The Cold War and Its Origins, 1917-1960 - Vol. 2

The Cold War and Its Origins, 1917-1960 - Vol. 2

The Cold War and Its Origins, 1917-1960 - Vol. 2

The Cold War and Its Origins, 1917-1960 - Vol. 2

Excerpt

If Russia's dominance of Eastern Europe is by far the most important outcome of World War II in the West, the success of the Communist-led Revolution in China is the greatest consequence of the war in the Far East. The future of the Mao Tse-tung movement was already alarmingly predictable to the leaders of the West when Hiroshima was atomized on August 6, 1945.

This event both hurried and limited the effects of the Soviet Union's participation in the war with Japan and it was followed by our prompt but ineffective measures to limit and contain the Chinese Revolution. Together these two developments ended all prospects of effective Russo-Western collaboration in the Far East. Then in turn, the triumphant march southward of the Chinese Red armies fed the belief generated by events in Europe that Russia was moving relentlessly toward world empire.

The giant error of confusing Asiatic revolution with Russian imperialism held disastrous consequences for the welfare of the Oriental peoples as well as for post-war relations among the great powers. By 1950 it had committed both power blocs to a conflict in Korea that threatened to become world-wide.

The prospect of raising up China as a major power and the arbiter of the East in the place of perfidious and reckless Japan was the moulding factor in Roosevelt's Pacific policy. To Americans generally this policy seemed both good and attainable. They were therefore unprepared for the explosive force of the Chinese Revolution. The shock, bitterness and disillusionment which stemmed from the collapse of our plans for the Far East widened the stream of the Cold War and tightened the lines of conflict around the globe.

If the unification of China under a communist regime had not occurred, the transformation of the Pacific Ocean into an American lake would have commended itself to the American people, if at all, more as a proper precaution than a compelling defensive step. There would not have been an irresistible pressure to make re-armed Japan into an American bastion or, for that matter, a placid acceptance of the MacArthur policy to preserve the power of the Japanese feudal élite . Colonialism in South East Asia could not have been dressed out in the uniform of an anti-Communist ally.

At the same time that it drastically altered our Pacific policy, the China debacle plunged the United States into the bitterest domestic debate on foreign affairs since the controversy over the League of Nations. The group loosely denominated the "China Bloc" charged that the Administration pursued a course of craven appeasement toward the tools of Russian imperialism, the Chinese Communists. The Nationalist government was held to be a brave and loyal ally which was bled white by eight years of . . .

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