Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

82riceballs

question about Mao Zedong

Recommended Posts

82riceballs

My history teacher assigned an essay and everyone was allowed to pick a topic from a list my teacher provided. I picked the question about Mao Zedong because of my interest in Chinese history. Here's the question slightly paraphrased:

"Did Mao respond properly when he cut off relations w/ the western world in 1949?"

I find this very confusing b/c from my understanding, I don't think Mao ever had any ties w/ the western world to begin with. The west continued to recognize (and unrightfully so) the ROC as the sole leader of all of China, so from the start, new China was at a disadvantage. However, it wasn't Mao who alienated the west as this question seems to state; it was the other way around. I think my teacher is mistaken (as he often is about China-related topics), but I'm not sure.

Can anyone help me decipher this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

simonlaing

From watching CCTV -9 documentaries and other sources,

I remember during World war 2 there was an American consular mission in Yanaan, the CCP base camp in rural Shaanxi. This was helpful in coordinating resistance against the Japanese in World war 2 . It also stopped the Kuomingtang from bombing it.

The americans helped with training CCP fighters on how to use weapons they had captured from the japanese as well as give advice on and information about Japanese troop movements.

Compared to the huge amount of supplies that were truck and flown over the himilayas to the kuomintang it was not much but still was significant. During world war 2 the Soviet Russians did provide some weapons to the CCP geurillas but not in large quantities. (It was fighting in Germany in St. Petersburg.

In 1945 after the Japanese surrender the US pulled out of Yaanan and a day later the kuomintang bombed the area. There were ties with the CCP and the US, even if the US Congress was solidly anti-communist at the time.During World War 2 the Asian experts on the ground in China advised The Chiang Kai shek's forces were very corrupt, confiscated civilian property and conscripted troops. They advised direct dialogue with Mao. However Henry Luce of Time magazine used Chiang's photogenic wife to sway public opinion and the US congress to support Chiang unconditionally.

In 1949 the US helped the Kuomingtang escape to Taiwan. They put battle ships and carriers in the strait of taiwan. To protect them and still do. This was also due to domestic Anti-communist feeling in the US. FDR's vice president had been switch to Truman over communist sympathies.

Also the Soviets offered China huge loans, enginneers and technological help if they sided with them. With a devastated country Mao took what he could get.

Later after the Korean War the soviets refused to make extensions on the loans , (which the US did for the Marshall plan EU countries.), didn't want to expand the communist countries in africa aggressively and also refused to share nuclear bomb technology. This pissed off Mao and lead to a cooling of ties between Russia and China. China was still closed off "Red China" at that time and the US had no idea of what was happenning so couldn't exploit it until Nixon in the 70s.

A stronger case could be made with Ho Chi Minh being able to choose the US over the Red alliance, who explicitly idealized George Washington as the original freedom fighter. His connection with communist thought was much looser than that of Mao whose land reform and farmer organizing brought him to power. But the US was on a one track get-da-commies mode so didn't even consider supporting the 90% popular Ho Chi Minh.

Good luck with your paper.

Have fun,

Simon:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
simonlaing

Also some critics say that if Mao had close communication with the US that in the Korean war when Macarthur's forces approached the Chinese border they could have stopped. Since the US lead Korean forces when all the way up to the China border, (and some say crossed over) this led for the justification for the use of Chinese forces in the Korean conflict.

Some say that some of the starvation that occured during the Great leap forward in 1960-62 could have been avoided with connection with the outside world. (but even the soviets didn't know about what was happening in China at that time, everyone had been cut off so it is unlikely)

Though these are all way out speculations as both sides were in an us against them mentality for most of the 50s- 70s.

Not Accepting Soviet Aid was not an option for China in 1949, and by doing that it basically cut of ties with the western world as did most of the Soviet Union Bloc countries.

Even in the Cold war it was difficult to have direct communication with the Soviets. (Also until Nixon, everyone thought China just followed the Soviet's lead.)

Just some thoughts.

Have fun,

Simon:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
whitekblackq

This may be an obvious point, but "history" differs depending on where it's being told. From a Chinese perspective it was Mao who cut off relations with the west after victory over the Guomindang. Whereas from a Western perspective it might be that they continued to recognize the government of the ROC now based in Taiwan but still with aspirations to reconquer China. I don't think these two points of view are incompatible--you have to remember you are writing an essay for a Chinese audience!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
82riceballs

Thanks for all the information!

whitekblackq-

Thanks for the insight, but my teacher is American, a very confused one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
whitekblackq

ah, i see!

i think there's another point which is mao cared very much about self reliance and on "the will of the people". he wanted to surpass great britain in 10 yrs and the us in 15 yrs through sheer willpower via the 5 yr plans. your answer to this question will reflect aspects of his ideology (self reliance) as well as hostility towards the us who supported the kmt who "did nothing" to stop the japanese during wwII whilst bitterly fighting the communists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
82riceballs

Oh yeah! I remember his belief in willpower, now! Like how he said the willpower of his troops could defeat the weapons of the KMT (correct me if I'm wrong).

Thanks so much!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
82riceballs

I read in this article the following passage:

Prior to Deng, Mao had rejected the rules of the international system and sought to overthrow it, pursuing change through revolution instead. Mao's foreign policy was noted for its bombastic language, strong opposition to the superpowers (the United States and the Soviet Union), close association with developing countries, relative isolation from international organizations, and economic autarky.

Are there any primary source documents that show his "bombastic language, strong opposition to the superpowers, etc"? I believe the writer; I just wish he had cited his sources :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
crazy-meiguoren

I think it helps to understand the reasons why the USA made many questionable decisions regarding its relations with Communist states. Early on, the Soviet Union had a goal of world domination. The downfall of the USA was seen as the best plum to be picked from the tree. Khruschev declared that "we will bury you!" People took great risks to leave the communistic system: Vietnamese citizens escaping in leaky boats, Cubans trying to make it to Florida in anything that floats, Hong Kong citizens buying up properties on the West Coast prior to the cutover to PRC rule. (Vancouver BC was nicknamed "Hongcouver".) My own hometown became home to a lot of Vietnamese refugees; my niece had married one.

The operative word here is "understand". Nowhere did I mention the word "Justify". One of our worst moments in history was the Communist "witch hunt" that took place during the McCarthy era. Eventually the Soviet Union imploded, it could not maintain its ideological disconnect from economic reality. China has learned this lesson and has created a communist/capitalist hybrid economy that not even Marx or Mao would recognize. Nixon was very forward thinking in initiating improved relations with China - and I have very few kind things to say about Nixon. Next, Carter completed the circle by normalizing relations with China - although my father has lamented that we had betrayed Taiwan in the process...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bhchao
Also some critics say that if Mao had close communication with the US that in the Korean war when Macarthur's forces approached the Chinese border they could have stopped

Mao's awareness of the Truman administration's refusal to bomb the Yalu River bridges, and communist bases on the Chinese side of the Yalu, led him to believe that he can intervene in Korea without incurring any damage to his base in northeastern China.

Mao was basically reading Truman's mail, and was well aware of Truman's communication details with MacArthur. Had Truman been willing to let MacArthur attack the communist base on the Chinese side of the Yalu, Mao would have thought twice about pouring troops into Korea.

Truman's publicly stated refusal to attack the source fuelling the human wave attacks across the Yalu was precisely what allowed Mao to become confident in intervening.

It's like telling the enemy that you're not going to hit them. :shock:.

Eisenhower did not make the same mistake against Mao when the communists shelled Jinmen and Mazu in the Taiwan Strait. Eisenhower deliberately kept Mao guessing on what the US response would be, and bluffed by saying that he will consider using nuclear weapons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
crazy-meiguoren
Eisenhower deliberately kept Mao guessing on what the US response would be

The advantage of having a former general in the White House - Eisenhower understood the importance of psychology in a time of war. Generals may not always best understand the civilian democratic process; they are too used to giving out orders and having them obeyed. But when someone's firing weapons at you or your friends, it's nice to have a general watching your backside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Outofin

Though I don't think these gestures and tactics mattered. The point is that China didn't want to see a US base right across the river. They must secure a buffer zone. China didn’t want NK die, while the US didn’t want SK die, so everyone ended up in the same place where it was started. Quite a similar situation in Vietnam, only that the end result was different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
simonlaing
Mao was basically reading Truman's mail, and was well aware of Truman's communication details with MacArthur. Had Truman been willing to let MacArthur attack the communist base on the Chinese side of the Yalu, Mao would have thought twice about pouring troops into Korea.

Mao didn't just have a couple border guards on watching at the North Korea he had 2 million soldiers, A significant portion ex-Kuomingtang soldiers as well.

The are US korean war accounts of hundreds of (ill equipped, thin blankets, low ammunition) Chinese soldiers running at the machines guns, and the US gunners running out of bullets and being forced to retreat to get more ammunition.

In my Nanda foreign policy classes, they held that it was the US side that made incursions acrossed the River and didn't leave a buffer zone in the mountains that Mao requested.

Espicially with failure to recapture Taiwan, China wasn't going to have the US beach head there.

So I think the truman's hesistancy allowed for the later truce as this was going to be a limited to the korean peninsula conflict. If MacArthur had been allowed to Nuke a major Chinese city or base (which was what he was proposing at time he was relieved) there would have been a China US war and the cold war would not have been so cold.

opinions?

SImon:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bhchao
Mao didn't just have a couple border guards on watching at the North Korea he had 2 million soldiers, A significant portion ex-Kuomingtang soldiers as well.

The are US korean war accounts of hundreds of (ill equipped, thin blankets, low ammunition) Chinese soldiers running at the machines guns, and the US gunners running out of bullets and being forced to retreat to get more ammunition.

In my Nanda foreign policy classes, they held that it was the US side that made incursions acrossed the River and didn't leave a buffer zone in the mountains that Mao requested.

Espicially with failure to recapture Taiwan, China wasn't going to have the US beach head there.

So I think the truman's hesistancy allowed for the later truce as this was going to be a limited to the korean peninsula conflict. If MacArthur had been allowed to Nuke a major Chinese city or base (which was what he was proposing at time he was relieved) there would have been a China US war and the cold war would not have been so cold.

MacArthur and Truman were both right. And they were also both wrong. MacArthur's nuke proposal was insane, yet he was the man on the spot and knew what needed to be done at the tactical level. After all this was the general whose island hopping strategy in the Pacific against the Japanese saved thousands of Allied lives, and cut the length of time needed to reach the Japanese home islands.

Not to mention the Inchon landing he maneuvered that turned the tide against the North Koreans.

MacArthur was the man on the spot, but that doesn't mean his nuke proposal was right. Some of his other proposals were not unreasonable though, like pursuing aircraft across the Yalu River border, or usage of conventional forces against Mao's base across the Yalu.

I can see good reasons why Truman wanted to confine the war to Korea, but by doing so, he tied the hands of the general who knew what best to do on the ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...