China History

Stalin’s China Policy

It takes a special kind of man to make Josef Stalin look like a leader who truly just wanted the best for all people. Mao was that special kind of man.

Stalin and other Soviet Communists defined imperialism as the maintenance of a large-scale, multinational, state which extended overseas. Thus, in Stalin’s view, the United Kingdom and France were major imperialist powers, with extensive overseas possessions, while China, India, and the Soviet Union were simply large countries with extensive territories and a multinational population. Whether Stalin’s dislike of “imperialism” was ideological or pragmatic is beside the point — Stalin’s post-war Soviet Union was focused on dismantling the “imperialist” powers, and not a general world revolution against capitalism.

World Powers 1957

In early post-war India, the Communists acted in a “united front” with the ruling Indian National Congress to consolidate Indian national power. The Communist “revolutions” in India, such as the against Hyderabad, were simply a part of Congress’s war against the princely states. The Communist Party of India never achieved national power, and from the point of view of Stalin, this was fine. India steadily removed the “imperialist” remnants, while the Communists patiently waited for India to develop economically.

Stalin’s plan for China was similar. The purpose of the Chinese communists was not to establish a democratic people’s republic in East Asia but to assist the KMT in abolishing the treaty ports, extraterritoriality, and not assist the United Kingdom or France in foreign policy endeavors. The Chinese Communists, who were more ambitious than their Indian counterparts, could not understand why Stalin and COMINTERN kept instructing them to harm their own interests and support the KMT. The reason was that Stalin’s objective was not a “Communist” China… Stalin’s objective was an “anti-imperialist” China. If the early General Secretaries of the Chinese Communist Party — such as Chen Duxiu, Xiang Zhongfa, and Wang Ming — had triumphed, China would have slums but no Great Leap Forward and no Cultural Revolution. If Zhou Enlai had not sided with Mao, Zhou (and tens of millions of other Chinese) might have lived longer.

Instead of the guiding hand of Stalin, the Chinese Communists followed Mao into a catastrophe.

There are very few countries in the world, where if the leadership had been more affectionate toward Stalin, there would have been less trouble.

China is one of those countries.

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