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  • Loss of China to communism?

    Joseph McCarthy was a lunatic, fear-monger, and generally a total @$$ - but he made an interesting point when he claimed that the US political leadership had failed in their containment of communism by "losing China."

    The US had stopped supporting the Nationalist government with funding and aid (partially due to corruption), which is believed to have directly lead to the Chinese Communists gaining the upper hand, and eventually driving the Nationalists to Taiwan.

    What are your thoughts?


    If the US had continued support Chiang Kai Shek's Nationalists throughout the Chinese Civil War after WW2, with military and monetary support, do you think they could have defeated the Communists?


    Finally, what are your speculations if the Nationalists had defeated the Communists? The Republic of China would've remained intact as a pro-capitalist, pro-modernization, pro-western nation moving towards democratic rule...how would the world be different?

    *The last part of my question might belong in the "Alternate Timelines" section.

    Last edited by Intranetusa; 09 Mar 10, 23:55.
    Surrender? NutZ!
    -Varro

    Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. -Sun Tzu

  • #2
    Finally, what are your speculations if the Nationalists had defeated the Communists? The Republic of China would've remained intact as a pro-capitalist, pro-modernization, nation moving towards democratic rule...how would the world be different?
    On this point only, there is no need to speculate. Taiwan shows where China would be today without a Communist victory, just as the Republic of Korea shows what Korea is without Kim Il-sung, his heirs, and Juche. As far as how the world would be different, Korea would have remained divided until the 1990s, then reunified with the fall of the Kim regime. The Viet Minh would have been defeated in the early 50s, but Indochina would consist of three constitutional monarchies governed by a parliamentary system who would have been members of the French monetary union probably up until the 1980s, when the French would have judged the Union to have met its purpose. Vietnam would be numbered among the Asian Tigers, along with Singapore and Korea. Cambodia would exhibit the rags and riches divide common to the Philippines. The U.S. may have entered its economic crisis decades earlier, depending upon when the Free Trade policies were adopted, as China matched the U.S. in production and standards of living. Chinese would have been a popular foreign language for some thirty years now.

    As for "Losing China". The only people who 'lost China' were the Chinese themselves. The defeat of the ROC rests entirely upon Chinese shoulders.
    Last edited by lirelou; 10 Mar 10, 00:00.
    dit: Lirelou

    Phong trần mi một lưỡi gươm, Những loi gi o ti cơm s g!

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    • #3
      Would Korea have remained divided? I was under the impression that the only thing propping up the communist NKs was communist PRChina. The stalemate of the Korean War can be attributed to communist China...I'd say the UN would've won it easily without their intervention.

      As for Taiwan, I don't think they would've reached Taiwan's level of economic development, since it would've been much harder to improve the living standards of 1billion vs <30 million.

      "The defeat of the ROC rests entirely upon Chinese shoulders."

      Well, yes that is true in the sense that they lost the war. But IMO, it's an oversimplification since so many external factors were involved...ie. outbreak of 2nd sino-japanese war/WW2, support of the Chinese communists by the USSR, political alliances and money transfers between the Chinese Nationalists and the US/UK, etc
      Surrender? NutZ!
      -Varro

      Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. -Sun Tzu

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      • #4
        The KMT's biggest supporter during the 1920's may have been the Soviets.
        Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

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        BoRG

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        • #5
          I think rampant corruption was a really major issue for the KMT at that time (and funnily, still is).

          The KMT's army was also distrusted, with several garrisons being overrun because these said garrisons weren't issued ammunition; and the soldiers having to be "chained" during night breaks to prevent desertions didn't do wonders for their morale either.

          That said, I wouldn't really agree that Taiwan today is a good indicator of what China could've been today if the KMT had stayed in power in China, and intraneusa makes a good point; and that's aside from how the KMT would've dealt with corruption, warlordism, overpopulation, WW2, etc.
          "We have no white flag."

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          • #6
            Would Korea have remained divided? I was under the impression that the only thing propping up the communist NKs was communist PRChina. The stalemate of the Korean War can be attributed to communist China...I'd say the UN would've won it easily without their intervention.
            The Soviets supported the creation the North Korean state, as its existence was one of its goals. The Chinese Party assisted. But the North Korea state was set up by Koreans Communists with the able assistance of Soviet Koreans and, with the end of the Chinese civil war, the return of some 35-45 thousand Koreans who had fought with the PLA, mostly since 1945. (About a thousand went back to the 30s. Mao's Artillery commander in the PLA was a Korean. Kim Il-sung and his supporters had been members of the North East Asian Anti-Japanese United Army. Despite ROK propaganda, which most American GI's picked up, Kin Il-sung was had really fought as a guerrilla in Manchuria in the 1930s, and by 1936 had risen to command an "Army" (of 200-300 guerrillas) within the AJUA. In the meanwhile, other Koreans were entering China to fight the Japanese, in both the ranks of the Chinese Nationalist Army, and with the PLA. At the same time, some Communists remained behind in Korea to oppose the Japanese (i.e., Park Hyon-yong). In 1945, many of these came home, with the majority of Communists going North while the anti-communists went South.

            Everyone agrees that the UN would have won the Korean War without Chinese intervention, however there would not have been a war without a friendly Chinese regime on Korea's border. Stalin's first comment to KIS was: What does China say? KIS needed the approval of both to go to war. Thus without a Communist victory in China, there would have been no Korean War. The country would have remained divided as it is today. And KIS would have continued his efforts to spark guerrilla warfare in the South. Those campaigns peaked in 1968-69, after which he moved his old comrades from the 88th Snipers off into jobs with much title and little power. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the presumed rise of China several decades earlier (remember, no Cultural Revolution, development along Taiwan's model) North Korea would have had to throw in the towel back in the 90s, when the famine was raging through. That would have prompted the ROK to occupy North Korea, thereby removing the authority for an UN Command and US presence.
            dit: Lirelou

            Phong trần mi một lưỡi gươm, Những loi gi o ti cơm s g!

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            • #7
              As for Chiang Kai Shek, consider that rampant corruption is again a problem in China. CKS had cobbled together a number of disparate forces to keep China together. Cutting deals with war lords, to avoid having to fight them, had its consequences. But 'corruption was rampant' only because he controlled a much larger piece of China. In the post WW-II period, business was booming. As the Asian 'tigers' developed, they staked out their piece of the pie. There is no reason to suppose that the same people who took a small, agricultural island, and turned it into one of the worlds major economies, could not have done the same with the mainland. After all, Taiwan's economic miracle has little to do with it Aboriginals. It was those who came from the mainalnd in 1949 that built the Taiwan miracle. I'm certain that it could be argued that it was the trauma of defeat that pushed them to excel. My counter-argument is: who's to say they couldn't have done it otherwise. After all, no small part of their success is owed to skills picked up on the mainland.

              As for
              and the soldiers having to be "chained" during night breaks to prevent desertions didn't do wonders for their morale either.
              How widespread was that practice? We had a lot of American advisors with the Chinese. Are there any official histories that can tell us how widespread it was? Are we judging an entire Army based upon a single or few reports? But again, the very premise of this part of the thread is that the Chinese nationalists prevailed (see below). Ergo, the PLA was defeated or coopted. Thus we should look at best case scenarios.

              what are your speculations if the Nationalists had defeated the Communists?
              Last edited by lirelou; 10 Mar 10, 21:11.
              dit: Lirelou

              Phong trần mi một lưỡi gươm, Những loi gi o ti cơm s g!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Intranetusa View Post
                Joseph McCarthy was a lunatic, fear-monger, and generally a total @$$ - but he made an interesting point when he claimed that the US political leadership had failed in their containment of communism by "losing China."
                McCarthy was also right in a lot of is accusations, including the ones about China.

                The US had stopped supporting the Nationalist government with funding and aid (partially due to corruption), which is believed to have directly lead to the Chinese Communists gaining the upper hand, and eventually driving the Nationalists to Taiwan.
                It appears that when the US first started to turn its back on the KMT they had the upper hand over the Communist Chinese, so I would say that the pulling of US aid was significant.

                But even if it wasn't, it really shouldn't matter based on principle. It was in the interest of the US to keep China from going communist. They should have been actively trying to prevent this even if the odds were slim. Instead the US government engaged in something that the US press would later engage in with respect to Vietnam. The government punished the KMT for its role in the civil war, while ignoring the Communist role in the same war. This, in effect, supported the Communists.

                As to the question of corruption. I am sure there was plenty there. Just like there was plenty in Washington too. But we must remember, the reports from the State Department, Marshall's team, and Wallace that painted a bad picture of the Nationalist Chinese, including the allegations of corruption, were for the most part drafted and pushed by what we know today to be Communist sympathizers and agents in the State Department and government. People like Lauchlin Currie, Owen Lattimore, Alger Hiss, Frederick Field, John Stewart Service, and John Carter Vincent. When you are being damned by accusations of wrongs, it matters who is doing the damning.
                Last edited by Miss Saigon; 10 Mar 10, 23:17.

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                • #9
                  Everyone agrees that the UN would have won the Korean War
                  NO

                  Not everyone.

                  What were the goals of the UN intervention?

                  To restore the 38th as the border between North and South. Nothing more.

                  Mission Accomplished.
                  "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                  Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                  youre entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                  • #10
                    Sorry, I really don't buy into that reasoning. To say that "'corruption was rampant' only because he controlled a much larger piece of China"? Does this mean that if he held a smaller piece of china, the corruption wouldn't be as rampant? The question is, how would he have dealt with rampant corruption? That is, among the other problems i mentioned in my previous post. Maybe the same way they dealt with land reform opponents when they reached taiwan? Just this time, on a much wider scale and covering a wider range of "infractions"? Not that I'm totally against that action, but again, this isn't the thread for that.

                    To quote:
                    "But again, the very premise of this part of the thread is that the Chinese nationalists prevailed (see below). Ergo, the PLA was defeated or coopted. Thus we should look at best case scenarios."

                    Again, I'd have to disagree. While it's true the premise presupposes the defeat/cooptation of the PLA, nowhere should we "look at best case scenarios". If we were to do that, then we might as well ignore all the prevailing conditions and power players of those times.

                    To treat this thread properly, one would have to look at the said conditions (or at least what we assume to be the conditions), and try to analyze how he could've (if he could have) overcome said conditions, and in what way he could have done so, and what the end result would be. (Would a KMT that "did what it had to do" still be the same KMT?)

                    IF the KMT gov't had succeeded in China, can they do what they did in Taiwan? To say that one only has to look at Taiwan to see what China would've been without looking at the difference in scenarios between China and Taiwan at that time, is to be an oversimplification and idealisation of "what could have been", and that gets us nowhere.
                    "We have no white flag."

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                    • #11
                      Does this mean that if he held a smaller piece of china, the corruption wouldn't be as rampant? The question is, how would he have dealt with rampant corruption?
                      It means that he would have had a better chance of bringing it under control. Control of smaller organizations, territory, etc., is less challenging.

                      Now, as to the thread, if CKS's failure to control corruption was key to the defeat of the Nationalists, as you imply, it follows that for the Nationalists to have prevailed over the Reds, they would have had to have brought it under control. Ergo, to postulate on alternate history, we must accept a presumption that we know is not historically correct.

                      My point on Taiwan being a laboratory for judging Taiwan is not unreasonable, given that those who left the mainland are the same ones responsible for Taiwan's success. Yes, China would have been a greater challenge. But, that is my opinion, we can agree to disagree. I did consider the possibility that the success of overseas Chinese is due to the fact that they are NOT in China, v.g. not under direct Chinese government control, but I decided that such a factor would not apply to Taiwan, given that the KMT arrived with all of Nationalist China's vices as well as its strengths.

                      Half Pint:
                      To restore the 38th as the border between North and South. Nothing more.
                      Yes, and the pre-war border was never totally restored. (Kaesong and Haeju are just below the 38th parallel). Ergo, the UN command remains. I do agree that crossing it in force and driving on the Yalu was, for China, a cassus belli.
                      Last edited by lirelou; 11 Mar 10, 09:35.
                      dit: Lirelou

                      Phong trần mi một lưỡi gươm, Những loi gi o ti cơm s g!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lirelou View Post
                        It means that he would have had a better chance of bringing it under control. Control of smaller organizations, territory, etc., is less challenging.[/I]
                        Precisely my point. Different problems arise, and to draw the conclusion of using Taiwan as an example of what China would've been, is an oversimplification.

                        I don't imply that rampant corruption is what led to the KMT's defeat. Sorry if i gave that impression. But I would say that, among others, rampant corruption was a contributing factor to the KMT's defeat. And neither does the logic follow that being the winners, "they would have had to have brought it under control". What would follow, though, is that if the rampant corruption wasn't under control, and another "uprising" and WW2 or 3happened, then the "Reds" could theoretically have been put in the same situation as the KMT. But they weren't. So ends that logic chain.

                        "My point on Taiwan being a laboratory for judging Taiwan is not unreasonable, given that those who left the mainland are the same ones responsible for Taiwan's success. Yes, China would have been a greater challenge. But, that is my opinion, we can agree to disagree. I did consider the possibility that the success of overseas Chinese is due to the fact that they are NOT in China, v.g. not under direct Chinese government control, but I decided that such a factor would not apply to Taiwan, given that the KMT arrived with all of Nationalist China's vices as well as its strengths."

                        True. And those vices still remain, IMO. Wasn't it just last year (or was it the other year?) that the previous Taiwan "president" was charged with corruption? Didn't hear any more what happened to that case. And the fact that there are Mainland chinese who are also successes would also argue against that factor.

                        Yes, let's.
                        "We have no white flag."

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