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Chinese Communist Revolution, 1925–1949

Pierre Rousset

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Eastern Asia » China

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

People Mao Zedong

Key-Topics civil war, communism, democracy, imperialism, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00350.x


Retrospectively, we know the importance of the period opened in China by the overthrow in 1911 of the Qing Dynasty: it concluded, nearly four decades later, with the victory of the Communist Revolution in 1949 – an event of historical scope. However, at the time, the future of the country looked very uncertain. Power was fragmenting in China, but the European states were not in a position to seize this opportunity to impose their colonial domination on the Middle Kingdom and were soon going to be at war with each other. The new imperialist powers (the United States and Japan) were not yet ready to replace them and claim for themselves the conquest of China. But it was only a matter of time. China seemed to be condemned to be dismembered into Nippo-western zones of influence. Born amid the commotion of World War I, the Russian Revolution of 1917 showed that an alternative was possible: even in a country deemed backward, communism could be the answer to the threat of imperialist domination and could at the same time save the oppressed classes and the nation. However, China was not Russia. It belonged to another cultural world and another social formation, the product of a very different historical past. Modern political movements like the Guomindang (Nationalist Party) were at the initial stage of formation and their characteristics had yet to be defined. The fact that the European ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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