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11-08-2015, 18:56

The Resistance in China

The heaviest resistance fighting occurred in China under the leadership ol Mao Tse-Tung, who sometimes cooperated with the official government of Chiang Kai-Shek and sometimes fought against him. Mao Tse-Tung managed to organize a basic programme of guerilla warfare fought over a wide, relatively remote area and to integrate this programme into the formation of a new political, cultural and social system in China. Unlike Russian bolshevism, Chinese communism convassed recruits horn the peasant masses, from small property holders and horn agricultural labourers. The need for concerted action against a common foreign enemy was emphasized during the war. Land was not confiscated; even capitalist industrialists were enlisted. Simultaneously the cadres were prepared for a revolution which would follow liberation on the basis of a coalescence ol party, army and people. Banks, land, factories and large businesses would be socialized. The endless struggle, Mao Tse-Tung said, would be fought on three planes -political, economic and cultural; revolution would continue long after bourgeois structures had been dismantled. The principles of Chinese communism, although inspired by Lenin, thus diverged from Russian communism. The Chinese example and theJapanese victories gave stimulus to national movements among the colonized peoples. Then wakening enevitably occurred at the expense of those Alius who had colonial empires - Great Britain, France and Holland. It was boosted by Roosevelt's anti-colonial policy, which conflicted with Churchill's on this point, as much as by Soviet propaganda and by the communist panics. Great Britain, however, was fighting to liberate states dominated by Nazi imperialism, while France and Holland were fighting for their own freedom. They each found it difficult to ignore national aspirations in their colonies. Vet Churchill refused to become 'the gravedigger ofthe British Empire'. He refused to promise India her independence, and suppressed dissident activities in Iraq and Egypt. 1 -* Japanese policies in Asia alienated some nationalist movements - notably in the Philippines and in Burma. The Chinese communities in the Indian archipelago and Malaya were centres of opposition to Japanese domination. In Indochina, the Viet Minh tried to play the new colonizers off against the old. Japanese policy in Indonesia sought to oppose both the traditional muslim population and youthful reformers. Despite conflicts and misunderstandings, however, the majority ofpeople in most of these countries remained sympathetic to movements which opposed European colonization. Before evacuating these territories, the Japanese armies handed their arms and powers over to the nationalists, thereby effectively ruling out the return of European colonizers, particularly in Indonesia and Indochina. The alternate defeats of the armies in North Africa discredited both camps and encouraged the Arabs to revolt. The French government at Algiers promised and was forced actually to grant independence to Syria and Lebanon during the war. The Algerian nationalists did not stir while the Vichy government was in power, but the American landing roused them to action. The French provisional government promised huge reforms. The resistance in France disliked the prospect of losing French territories. The Vichv government was blamed and the resistance fell into the position of having simultaneously to fight both their enemies and the Allies in order to keep Fiance intact. General de Gaulle had announced to the Blacks in Brazzaville, who had rarelv rebelled in the past, that they would have greater autonomy but not independence. Irionically, the Arab nationalists in Iraq and North Africa cooperated with Nazi Germany although a German military victory would have brought German ideology and a much more rigid domination than under European rule. Whatever the methods and means, colonized peoples everywhere had begun to revolt. In Latin America, as well, separation from Europe and increased dependency on the I'nited States produced mounting hostility towards the 'Yankees'. It is difficult to measure how much the resistance contributed to the war effort, least of all quantitatively. The number of men employed, or the number of battles fought, do not provide any real index ol its importance. Taken as a whole the resistance movement constituted an auxiliary force. It was the Great Allies themselves who won the war; resistance movements would have withered away without them. Even in Soviet Russia it is clear that the resistance played a secondary role compared with that of the Red Army. Nevertheless the contribution made by the resistance even in a military sphere was appreciable. In an age of machine warfare, it demonstrated that more time-worn methods stood a chance of success. The most important and the most lasting effects oi resistance activity were felt on a political level. After the war some states, such as Norway, Holland, and Belgium, returned to a situation which had existed before the war, but others such as France and Italy were totally transformed, as if a revolution had occurred. Soviet Russia and the communists gained most. The courage which they had shown in battle completely overshadowed the Russo- German Pact. In many places they installed themselves permanently in power. The establishment of the people's democracies in eastern and central Europe began in national insurrections which, in turn, originated in the underground resistance. On an ideological plane, they demonstrated that some of Lenin's teachings wTere still relaxant. Political transformation, however, was most radical outside Europe, especially in China. Although the decisions taken by the Allied Powers helped to shape the world after the war, the struggles lot freedom in the occupied states contributed a vast amount in determining political and economic systems as much as popular attitudes.

 

 

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