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HIST242: Modern Northeast Asia

Unit 11: Communism in Northeast Asia   *With the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, communism gained a rapid foothold in Northeast Asia. Social reformers were attracted by the message of equality, nationalists by the fact that Russia—a largely agrarian, barely industrialized society like their own—could bypass the historical materialist stage of capitalism (represented by Europe and the United States) to reach the ‘higher’ evolutionary stage of socialism.
Mongolia, long a target of Tsarist Russian designs, but still under de jure Chinese sovereignty, found its independence movement quickly taken over by communists, and was thus able to maintain its de facto independence from China (achieved in 1921) with support from the USSR, forming the Mongolian People’s Republic in 1924.

In colonial Korea, as in the Japanese Home Islands, communism was suppressed by the Taish? and Sh?wa regimes, but communists, again supported by the USSR, continued  anti-Japanese resistance activities from bases across the Korean border in Siberia, resistance which was to gain them a great deal of support in Korea after liberation.

In China, the KMT (itself a Leninist party) initially cooperated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but soon began to view it as a threat, and carried out a brutal purge, driving the CCP into exile. Even after Japan attacked China, Chiang Kai-Shek, the KMT leader, resisted an alliance with the CCP, but was finally forced to form a ‘United Front’ against the Japanese. As soon as war with Japan ended, the KMT and the CCP resumed their conflict.

In this unit, we will look at the development of these three communist states, focusing on their economic and political systems, and the ways in which they adapted communist ideology to suit their own, often nationalist or authoritarian, purposes. We will also examine the rivalry for leadership of the international socialist movement between the USSR and China, and evaluate the impact on each of the three countries discussed here.*

Unit 11 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 9.25 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 11.1: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 11.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 11.3: 4.75 hours

Unit11 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Explain the success of communist parties in gaining power in Northeast Asia. - Classify ideological differences between Communist Parties in China, Mongolia and North Korea. - Describe the function of economic planning and assess the degree to which it helped or hindered growth. Compare this to economic planning in non-communist states, such as South Korea and Taiwan. - Evaluate the function of ‘struggle’ in maintaining political control. - Weigh the successes and failures of communist rule in Northeast Asia.

11.1 Mongolia   11.1.1 Proto-nationalism   - Reading: Hathi Trust: Owen Lattimore’s “Nomads and Commisars: Mongolia Revisited” Link: Hathi Trust: Owen Lattimore’s “Nomads and Commisars: Mongolia Revisited” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read Chapter 5 pages 75-91, paying attention to the type of society Lattimore describes, the impact of Chinese settlers, and the key revolutionary figures of Sukebator and Choibalsang. (Note: Choibalsan and Choibalsang are variant spellings of the same name.)
 
Reading and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
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11.1.2 Independence from China   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.1.1.

11.1.3 Formation of Mongolian People’s Republic   - Reading: Hathi Trust: Owen Lattimore’s “Nomads and Commisars: Mongolia Revisited” Link: Hathi Trust: Owen Lattimore’s “Nomads and Commisars: Mongolia Revisited” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read chapters 7, pages 122-147, and 8, pages 148-169 for coverage of developments through World War II.
 
Reading and note-taking will take approximately 1.25 hours to complete. 
 
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11.1.3.1 Transformation of Mongolian Culture   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.1.3.

11.1.3.2 Collectivization and Communes   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.1.3.

11.1.3.3 Purges   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.1.3.

11.1.4 Mongolia after WWII   - Reading: Hathi Trust: Owen Lattimore’s “Nomads and Commisars: Mongolia Revisited” Link: Hathi Trust: Owen Lattimore’s “Nomads and Commisars: Mongolia Revisited” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read Chapter 9, pages 170-201. This reading covers the post-WWII period through the 1950s, focusing on economic growth and concomitant social change, as well as on the relationship between Mongolia and its powerful neighbors, the USSR and China. Here again, you do not need to memorize all the statistical data; just focus on general trends and developments.
 
This reading should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
 
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11.1.4.1 Denunciation of Choibalsan ‘Personality Cult’—Renewed Purges   11.1.4.2 Another Round of Collectivization   11.1.4.3 Industrialization   11.1.5 Mongolia’s International Status and Foreign Relations   11.2 North Korea   Note: This subunit is also covered by the reading for subunit 8.4.

11.2.1 Formation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea   - Reading: Marxists.org: Kim Il Sung’s “On the Establishment of the Workers’ Party of North Korea and the Question of Founding the Workers’ Party of South Korea” Link: Marxists.org: Kim Il Sung’s “On the Establishment of the Workers’ Party of North Korea and the Question of Founding the Workers’ Party of South Korea” (HTML)
 
Instructions: What does Kim say has been achieved in North Korea since “liberation”? Why does he think South Korea is “behind”? What needs to be done to address this?
 
This primary source reading should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
 
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11.2.2 Aftermath of Civil War   - Reading: Asia-Pacific Journal: Charles Armstrong’s “The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea 1950-1960” Link: Asia-Pacific Journal: Charles Armstrong’s “The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea 1950-1960” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the page linked above.
 
This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
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11.2.3 Relations with China and Soviet Bloc   11.2.4 Industrial Growth   Note: This subunit is also covered by the reading for subunit 11.2.2.

11.2.5 Personality Cult of Kim Il Sung   11.2.6 Chuch’e (Juche) Ideology   - Reading: Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs: Grace Lee’s “The Political Philosophy of Juche” Link: Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs: Grace Lee’s “The Political Philosophy of Juche” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire article. What are the core principles Lee identifies in Juche? How do these principles square with the ideals of communism? With nationalism? To what extent do you think this philosophy or political ideology explains North Korea’s current international position?
 
This reading should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
 
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11.2.7 Increasing Isolation and Economic Fragility   11.3 The PRC under Mao   - Lecture: Harvard Extension School’s “Communist Liberation” and “China’s Leap Forward to Communism” Link: Harvard Extension School’s “Communist Liberation” (Adobe Flash) and “China’s Leap Forward to Communism” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Scroll down and select your preferred connection type, video or audio with PowerPoint slides. These lectures provide the overview for unit 11.3.
 
Total viewing/listening time for these two lectures plus note-taking should take approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
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11.3.1 Formation of the People’s Republic of China   - Reading: Marxists.org: Mao Zedong’s “The Chinese People Have Stood Up” and “Proclamation of the Central People’s Government of the PRC” Link: Marxists.org: Mao Zedong’s “The Chinese People Have Stood Up” and “Proclamation of the Central People’s Government of the PRC” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Note that the famous phrase “the Chinese people have stood up” is often incorrectly attributed to Mao’s speech on the day the PRC was formally established (Oct 1 1949). As you can see, this speech was given slightly earlier. The sentiment, however, is the same. Pay attention to the kind of language he uses in both documents to describe different groups and classes of people e.g. “heroic” Chinese people, “reactionary” Kuomintang.
 
These readings and questions should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
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11.3.2 Early Years of the PRC   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.3.

11.3.2.1 Conflict and Cooperation   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.3.

11.3.2.2 Consolidating Communist Party Rule   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.3.

11.3.2.3 Minority Policies   - Reading: Marxists.org: Zhu De’s “Telegram to Xinjiang Political and Military Authorities” and “On the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet” Link: Marxists.org: Zhu De’s “Telegram to Xinjiang Political and Military Authorities” and “On the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet” (HTML)
 
Instructions: What impression do you get of the CCP’s attitude to ethnic-minority inhabited regions from these writings? What do you think would have been the reaction of the CCP and PLA had the Xinjiang authorities not agreed to join them? What do you think the goal of the CCP and PLA was in bringing Xinjiang and Tibet under the wing of the new PRC state?
 
Reading these documents and answering the questions should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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11.3.2.4 War in Korea   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 8.4.

11.3.3 Socialist Transformation   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.3.

11.3.3.1 Planned Economy   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.3.

11.3.3.2 Collectivization and Communes   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.3.

11.3.3.3 Great Leap Forward   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.3.

11.3.4 Ideology and the Struggle for Power   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.3.

11.3.4.1 Hundred Flowers and the Anti-Rightist Movement   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.3.

11.3.4.2 Socialist Education   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.3.

11.3.4.3 Tensions and Rivalry in the CCP   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 11.3.

11.3.5 Cultural Revolution   - Reading: Marxists.org: Peking Review’s “Red Guards Destroy the Old and Establish the New” Link: Marxists.org: Peking Review’s “Red Guards Destroy the Old and Establish the New” (HTML)
 
Instructions: What are the “Olds” the Red Guards seek to destroy? Why do you think they wanted/were encouraged to do so? What is the “new” they seek to establish?
 
This primary source reading and questions should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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  • Web Media: iTunes podcasts: Witness Archive 2011’s “Witness: Chinese Cultural Revolution” Link: iTunes podcasts: Witness Archive 2011’s “Witness: Chinese Cultural Revolution” (Mp3)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down to podcast number 73. Click the “play” button, or open in iTunes to listen or download. Listen to the podcast for a first-person account of being young in the Cultural Revolution.
     
    Listening to the podcast should take 10 minutes to complete.
     
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  • Lecture: Harvard Extension School’s “Morning Sun” Link: Harvard Extension School’s “Morning Sun” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Select one of the two connection types for video (you will need to see the screen for this unit –audio is insufficient).
     
    Watching the video will take approximately 1 hour.
     
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11.3.6 International Relations of the PRC   11.3.6.1 Relations with USSR and Eastern Bloc   - Reading: Marxists.org: Mao Zedong’s “The Soviet Leading Clique is a Mere Dust Heap” Link: Marxists.org: Mao Zedong’s “The Soviet Leading Clique is a Mere Dust Heap” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Analyze the language used by Mao here. Can you identify any similarities between the way he refers to former friend, the USSR, and the ways in which he writes of the USA in other documents?
 
This primary source reading and questions will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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11.3.6.2 China as ‘Leader’ of Third World and International Socialist Movement   - Reading: Marxists.org: Mao Zedong’s “The People of Asia, Africa and Latin America Should Unite and Drive American Imperialism back to where It Came from” Link: Marxists.org: Mao Zedong’s “The People of Asia, Africa and Latin America Should Unite and Drive American Imperialism back to where It Came from” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This primary source reading and note-taking should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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11.3.6.3 China in Africa