Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War

It is accepted among most military historians who study the Korean War that the
first Communist move for negotiations in the Spring of 1951 was for the purpose of
gaining respite on the battlefield in order to rebuild its forces, and that the walk-out on
these negotiations in August was because they believed themselves ready to return to
the battlefield, if not on the offense, then at least on a very strong defense. But in the
period of suspended negotiations, their defense proved unsuccessful and any turn to
the offense impossible; the UN forces gained ground across the entire front. One key
and dear, in Communist eyes, portion of terrain lost was the Punchbowl. Time and
again they would argue for its return at the negotiating table.47
There is little evidence at present that they did not intend to return to negotiating
at any point when they walked out at Kaesong, August 23, 1951, but the losses incurred
thereafter probably put impetus to a resumption sooner than the CCF and NKPA may
have preferred. The CCF, too, like the Americans in dealing with the South Koreans
over the issue of whether to negotiate or not, probably had some doing convincing the
NKPA to opt for negotiations rather than an all out campaign to seize the whole of
Korea. Possibly, the manifold losses taken by the NKPA in this campaign made them
more open to that as the only option. But until North Korea opens its archival records,
without censorship, to the world, it is impossible to know for certain whether the losses
inflicted on the NKPA in this offensive were for certain instrumental in the decision of the
Communists to resume negotiations,.48
There is the possibility that the logical fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc ("after
this therefore because of this") applies to this reasoning - the sun comes up in the
47 Michael I. Handel, Masters of War: Classical Strategic Thought, (London: Frank Cass, 2001, Third
Edition): 180; Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War, 180; Clay Blair, Forgotten War, 956.
48 Burton Kaufman, The Korean War, Chapter Five.

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Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/. Accessed December 18, 2014.