Battling western democracy
The seminar study deals with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s relations with the United States and the Soviet Union in the fifteen years before the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in October 1949. The story starts from Mao Zedong’s rise to power within the Party in 1935. When the story ends, Mao had become the paramount leader of the new republic and was about to go to Moscow to forge a military alliance with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. Between these two decades, the CCP was in a coalition with Chinese People’s Party, named Guomindang (GMD), which was constantly under attack by Japanese from without and the CCP from within the Chinese borders. After the collapse of the ancient dynasty system in 1911, the nation was divided in two streams. After the second world war, Mao became the ultimate Chinese leader in 1949.
Mao’s attitude toward the United States switched drastically before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Why? The answer can be found in the CCP’s ideology, its relations with Moscow, and its domestic politics. When the CCP was founded in the early 1920s under the Comintern’s direction, it was born antiimperialist in general and anti-American in particular. The Chinese communists and the GMD were fighting for the throne, but after the Japaneese attack on China, they had to step together in a coalition. The United States have been supporting the GMD all the time. They had economic interest in China, but only GMD was their ally.
The CCP was an ideological enemy to the United States. The latter had been directed from Moscow since the year 1921. One of the intentions of the United States was to dominate the Chinese economic market. They had imperialistic plans, but the United States were not the only one, the Japanese and the British also had the so-called evil plans. The Americans and the Japanese were bribing different Chinese fractions and cliques. The CCP spread the idea, that China would become a western colony and its people their slaves. The CCP feared, that the United States would attack USSR with their ally Japan.
They thought so, until the attack on Pearl Harbor. Moscow’s and CCP’s radicalism was about to change in the year 1935. Stalin pursued a collective security system with the Anglo American powers against the frightened German Italian Japanese powers. The CCP agreed with this system, but they were also scared that if the United States helped China, they would send the material and funds to the GMD. With that help, the GMD would have enough power to wipe out the CCP. Mao would agree only, if the United States helped both parties and together they could defeat Japan and it would also be a benefit for the whole Chinese nation.
Japan attacked China in the year 1937. The West encouraged a peaceful settlement between GMD and Japan, which would, if reached, put the CCP in the worst possible scenario to face attacks from both the GMD and the Japanese. Mao was appealing for the American support, but in the communists minds, the aid from the United States was always aimed at damaging China’s territorial integrity and sovereign rights. Mao also feared a peaceful solution between the West and the fascist powers, thus Jiang (leader of GMD) would likely “surrender to Japan” and so, Japan would keep their new Chinese territory, given to them after the World War I.
Mao appealed to the British people, to court their government, if they supported the agreement with the Fascist powers, or so called “Far east Munich plot”. Americas neutrality in the war until 1941 Mao understood as a plan by the States to become the world’s economic power no. 1 Mao’s ideology had the same direction, as the one by the USSR. He was scared, that if the the United States defeated the Japanese with China’s help on its territory, they would be taken as the liberators by China.
In the end Mao would rather see China in a big war with the Japanese, than being an American colony. Because of GMD’s pro-American directives, Mao wanted to split up with GMD and attack them. Moscow did not agree with Mao’s intentions, so the attacks were cancelled. Mao changed his position. It seemed that Moscow wanted to have a non-attack agreement with all states. Mao was for joining the Anglo American GMD camp. Together they would better fight the Axis powers. In February 1941 a CCP activist named Zhou Enlai and a diplomat from the States, named L. Currie met for the first time.
According to the CCP records, Currie told Zhou, that the United States are supporting the unity in China and the war against China, furthermore he told him that the States never wanted to see China in a civil war. The Communist still believed that the United Stets have evil imperialistic intentions in China. According to Zhou, the United States visit was threefold. First, the United States wanted to investigate the economical position in China. Secondly, they wanted to check the military fatigue of China and finally the Americans had the intention to occupy the Hainan Island as an American concession after the war.
In CCP’s view, Americas assistance to China was always motivated by its intention to colonize China. Things changed before Mao could show concern about the long-term consequences of a GMD-U. S. alliance. On May 20, 1941, Moscow informed the CCP, that the United States were preparing a settlement between GMD and Japan. Mao compared Jaing (leader of GMD) with the leader of the Vichy Republic, Petain or the resistance, de Gaulle. He said that Jaing, the United States and Japan were setting a “Far east Munich plot” against the Soviet Union and the CCP. Its opposition to the U. S. entry to the war did not change until the Soviet-German war.
On the 27 May, the president of the United States of America, Roosevelt spoke to the nation and declared national emergency, which actually meant the U. S. entry to the war. The GMD welcomed Roosevelt’s move, but the CCP condemned it. They believed that Roosevelt administration was driving the American men into a slaughter-house of imperialistic war to generate great war profits for some sixty richest families in America. Moscow signed a Soviet-Japanese pact in April 1941 and recognized the puppet state of Manchuguo, therefore Japan recognized the People’s Republic of Mongolia.
Mao thought that the British and the Americans were trying to stop that pact at any cost. Jaing also feared a Soviet-Japanese pact so he began to court the CCP. Mao believed that the pact was positive for the development in China and yet, Jiang could not surrender to Japan and cease a civil war. Mao declared, that the CCP, should take advantage of this situation to push Jiang to agree with the CCP terms. Mao was still angry that a coalition between the West, the GMD and Japan would turn them against USSR and CCP. He was really paranoid that the “Eastern Munich” was going to become real, so his attitude towards the GMD changed.
Instead of pushing Jiang, Mao put on a friendly face. He said: “China can be saved only when the GMD-CCP unity under the leadership of Generalissimo is strengthened, and a pro Soviet diplomacy followed, and the war of resistance continued. The United States is unreliable, and the plot of pursuing a Japanese-American-Chinese compromise should be firmly rejected”. After the German attack on USSR, everything changed completely overnight. It did not matter if you were a communist, nationalist, democrat, all that mattered was if you are against fascism or for.
In my opinion communism as a classless political government is the top political regime, an utopia is a good ideal for the humanuty. However, according to what we have seen in the Eastern European countries, that idea did not prove effective and it also would not do so in the long run, at least not in such sense. As far as I am concerned, Mao Zedong was a confused politician, badly informed, with little knowledge about foreign policy. He was a puppet, in the time described in my abstract, directed by Moscow and Josef Stalin.
Chinese Communist Party came to power by means of repression and misleading people. It were non qualified people, who took over the policy making, and managed the society with violence. The damage that was made, showed after the war, when famine etc. broke out. China cannot be a role model for socialism, let alone the utopic communism, because Mao was acting as all similar dictators do. What is more, today China is too liberalised in economy, so I do not think we can still talk about communism. (And as long communism can also mean violating basic human rights I would not support it).