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The Communist Revolution in East Asia


The Communist Revolution in the East Asia region took place between the 1930s and 1940s (Meisner 2). It is a period that was characterized by acts of heroism and enhanced unity of the communities that took part in the revolution amidst the injustices that marred the uprising. However, one cannot mention the communist upheaval in East Asia without paying particular attention to the Chinese Revolution, mainly due to the famous Long-March that happened during the Chinese communist revolt in the mid-1930s (Meisner 4). The United States spearheaded the Cold War in the East of Asia. According to Ichiyo (25), the purpose of the cold war in East Asia was to safeguard the ‘Free World’ from the Communist Revolution. This paper will look deeply into the historical significance of the Communist Revolution in East Asia, with particular emphasis on China. Additionally, the context and outcomes of the Cold War that occurred in East Asia will be discussed.

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Historical Significance of the Communist Revolution in East Asia

It should be noted from the onset that the Communist revolt in East Asia was led mainly by poor peasants who lived in rural areas. They were fighting for their rights from the ruling communities (Stubbs 4). The insurgency, though painful, achieved great historical impacts. For example, Meisner (6) confirms that the revolution created a sense of social equity in this region. The poor were not given a chance to own land; neither were they allowed to own any other valuable property (Goldman and Gordon 24).

However, the Communist Revolution in East Asia led to the poor being given a chance to own land and other resources. In other words, the revolt eliminated the class of people that were known as the ‘ruling class,’ resulting in equity. The national unification that happened in countries such as China was as a result of the Communist Revolution. Goldman and Gordon (54) also claim that China attained its national independence through the impacts of the Chinese Revolution, which was part of the Communist Revolution that happened in East Asia.

One of the most significant impacts of the Communist Revolution in East Asia was the birth of industrialization (Meinsner 5). The growth of industrialization in East Asia was brought about by the need to compete with the outside world economically. This came as a result of the communist revolt. One would admit that the level of industrialization in the East Asian countries, such as China and Japan, is the same as the rest of the world. It is very rare for a household to miss an item that has been made from China, Japan, or any other of the remaining East Asian countries. As Goldman and Gordon admit, the industrialization in the East Asia countries boosted the economies of countries significantly (36). The stock market in Hong Kong, for example, is today ranked among the top 10 world’s highest trading stock exchanges.

Another historical significance that was achieved because of the Communist Revolution in East Asia is the opening up to the international community (Stubbs 5). The culture that the people of this region upheld became available to the rest of the world through avenues such as cinemas, television programs, and international festivals. The East Asian films have been ranked among the top films that are widely watched throughout the world. This has showcased their culture to the outside world, thereby boosting the economies of the East Asian countries as more tourists are being lured to visit the countries (6). The level of cooperation of these countries with other countries was made firmer after the revolution.

The level of cooperation between China and the United States, for example, is so strong that the two countries borrow a lot from each other in terms of economy, infrastructure, telecommunication, and governance, as reported by Stubbs (8). The intellectuals from this region became more exposed to the outside world as a result of the Communist Revolution. Scholars from East Asia saw the opportunity to write about the happenings of the revolution. Consequently, they became more visible to the outside world. According to Zhaotin (468), academicians from the East Asia region are now found in many learning institutions throughout the world.

The market in East Asia was not as vast as it is today before the revolution. The rate at which the international communities visit countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to shop for various goods and services is impressive. The international community keeps visiting the East Asian countries for shopping because these countries can innovate and invent new products using sophisticated and current technologies. Zhaotin confirms that the need for innovation and increased invention was as a result of the Communist Revolution. Were it not for the insurgency, then most East Asian countries would still be undeveloped, with little to offer to the international community (470).

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In a country like China, the revolution abolished the territorial boundaries and authorities and brought about the centralized state power (Meinsner 10). This form of governance created a sense of unity and social equity within the People’s Republic of China. In fact, the economic development that has been experienced in China today has been greatly due to the centralized power that China has held for long. A divided nation cannot achieve. China realized this truth and decided to become united, leading to the exponential growth witnessed today in its economy.

One of the worse historical impacts of the Communist Revolution in East Asia was that it resulted in some countries in the region discouraging democracy and socialism (Hui 4). Democracy enables the citizens of any nation to air their views freely in matters that touch on the growth of their nation. In a democratic world, the people are given the power to choose their leaders and question them in case of an irregularity. This was not the case in many East Asian countries, such as North Korea and China (5). For many years, the Chinese and the North Koreans have not had the chance to elect their leaders or even question their leadership. However, a few countries in East Asia have been able to embrace democracy, something that the citizens have accepted.

The Cold War in East Asia

According to Ichiyo, the Cold War in East Asia was as a result of the United States’ effort to protect the free world from the Communist Revolution (26). Ichiyo adds that the US had choreographed the Cold War in East Asia in a professional manner. Japan, for example, was to be the economic hub of the US in the region. Moreover, the US wanted to weaken the military power of Japan so that Japan would never pose a threat to the US again. The US had created a ruling dynasty in Taiwan, where Japan was supposed to show allegiance and help the US to fight China, which was then growing economically at a rate that threatened the economies of other superpowers around the world (Ichiyo 30).

The outcomes of the Cold War in East Asia were somewhat tremendous. According to Ichiyo, Japan’s economic might was realized when the US gave Japan the opportunity to expand in Southeast Asia (31). Japan’s economy grew to great levels during this expansion. The relationship between countries in East Asia was put to the test. Japan, for example, was being forced by the US to lockout China in its programs. However, Japan opposed the US strategy and signed a security deal with China towards the end of the Cold War (Hui 26). Effectively, this tightened the relationship between these two countries. The placement of Taiwan as a political dynasty by the US resulted in what was to become a long wait for democracy in Taiwan. Taiwan had to wait for many years to attain political freedom because the US had held it, hostage, in terms of politics (28).


The Communist Revolution in East Asia was started by the poor peasants, who wanted a just and equal society. The revolt was painful to some communities, but it led to many positive achievements. Most of the East Asian countries have developed economically as a result of the industrialization that was brought by the revolution. The market in these regions opened up to the international community to a level where the international community keeps on traveling to the East Asian countries for shopping. Most East Asian intellectuals became known after the communist insurgency.

However, the revolution resulted in the lack of democracy in some of the East Asian countries. As a result, there has been a long walk to democratic freedom in these countries. The US reignited the Cold War in the East Asia region in its campaign for a free world. Resultantly, Japan was able to grow economically while Taiwan had to fight for its democratic rights for a long time.

Works Cited

Goldman, Merle, and Andrew Gordon (Eds.). Historical Perspectives on Contemporary East Asia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. Print.

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Hui, Wang. “The Politics of Imagining Asia: a Genealogical Analysis.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 8.1 (2007): 1-32. Print.

Ichiyo, Muto. “The Cold War and Post-Cold War Dynamics of Taiwan and East Asia in People’s Security Perspective.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 3.1 (2002): 25-37. Print.

Meisner, Maurice. “The Significance of the Chinese Revolution in World History.” Working Paper 1. Asia Research Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK, 1999. Print.

Stubbs, Richard. “What Ever Happened to the East Asian Developmental State? The Unfolding Debate.” The Pacific Review 22.1 (2009): 1–22. Print.

Zhaotian, He. “Chinese Revolution and the Discourse of Asia.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 8.3 (2007): 466-475. Print.

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