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10-08-2015, 17:14

COLD WAR IN ASIA

The Cold War was somewhat slower to make its appearance in Asia. At Yalta, Stalin formally agreed to enter the Pacific war against Japan three months after the close of the conflict with Germany. As a reward for Soviet participation in the struggle against Japan, Roosevelt promised that Moscow would be granted “preeminent interests” in Manchuria (interests reminiscent of those possessed by imperial Russia prior to its defeat by Japan in 1904 – 1905) and the establishment of a Soviet naval base at Port Arthur. In return, Stalin promised to sign a treaty of alliance with the Republic of China, thus implicitly committing the Soviet Union not to provide the Chinese Communists with support in a possible future civil war. Although many observers would later question Stalin’s sincerity in making such a commitment to the vocally anti-Communist Chiang Kai-shek, in Moscow the decision probably had a logic of its own. Stalin had no particular liking for the independent-minded Mao Zedong and did not anticipate a victory by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the eventuality of a civil war in China. Only an agreement with Chiang Kai-shek could provide the Soviet Union with a strategically vital economic and political presence in North China. Despite these commitments, Allied agreements soon broke down, and the region was sucked into the vortex of the Cold War by the end of the decade. The root of the problem lay in the underlying weakness of the Chiang Kai-shek regime, which threatened to create a political vacuum in East Asia that both Moscow and Washington would be tempted to fill.

 

 

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