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Reviews 281© ¡994 by University ofHawai'i Press Odd Arne Westad. Cold War and Revolution: Soviet-American Rivalry and the Origins ofthe Chinese Civil War. NewYork: Columbia University Press, 1993. 260 pp. Hardcover $50. While scholarship on the Chinese revolution in recent decades has emphasized the "indigenous" aspects of the Communist victory in 1949, Odd Arne Westad attempts to bring the Cold War back into the picture in his well-researched book. Applying "a four-cornered pattern of analysis" to detail fhe complicated interactions among the CCP, the GMD, the United States, and the Soviet Union between 1944 and 1946, the author attempts to establish a correlation between the Cold War and the civil war in China. To argue that "the civil war in China (1946-1949) originated with the emergence of the Cold War," the author first discusses the rise and fall of the Yalta system and how the Cold War spread to China. According to Westad, the Yalta agreement in early 1945 was a symbol of a pre-Cold War period in the relations between the Great Powers. Both Aie United States and Aie Soviet Union desired to secure stability in East Asia by using Jiang Jieshi's China as a buffer zone between "a central and northeast Asian mainland dominated by the Soviet Union and a Pacific area dominated by the United States." But this attempt at Great Power cooperation soon broke down. Westad largely attributes the collapse of the Yalta system to "American militancy."After FDR's death, as a ramification ofthe conflict with Aie Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, the Truman Administration, especially those at the War Department, increasingly had suspicions about Soviet motivations in China and was reluctant to see China making concessions to Stalin even within the Yalta framework. Soviet policy throughout the period, on the other hand, is described as "erratic," "inconsistent," and without clear objectives. Although the Soviets never wanted to damage their relations with the U.S. over China, their "irresolution" often reinforced American suspicions and escalated fhe tension. Partially due to the insufficiency of firsthand materials, the author has more difficulties in analyzing the mind-set of the Soviet leadership and in explaining the twists and turns in its policy. Consequently, he imputes this policy trait to Stalin's personal style. This line of argument, however, is not conducive to revealing the more profound conflict of interest between the two countries, as had surfaced even in the "pre-Cold War period." As other studies have suggested, one motivation behind the Soviet manipulation of the CCP-GMD rivalry was to keep China weak, thus maximizing Soviet influence. The more important question for this book is how the breakdown of SovietAmerican cooperation was related to the civil war in China. Westad argues that the American-Soviet conflict greatly weakened the GMD regime by removing its 282 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 ability to monopolize Great Power support. As a result, Jiang Jieshi had to resort to military force to defeat the CCP. Throughout the book, the author endeavors painstakingly to demonstrate the crucial importance of the postwar international relations to political developments in China. Both the CCP and GMD were desperate to obtain Great Power backing for their respective causes and to deprive the other side of potential foreign support. Contrary to the conventional view, Jiang Jieshi was not Aiat unsatisfied with Aie Yalta accords. To forestall Soviet support for the CCP, Jiang was willing to sacrifice national interests to strike a deal with Stalin. Mao Zedong and his associates were equally eager to secure the support of the U.S. and the USSR. He made efforts to induce American troops to land on the China coast and offered to visit Washington as a gesture of goodwill. For a long time, the CCP had tried to avoid confrontation with American troops in China. The CCP also worked hard to accommodate Soviet foreign policy in order to win Stalin's endorsement. Up until the end of 1945, Jiang obviously took the upper hand in this struggle to win foreign support. The Yalta agreement formally committed the Great Powers to support his government. After the death of FDR, American...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 281-285
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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