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The Chinese Revolution

The Truncated Version for USH
Theoretical Maoism
Maoism in Theory I
1. Classes struggle, some classes triumph, others are
eliminated. Such is history, such is the history of
civilization for thousands of years. To interpret history
from this viewpoint is historical materialism; standing in
opposition to this viewpoint is historical idealism.
"Cast Away Illusions, Prepare for Struggle" (August 14,
1949), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 428.
2. A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or
painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so
refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind,
courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is
an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class
overthrows another.
"Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in
Hunan" (March 1927), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 28.*
Maoism in Theory II
3. The socialist system will eventually replace the capitalist system; this
is an objective law independent of man's will. However much the
reactionaries try to hold back the wheel of history, sooner or later
revolution will take place and will inevitably triumph.
"Speech at the Meeting of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. in
Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist
Revolution" (November 6, 1957).

4. "Don't you want to abolish state power?" Yes, we do, but not right
now; we cannot do it yet. Why? Because imperialism still exists,
because domestic reaction still exists, because classes still exist in
our country. Our present task is to strengthen the people's state
apparatus - mainly the people's army, the people's police and the
people's courts - in order to consolidate national defence and protect
the people's interests.
"On the People's Democratic Dictatorship" (June 30, 1949),
Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 418.
Overthrow of Manchu Dynasty (1644-1911)

Sun Yatsen becomes president

Hopes to establish govt. based
on the three principles of the

1. Nationalism
2. Democracy
3. Quality of Life

Sun, father of the Republic, tries

to maintain peace among growing
Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) factions—esp. KMT and CCP
Era of the Warlords in the ROC (1916-1926)
Power Vacuum

Military leaders & local

gentry take control of the provinces.

Warlord armies
Millions of peasants die of famine
& disease.
Peasants’ desire for land went
unresolved; landless grew
World War I in Asia

• Japan seeks foothold in China

•1917-China aides Allies vs.
•1919 Treaty of Versailles:
•Japan gains territory &
privileges previously belonging
to Germany in China.
Result: May 4th Movement - an anti-imperialist, cultural, and
political movement growing out of student demonstrations in
Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the Chinese government's
weak response to the Treaty of Versailles. Reformers turned
against Sun Yatsen’s pro-Westernism.
Civil War (1945 – 1949)
• KMT: Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) (also GMD)
– Chiang Kai-shek (President)
– Nationalist
– Modernist/Westernist—took aid from US
– U.S. & UK recognize and support KMT
– Stronghold in the East & South, all cities
– Receive $2.5 bil. from USA
– Chinese economy collapses on Chiang’s watch.
• CCP: Chinese Communist Party
– Mao Zedong Chairman
– Zhou Enlai
– Marxist-Leninist—took aid from USSR early and often
– Stronghold in North & West, rural areas
Origins of Split in the ROC, 1925

• Sun dies 1925 • Est 1921
• Chiang Kai-shek • Mao and Rural
• Fear of CCP. Purges. • Capitalism as cause
• Modern of foreign exploitation
• Industrial & aggression.
• Pro-Western • Anti Western
The Long March, 1934-35
• Massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army, the
forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade
• Not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various
Communist armies in the south escaped to the north and
• Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, led CCP in retreat to the
west and north. 12,500 kilometers (8,000 miles) over 370
• Mao’s ascent to power
• Bitter struggles, only 10% survived. Symbolically
significant episode in the history of CCP
Anti-Japanese War (1937-1945)
•The United Front: Myth
and Reality
•Russian Aid 1937
•U.S. Intervention 1941
•BOTH U.S. and Russia
offered aid earlier
•Russia offered mil. aid
(KMT preferred to get
mil. aid from Russia)
•U.S. gave $1.5 billion
Chiang Kai-shek with FDR & Winston Churchill
From the Record: The US State
Department Reaction
“War of Liberation”
Mao Zedong’s Basic Goals
• A revolution from above to remove “3 big
– imperialism
– feudalism
– bureaucratic-capitalism
• A “United Front” of …
– workers
– peasants
– petty bourgeoisie