chinese data cannot be accepted because of the political orientation of its government is simply not sustainable with the view of scholars on China. Western scholars studying Chinese history have found sources published in the People's Republic of China to be indispensible. Indeed, it is from Chinese sources where much information on contemporary China is derived. Regarding the nature of UN participation, this is disputable. Legal scholars like Leo Gross have made arguments showing that the UN intervention in Korea was illegal because it had neither the express (yes vote) nor tacit (abstention) consent of the USSR, a permanent member of the Security Council. In actuality, the UN force was American. America and its proxy in southern Korea provided almost all of the troops and air power. The UN force was even commanded by Americans. Barjag 21:17, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Regarding the Soviets in the Korean War, did members of the Soviet military participate as members of the Soviet military (i.e., not as mercenaries)? Yes. Therefore, the Soviet Union was an active participant in the war, no matter how minor it's participation was. Parsecboy 20:30, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

I think that we don't want to list Soviet Union as a combat participant though. USSR was trying its best to be careful with that (Wikimachine 20:32, 27 August 2007 (UTC))

I disagree; if we're going to list the UN countries that provided medical staff, we should definitely list a country that provided combat forces. The infobox states there were at one point 26,000 Soviet military personnel in North Korea. This is a significant number, greater than all but the top 4 UN countries. Parsecboy 20:45, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

The Soviets made up the backbone of the communist forces air force in Korea during the war, they weren't just a 'few dozen' pilots, it seems like you don't know much about this, without them the Chinese and N.Koreans wouldn't have had any air power 'In all, about 42,000 Soviet servicemen took part in the conflict with the contingent generally constant at about 25,000 -- 1,500 pilots backed by maintenance staff.'[1] the soviets also claimed they shot down 1,300 UN aircraft, not sure how true that is however. Bleh999 21:01, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

I think it's best to explain this matter with the general context in mind, such as directly engaging in the war, but doing so in an "unofficial" capacity to avoid an all-out war with the United States and the UN. Cydevil38 05:24, 28 August 2007 (UTC)


Concept flaws

The Korean war theoretically began as a civil war but technically was not.... and then it became an international war. Theoretically, the 2 peninsulas were meant to be joined, but by then the political reality was clear that the division of the peninsula would remain.

Also, I thought that in the Geneva Convention the USSR UK & US agreed to free Korea from Japan. It's not mentioned here. (Wikimachine 20:54, 26 August 2007 (UTC)) ctions backed by the U.S. and the U.N. took place only in the South, where the Joint Commission was replaced by UNTCOK which oversaw the elections with minimal resources and knowledge of the Korean people. This is really vague. What was the Moscow Accords? And then suddenly the left-leaning party pops up. Did Soviet Union do something to prevent the election? (Wikimachine 01:27, 31 August 2007 (UTC))

someone has a sense of humor here. "technically a civil war"... by whose standards and beliefs? whose POV is being invoked here? and what is the point of this declaration? without elaboration and explanation this statement simply hangs in the air and confuses instead of enlightening.
by the way, has anyone read the recent editions of hankyoreh 21 or ohmyhews, both of which are korean publications? they have a lengthy section on wikipedia and one long article on the korean war as it appears here. they are not flattering. indeed, the general response by koreans is that the english version of the korean war on wikipedia is biased, racist, and ignorant. this article is NOT one of wikipedia's greatest moments folks. cant read korean? then please ask one another how that black hole in someone's knowledge about a place can affect their writing about a place.
next, a "left leaning" party did not suddenly "pop up." (do we use such language to refer to the eventual government of SK?) one of the major problems for the US military was that the political, economics, social, and cultural agendas of the vast majority of the korean people in 1945 was to remove as many vestiges of japanese colonialism as they could, and do it as quickly as they could. the americans labeled (using their POV) all this as "leftist." but in reality, such sentiments and political movements had been going on for decades in korea. it was only with the removal of the japanese colonial government that such aspirations could rise to the surface. so it was not "sudden" to koreans, only to americans who were uninformed about events there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hongkyongnae (talkcontribs) 02:47, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
also, the college of pix at the start.. is that supposed to eliminate or alleviate the obvious argument on "why is a pix of americans leading into an article about a war in which KOREANS were the main participants?" if so, then it fails miserably. where are the koreans in this pix? the two articles i mentioned above in korean media are scathing on how "18-30 year old white males" think they have the understanding and perspective and right to exclude the vast number of koreans who died in their war. once more. wikipedia fails to acknowledge and grapple with the blatantly obvious bias the underlies this article.
if you doubt any of this, just check the authors so far. how many korean are there? and how many of the contributors actually read korean? does this not register with anyone here as potentially questionable?
if the above does not register as odd, then you probably are also at a loss as to why the overwhelming majority of university professors advise their students to avoid wikipedia as it is a seriously flawed and biased source of info.
so, why do i rant like this? in the hopes that the folks here will finally begin a serious examination of their own "POV" as opposed to collaboratively denying such a thing exists. Hongkyongnae 02:39, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
The reason why the article might sound POV is that it's incomplete - the sources are not all there and all that. (Wikimachine 02:59, 1 September 2007 (UTC))
Hongkyongnae, I agree in principle with what you are saying about South Korean engagements not being adequately addressed, in both this article and the associated articles about the Korean War. However, in it's defense, I don't read or speak Korean (unless you count the very little "Americanized" Korean i learned while I was there), Most (if not all) of the reference material I have access to are in English and written from the English language point of view. That doesn't make them right or wrong, it's simply the way it works out for the English Wikipedia. If you can find some reference material that presents the Korean side of any engagements, and need help with the English grammar after translating the article, post here so people can see the new (or edited) articles and provide assistance. wbfergus 14:49, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Grammar flaws

  • Russians would adhere to the proposal arranged by the U.S. government. How can it be arranged only by the US government? And what was the proposal again? For 2 Koreas to unite later or for USSR to remain halted at the 38th parallel?
  • History showed that the Soviets fulfilled their obligations and halted at the 38th parallel. So all that talk was about Russian advancing into the Korean peninsula & finally halting at the 38th parallel. Right? You should specify that.
  • The Soviets accepted this line with little question since it helped their negotiations over eastern Europe. There's better way to phrase this - "The USSR easily agreed to the establishment of the 38th Parallel over the Korean peninsula in order to make better bargains in the negotiations with the Allies over eastern Europe."
  • Japanese forces north of that line would surrender to the Soviet Union and those to the south to the United States "It was agreed that the USSR would receive surrendering Japanese troops on the northern part of Korea; the US, on the southern side.
  • Thus, without consulting the Korean people, the two major powers divided the Korean peninsula into two occupation zones, thereby putting into place the foundation for the eventual civil war. "Thus, without the consideration of Koreans' viewpoints, the..." And take out the "civil war" thingy.
  • Although later policies and actions contributed to Korea's division, the United States did not envision this as a permanent partition. "Although later policies also contributed..." "the United States did not suspect that this division would become permanent." -envision sounds awkward and naked "this" (the object being described not specified) is bad grammar.

(Wikimachine 02:32, 28 August 2007 (UTC))

  • In South Korea, an anti-trusteeship right wing group known as the Representative Democratic Council emerged with the support of the American forces, though ironically this group came to oppose these U.S. sponsored agreements. What were the US sponsored agreements? (Wikimachine 01:25, 31 August 2007 (UTC))

If you see problems with the text, go ahead and fix them. I'm sure if anyone dislikes your changes, they'll revert. I for one don't see a problem with your suggestions. Parsecboy 12:01, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
I have no problem with them either. wbfergus 12:41, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
All right. I probably got in "type it out" mode - when there were few problems that I couldn't fix b/c I didn't know much about it either. For example, I'm not quite sure how the division made the war inevitable. (Wikimachine 14:47, 28 August 2007 (UTC))
I fixed the ones that I can, but the rest I can't b/c I don't know much about it myself & I don't have the sources. (Wikimachine 14:51, 28 August 2007 (UTC))
Well, I don't know if it was inevitable, per se, but definitely highly probable. The reason for that is that both the USSR and USA set up friendly governments in their respective occupation zones (similar to what happened in East and West Germany). Obviously, both puppet governments want to control the entirety of Korea, so there's the cause for conflict. As noted with East and West Germany, a similar situation did not result in war, so it's an exaggeration to state that war in a divided Korea was inevitable. Parsecboy 14:53, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Mao: The Unknown Story reference

Giovanni, please stop removing it. The original version was much longer (too long), but was subsequently reduced by the editor who originally disagreed with its inclusion. The compromise version settled the dispute until you came along, so if you want to axe the whole thing you need to gain consensus first.

The section does not purport the views as being "fact", merely the views of the two authors. John Smith's 16:49, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Giovanni, for the last time stop reverting. Discuss the piece here. If you have specific problems, outline them. However, simply deleting references to this particular work because you don't like it is POV-pushing. John Smith's 06:42, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Okay, per a revert on the article, I'm discussing it here, and I haven't even been involved in the applicable edits. I just started with with a simple Google search on "Mao: The Unknown Story", and the first hit (out of 97,000) was another Wikipedia article. The article lists both positive and negative claims towards the book, and seems properly cited. On the whole, after looking at just that, I don't see how it can be credited as "fringe". I then started looking at other "hits". They seem to hold the same opinion that it is a good book based primarily on what they found in Soviet and Chinese archives, with the drawback being some interviews were anonymous and at times they slipped in things like "Mao was thinking this", when such wording is obviously speculation on anybody's part. However, I've yet to run into any reviews that discredit the entire book as "fringe", "lunatic", or "fantasy".

Maybe a re-wording in the article may be needed, but I don't see why the reference can't stay. With 97,000 hits, it seems notable by itself, and Wikipedia does allow competing opinions, whether they are valid or not (since it's not our place to decide if they're valid, that's "original research"), as long as they are attributable and balanced. wbfergus 16:59, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

And for others who may want to comment or study the issue of the reference and the deleted text, please see Wikipedia talk:Requests for mediation/Mao: The Unknown Story 2 to judge the process in context (I ran across it on one of the Googole "hits"). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wbfergus (talkcontribs) 17:18, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Though I've no particular sympathy for Mao or Communism, the material in this edit is plainly tendentious and violates undue weight. Accordingly, I've reverted it. Sometimes revisionist histories are accurate, and I've little doubt that at least some of what is in this book is quite accurate; however Wikipedia's main history articles are not the right place to promote them. Instead, this belongs in the article about the book, with perhaps a capsule summary thereof on Mao Tse Tung.Proabivouac 07:00, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

How is it "unduly" weighted? It had a brief explanation in only two sentences. I'm not sure how that can be undue weight. Please be more specific. John Smith's 07:15, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
There is a place for Chang's controversial theories, and WP reports on that, but a main history article is not the place for it. To place it here, does indeed violate the undue weight policy. While this book received mixed reviews in the press, academics within the field have dismissed it as faction--fiction cloaked in facts. Their theories are discredited, extremely controverisal, very fringe, and no serious academic takes them seriously. Its clearly a revisionist account and has no consensus. If you want to claim their theories on this question merit inclusion here, then you will have to show that what I'm saying is wrong. That is easy to do if im wrong: simply cite other academics within the field who today put forward the same speculations. No one takes it seriously. To present their views here violates the policy of undue weight. Keep their views to their own articles. If and when their views gains some degree of acceptance within the academy,then we can include these views into main history articles. Until then it doesnt belong.Giovanni33 07:44, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Giovanni, as usual you are misrepresenting the facts. One academic has labelled it as "faction". Some academics have criticised it, but others have also supported it - plenty of serious ones.
Your assertion that I have to prove you wrong is not constructive. More importantly it's impratical given the book has only been published for a few years. If you were talking about the original section that was certainly a matter of undue weight. But two sentences is not, especially in this case. John Smith's 08:13, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Most academics in the field of China/Asian Studies properly regard this book as less than scholarly; Prof. Katz coined the term, faction (fiction cloaked by facts), but others in her field agreed with her, in particular Prof. Gao, and others within the field have voiced similar conclusions. In anycase, your defense that its too new, actually bolsters my argument. WP is not the place for new cutting edge theories--esp. in main history articles. When their ideas gain some acceptence only then can we include them in such articles.Giovanni33 22:17, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
I disagree that "most" academics regard the book as "less than scholarly" - opinion is rather split. So far only one person has openly agreed with her, so please don't make wide-ranging, inaccurate claims as you did to begin with. Also please do not misrepresent what I said - I never said that it was "too new". That said, wbfergus seems to think he can find references from other works that support the points. John Smith's 06:28, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
For my part, I don't necessarily not take it seriously - on its face, there's nothing obviously implausible about it - more that it's a novel view and not (at this point) widely accepted.Proabivouac 07:58, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
For my part, all I've seen negative about the book is some reviewers had problems with where the authors put across the POV that "Mao was thinking this" and "Mao was thinking that", which is clearly conjecture. I haven't found a single critique yet though that says the book was not based upon massive research in the recently available Russian and Chines archives, and upon numerous interviews, though some of the interviews were anonymous.
That out of the way, the small quote that was in the article and referenced from the book had been negotiated and agreed upon between several other editors a month or so ago, with no further problems until Giovanni came along. Judging from the RfM, Giovanni's talk page, John Smith's talk page, and several other articles, it appears that even though the RfM is undecided and possibly in limbo, the "edit war" over all occurances of the reference has spilled over to this article. Giovanni appears to be holding some sort of grudge against the book, based upon his history in the aforementioned places, otherwise he would have waited on this article until the RfM had been decided.
Now, in light of that, I would be in favor of re-instating the deletion, until such time as the RfM was decided. If it turns out that Giovanni is correct, then the reference can be deleted easily enough, and judging by his past history so far, it also appears that he would jump on it instantly. However, if it was judged the other way, then trying to find the last accepted version of it to add back becomes much more problematic, searching back through the past history of the article. Another point making me lean towards keeping the reference in is that Giovanni was never an editor this article until he noticed the reference and deleted it without consulting other editors of this article.
Back to the two sentences that pertain to the book, I've seen the second statement in several other references already listed on this article. I've also seen the first statement before as well, the first time being back when I was a kid, around 40 years or so, so searching a bit more should yield additional references to back up the claims shouldn't be to difficult, though it may take a day or two. Since there are only the two statements currently attributed to the book, the additional references would serve to substantiate the claims from the book, as they appear in this article. wbfergus 14:49, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Although I would agree with you that Giovanni is letting this dispute run into other articles, I'm not sure how the mediation effort relates to this in terms of any possible decision. We're not trying to decide on whether the book is "good research" or anything like that.
If you could find some extra sources to back up those claims and use them to support the deleted comments that would help a lot. John Smith's 17:43, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree with leaving Chang's work out of this. That book is highly problematic and obviously not something that academia generally take as fact. WP:Undue weight does apply here because Chang's claims are not widely accepted by academia. Are there reliable sources that independently backs up Chang's claims? If Chang is the only source, I suggest we leave it out. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 15:06, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

And I do wonder where Chang gets her ideas. From everything I've read, Mao, Zhou Enlai, and the rest of the CCP leadership at the time were against fighting on the Korean peninsula - they knew that the then newly established PRC would have been drawn into the conflict and at the time they would have rather concentrated on re-taking Taiwan. But Stalin eventually giving Kim Il Sung the green light basically forced their hand. The US got involved and pushed the North Korean forces all the way to the Yalu River. I don't know if Mao really sent former KMT soldiers to fight the war, but he sure sent his own son Mao Anying in to fight, who actually died in action in the war. And Mao wanting to secure Soviet weapons from the war? Please. The USSR made the PRC paid for every weapon that was sent, and the PRC was paying them back for years after the war. Yeah I know Mao was not exactly an angel, I've read the biography written by Li Zhisui. But let's not give credence to authors who have an axe to grind and conducts questionable "research". Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 15:25, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

National bias?

I just wanted to throw this out here... in light of the Cumings issue, it would be a good idea to look carefully at all of the article's references. I took a quick glance, and two things stuck out. First, few of the sources come from University presses, so one has to wonder if there are any scholarly sources at all here, or if this entire article is just based on pop history. Second, but more importantly, there are no non-western sources. It looks like we're simply letting the winners write the history. To keep Wikipedia international, I think we should look for some sources from North Korea or another country on the losing side. I think this article would benefit from the discussions taking place in Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias. Aelffin 12:18, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

That sounds like a good idea on paper, but we must also remember that North Korea and the People's Republic of China aren't exactly known for "accurate reporting of events" (to put it nicely). We've had this issue here before, with a certain user attempting to force obviously wrong information into the article, because a Chinese source reported it as fact (relating to American casualties during the war). That and few of us here can speak or read Mandarin or Hangul, which makes using sources in those languages difficult, to say the least. Parsecboy 12:30, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, government propaganda should be reported as such, not ignored altogether. WP:NPOV requires reporting the opinions of all the major players. Since North Korea was a major player in the Korean War, it is bias to ignore their claims. Likewise with China. If China says a certain number of people died, but Western scholars disagree, then we should write "China says X people died, but Dr. Bob Smith, PhD calls this figure propaganda." Actually, I think we should treat all government sources as propaganda. Aelffin 13:48, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
We had a very long "discussion" about just such an example as you gave a month or so ago. One person was arguing for the inclusion of the Chinese estimation of US casualties from the Korean War, which he said was 390,000. This has been disproved by numerous scholars and historians, who agree with the numbers as published by the DOD and their subsequent correction of the numbers years later when a clerical mistake was discovered (I'm not sure who discovered the clerical mistake). It was the concensus of all of the involved editors to reach the compromise we did. The Chinese estimate of US casualties would be completly disregarded as BS propaganda with no factual basis, while we would allow the casualty figures of Chinese troops to be listed with both the US estimation and the Chinese estimation. Both of those numbers are merely estimations from both parties, as several other Chinese sources had admitted (see discussion archives for details). wbfergus Talk 14:03, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Why on Earth did you guys decide to delete it? To me, the fact that China claims vastly exaggerated American losses sounds like an important bit of the story. Don't include it as a fact--of course--but still...that's the kind of thing I want to know if I'm reading about the Korean War. Aelffin 18:26, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
I thought that we did have the Chinese estimate of American casualties in the article somewhere. I know we talked about as a sort of compromise with the other editor, and I thought that the number was, or was going to be, in the article, just not up in the infobox. I think I was the one who suggested it, as I also thought other readers would like to know just how outrageous the Chinese estimation was. wbfergus Talk 18:47, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
I think we had agreed on including it somewhere in the text, but no one ever did it. Or someone else deleted it, because I can't find it in the article. Maybe I'm just blind. That's also a possibility :) Parsecboy 18:54, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
I don't see it either. So, if nobody else does before then, I'll try to add it on Wednesday. Trying to see where it would logically fit in, with the casualties reported by all sides or whatever, I don't see an "easy" place to just drop it in. wbfergus Talk 19:26, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Mao: The Untold Story and Korea: The Unknown War

I thought I'd toss this idea out here for discussion. Let me preface this with my comment above that Jon Halliday is a co-author of both books. I started doing some Google searches trying to see if maybe I could figure out there why there was an apparent change in attitude about Mao's involvement or whatever the case was.

During the search (I searched both ways, merely switching the names of Buruce Cumings and Jon Halliday around), I ran across two different articles. The first one I'll list is about Cumings. It is written by an apparent ex-student (graduated, not dropped the class or anything) who is now an assistant professor in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. The link to the whole article is Major Trends of Korean Historiography in the US. I thought it was interesting that an apparent ex-student, who seems to be defending him, had this to say:

To make an accurate judgement though, I would highly suggest reading the article in it's entirety to gauge the context.

The other interesting article I ran across was Bleeding the Red out of Mao and the (Ivory) White Terror: Popular and Academic Responses to Mao: The Unknown Story. This article, though I don't know the credentials of the author, does go into the good and bad comments/opinions of the Mao book, from both academia (scholars and historians) and from other "critics" (newspapers, etc.). This article mentions some of the "praises" many scholars seem to have for the book, along with some critiques. It seems pretty well balanced, and my impression is that overall, even academia likes the book.

Let the flames begin. wbfergus Talk 16:43, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

I'd say if Cumings is included, then this source should be cited saying that he has suffered severe criticism by historians and social scientists. That would provide a good idea of where he stands in academia without going off on a tangent about this guy's career. Perhaps we could do a section about "disputed claims"? Aelffin 03:55, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
We could have one, but if its too controversial and if we can't agree on how it should be worded, then it might hurt us more than help us. Good friend100 02:45, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
Nice to see you back Good Friend100. wbfergus Talk 11:21, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

What is obvious from the article cited by wbfergus is that Cumings is one of the most important scholars in the field--I'm not sure how one could draw any other conclusion. The article devotes an entire section to him (several pages) explaining his influence. Why wbfergus would extract the above cited quote from that section completely eludes me, as the overall tenor of the section is that Cumings is an extremely important scholar. The piece also describes from whence came some of the hostility to Cumings: i.e. "the fact that he took North Korea seriously was enough to make him a target of attacks." Obviously any scholarly attempt to understand Korean history would have to take North Korea seriously (though in the context of the Cold War one could see how that would not go over well) so the fact that Cumings did so is hardly problematic.

Wbfergus cites the quote above in a fashion that suggests there was something conspiratorial in the manner in which he managed to stay in academia with a job at UW, when in fact all that sentence was saying was that Cumings' career was aided by one of (if not the) leading scholars in the field who liked his approach. That's a good thing in the academic world, not a cause for suspicion. And, believe it or not, many, many great historians come in for severe criticism (literally all historians have their books criticized--it's how the field works) and find it hard to find teaching jobs. E.P. Thompson was never welcome at the big universities in Great Britain but is now unquestionably considered one of the most influential historians of the 20th century.

This next point should be obvious but apparently bears mentioning. The very fact that a scholar's work is subjected to severe criticism is oftentimes more a sign of its influence, not of its inadequacy. If you want to, as Aelffin suggests, point out that Cumings "has suffered severe criticism by historians and social scientists" in order to "provide a good idea of where he stands in academia" then you should apply the same standard to every other scholar cited in this article. That is, look carefully through old book reviews, historiographical essays, etc. and find criticism of these authors and then put it in the article, because of course all of these scholars have been criticized. The better solution, and the one we usually use here at Wikipedia, is simply to cite the views of a number of experts and let the reader draw their own conclusions. Arguing that only Cumings' work is particularly contentious and either denigrating him in the article as "controversial" (or leaving him out altogether as a source) suggests to me a lack of understanding of how the academic world works and certainly a lack of understanding of Cumings influence on the field, which the article cited by wbfergus demonstrates quite well.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 18:39, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

If you read my statement, instead of just getting hot under the collar, you would have that immediately before the quote I specifically stated "I thought it was interesting that an apparent ex-student, who seems to be defending him, had this to say". I then immediately followed the quote with "To make an accurate judgement though, I would highly suggest reading the article in it's entirety to gauge the context". So, now once again it has been sated why I chose that sentence to quote. Also, if you bothered to read the entire linked article and perhaps even did a Goggle search or two yourself, you have realized that Chin is in fact, an ex-student of Cumings. I just added the link over on the Cumings article title "An interview with Bruce Cumings" which clearly states that reltionship of builtin bias. For several more criticisms of Cumings, I suggest I look at his article, as I am slowly working on that article as well. I won't even go into the criticisms of Cumings, as obviously you merely skip over those, judging by your above post. Can you show me (preferably with some links), to where other historians or scholars have been accused of "intentionally omitting facts" or intentional misrepresentation of the truth? It would be most enlightening. Thanks. wbfergus Talk 18:51, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
Also, it was my intention for this section to get some educated debate going on, with the unmentioned pretext that after much discussion, maybe we could reach a concensus to allow some non-controversial statements from the disputed authors allowed in the article. That way, the non-controversial statements themselves allow the reference of the staement, which in turn leads to the "source" (book) getting into the article so that other readers can see it listed, check it out from the library (maybe even buy it), and then get the whole gist of the referred source in it's entirety. This leaves the non-controversial parts out of the article (and limits edit wars), while providing the information (indirectly) to the reader. wbfergus Talk 18:58, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
I understand that the author was an ex-student, and I still don't understand why you chose to cite that quote (you did not clarify it in your comment above, or at least I did not understand it), but the manner in which you originally referenced it seemed to be saying "Even an ex-student of Cumings says he is controversial and criticized." If you were saying something different let me know, but I was assuming that was your point and thus pointing out that you were not mentioning the more important idea in the article, i.e. that Cumings was an important scholar.
The fact that someone is "controversial" is not a reason for not including them as a source on Wikipedia. I do not know what the specific claim about Cumings "intentionally omitting facts" is or who made it so if you can reference that here that would be great as I would like to look at it. The evidence for removing him provided above which I noticed related to a quote from a book in 2005 which accused Cumings of having "a left-wing, pro-North Korea bias and having tendentious or shoddy interpretations of evidence." It seemed he was removed on the basis of that quote alone, and I do have a problem with that.
I am not at all saying that Cumings is never criticized or has not made mistakes (I don't know because I don't know his work), I'm saying that the idea that he is not a valid source for this article (as in not at all) is absurd. I'm not even seeing he has to be included, but the bare fact of the removal of him as a source on rather, in my opinion, spurious grounds is highly problematic. One of my pet peeves on Wikipedia is folks saying "we can't use scholar such and such" just because that person has been heavily criticized by some folks and despite the fact that their work is considered important in the field (as Cumings obviously is which is why he has been repeatedly reviewed in major journals as I mentioned above). My apologies if my last post was a little too heated, but the integrity of the encyclopedia is important to me (and to you I'm sure), so when I see major scholars essentially blacklisted from articles that cover topics in their field I will tend to react harshly.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 19:27, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
User: Wbfergus's source for the specific claim that Cumings "intentionally omits facts" is Hugo S. Cunningham, who Wbfergus has been obliged to qualify as "an internet blogger" who has provided a "laymans critique." [2] There is no evidence that Cunningham has even a relatively profound knowledge of the relevant history and the never-published page from which those comments are taken is poorly written and presented. Nevertheless Wbfergus has insisted that this is somehow a valid source, preposterously claiming that Cunningham's views are "representing fairly and without bias all significant views." There is discussion and a request for comment on the talk page of Bruce Cumings.BernardL 23:46, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
Pretty good about jumping to conclusions there BernardL. If you'd have bothered reading what you've been arguing about on the Cumings page, you would have also noticed that another fellow historian, Anders Lewis, is pretty explicit in his comdemnation as well. Then there is Paul Hollander, who is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Center Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, the the author of Political Pilgrims and Anti-Americanism and the editor of Understanding Anti-Americanism: Its Origins and Impact at Home and Abroad. And then there is always the review in The Atlantic which really ripped him to shreds. Instead you seem focused soley on Cunningham, since unlike the others, he critiques one book, and as part of his critique, he provides specific examples to back up his claims, listing the page and whatever his perceived problem is for that page. The other cited critics give a general overview of their criticism without the specific examples Cunnigham does. That is why I included him in the "Criticism" section of the Cumings article, for the specific examples. BigTimePeace, please go to the Cumings article for the other three critiques, if you care to read what they say. wbfergus Talk 10:29, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Good points, fergus. John Smith's 10:58, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. I am trying to be fair an impartial with my edits on the Cumings article, but BernardL is simply attacking the inclusion of Cunnigham, without taking the rest of the section in context. Since he has started a RfC on it, comments either way would be appreciated at Talk:Bruce Cumings. These comments are open to everybody, regardless of their opinion on Cumings or his work. As I understand it, the RfC is strictly about the Cunningham reference, but due to the nature of talk pages, I imagine anything is fair game as well. wbfergus Talk 11:11, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Yet more squirming contortions and shifting of the goal-posts Fergus. I was certainly aware that there were other criticisms and it is not in the least surprising that they exist. However the question concerned the specific claims that Cumings "intentionally omits facts" these are nearly exact paraphrases from Hugo S. Cunningham who writes that: "Nevertheless, I have caught him intentionally distorting context (See comments on pp 443-448 below), as well as omitting material facts that don't fit his thesis." Now who is Cunningham to make judgments on Korean scholarship, or draw conclusions about a scholar's intentions? By his own admission he is not an expert on Korea; as you say he is a layman. Nice source. I do not have disputes with the other critical sources, but you were not paraphrasing them. Deleting Cunningham in the name of good scholarship would probably serve your cause better anyway. Cumings's stature in the field is such that he can be quoted as an authority on this subject without restrictions. It them becomes incumbent on those who might disagree to provide balancing references. By the way, have you ever sat down and read a book by Cuming's from cover to cover? BernardL 11:23, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
BernardL, none of this really has nothing to do with this article, the Korean War. How about taking your objections to the place where they belong, so if anybody else has comments on Cunnigham and the context in which they are made, they can make their comments where they are appropriate (which you seem to know little about). I will reply there, after your next round of ranting and raving. wbfergus Talk 11:36, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
This is about the relation of Bruce Cumings's work to this article. Once again I will restate my position. Given Bruce Cumings's stature as a scholarly expert on Korea, particularly modern Korea, there should be no a priori restrictions against contributions referencing his work here. His stature in the field in easily demonstrable, by citing the awards, citations of his works, and the globally known venues which publish his works.BernardL 12:01, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Then in strictly that light, the Korean War, can you show me just one other author who has proven to be more contentious than Cumings? After his work was published, then others came out to refute many of his more outrageous claims. That is not to say that all of his claims are outrageous, especially if they have been corroborated by other respectable authors. Since there probably 150 or so different books on just the Korean War (not pre or post war Korea, like most of Cumings books are), then it should be fairly easy to find corroborating statements. This in turn will alleviate any concerns with the reliable sources policy that states ""Exceptional claims should be supported by multiple high quality reliable sources, especially regarding scientific or medical topics, historical events, politically charged issues, and in material about living people." I think (as I remember), several statements attributed to him that were deleted easily fell into this category. wbfergus Talk 12:31, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
The fact that an influential author's views may be considered contentious at a particular point in time does not in itself disqualify him as a source. A more productive strategy would be to discuss those specific claims that you may have objections to, and what you say (so far without evidence) are refutations of those specific claims. That Cumings is a valid candidate for consideration as a source for any particular claim about modern Korean history, is I think beyond dispute. If you point out, specifically, those 'exceptional' claims of Cumings that you think are dubious I will see what I can do to find corroborating statements by fellow researchers. Now I will proceed to present some corroborating historiography. Earlier you provided a historiographical article by Michael Shin, and were seemingly impressed by a quote recounting that the early work of Cumings had received considerable criticism. Yet the appropriate context was that Bruce Cumings had challenged the prevailing orthodoxy and as Shin's article explains Cumings's challenge against the orthodoxy "was crucial in enabling the rise of a critical scholarship"; the same orthodoxy which you claim attempted to refute Cumings "after his work was published." In other words, the Korean historiography has undergone an evolution involving a shift away from orthodoxy characterized by an orientalist attitude towards more heterodox approaches with Cumings regarded as among its chief catalysts. Another interesting example of Korean historiography, that in fact supports this thesis of evolution influenced by Cumings is that of "The Korean War: Handbook of the Literature and Research" by Lester Brune and Robin Highan, which appears at the head of the reference section in this article. The following quotes from it are illustrative Cumings importance in the evolving historiography:
1)"Cumings(1994), critical of those who categorize cold war writings, nevertheless provides significant insights into scholarly interpretations of international affairs." (p.17)
2) "Among the revisionist studies, the most important and detailed work is Bruce Cumings' two-volume The Origins of the Korean War ( 1981, 1990). Cumings' bibliographies and detailed notes include both English- and Korean-language sources, as well as documents available in U.S. and British archives. Thus, the revisionist literature on the origins of the Korean War may be briefly described by emphasizing Cumings' interpretation, which other revisionist scholars would challenge or qualify only in details or emphasis." (p.60)
3) "Although Cumings' two volumes impinged on all of these issues, revisionist works entailed a variety of specific studies that supported or qualified his findings." (p.62)
4) "Cumings' two volumes ( 1981, 1990), as discussed in Chapter 3 in this book, provide the most thorough study of the events in Korea, but Cumings emphasized U.S. policy that influenced these events. Because his analysis was completed before glasnost opened Soviet archives, he stated that most of his observations on the Soviet role were speculative...Nevertheless, even before the Soviet archives opened, the revisionists, using Western archives and attending conferences with Chinese and Soviet scholars and officials, had pieced together a version of Stalin's relations with Kim Il-sung that demonstrated that Kim initiated the 1950 attack on South Korea and had to persuade Stalin that North Koreans would win quickly, that the United States would not intervene, and that Mao Zedong supported Kim's decision." (p.211)
5) "Halliday's book coauthored with Cumings ( 1988) emphasizes the near-total destruction that the U.S. bombing raids inflicted on all North Koreans." (p.216)
6) "As good as these books are, they have been overshadowed by radical revisionist Bruce Cumings' two volumes, The Origins of the Korean War ( 1981, 1990), whose massive scholarship and breathtaking knowledge of Korea has come to dominate the literature on the origins of the war. Cumings interprets the outbreak of fighting in Korea in June 1950 as merely a continuation of a civil war that had been ongoing since 1945, a view that is virtually the new orthodoxy. He views U.S. entry into the war not as a response to aggression but as part of a U.S. plan to maintain its world markets and capitalism and as the triumph of Secretary of State Acheson's internationalist view of containment. Although it is a vast simplification of Cumings' work, his revisionism is often cited as proof that the United States was responsible for the Korean War." (297)
7) " Useful literature on recent North Korean nuclear issues includes that by Bruce Cumings ( 1993)" (p.327)BernardL 18:20, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Good finds by BernardL. I think there is no question that Cumings can be used as a source for this article, unless of course you want to ignore all the evidence of his stature in the field. The fact that a number of scholars find his work to be important, that he has been reviewed in a dozen scholarly journals, won an award from the South Korean government for scholarship, etc. is vastly more important than the fact that some people have criticized him, particularly since two of the criticisms provided by wbfergus are completely non-notable (the blog entry and Anders Lewis, the latter has apparently never even published a book, and his comment was originally published in the far-right Frontpage mag--HNN just republished it which they often do).--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 19:50, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

But I can point to various good reviews of Mao: The Unknown Story too, from academics not just journalists. As I said earlier, if you want one by logic you have to have the other. John Smith's 19:57, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Here are the excerpts attributed to Cumings by the references associated to them:
  • Although later policies contributed to Korea's division, the United States did not suspect that this division would become permanent.
Not really controversial, but as it was, where it was, it didn't add to the already long article either. Several comments this article has received in the past during peer review, etc. is that it is to long.
  • The American occupation program supported several anti-Communist political forces in South Korea. Some of those politicians had little support in the South Korean public, as they had previously collaborated with the Japanese during their occupation.[citation needed] The end result was a southern regime that, on the whole, lacked widespread support from the general population. This lack of legitimacy allowed for a series of riots, nation-wide strikes, and outright rebellions—such as the ones in Jeju Island, Yosu, and elsewhere. During this time, over 100,000 South Koreans died as a direct result of the military and police forces of the South Korean regime and the U.S. military.
This is not only contentious, but controversial as well, due in part to the specific wording. The claim, as worded, meets the exceptional claims require exceptional sources clause of WP:V This should clearly have another corroborating reference, and the simple fact that part of it was also cited as needing a reference for almost two months before being deleted isn't in its favor. That was clearly withing policy, since two months is quite a while, but conversely the policy doesn't state time limits for waiting either.
  • Throughout the conflict, the United States maintained a policy of heavy bombing of any location thought to be useful to North Korea, including civilian and food centers. Americans also used incendiary weapons against North Korean settlements.
I don't have any problems with this one.
  • According to some estimates, the U.N. side was ultimately responsible for more deaths and violence than the communist side because there were more prisoners. As pointed out by Britain's former Chief of the Defense Staff, Field Marshal Lord Carver: “The U.N. prisoners in Chinese hands, although subject to ‘re-education’ processes of varying intensity… were certainly much better off in every way than any held by the Americans.
The easiest way to address this one is by looking at where it was in the article. What's there now clearly refutes that, and is also from 7 different sources.—Preceding unsigned comment added by wbfergus (talkcontribs)
I'm not going to look closely at the points above but if some claims made by Cumings have been largely disproven or are too controversial they should not be included or be labeled as controversial, the same as we would for anyone else. My only argument is that Cumings can be used as a source, i.e. he should not have been unilaterally removed from the article. You could well be right that some of the statements attributed to him should have been removed, but initially the argument was that Cumings could not be cited at all. If that is no longer the argument then that is a good thing. In reply to John Smith's above, I don't have a dog in the fight as to whether Mao: The Unknown Story should be included or not. It seems to be much more controversial than Cumings book but obviously has received support from some scholars. I would think it could probably be used if it was used carefully but I don't know enough about the book to say for sure.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 22:02, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Cumings as a reference

I would also argue that using Bruce Cumings as a reference work (as this and several other articles do), also gives WP:Undue weight to what most historians and critics call "a left-wing, pro-North Korea bias and having tendentious or shoddy interpretations of evidence" (Millet, The War for Korea 1945-1950 (2005)). Quoting HongQiGong above, "let's not give credence to authors who have an axe to grind and conducts questionable "research". wbfergus 12:11, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree. John Smith's 12:35, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Besides just removing the references themselves, I think that the sentence or whatever that was referenced by Cumings should also be deleted. Simply leaving the quoted part in and removing the ref tag leaves potentially contentious or "wrong" information in the article. If the deleted sentence can be independently verified through another source and appropriately referenced, then the material can be re-added. It would/should also clean up the usage of the fact tags, as they should also have the date included within them, so unferenced citations can be appropriately deleted after "X" amount of time. wbfergus 12:54, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
Well I've deleted all the unsourced extracts that I tagged - if I missed something please dig in yourself. John Smith's 13:15, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. I'll give it a look over. I didn't want to earlier in case that was just a first step you took, and then when I clicked save it would pop up saying "another user has edited..."wbfergus 13:23, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Good work catching that one. It looks like that source was used to make some very biased claims. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 17:11, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

I did a quick Wikipedia search on Cumings, and his work is cited in numerous articles. I haven't looked at those, but if the claims on those articles are as bad as the ones here were, there's some major cleanup needed. wbfergus 17:20, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

The book was used to back up this text:

The USSR agreed to the 38th Parallel being the demarcation between occupation zones in the Korean peninsula, partly to better their position in the negotiations with the Allies over eastern Europe. It was agreed that the USSR would receive surrendering Japanese troops on the northern part of Korea; the US, on the southern side. Although later policies contributed to Korea's division, the United States did not suspect that this division would become permanent.

I don't know about the rest of the passage, but that the US did not suspect the division would become permanent is not so difficult to believe and not such a controversial claim. It shouldn't be difficult to find another source to back that up. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 18:10, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Ok, I look forward to you providing it. John Smith's 22:38, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

So, I'm an outsider to this argument and I know almost nothing about the Korean War. However, I have read WP:Undue weight and one sentence does not normally constitute "undue weight". This discussion also does not seem to explain why Cumings' views should be considered a "tiny minority". I think the onus is on the deletionist to demonstrate that published materials are unreliable. WP:UW states...

Articles that compare views should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views, and may not include tiny-minority views at all. For example, the article on the Earth only very briefly refers to the Flat Earth notion, a view of a distinct minority.

So, apparently your claim is that Cumings' views are less significant than the views of the Flat Earth Society. Frankly, I find that hard to believe. I fully admit that I may be barking up the wrong tree here, but it sounds like you've simply dismissed Cumings because you percieve him as "left wing" and the removal of the reference to pave the way for calling the sentence "unreferenced" doesn't make your case any better. Also, on Wikipedia we usually insert a dated fact tag instead of simply deleting the material immediately. Maybe you're new editors who don't understand dated fact tags, or maybe Cumings is universally regarded as a pariah and you've just forgotten to include references to this fact. Either way, it just smells fishy. Some questions you should ask yourself...

  • Is this regarded as a minority opinion by most researchers?
  • Is this minority opinion worldwide, or is it just a minority in some countries?
  • Is this minority so small that it deserves absolutely no mention at all?
  • Can this simply be described in the article as a minority opinion?

Aelffin 05:05, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Where does WP:UW say one sentence is not normally undue weight? John Smith's 09:49, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Addressing Cumings, the Wikipedia article on him has some not so flattering sourced comments. A Further search on Google for "Bruce Cumings" (with the double quotes), finds numerous other articles citing other historians and journalists opinion of him, none very flattering, kind of like a search on "Ward Churchill" does. Here's several of those hits:

in Bruce Cumings, "Korea's Place in the Sun"]

Citing some of the comments made in those articles:
So, in general, "professional" opinion of both him and his writings question (or outright disregard) his work. So, like the Mao book, even if the basis for his book is based on "some" research, the authors personal bias has made his work become to sloppy for historians to consider as reliable. So, if historians can't attach any reliability to his work, why should Wikipedia (WP:RS)?
And if we need to discount his work as a reference, why should we only remove the reference to his book and allow his (unsourced) statements to remain? Removing the reference but leaving his statements to remain gives undue wieght to those statements, and also violates Questionable sources. wbfergus 11:27, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Maybe more importantly, can you find any academic support for his views? At least Chang and Halliday's book had academic support as well as criticism - I haven't seen any decent support for Cumings. John Smith's 11:31, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
I agree with wbfergus; if the source is deemed to be unreliable by "professionals", then we can't use it. Likewise, the information in this article that is supported by that source of questionable reliability must go as well. The burden is not on the deletionist, rather, on the editor who wants to include information that may be controversial. Parsecboy 16:27, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with the removal. Cumings is a leading historian of the Korean War. The conclusions found within his academic work do not represent a tiny minority, and nor is there any consensus indicating that his work is deemed unreliable. So, I disagree with the undue weight argument for him, and oppose taking his referenced material out of he article. Now, its possible that he makes some controversial claims and if so, this has to be qualified and properly weighed. But, simply because Cumming's politics are critized by someone else for being 'anti-American" (itself a very loaded term), is not a basis to discount his work--specifically the referenced claim that is being removed: "Although later policies contributed to Korea's division, the United States did not suspect that this division would become permanent.[1]Giovanni33 17:44, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Cumings himself boasted "of being used as a source of propaganda by Korea's anti-American Left." So, a self-proclaimed "propagandist" can hardly be considered as a "reliable source". wbfergus Talk 17:59, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
I disagree with that standard. Its a question of semantics and conception regarding historical writing, journalism, and other areas of social science. There is no inherent contradiction between being a propagandist and being reliable, as you seem to imply. In fact, many argue that everyone is a propagandist in so far is being one merely means trying to convince someone of a certain pov. It does not necessarily follow that the information used for that purpose is untrue or unreliable. Propaganda has a negative connotation, but its no different than have a POV/thesis, and making an argument to support that thesis. Since it aims as its goal to convince others of that POV, it is in borad terms propaganda. So what? It need not be crude, false, simplisitic, unreliable, etc. It's this false distinction, and illusion of academic objectivity, nuetrality, that academics like Cumings (Howard Zinn, and others), say is a farce and a hoax. There is such no such. They argue that everyone has biases, a world view in which they interpret history and put forward ideology in doing so. And, they would argue that its only being honest and aware of this reality to ascribe themselves openly as such. So for Cumings to say this of himself is to his credit and only a reflection of this conception. It says nothing about his reliability, nor does it itself call into question the specific claims that are being removed from this article. To remove them, what we need is for other historians in this area to say that these particular claims that are being removed are fringe, etc. No one has done this.Giovanni33 18:38, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Your claims for including Cumings are similar to the claims you disagreed with for including the Mao book reference to two sentences. Strange how you want it both ways. I have seen (through simple web searches) more negative on Cumings and more positive on the Mao book, but you want things the other way. As ParsecBoy put it "The burden is not on the deletionist, rather, on the editor who wants to include information that may be controversial." Find some reliable sources that either say the same things, or find some reliable historians who say (recently) that Cumings work is still highly regarded, instead becoming more akin to being the Ward Churchill of the Korean War History. You also claim that before they can deleted, another historian need to disprove them or call them 'fringe'. I disgree, as I haven't seen that in any Wikipedia policy or guideline (perhaps you can show me an instance?). In closing, an excerpt from Reliable sources: "Exceptional claims should be supported by multiple high quality reliable sources, especially regarding scientific or medical topics, historical events, politically charged issues, and in material about living people." wbfergus Talk 18:57, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
I agree, wbfergus. If Giovanni wants to claim that "nor is there any consensus indicating that his work is deemed unreliable", then the same standard should be applied to the Mao bit. He can't have it both ways. John Smith's 19:21, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Actually, no, my reasons for not including the J. Chang book are not similar. I'm not having it both ways. With the Chang book, the claims that were being cited, are claims that are fringe. They are not shared by mainstream scholars in the field. Notice this goes beyond the fact that the book is controversial, that the book and the authors methodology have been largely discredited, and but goes to claim itself. So, its really on both counts: reputation of the scholar--the source--, but also the acceptability of the claim, as reflected by the consensus within academia. On both counts the Mao book fails. Now with Cumings, all we have is that some disagree with the authors politics and think this has influenced his work. Thats fair, but nothing really special here. If Cumings is said not to be reliable, then I agree that would be a valid reason not to use him as s source, but I don't think that claim has been sufficiently shown to be the case. Likewise, no one has shown that the claims that cite Cumings for, are points that are novel, fringe, or otherwise generally not accepted as true. His claims are, it seems to me, widely accepted and in the mainstream. Granted the burden of proof is on those who want to include the content. But I ask those who want it deleted to look for other sources that validate the claims that are being deleted--instead of simply deleting because they have questions about the source--who is a qualified academic. If his views which we cite here are accepted, there is no reason to delete them. Unless you have information that makes you believe these particular claims are not accepted, I think its wrong to delete them. Talk of who has the burden is just wikilawyering. Do what is best for WP.Giovanni33 01:20, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Based on the sources cited above, I disagree with the deletion. Wikipedia prefers scholarly sources and Cumings, a professor of history at a well known university, counts as a scholarly souce. The sources cited in the article on Cumings and in the above discussion are as follows:

  • Millet (no first name given) - quality unknown (possibly scholarly)
  • History News Network - university newsletter (possibly scholarly, possibly peer reviewed)
  • The Atlantic - popular periodical (not scholarly, not peer reviewed)
  • Hugo S. Cunningham - web page (not scholarly, not peer reviewed)

Two non-scholarly critics, and two critics of unknown credentials. The language used by his critics makes this sound like partisan attacks, and as such should not be taken as serious critiques. Why not put the information into the article, with the explaination that "Cumings has been denounced as un-american by some media commentators". Basically, I think if Wikipolicy allows the mention of the Flat Earth hypothesis in the article on Earth, then we should allow a Korean War scholar with some popular critics in an article on the Korean War. Aelffin 22:32, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Correction, History News Network is not a scholarly resource since it uses popular news media as reference material (such as FoxNews and the O'Reilly Factor) [3] I'm leaning further toward the opinion that this is purely partisan. We should stick with the scholarly sources. Aelffin 22:54, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Aelffin. This attack on Cumings seems to be little more than a partisan critics, who are not qualified themselves, at least not enough to disregard someone who is qualified, such as Cumings, a professor of history at a well known university. This is all more the case given that no one has shown that the claims he is being cited for are even disputed.Giovanni33 01:25, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
I would be opposed to that proposal. Digressing just a tad, if we went with your proposal, then the explanation would also have to include "Cumings has also been accused of intentionally distorting context, omitting material facts that don't fit his thesis, and he even boasts of being used as a source of propaganda by Korea's anti-American Left". BTW, I do beleive that the Atlantic (started 1857), being a periodical that does have an editorial review process, would still be considered a "respected publishing house". Just because they don't specialize in certain subject does not negate their 'respectability'. And those sources cited above were just from a quick perusal of the first set of 'hits' I got from a simple Google search. Nobody has done the same for the Mao book, but it was disallowed on even flimsier objections. And once again, Cumings is becoming the Ward Churchill of the Korea War subject. At least he hasn't plagarized so he could be fired, unlike Churchill who was finally fired this year. But like Cumings, he also distorted context, and made up events to suit his thesis. The only supportive sites I've seen for Cumings are from his own university, his publishing agent/house, and North Korea. wbfergus Talk 23:06, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Oh, one more "critique" of Bruce Cumings. The July 1997 issue of The Journal of Military History (is that scholarly enough?) has this to say

and the later also say:

wbfergus Talk 23:27, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Again, this is partisan POV from critics who do not even rise to the level that Cumings stands within academia; they are mostly non-scholarly critics. Thus, they fail to suffice for sources to discount citing a professor of history who is a leading expert on the Korean War. Moreover, no sources at all have been provided showing that the claims Cumings is being cited for within the article are even disputed. Its clear there is no consensus at this point to delete this material.Giovanni33 01:30, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
This is a good point. We have to draw a distinction between the scholar and the claim. Each claim should be evaluated seperately. When the opposition is "I don't like the guy because he's a left-winger" or even "he's a bad scholar who interprets things in bad ways"... then I think we need to keep in mind that his expertise as a specialist in the Korean War trumps the expertise of those who are not. If the specific claim is contested, then that's another story. Scholars who specialize in the subject under discussion are always prefered to those who do not specialize in said subject. Even if it is a long-standing layman's news source. Aelffin 04:44, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
If the specific claim is contested.... As far as I know most of the arguments against Chang and Halliday are not much different from what you mentioned in the case of the two sentences that were removed - they're mostly general not unlike "he's a bad scholar who interprets things in bad ways".
Besides, calling someone a "leading specialist" is a subjective term. Who gave him this status? John Smith's 06:51, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Here is where I think you are engaging in a WP:POINT violation. But you are mixing apples and oranges. This has nothing to do with J.Chang's controversial work. J.Chang's citation is problematic not only as a source, but their particular claims stand without support, as well. That is why its undue weight. Not so with Cumings. He has the recognition of a leading scholar of the Korean War, and the claim we cite him for here are not novel, or controversial. Failure to show this, the deletions should not stand, esp. in light that doing so does not have consensus here, either.Giovanni33 08:40, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

I would beg to differ on that. There is no concensus to re-add those statements either. Cumings had a reputation as a leading scholar of the Korean War, when there were few books, articles, whatever on it. For about a decade his work was considered definitive. But then new information began to appear, newer historians began their own research, and even in the face of data from Russian archives he still refused to change his positions when given the chance, even though the data proved him wrong. If those claims you wish to cite to Cumings are not novel or controversial, then it should be fairly easy for you to find another suitable reference for inccluding them. wbfergus Talk 09:49, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Also, I will go over the edit history later today when I have a printer available. I think that I may have seen a sentence or two that should be in, but I just reverted back to last revision until I can investigate further. Further, on a quick perusal, the citation attributed to Cumings may already be available in several of the other references listed in this article. Look and see if you can find them. Another alternative would be The Korean War: An International History, by William J. Stueck Jr. It came out well after Cumings book, and has been called (by scholars and historians) "the definitive history of the war as a test of the United Nations and postwar diplomatic deftness". If I get a chance to stop by the library (which seems unlikely), I'll try to pick up a copy. But, by doing so, I'll be using it to see how I may be able to improve this article with relevant information, not merely edit warring to make a point. wbfergus Talk 10:03, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Hmmmm. It also appears very disingeneous (to say the least) for Giovanni33 to be expressing much, if any interest in this article. I just did a browse through the entire history of the article, and Giovanni33 never showed any interest in this article until (September 4th) after the Mao book had been cited as a reference, so he could delete it. It would also be worth noting that judging merely by his own editing history (easy enough to check out), that he seems to be mainly interested in removing any and all references to the book wherever they appear, though he is definately having a more difficult time with the article on the book.

Most interesting of all (listed to establish any personal motivations behind this) is this Wiki page, Wikipedia:Requests for checkuser/Case/Giovanni33. Given these, I really see little evidence to give much if any weight to any of this users arguments. They seem to be based strictly on the users own POV and bias, not on making this article better. wbfergus Talk 13:54, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

I fail to see the logic or relevance of your comments directed at my motivations for editing this article. I don't know when the Mao book was cited as a reference here, but I came here after it was pointed out on my talk page by an admin that this was being used as a reference on this page. Is that information important? Is it important that I didn't know about it, or this article, before that date? How is that relevant? However, it doesn't follow that I have no interest in this article, simply because I have not edited it before. With such faulty logic, no one has interest in any article for at one point of time, everyone was new to every article! Your statment that I am intersted in removing all reference to the Chang book wherever they appear is false. They belong on the article about the book and article directly relating to the controversial book--not main history pages. That is my possition which I've always been very clear about. Also, I don't see your logic or relevance in pointing out my user checks. Is your implication, in doing so, that there is socketpuppetry going on here with me? Those were things of over a year ago. For you to bring them up here, followed by the conclusion that "I really see little evidence to give weight to any of this users arguments" is a double logical fallacy: 1. no connection with user checks--no any relevance to any argument here, nor is there any accusations of puppetry, but also because you are commenting on the messenger instead of the message, and that is an ad hominen fallacy. Lastly, you say that my comments are based "strictly on" POV and bias--instead of making this article better? That is also illogical for there is no necessary contradiction to my having a bias and POV (as you and eveyone else does), and making this article better. In fact, my bias and POV is to make this article better. Thus, all your arguments above make no sense. I ask that you clarify your reasoning, or make corrections. Thanks.Giovanni33 22:01, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Okay, assuming good faith, if you really want to make the article better, find other sources to verify your claims that the removed Cumings work are not novel or controversial. If they aren't, then other "noted scholars" will have made the same claim.
Regarding why I brought up the above, I was wondering how long you've been on here, and why you suddenly showed. As I researched your edit history, I started seeing how you "seemed" to be all over Wikipedia, removing references to the Mao book. That really does give you the impression of having an obsession with removing whatever you can about it. I also noticed some not-so-stellar edit policies, like (what to me anyway), are numerous 3RR, Mediations, etc. The sheer number seems like you are on a one-man crusde against something, though I can't figure out what. Edits on the Hitler page, and Zionism, Christianity, anywhere the Mao book shows up, etc. Your "interests" are certainly all over the board. I also am unsure about the "relationship" between yourself and John Smith's. I noticed on your talk page (or maybe it an article's edit history, I can't remember), you accused him of Wikistalking, yet you came here after he did. It just all seems extremely strange, and just coincidental. I merely pointed it out so that the other involved editors, especially those hwo have been working on this convoluted article for quite some time now, could have a chance to further investigate on their own, and possibly develop their own interpretations. wbfergus Talk 22:53, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
I'm afraid you have the facts wrong. I am all over Wikipedia, as I have many interests. Most of my edits and interests have nothing to do with this Mao book. You mention the Hitler page, Zionism, Christianity---where does the Mao book show on on any of these pages? I'm puzzled. Yes, John Smith and I have accused each other of Wikistalking. So what? I came here because of a message on my talk page about this issue, bringing me to this article. John Smith was at my talk page and would have seen the same message. Nothing strange there, and I'm sure if John Smith felt I was following him, he would make the accusation himself. I'm not following him. Numberous 3RRs? No, that is also not true. I have not had a 3RR in at least a year! So, again what are you talking about? Mediations? What is wrong with that? John Smith and I are in mediation about the topic of this book, yes. Its my first mediation. Is that a problem? If so, I notice you only point it out to be used againt me, not John Smith. I wonder why that is (not that I think being in mediation--a proper dispute resolution step--is somehow bad. I suggest you go back and look again because your accusations here are way off.Giovanni33 23:26, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Guys, guys, enough with discussing each other and not the issue at hand. This is getting us nowhere. Let's refocus, shall we? The facts remain thusly: Cuming's work remains disputed, whether that is correct or not. Surely, if his claims are not controversial, other, universally accepted sources can be used to back up what was at one point sourced to Cumings. Parsecboy 23:40, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
I don't follow your logic. Absence of supporting sources could mean all sorts of things, for example 1) He's not very widely known... a scholarly source doesn't have to be common knowledge to be correct 2) He's a heretic... I bet North Korean scholars who side with the US are *universally rejected* within North Korea. Does that make them wrong? 3) He's the only one who's researched it yet... maybe he's just better at reading obscure sources 4) There are few scholars in his field... if nobody else is doing research in this area, of course there are no supporting opinions 5) He's hard to understand... I think this is Chomsky's problem. And so on... So, to me it comes down to two questions. Is he a scholarly source? I think the answer is yes. Do scholars of equal level dispute his claims? The answer is I don't know. Aelffin 02:14, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, Giovanni33 stated that the statement is not novel nor controversial. My point was simply that if it is not, then it should be fairly simple to find a similar claim made another Korean War historian or scholar. Then, the statement could be double-referenced (as several are), to help show that there are different sources making the same statement. Non-novel and non-controversial claims are repeated quite often (though maybe worded a bit differently). It's the novel or controversial claims that are usually disputed (easy enough to usually find records of those disputes), or just outright ignored as being way out there, and then subequently more difficult to find any further reference on. There are whole bunch of scholars and historians on the subject of the Korean War. I ran across a list just last week (off a web search) that had probably 70 or more different names and sources on it. Cumings is hardly the only one researching it. Simply being a scholar is hardly sufficient evidence. Look at Ward Churchill, he was a well established and tenured Professor of "Ethnic Studies" at the University of Colorado (another reputable institution), with many "peer reviewed" publications, several of which he used to teach his students. However, after he was investigated (after making several inflammatory remarks), it was discovered that he lied about his ethnicity to get his teaching position in "Ethic Studies", plagarized other people's works as his own, and invented events and facts to support the subject of his book or other position. wbfergus Talk 14:59, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Ward Churchill's work has been roundly rejected by scholars of his own caliber, so he is no longer a suitable academic resource. It's just not clear to me that Cumings' claims are controversial within academia. Researchers may ignore outrageous claims by total outsiders, but they rarely ignore outrageous claims by others in their own field. If a claim is not remarked upon by your peers, then the claim is, by definition, unremarkable. I guess what I don't understand (and I am an admitted layman on this subject) is what is so unbelieveable about the claim? IIRC, it was something like "the US never expected the division of Korea to last" or somesuch? Seems pretty innocuous to me, I don't know why I'm supposed to be flabbergasted about that. Aelffin 15:25, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
But for 16 years he was warmly embraced by his fellow scholars, even with the many outrageous claims in his works. It wasn't until after his "indiscretions" with fact were made public that his fellow scholars started to reject his work. Anyway, this article is about the Korean War, not the abilities of various scholars. wbfergus Talk 16:23, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, this discussion is about what sources are to be considered appropriate for this article. Yes, it is possible that future scholarship will reject the entire corpus of Cumings' work. But that has not yet happened as far as I can tell, and neither you and I nor popular media are qualified to jump the gun and throw his work out the window.Aelffin 16:38, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
I agree. Having partisan critics might be enough to question and realize where this prof.'s veiws lies and thus color his work, but its no basis to delete his sourced views from this article. That is overkill. If anything, we list his views and then qualify it with other qualified experts. Cumings is a leading expert on this topic, so his views should not be removed. Nor, is anyone disputing the facts that he is being cited for.Giovanni33 00:05, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
To try to make a comparison with Jung Chang and Jon Halliday again, I don't see scholarship rejecting the entire "corpus" of their work either. So if we follow your logic they are an acceptable source too. John Smith's 21:55, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
No comparision between the two. Jung Chang is not even a scholar, or academic. The book a revisionist and has been repudiated by experts in the field, specifically there speculative and novel theories, which the Chang book was being cited for. So, not only doesnt hold a candle compared to the stature of Prof. Cumings, you are mixing up apples and organes here. The comparision was between Cuming and, Prof. Churchill.Giovanni33 00:05, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Be that as it may, we ought to assume good faith (even if all evidence is to the contrary) and judge Giovanni's suggestions on their own merits. After all, one never can tell if it's you or the other guy who's biassed--such is the nature of bias. Aelffin 19:51, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

If the claims made by Cummings are accepted in academia, there ought to be other sources for them, especially since Cummings' research was published in the 1980s. If you take a look at the claims that use Cummings as a source, you can see that most of them do sound pretty contentious.[4] We should try to find secondary sources to back these claims up if we want them to stay. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 22:18, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes, there are many other sources that back up what we are citing Cumings for. I agree we should increase the diversity of sources, if anything to avoid relying on only one scholar, even though he is an expert. I am in favor of this and keeping Cumings, who if he belonged to be cited in any article, this would be the one. For this article not to cite him would be shocking to any informed reader on the topic.Giovanni33 00:07, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
The issue remains that his work is disputed, and in many cases outright incorrect:
"Bruce Cumings, a history professor at the University of Chicago, has come closest to living it. In a book concluded in 1990 he argued that the Korean War started as "a local affair," and that the conventional notion of a Soviet-sponsored invasion of the South was just so much Cold War paranoia. In 1991 Russian authorities started declassifying the Soviet archives, which soon revealed that Kim Il Sung had sent dozens of telegrams begging Stalin for a green light to invade, and that the two met in Moscow repeatedly to plan the event." (from [5])
Much of his work is clearly disputed; it's blatantly wrong to keep him as a reference, but to exclude the book on Mao for the same faults Cumings has. Parsecboy 00:27, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Much of his work is clearly disputed; it's blatantly wrong to keep him as a reference, but to exclude the book on Mao for the same faults Cumings has.
I definitely agree with that. John Smith's 09:34, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Agreed as well. It should be a fairly simple task to find something then that both Cumings and another scholar or historian have both stated. When that is found, then that statement can be included, with a reference to both sources, so it is apparent that the statement is indeed verifiable and non-controversial. Failing that (which I find hard to believe), then Cumings can at least be listed under "Further reading - Origins, politics, diplomacy". wbfergus Talk 10:17, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
"Much of his work is clearly disputed." True--but the qualifications of the disputees remain in question. "Much of his work is clearly disputed and therefore we ought to exclude him." That is your own logical leap, and thus, original research. You're looking at a dispute and then drawing from that that he's both wrong and a tiny minority and therefore should be excluded. This is similar to the example cited in WP:SYN in that you're synthesizing his academic standing based on the number of critics he has, rather than finding sources who make statements about his academic standing. You want to exclude his work, you find academic sources that say his work represents the opinion of a tiny minority...that's the standard for exclusion according to wikipolicy. I agree that other sources should be found, but I think the Cumings info stays with the qualification that he has some media critics, such as those cited (personally, I think those critics are partisan, but I can't put that in the article because that would be original research). Aelffin 11:18, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
"You want to exclude his work, you find academic sources that say his work represents the opinion of a tiny minority...that's the standard for exclusion according to wikipolicy."
I don't know that it is. Academics can be (and often are) split over historical works. Having one or two academics that criticise a work is far from conclusive. But again (and I don't want to labour this point) if you want to restore Cummings because the academic community is not unified/generally agrees in saying that his work is "bad" then one would also have to allow the Mao book to stand alone too. John Smith's 11:39, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes, academics are often split, and it is our job to present the split, not to sort out who's right and who's wrong. As for the Mao issue...I wasn't part of that discussion and I currently have no opinion on its inclusion/exclusion. But generally, if there is no consensus among editors, the standard is to keep the information (at least that's the way AfD noms go if I recall). Aelffin 12:26, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

I just noticed something strange that pertains to both the Mao book and the Cumings book. Jon Halliday is a co-author of both of them. Not quite sure how this plays into the "discussions", but it seems strange that on one hand he would co-author a book minimizing the involvement of Mao and lay all the blame on the US, then almost 20 years later co-author another book that is a complete reversal. Did he "see the light" and from the documents in the Russian and/or Chinese archives, is there some other personal motivation to change his previous stance? I don't know, but it's an interesting observation. Why did Halliday change his stance and Cumings hasn't, especially since several other scholars or historians said that he (Cumings) knows of the newer information from the archives? wbfergus Talk 14:41, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

I noticed that too. What a funny coincidence, eh? Parsecboy 15:30, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Let's stay away from making any WP:POINT arguments or edits now. We shouldn't be using the Mao book as a measuring stick. That book and the Cummings book need to be judged individually according to WP guidelines. Now I agree that the Cummings book ought to be deleted as a reference, or at least until we can find other sources to back it up, but not for any reason related to the Mao book. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 15:51, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
It's just a coincidence that the books were co-authored by the same person. The connection here is that the Mao book was disallowed here because its contents are disputed, and in some cases, incorrect. Cuming's book has the same issues, so should similarly be restricted, unless universally accepted sources can be found that agree with it (and only used in those cases, i.e., "a certain source supports one claim, so the whole book is fine" is a no-go). Parsecboy 15:57, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Chang's book is not only disputed, it is new research that makes some very biased and controversial claims. It should not be used as a source here because of undue weight. Now I'm not sure if undue weight also applies to Cummings' work. I agree to deleting him as a reference unless other sources can back him up because he does seem to be biased and his work is used to back up some very contentious claims. What I'm wondering is, his work was published in the 1980s, if it is really that objectionable, how come it has not been widely debunked? Or has it, and I'm not aware of it? Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 16:57, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
I did not read this entire discussion section and am not an expert on Korean history. I came to this thread from a discussion currently happening on WP:ANI on a somewhat related manner. I can't tell if there was resolution on whether to include Cumings or not though it seems he is not there now.
The idea that Bruce Cumings is not citable on the Korean War or Korean history in general is simply absurd, and the fact that that point is even being debated is disheartening. He is without question one of the leading historians of modern Korea, though of course many scholars disagree with him (incidentally literally every published scholar in the world has people who disagree with their work). A quick search in the ABC-CLIO database shows that Cumings' books have been reviewed in H-Net, Pacific Historical Review, the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, the Journal of American History, American Historical Review, Reviews in American History, Journal of Military History, and Political Science Quarterly--i.e. by basically all of the notable academic journals which cover his topic. Writing in Reviews in American History, respected historian Burton Kaufman (who is in the references section of the article incidentally) noted that Cumings' book The Origin of the Korean War was "an exceptional work in both conception and execution" and that Cumings had "established a reputation as one of the nation's leading experts on the war" (this is from the December 92 issue of the journal, and in case anyone was wondering that is not "a long time ago" in terms of historical scholarship and Cumings has been reviewed in scholarly journals at least a dozen times since then). Like I said I did not look at all the comments but the idea that anyone could seriously suggest that Cumings cannot be cited is deeply disturbing. Quite frankly they either do not know much about the relevant historiography (though I'm no expert on that either) or do not understand that Wikipedia quotes multiple points of view from established experts such as Cumings, whose expertise is simply beyond dispute. I think any expert scanning this article and talk page would find it completely bizarre that Cumings' work had been unilaterally removed by folks who don't seem to know how important his work was/is in the field. I highly recommend that he at least be re-added to the references section, but he can also be cited in the article so long as his claims are not given undue weight.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 00:43, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
The problem with Cumings is that much of his work predates the opening of the Soviet Archives in 1991+, which disproves a lot of his claims. Therefore, there are issues with using his works as sources. Also, he makes controversial claims like "North Korean prison camps aren't so bad, because Kim Jong-Il is thoughtful enough to imprison whole families together". Parsecboy 00:50, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
That's a separate issue. The discussion above seemed to say that Cumings could not be cited at all and some of the arguments had a distinctly ideological bent to them, unlike the one you present which relates to changes in the scholarship. If particular arguments he made have been disproven since the opening of the Soviet archives that does not mean he can never be cited. I highly doubt that docs from the USSR archives (and there's still a lot that has not been released there obviously) disproved everything he argued in his books on the war or that new revelations make his books useless resources for a generalist encyclopedia (like any history book, most of the material will be fairly uncontentious stuff about dates, names, widely reported events, etc.). In any case he has written a major book since the opening of the archives (I don't know whether he uses them or not as I am not familiar with his work) and this article already uses a number of pre-1991 sources. My beef is with the notion that Cumings cannot be cited at all. Of course if certain arguments of his have not withstood the test of time we should not repeat them (unless we were discussing the historiography of the war, it would probably be a good idea to have a section on that), but the idea that he cannot even be referenced to the point were his works are not even mentioned in the reference section is quite ludicrous.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 01:26, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

The attempt to completely muffle Cumings is shameful. Is anyone aware that just months ago he received a prestigious award from South Korea? Namely- "South Korea’s first Kim Dae Jung Academic Award for Outstanding Achievements and Scholarly Contributions to Democracy, Human Rights and Peace. The award recognizes outstanding scholarship, and engaged public activity regarding human rights and democratization during the decades of dictatorship in Korea, and after the dictatorship ended in 1987." [6]. Can we now really take seriously claims that Cumings is totally discountable as a source? BernardL 12:39, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

How can a brand new award that has never been given out before be even remotely called "pretigious"? I won't bother going into the other problems associated with it, but in can hardly be called prestigous except by those grasping at straws. It is purely a PR award at this point. Maybe in about 10 years it might qualify as "prestigious", but not now. OracleDude 18:51, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

GA review

Why did somebody archive the ongoing GA review? (Wikimachine 02:17, 11 September 2007 (UTC))

I don't think it was done on purpose. I think it was just because of the default setting applied to a bot to automatically archive threads that haven't had any activity in a wekk or something like that. I think MizaBot or something like that is what's setup to do it, mainly because of the huge discussion about the Chinese casualty figures. wbfergus Talk 14:42, 11 September 2007 (UTC)


  • Fail - ok, maybe I'm too lazy for my own approach on an article like this - usually I correct all the grammar & concept mistakes myself & for the ones that I can't figure out I ask the main editors of this article to fix. This article has too many problems.
    • Bad grammar & wording- the reason for this is that this article attracts many anon users who can't speak & write English very well... This often leads to many big ambiguities - i.e. the US began using the F-86 Sabre... they could defeat Migs... So, was F-86 Sabre introduced before or during the war? Was F-86 Sabre that uber amazing? I don't think that's the case, but obviously the bad grammar & wording make such misunderstanding inevitable.
I started working on this today, but the "Post-WWII division of Korea" section really needs a lot of work, as I'm sure other sections do as well. A 'home' also needs to be found for the last sentence in the "Japanese occupation" section. Anybody willing to help out? wbfergus Talk 14:33, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
    • No cites- for an article as big as this? You need more cites, or these all sound like original research.
    • Weasel wording/POV - this is very minor, I think, but you can avoid this if you heavily cite your articles - then it becomes more focused on the facts rather than emphasis.
    • No improvements - the guy who submitted this article for GA review stopped working on it... And then the other guys aren't developing this article either... And there's obviously a dispute that's going on...

(Wikimachine 02:24, 11 September 2007 (UTC))

  • Reference style or actually, lack thereof. For a "GA' rating or above, it seems that all of the occurences of references should be in the same general style, instead of the mess they currently are in. While there is no real "standard" or policy on reference styles (that I know of), it does seem that many of the problems could be avoided by the usage of some of the common templates at Wikipedia:Template messages/Sources of articles#Citations of generic sources. This would at least make all of the references appear to be consistent in layout. Template usage isn't required, as the same layout can be done manually as well, but I think the templates would just be easier. For my part, I will also begin trying to standardize these, though it may take a week or so, depending on my job and other time issues. wbfergus Talk 10:32, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Not enough refs? I see more than enough. Good friend100 21:44, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
Admittedly, there are a bunch of refs, but at the same time, there are many statements in the article as well that need to be cited to a source, as the Cumings discussions have shown. For an article this long, there should be a lot more refs in the text, even if they are multiples of existing refs. This way, it's easier to verify which source the various points being made came from. I don't know if any existing text came from any of the external links, but if so, those should be cited and linked accordingly to the appropriate passages. wbfergus Talk 10:11, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I have just finished going through the entire article and have satndardized all of the existing refs at this time by using the appropriate template. Hopefully when new refs are added, they will also use a template. For those wishing to do so, example citation templates can be seen at (and copied from) here. wbfergus Talk 15:32, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Troop levels and casualties

I think something needs to be done about that. For the Communist side we can see more casualties than there were soldiers supposedly fighting. I know sources aren't in total agreement on those sorts of things, but maybe we could address those bits so that they make more sense? John Smith's 16:52, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Are you referring to the infobox? The troop numbers there are peak strength, not total. That explains the apparent discrepancies. I believe it states that in the infobox. Parsecboy 17:17, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Why not show total troop levels? John Smith's 17:21, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
The total troop levels are more problematic than finding the peak troop levels, and sometimes more misleading depending upon the amount of work, editing, and research is performed. For instance, Turkey had something around 15,000 different troops in Korea, but only one brigade at any one time, of around 5,000 troops. Simply stating that Turkey had 15,000 troops in Korea would lead many to assume thats how many they had fighting at one time, which would false. That sentence would need to be re-worded to state that Turkey had a total of 15,000 different troops fighting in Korea, but only 5,000 were there at any one time as various brigades rotated out of Korea to replaced by a 'fresh' brigade. Of course, these numbers I just supplied are just approximations off the top of my head, the actuall numbers would need to be researched for each of the countries involved, and that's not even counting the headaches involved in trying to determine those numbers for nor only North Korea, but China as well. There's a lot of conflicting sources there to wade through, and then there's the chance that some may challenge the numbers as original research, if they haven't been officially report or published somewhere. wbfergus Talk 17:35, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

2 pictures of Inchon in the infobox?

Come on - especially since the picture of the port is really non-descriptive, and just plain boring. --HanzoHattori 05:55, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

why no battles of Seoul articles?

At all? There were FOUR battles, mind you, reducing the city to ruins and killing tens of thousands.

No capture of Pyongyang, neither. It's "Pusan Perimeter – Inchon – Pakchon", ONLY Inchon of the whole UN offensive until the Chinese entry! --HanzoHattori 06:01, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

This and the infobox picture - someone got the Inchon obsession (where a total of like 100 people died). Also: --HanzoHattori 06:07, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

HanzoHattori, I've wondered about that myself. I do remember looking for material a while back (at least a year ago), and a problem I had was trying to find any material on it. I'd see a few sentences here and there in a few of the various references listed in this article, but I don't remember seeing anywhere near enough for an article. I think even a stub-class article might be 'iffy'. If you can find soem information, feel free to start an article, it would be good to have the additional tie-ins with some of the other battles that we do have articles on so far. wbfergus Talk 09:50, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
    • ^ Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War.