STALIN AIDED THE CHINESE COMMUNISTS
Nevertheless, the seed of freedom was bearing fruit and the Chinese nation was ready to hear the Moscow Gospel. Stalin, like Lenin his master, a subtle opportunist, must have welcomed the chance of confuting by action in China the Trotskyist charge that he was betraying the cause of World Revolution. Actually, whether Stalin knew it or not, he was swimming with the tide of Russia's eastward surge when in 1925 he sent military and political advisers, Army Commander Blucher, called Galen, and Borodin to Canton, where Sun Yat-sen's brother-in-law, Chiang Kai-shek, had headed a new nationalist movement for Chinese unity and freedom from foreign control.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 143
In view of the Kuomintang treachery and the Communist Party defeat in the cities, it has been argued that the Communist International was wrong in its united front policy. Trotsky, for instance, lamented in 1928 that Stalin's "monstrous" policy had "broken the spine of the young Communist Party of China." Events, of course, showed otherwise. The Party not only survived but the united front policy had given the very small Communist Party access to the workers and peasants under the massive Kuomintang Party's control. Mao, for instance, was able to organize the peasants in these years on the scale that he did, not because of his Communist Party membership, but because he was deputy head and actual leader of the Kuomintang's Peasant Movement Training Institute. (At the same time Chou En-lai was deputy head of the political section of the Kuomintang's Military Academy, and other Communist leaders simultaneously occupied leading positions in the Kuomintang.) Largely because of these connections, the Communist Party grew from a small sect to a party of 57,000 within six years. If it had not grown thus, it could not have survived the attack upon it--which, given the existing class forces, would have come anyway, alliance or no alliance--and lived to lead movements that soon resulted in a mass revolutionary base including rural Soviets.
The policy of collaboration between the Communist Party and the Kuomintang was not initiated by Stalin but by Lenin. Stalin apparently did not come actively on the China scene until 1925, and when he did he followed the already established policy, with which he agreed. Even after Chiang's attack on the Communist Party, Stalin for a time hoped that the Party could continue an alliance with the left wing of the Kuomintang led by Sun Yat-sen's widow, Ching-ling Soong, among others. However, the left wing folded under pressure and the right became dominant. When this happened, Stalin (like Mao) placed the emphasis on the peasantry--with a mass revolutionary perspective--rather than on a new alliance with bourgeois or petty bourgeois leaders:..
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 95
It was only when it became clear that Chiang was uniting with U.S. imperialism for a concerted drive against the communists that the Chinese Communist Party decided that a revolutionary war presented the only way out. Stalin did not oppose this view because he was opposed to the Chinese revolution as such. That he was not is shown by his release of large amounts of captured Japanese arms and equipment to the Chinese communists in 1945, following the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. He opposed Mao's view presumably because he did not believe that the Chinese communists would win a civil war in which Chiang had superior armaments and numbers.... However, the conversation with Djilas also shows that Stalin did not conceive of himself as giving "orders" to the Chinese communists but only advice, and that Stalin was not only pleased but rather amused that they had shown him to be wrong. Later Stalin welcomed Mao in Moscow.
...Mao, then, did not argue that Stalin had tried to hold back the Chinese revolution at any stage as part of a policy of placing Soviet nationalist interests above international revolutionary ones, as his enemies were contending. He said only that Stalin made mistakes, "without realizing that they were errors," the implication being, perhaps, that he had too narrow a revolutionary vision. Mao felt that Stalin had supported the Chinese revolution unselfishly, and, as he noted in 1950, Stalin rejoiced in its triumph. Stalin also introduced the policy of economic and technical aid to China that was later reversed by Khrushchev. We should note, too, that, as events were to show, Stalin was right in his feeling that insufficient emphasis was being given to the Chinese working-class.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 98
After the war, Stalin gave a great deal of assistance to the Chinese revolution. Arms and equipment of all kinds were delivered to the People's Liberation Army, and by the second half of 1947 the winds of victory were filling its sails and Chiang was forced to flee with his remnant to Taiwan. Given persistent U.S. hostility, Mao was bound to opt for friendship with the Soviet Union, and after the Chinese revolution relations developed rapidly in numerous spheres, culminating in Mao's invitation to Moscow to join in the celebration of Stalin's 70th birthday.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 539
... Stalin very early outlined the basic theory of the Chinese revolution. Trotsky attacks this theory, which he sneers at as "guerrilla adventure," because it is not based on the cities as the revolutionary centers, because it relies on class allies of the proletariat, particularly the peasantry, and because it is primarily anti-feudal and anti-imperialist rather than focused primarily against Chinese capitalism. After 1927, when the first liberated base areas were established in the countryside, Trotsky claimed that this revolution could no longer be seen as proletarian but as a mere peasant rebellion, and soon he began to refer to its guiding theory as the Stalin-Mao line. To this day, Trotskyites around the world deride the Chinese revolution as a mere "Stalinist bureaucracy." The Chinese themselves do acknowledge that at certain points Stalin gave some incorrect tactical advice, but they are quick to add that he always recognized and corrected these errors and was self-critical about them. They are very firm in their belief that they could not have made their revolution without his general theory, his over-all leadership of the world revolutionary movement, and the firm rear area and base of material support he provided. Thus the only really valid major criticism comes from anti-Communists, because without Stalin, at least according to the Chinese, the Communists would not have won.
Franklin, Bruce, Ed. The Essential Stalin; Major Theoretical Writings. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1972, p. 21-22
Soviet experts and Soviet weapons helped Mao seize control of Northern and Central China.
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 510
SU SLOWLY MOVED FROM BEING NEUTRAL TO SUPPORTING COMMUNISTS IN CHINA
In 1945 a significant strain became apparent in Sino-Soviet relations, and the Crimean conference did nothing to alleviate it, as many had hoped it might. In general the Soviet attitude had shifted from one of formal "neutrality" in the internal quarrel between the Kungchantang, or Communist Party, and the Kuomintang, the nationalist party of the Generalissimo, to one of openly expressed repugnance for the "ruling circles" of the Kuomintang's government at Chungking, and nearly all it represented.
Snow, Edgar. The Pattern of Soviet Power, New York: Random House, 1945, p. 121
...Today (1945) Moscow views the Kuomintang regime with only slightly more confidence than it ever placed in the Polish Government-in-exile.
Snow, Edgar. The Pattern of Soviet Power, New York: Random House, 1945, p. 122
STALIN ATTACKS MAO FOR RELYING ON PEASANTS ONLY AND NON-MARXISM
Stalin was always fairly critical of Mao Tse-tung. He had a name for Mao, and it describes him accurately from a purely Marxist point of view. Stalin used to say that Mao was a "margarine Marxist".
When Mao's victorious revolutionary army was approaching Shanghai, he halted their march and refused to capture the city. Stalin asked Mao, "Why didn't you take Shanghai?"
"There's a population of 6 million there," answered Mao. "If we take the city, then we'll have to feed all those people, and where do we find food to do it?"
Now, I ask you, is that a Marxist talking?
Mao Tse-tung has always relied on the peasants and not on the working-class. That's why he didn't take Shanghai. He didn't want to take responsibility for the welfare of the workers. Stalin properly criticized Mao for this deviation from true Marxism. But the fact remains that Mao, relying on the peasants and ignoring the working-class, achieved victory. Not that his victory was some sort of miracle, but it was certainly a new twist to Marxist philosophy since it was achieved without the proletariat. In short, Mao Tse-tung is a petty-bourgeois whose interests are alien, and have been alien all along, to those of the working class.
Talbott, Strobe, Trans. and Ed. Khrushchev Remembers. Boston: Little Brown, c1970, p. 462
On 10 February 1948 Stalin said, "I also doubted that the Chinese could succeed, and advised them to come to a temporary agreement with Chiang Kai-shek. Officially, they agreed with us, but in practice, they continued mobilizing the Chinese people. And when they openly put forward the question: Will we go on with our fight? We have the support of our people. We said: Fine, what do you need? It turned out that the conditions there were very favorable. The Chinese proved to be right, and we were wrong.
Dimitrov, Georgi, The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 1933-1949. Ed. Ivo Banac. New Haven: Yale University Press, c2003, p. 443
DESPITE HARD TIMES STALIN AIDED CHINA REPEATEDLY
In 1931 Japan delivered the first armed blow at the system of Versailles by occupying Manchuria. Stalin openly assisted the Chinese in every way possible, short of a declaration of war. He did this in spite of the fact that the whole of his country's energies were directed towards the fulfillment of the first Five Year Plan and that widespread famine and sabotage were decimating the land.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 111
In September, 1931, on a trumped-up pretext the Japanese seized the Manchurian capital, Mukden, and within a few months extended their conquest over the whole of Manchuria, including the Chinese Eastern railroad, jointly owned and operated by the Russians and Chinese. Russia and Japan were brought to the verge of war because the Russians were convinced early in 1932 that Japan proposed to follow its Manchurian action by a drive through Outer Mongolia to the Russian area south of Lake Baikal, with the purpose of cutting off the Maritime Provinces of Eastern Siberia from the Soviet Union. The Russians faced this threat alone; far from having confidence in the Western Powers to check Japanese aggression, they believed that London at least was encouraging Japan to invade Siberia.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 183
Between 1919 and 1926 Sun Yat-Sen and and his followers turned definitely to the Soviet Union for help in their independence struggle. After repeated attempts to obtain aid from the United States and from various European governments, Sun Yat-sen became convinced that his best source of support was the Soviet Union. At the request of his government, and of the People's party which he headed, the Soviet Union sent to China a core of technical assistants that at one time numbered approximately 300. The titular head of this group was Borodin.
Nearing, S. The Soviet Union as a World Power. New York: Island Workshop Press, 1945, p. 54
No figures are available showing the exact amount of material assistance sent by Russia into China during the 20 years that ended in 1937. In the first decade the material aid was probably considerable. In the second decade it diminished sharply. From the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 until the German invasion of Russia in 1941 Soviet aid to China again increased. Military necessity forced Soviet supplies to follow old caravan routes converted into extemporized truck roads across the Gobi desert.
Nearing, S. The Soviet Union as a World Power. New York: Island Workshop Press, 1945, p. 55
With minor exceptions Soviet Russia has extended consistent help to the movement for a Chinese Republic in the hope that a China directed by a Chinese Soviet government would be able to win its independence from the western empires, industrialize China, raise the standard of well-being of the Chinese masses and by so doing blaze the trail toward a Soviet Asia.
Nearing, S. The Soviet Union as a World Power. New York: Island Workshop Press, 1945, p. 56
On the question of the Sino-Soviet treaty of 1945,… the Russians would withdraw their troops from Port Arthur when the Chinese wished, and also yield up control of the trans-Manchurian railways. On other practical matters, Mao requested Soviet credits of 300 million U.S. dollars, as well as help developing domestic air transport routes and developing a navy, to all of which Stalin agreed.
Spence, Jonathan D. Mao Zedong. New York: Viking, 1999, p. 111
STALIN CRITICIZES THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY
Stalin has paid particular attention to the Chinese Communist Party and the heroic efforts of the Chinese Soviets. He personally undertook the stiffening of the line of the Chinese Party at the Chinese Commission of the Comintern in 1926. His intervention, which has become famous in the annals of the Communist international, contended against the errors and faults resulting from diffidence with regard to the Workers' and Peasants' Revolution, and a certain tendency to consider the Chinese Revolution as having to remain a middle-class democratic revolution. Well, "all the measures which he recommended have been ultimately justified by events."
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 107
In a July 9, 1927, letter to Bukharin and Molotov Stalin stated, "I believe that such a danger is more real (I mean the danger of the disintegration of the Chinese Communist Party) than some of the seeming realities so abundant in China. Why? Because unfortunately, we don't have a real or, if you like, actual Communist Party in China. If you take away the middle-ranking Communists who make good fighting material but who are completely inexperienced in politics, then what is the current Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party? Nothing but an 'amalgamation' of general phrases gathered here and there, not linked to one another with any line or guiding idea. I don't want to be very demanding toward the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. I know that one can't be too demanding toward it. But here is a simple demand: fulfill the directives of the Comintern. Has it fulfilled these directives? No. No, because it did not understand them, because it did not want to fulfill them and has hoodwinked the Comintern, or because it wasn't able to fulfill them. That is a fact. Roy blames Borodin. That's stupid. It can't be that Borodin has more weight with the Chinese Communist Party or its Central Committee than the Comintern does. Roy himself wrote that Borodin did not attend the Chinese Communist Party Congress since he was forced to go into hiding.... Some explain this by the fact that the bloc with the Kuomintang is to blame, which ties the Chinese Communist Party down and does not allow it to be independent. That is also not true, for although any block ties down the members of the bloc one way or another that doesn't mean that we should be against blocs in general. Take Chiang's five coastal provinces from Canton to Shanghai, where there's no bloc with the Kuomintang. How can you explain that Chiang's agents are more successful at disintegrating the 'army' of the Communists, than the Communists are at disintegrating Chiang's rear guard? Is it not a fact that a whole number of trade unions are breaking off from the Chinese Communist Party, and Chiang continues to hold strong? What sort of Chinese Communist Party 'independence' is that?.... I think the reason is not in these factors, although they have their significance, but in the fact of the current Central Committee (it's leadership) was forged in the period of the nationwide revolution and received its baptism by fire during this period and it turned out to be completely unadaptable to the new, agrarian phase of the revolution. The Chinese Communist Party Central committee does not understand the point of the new phase of the revolution. There is not a single Marxist mind in the Central Committee capable of understanding the underpinning (the social underpinning) of the events now occurring. The Chinese Communist Party Central committee was unable to use the rich period of the bloc with Kuomintang in order to conduct energetic work in openly organizing the revolution, the proletariat, the peasantry, the revolutionary military units, the revolutionizing of the army, the work of setting the soldiers against the generals. The Chinese Communist Party Central Committee has lived off the Kuomintang for a whole year and has had the opportunity of freely working and organizing, yet it did nothing to turn the conglomerate of elements (true, quite militant), incorrectly called a party, into a real party.... Of course there was work at the grassroots. We are indebted to the middle-ranking Communists for that. But characteristically, it was not the Central Committee that went to the workers and peasants but the workers and peasants who went to the Central committee, and the closer the workers and peasants approached the Central Committee, the farther away from them went the so-called Central Committee, preferring to kill time in behind-the- scenes talks with the leaders and generals from the Kuomintang. The Chinese Communist Party sometimes babbles about the hegemony of the proletariat. But the most intolerable thing about this babbling is that the Chinese Communist Party does not have a clue (literally, not a clue) about hegemony--it kills initiative of the working masses, undermines the 'unauthorized' actions of the peasant masses, and reduces class warfare in China to a lot of big talk about the 'feudal bourgeoisie'.
That's the reason why the Comintern's directives are not fulfilled.
That is why I now believe the question of the party is the main question of the Chinese revolution.
How can we fix the conglomerate that we incorrectly call the Chinese Communist Party?... Both Borodin and Roy must be purged from China, along with all those opposition members that hinder the work there. We should regularly send to China, not people we don't need, but competent people instead. The structure has to be set up so that all these party advisers work together as a whole, directed by the chief adviser to the Central Committee (the Comintern representative). These 'nannies' are necessary at this stage because of the weakness, shapelessness, political amorphousness, and lack of qualification of the current Central Committee. The Central committee will learn from the party advisors. The party advisors will compensate for the enormous shortcomings of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and its top regional officials. They will serve (for the time being) as the nails holding the existing conglomerate together as a party.... As the revolution and the party grow, the need for these ' nannies' will disappear.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin's Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 140
On July 11, 1927, Stalin sent a letter to Molotov stating, “I read the Politburo directives on the withdrawal from the national government in China. I think that soon the issue of withdrawing from the Kuomintang will have to be raised. I'll explain why when I come. I have been told that some people are in a repentant mood regarding our policy in China. If that is true, it's too bad. When I come, I will try to prove that our policy was and remains the only correct policy. Never have I been so deeply and firmly convinced of the correctness of our policy, both in China and regarding the Anglo-Russian Committee, as I am now.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin's Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 143
Stalin, despite what is implied in the Trotskyite literature on the subject, did not love or trust Chiang; he simply underestimated him.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 277
... Stalin was to claim, and there is a hard-core of common sense in his argument, that though the Chinese policy failed, the premises under which it had been conducted could not be faulted. The Communists had to take the risk inherent in collaboration with the Kuomintang. Certainly the latter's successes curtailed the influence of imperialist powers on China and set the stage for Communist successes some time in the future. The Chinese Communists could never have grown so impressively in membership and influence without collaborating with the Kuomintang, and it would have been sheer fantasy to imagine that in 1923 or 1927 they could have conquered a sizable part of China by themselves. There were occasions, he implied, when ideological incantations and citations from Marx and Lenin are powerless to change the disposition of class forces. Was it wrong to have the Revolution of 1905? he asked. It had ended in disaster, but it had also set the stage for 1917.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin: The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 277
In-substance the Trotsky-Zinoviev charges about China were absurd. To visualize how much so, we may compare them to the outcry of the American right wing a little more than 20 years later about how Truman and Acheson "lost China." Those charges were unfair enough: how can one nation in peacetime determine the course of events in another vast and distant country? But at that time the United States was unquestionably the most powerful nation in the world, its industry producing more than half the entire global output. The American protEgE, Chiang, was until well into 1947 in control of most of mainland China, and it was his own policies as much as the Communists' clever ones that brought about his doom. But here was a weak and impoverished Soviet Union, with its clients, the Chinese Communists, mustering a strength of only about 60,000. Could the most brilliant understanding of dialectic, the most "correct" directives sent to the Chinese comrades, have affected the issue of the struggle? Suppose that by some miracle the Chinese Communists had seized southern China: would the imperialist powers have tolerated their attempt to conquer the whole country? In his memoranda throughout 1926 Trotsky himself stressed the absolute necessity of not provoking Japan, of respecting her sphere of influence in Manchuria and north China. Any likely Communist conquest would have brought the capitalist powers together, would have presented the Soviet Far East with the danger of Japanese invasion, an invasion which everybody recognized, the Soviet Union was in no position to defeat.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 278
CHIANG’S GOVT IS AN IMPERIALIST LACKEY
In an August 29, 1929, letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “The point is really to use our tough position to unmask completely and to undermine the authority of Chiang Kai-shek's government, a government of lackeys of imperialism, for attempting to become the model of 'national government' for the colonial and dependent countries. There can be no doubt that each clash between Chiang Kai-shek's government and the Soviet government, just as each concession Chiang Kai-shek makes to us (and he is already starting to make concessions), is a blow against Chiang Kai-shek exposes Chiang Kai-shek's government as a government of lackeys of imperialism and makes it easier to carry out the revolutionary education of the workers in colonial countries (and the Chinese workers above all). Litvinov and Karakhan (and they are not the only ones) don't see that. So much the worse for them.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin's Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 174
Pole Pole Mzungu. Welcome to Tanzania, the land where dead cows are lying and dogs are flying. But be careful of the ju-wai-biems. Now let's search for some Schtonetools and after that let's go to Tohu-Wa-Bohu (also known as Mto-Wa-Mbu/Moskitotown)