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The Cold War in Asia

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The Cold War in Asia
1945 - 1955
Redefining Asian Power 1945
п‚©Power vacuum in
Japan filled by US
only
п‚©Nationalists in power
in China – Civil War
erupts again after
common enemy
defeated
п‚©USSR & US backing
Nationalists
How to Divide Japanese
Territory?
Korea: USSR in North, US in
South
USSR makes bid for Asian
territory
п‚© USSR gains alliance
with Sukarno in
Indonesia
п‚© US occupies Japan
п‚© Korea Divided: Kim Il
Sung in North
п‚© Syngman Rhee in South
п‚© Ethnically same;
politicially divided
“No division of a nation in the present world is so astonishing in its origin as the division of Korea; none is so
unrelated to conditions or sentiment within the nation itself at the time the division was effected; none is to this
day so unexplained; in none does blunder and planning oversight appear to have played so large a role. Finally,
there is no division for which the U.S. government bears so heavy a share of the responsibility as it bears for
the division of Korea.”
-Gregory Henderson, former U.S. Foreign Service officer and noted Korea scholar, 1974
Russian Communism vs. Chinese Communism
 Workers’ revolution
п‚© Peasant revolution
п‚© Nationalism downplayed
п‚© Nationalism used heavily
п‚© Workers can be inspired
by communist vanguard
п‚© Response to historical
process (feudalism,
capitalism, socialism)
п‚© Leaders must respond to
peasants before they can
be motivated
п‚© Response to imperialism
& landowners; no focus
on historical process
USSR Switches Sides
п‚© After Mao wins, Stalin &
Mao cautiously make an
alliance
п‚© Not a great deal for
Mao; gives more than he
gets
п‚© Stalin fears competition
as communist leader in
East – wants to be top
dog
US Reacts to New Balance of
Power
п‚© US very wary
 Despite experts’
understanding, policymakers see communism
as MONOLITHIC
п‚© US does not recognize
PRC; supports Chiang
who has fled to Formosa
(Taiwan)
 Who will take China’s
seat on UN security
council?
US Actions in Asia complicated
by other (related) issues
п‚©NSC-68
п‚©McCarthyism at
home
п‚©French Indochinese
War & Ho Chi Minh
п‚©Outbreak of the
Korean War
Balance of Power Shifts
п‚©1949 Mao Tse-Tung leads win over Nationalists
– The People’s Republic of China is born
п‚©US Reaction:
п‚©China Lobby is FURIOUS
Blame Truman for “Losing China”
US experts in China understand Mao’s Communism
is different than Russian Communism
Now large part of Asia is Communist – changes
feeling of US confidence in the Region
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