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Communist Revolutions and Cold War in East Asia


Also referred to as the proletarian struggle, the communist revolution was a platform used to replace capitalism with socialism in East Asia. It is important to review the events that catalyse revolution and social composition of each ideology. This analytical treatise attempts to explicitly review the historical significance of communist revolutions in East Asia, especially in China and North Korea. Besides, the treatise reviews the context and outcomes of the Cold War in the region.

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Historical Significance of Communist Revolutions in China and North Korea

The Chinese and North Korea communist revolutions have created a direction for a series of other revolutions in countries considered backwards. Specifically, “Chinese revolution has shown the path for socialist construction, in its essence, throughout the world” (Kim 45). Besides, the success of the revolution led to global acceptance of the Mao Tsetung’s ideology and the organization orientation concepts of the progress of the Marxism-Leninism school of thought.

At present, it is impossible to mention communism without referring to the successes of the East Asia communist revolutions in China and North Korea. For instance, the later revolutions in Cuba, Vietnam, and East Europe were angled on the Marxist concepts applied during the communist revolutions in China and North Korea (Ebrey and Walthall 23).

Mao’s theory and Kim Sung’s ideology applied during the revolutions have been adopted by communists across the globe as ideal for balancing the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and proletarians. Among the notable spheres developed by Mao and Sung’s ideologies include “philosophy, political economy, scientific socialism, proletarian tactics, party organization, military science, and even in its Herculean efforts to create the new communist man” (Kim 54).

Therefore, the current followers of the socialist school of thought have always found solace and confidence through the Chinese and North Korean revolutions as they can still relate to the ideologies of Mao and Koreanization. As a result of the challenges and successes of the communist revolutions in China and North Korea, “there emerged not mere empiricist solutions to the problems faced, but scientific formulations that saw the problems and their solutions in the light of socio-economic laws of development” (Brown 29).

The need to counter revisionism was of great significance during communist revolutions in China and North Korea. Without the struggle to counter revisionism, the revolution would only be a story in East Asia. This means that if the struggle against revisionism was absent, “socialist construction in China would never have lasted roughly three decades; and without it, modern revisionism of the Soviet Union would not have been effectively countered, and the genuine communist forces from all over the world could never have been effectively rallied in the period of the post-1950s” (Westad 35).

The struggle against revisionism applied in the North Korean and Chinese revolutions has become a global movement for those who subscribe to the communist school of thought from Khrushchev to Marxism-Leninism. The ideological struggle during the communist revolutions in East Asia catalysed the development and creation of a series of Marxist-Leninist parties in countries such as Russia and North Korea (Ebrey and Walthall 16).

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Apparently, Mao’s theory and Sung’s struggle to counter revisionism, during the communist revolution in East Asia, is still emulated by socialists across the globe. The solid ideology was laid by the successes of the communist revolutions in East Asia that created the current global communism ideology. For instance, North Korean “survival long after the end of the Cold War must be attributed to these indigenous Korean elements of the North Korean revolution, which endowed the North Korean regime with legitimacy and a degree of popular support” (Kim 39).

At present, any revolutionary idea must recruit enough support from those who believe in its ideology for it to see the light of the day. Any failure to apply the ideologies used in China and North Korea during the communist revolutions would translate into unsustainable struggle, even when the organised rebellion is armed.

The two-stage revolution model embraced during the communist revolutions in East Asia proved to very successful and is still practised by followers of the socialist school of thought (Ebrey and Walthall 28). In fact, the experience during the communist revolutions in East Asia “have shown that revolutions that have followed Chinese and North Korean insurrections continue to exist and develop, while a large number of armed revolutions that diverted from this path ended up either in compromise or liquidation, with the comprador bourgeoisie seizing the initiative” (Brown 22). In fact, the revolutions that current fail do not follow the two step theory of clearly profiling enemies and friend of the struggle. Besides, the failures may also be associated with lack of clear leadership structure for the proletarians leading the struggle that was proposed by Mao, Lenin, and Marx.

Actually, Mao’s theory and Sung’s Koreanization ideology, which guided the communist revolutions in China and North Korea, remains a fundamental element of the current revolutionary movements spread across the globe. Despite the fact that current revolutionary movements do not share similar circumstances that inspired struggles in East Asia, the Mao’s theory and the Koreanization still act on the underlying ideological principle fuelling the ideals of these movements. Inability to embrace some of the ideas used in these struggles has been responsible for the continuous defeat of many armed insurgencies in the Middle East and some parts of Western Europe, such as Ukraine, Syria, and Yemen (Ebrey and Walthall 32).

Before the Chinese and North Korean communist revolutions, the insurrection strategy in Russia was the most favourite. However, this path was not steady since its leadership structure was not centralised besides its inability to create a common purpose among the insurgents. However, the new path; the protracted people’s war, adopted in China and North Korea became successful since it was guided by ideology, rather than just the ability to acquire weapons for the resistance. Basically, “since the victory of this path in the Chinese revolution, it has come to be accepted that the path of revolution in all backward countries of the world can only be that of protracted people’s war” (Kim 19).

In North Korea, the ideology of Kim Sung and the Koreanized Manchurian guerrillas made the revolution a success since the peasants were inspired to believe in the course of their struggle. At present, it is almost impossible to successfully execute a revolution in backward countries if the protracted war and localization strategies are neglected (Ebrey and Walthall 46).

Context and Outcome of the Cold War in East Asia

The Cold War in East Asia was focused on the confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union with China and other countries in the region at the centre of this conflict. Apparently, “China’s emergence as a revolutionary country dramatically enhanced the perception of the Cold War as a battle between “good” and “evil” on both sides, making the conflict more explicitly and extensively framed by ideological perceptions” (Ebrey and Walthall 46).

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Since Soviet Union, North Korea, and China were products of revolutionary movements, it was easy to form a coalition against the capitalist influence of the US. Though Cold War was mainly between the superpowers, countries in East Asia such as North Korea and China became the ideological battleground for capitalistic and socialistic economic orientation. The battle lasted for long in East Asia since the Koreanization and Maoism fuelled the propaganda based confrontation (Sean 12).

The fundamental ideas of the Cold War in East Asia can be interpreted into the social conception of the ideal sages that differentiate the disparities between the bourgeoisies and the proletarians through an ideological struggle, which turned violent. The Cold War was freestanding since its content was set out independently of the comprehensive doctrines that proletarian culture affirmed. This led to overlapping consensus in which each reasonable peasant proletarian affirmed within own perspective (Meisner 33). As a result, it was easy for countries within East Asia to take the side of the Soviet Union as a foreign policy strategy.

As a strategy for maintaining the revolution momentum during the Cold War, “Mao needed to find the means to mobilize the masses. It was in the process of searching for such means that he realized that the adoption of a revolutionary foreign policy had great relevance” (Kim 29). Sung applied the same ideology in North Korea during the Cold War to sustain the communist ideology. Apparently, the Cold War led to change of foreign policy, increased participation in global social and political events, and creation post revolution societies in East Asia, especially in China and North Korea.

Works Cited

Brown, Archie. The Rise & Fall of Communism. London, UK: Vintage, 2010. Print.

Ebrey, Patricia, and Anne Walthall. East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Volume II: From 1600, Alabama, Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.

Kim, Choon. The Unending Korean War: A Social History, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2009. Print.

Meisner, Maurice. The significance of the Chinese Revolution in world history. London, UK: Asia Research Centre.

Sean, Robert. Comrades: Communism: A World History, London, UK: Pan MacMillan, 2008. Print.

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Westad, Arne. Decisive Encounters: the Chinese Civil War, 1946-1950. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003.Print.

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