China's Communist Revolution

China's Communist Revolution

The Communist Party under Mao Zedong gained momentum in China, opposing the nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, which was considered corrupt and inefficient. Mao's policies of promoting literacy and agricultural productivity proved popular among peasants, leading to increased support for the Communist Red Army.

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1. The Cold War Heats Up Chapter 18 – 2

2. China Becomes a Communist Country • For two decades, Chinese Communist had struggled against the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek who was supported by the United States • Many Americans were impressed by Kai-shek and admired the courage and determination that the Chinese Nationalists showed in resisting the Japanese during the war • However, U.S. officials held a different opinion as they found Kai-shek’s gov’t inefficient and corrupt • Furthermore, the policies of Kai-shek’s gov’t undermined Nationalist support as it was not uncommon for Kai-shek to order his secret police to all fire upon demonstrating citizens • In contrast, the Communists, led by Mao Zedong gained strength throughout the country as they would encourage peasants to learn to read as well as help to improve food production • As a result, more recruits would flock to the Communists Red Army

3. Renewed Civil War • As soon as the defeated Japanese left China at the end of WWII, cooperation between the Nationalist and the Communist ceased • Civil war erupted again between the two groups, American policy would favor the Nationalists because they would oppose communism • From 1944 to 1947, United States would act as a peacemaker or mediator between the two groups while still supporting the Nationalist • President Truman refused to commit American soldiers to the conflict but he did commit two billion worth of military equipment and supplies to the Nationalist effort • The aid was not enough as the week military leaders and corruption of Kai-shek gov’t drove the peasants to the communists • In may of 1949, Kai-shek and his government were forced to flee to the island of Taiwan, which westerners called Formosa • The communists would establish a new government, the People’s Republic of China, which the United States refused to accept as China’s true government

4. America Reacts To Communist Takeover • The American public was stunned that China had become communist as they viewed Truman’s policy of containment as a failure • The state department replied to this by saying that what had happened in China was a result of internal forces and that the United States only failed in its attempts to influence those forces, such is Kai-shek’s inability to retain the support of his own people • Furthermore any attempt to do more would have only led to war in Asia, a war that United States was not prepared to fight • Fears of communism within in the American government would begin to surface and like wildfire these fears would begin to burn out of control, and the flames were fanned even further by the events in Korea the following year

5. The Korean War • Japan had taken over Korea in 1910 and ruled until August of 1945 • As WWII ended, Japanese troops north of the 38 th parallel surrendered to the Soviets • Japanese troops south of the parallel surrendered to the Americans • As in Germany, two nations developed, one communist and one democratic • In 1948, the Republic of Korea, commonly called South Korea, was established in the zone that had been occupied by the United States • Its government, headed by Syngman Rhee, was based in Seoul, Korea’s traditional capital • Simultaneously, the Communist formed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the North with Kim Il Sung that head of its government • By 1949 United States only had 500 American troops stationed in South Korea • With only a small presence in South Korea the Soviets concluded that the United States would not fight to defend the South Koreans as they prepared to back North Korea with tanks, airplanes, and money in an attempt to take over the entire peninsula

6. North Korea Attacks South Korea • On June 25, 1950, north Korean forces swept across the 38 th parallel in a surprise attack on South Korea • The conflict that followed became known as the Korean war • Within a few days, North Korean troops had penetrated deep into South Korea • South Korea called on United Nations to stop the North Korean invasion • When the matter came to a vote in the U.N. Security council, the Soviet Union was not there as they were boycotting the council in protest over the presence of Nationalist China in Taiwan • As result the Soviets could not veto the U.N.’s plan of military action, the vote pasted • In all, 16 nations would send some 520,000 troops to aid South Korea • Of those troops over 90% would be American • South Korean troops would add an additional 590,000 • The combined forces were placed under the command of General Douglas Mcarthur, former WWII hero in the Pacific

7. United States Fights in Korea • Within a month of battle the North Koreans had forced UN and South Korean troops into a small defensive zone around Pusan in the southeastern corner of the peninsula • Macarthur would launch a counterattack with tanks, heavy artillery, and fresh troops from the United States • He would make a surprise landing behind enemy lines at Inchon • Other troops would move north from Pusan • Trapped between the two attacking forces, about half of the North Korean troops surrendered; the rest fled across the 38 th parallel back into North Korea • Macarthur’s plan had saved his army from almost certain defeat • The UN army which Acer a treaty North Korean troops across the 38 th parallel back into North Korea • By late November, UN troops approached the Yalu River, the border between North Korea and China, it seemed as if Korea was about to become a single country again

8. The Chinese Fight Back • The Chinese, however, had other ideas as China’s foreign minister warned that his country would not stand idly by and let the Americans come to the border, meaning the Yalu River By late 1950, 300,000 Chinese troops joined the war on the side of North Korea • The Chinese wanted North Korea as a Communist buffer state to protect their northeastern provinces that made up Manchuria • They also felt threatened by the American Fleet stationed off the coast • The fight between North Korea and South Korea had escalated into a war in which the main opponents were the Chinese communists and the Americans • By the sheer force of numbers, the Chinese drove the UN troops southward • In some places the UN forces were outnumbered 10 to 1 • By January the U.N. and South Korean troops had been pushed completely out of North Korea • The Chinese advanced to the south, capturing the South Korean Capital of Seoul • For two years, the two sides fought bitterly to obtain strategic positions in the Korean hills, but neither side was able to make important advances

9. Macarthur Recommends Attacking China • In an effort to break the bloody stalemate Macarthur called for an extension of the war into China • Convinced that Korea was the place where the communist were going to make their play for global conquest Macarthur called for the use of nuclear weapons against Chinese cities • Truman rejected Macarthur’s request • The Soviet Union had a mutual assistance pact with China and by attacking China WWIII would be set off • Instead of attacking China, the UN and South Korean forces began an advance • By May 1951 UN forces had retaken Seoul and pushed back the Communist forces to the 38 th parallel • The situation was just what it had been before the fighting began

10. Macarthur vs. Truman • Macarthur was not satisfied with the recapture of South Korea, as the continued to urge the waging a full scale war against China • Certain that his views were correct, Macarthur tried to go over and around the president by speaking and writing to newspaper and magazine publishers • Despite repeated warnings to follow orders, Macarthur continued to criticize the president • As the commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces Truman refused to stand for this kind of behavior • Truman was attempting to put together a settlement of the war and could no longer tolerate and military commander who was trying to sabotage his policy • On April 11, 1951, Truman made the shocking announcement that he had fired Macarthur • Many Americans became outraged over their heroes downfall • After much investigation and as time passed public opinion swung around to the view that Truman had done the right thing

11. Settling for Stalemate • In 1951 the Soviet Union would unexpectedly suggest a ceasefire • As truce talks began the two sides would reach agreement on two points: location of the ceasefire line at the existing battle line and the establishment of a demilitarized zone between the opposing sides • Negotiators would spend another year wrangling over the exchange of prisoners • Finally, in July 1953, the two sides signed an armistice ending the war • At best, the agreement was a stalemate • The stalemate across the U.S. 54,000 American lives and 67 billion in expenditures • This unsuccessful war was one of many factors that will lead Americans to reject the Democratic Party in 1952 and elect republican Dwight D. Eisenhower as President


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