– The Chinese revolution(1949)
– The Korean War
The Chinese Revolution of 1949:
- During World War Two, popular support for the Communist increased.
- US officials in China reported a dictatorial suppression of dissent in Nationalist controlled areas.
- These undemocratic policies combined with wartime corruption made the Republic of China Government vulnerable to the communist threat.
- The Communist Party of China( CPC), for its part, experienced success in its early efforts at land reform and was lauded by peasants for its unflagging efforts to fight against the Japanese invaders.
- Japanese surrender set the stage for the resurgence of civil war in China.
- Though only nominally Democratic, the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-Shek continued to receive US support, both as its former war ally and as the sole option for preventing communist control of China.
- The Soviet Union, meanwhile, occupied Manchuria and only pulled out when Chinese Communist forces were in place to claim that territory.
- In 1945, the leaders of the Nationalist and Communist parties, Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, met for a series of talks on the formation of a post war government.
- Both agreed on the importance of democracy, a unified military, and equality for all Chinese political parties.
- The truce was tenuous, however, and, in spite of repeated efforts by US general George Marshall broker an agreement, by 1946, the two sides were fighting an all-out civil war.
- Years of mistrust between the two sides thwarted efforts to form a coalition government.
- As the civil war gained strength from 1947 to 1949, eventual communist victory seemed more and more likely.
- Although the communists did not hold any major cities after World War Two, they had strong grassroots support, superior military organization and morale, and large stocks of weapons seized from Japanese supplies in Manchuria.
- In contrast, years of corruption and mismanagement had eroded popular support for the nationalist government.
- In October of 1949, after a string of military victories, Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of People’s Republic of China( PRC); Chiang and his forces fled to Taiwan to regroup and plan for their efforts to retake the mainland.
- The ability of the PRC and the US to find common ground in the wake of the establishment of a new Chinese state was hampered by both domestic politics and global tensions.
- The outbreak of the Korean War, which pitted the PRC and the United States on opposite sides of an international conflict, ended any opportunity for accommodation between the PRC and the United States.
- Truman’s desire to prevent the Korean conflict from spreading South led to the US policy of protecting the Chiang Kai-Shek government on Taiwan.
- The fall of mainland China to the communist was a major set-back for the Capitalist bloc.
- For more than 20 years after the Chinese revolution of 1949, there were few contacts, limited trade and no diplomatic ties between the PRC and the US.
- Until the 1970s, The United States continued to recognize the Republic of China, located in Taiwan, as China’s true government and supported that government’s holding the Chinese seat in the United Nations.
- However, during the Nixon era, rapprochement with China increased gradually with president Nixon making a visit to the PRC in 1971– the first ever offer US President after the Second World war, particularly in the background of the Sino-Soviet border dispute which precipitated in 1969.
- This momentum continued the reign of president Ford, who visited the PRC in 1975 and finally into the tenure of president Carter so much so that in one of the most dramatic announcements of the Cold War, president Jimmy Carter stated that as of January 1, 1979, The United States will formally recognize the communist People’s Republic of China(PRC) and server relations with Taiwan.
The Korean War:
- As the Cold War came to dominate US foreign policy, America extended security commitments to two nations in northeast Asia- The Republic of Korea and Japan.
- The US for the series of agreements to build a permanent American presence in the region in support these two nations, thereby creating alliance.
- During World War Two, The United States and the Soviet Union agreed to temporarily divide Korea at the 38th parallel oversee the removal of Japanese forces.
- Neither the US nor the USSR would permit their Korean allies to be threatened by unification.
- The Soviets supported Kim II Sung in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the North; The United States backed Syngman Rhee in the Republic of Korea in the South.
- Nevertheless, The United States did not make Korea key part of its defensive strategy for the East Asia, and American forces withdrew from the South in the late 1940s.
- Assuming that the United States did not consider South Korea of vital interest, Kim’s army attacked the South in June 1950, almost conquering the entire peninsula.
- The US military returned, leading the United Nations- authorized force to push the north’s army back above the 38th parallel and beyond.
- After the People’s Republic of China entered the war in late 1950, the US worked to isolate Peking and maintain the unity of the US led coalition.
- Only in 1953 did the two sides reach an uneasy truce, thus crystallising the division between North and South that exists today.
- In 1953 the United States and South Korea signed a mutual security treaty designed to protect this new nation from its neighbor to the North.