Cover image for Battling Western imperialism : Mao, Stalin, and the United States
Battling Western imperialism : Mao, Stalin, and the United States
Sheng, Michael M., 1950-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, [1997]

Physical Description:
x, 255 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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DS740.5.S65 S562 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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One of the central issues in the study of the Chinese Communist Party and its foreign policy is its relations with Moscow. Was the CCP a Chinese nationalist party antagonistic to an intrusive Soviet Union or was it rather an internationalist party with ideological-political and strategic-military ties to Moscow, faithfully adhering to Marxist-Leninist principles as well as to Stalin's policy advice? For the past two decades a number of historians have argued that the CCP was a nationalist movement and that the United States missed its opportunity to establish friendly relations because U.S. leaders were blinded by fears of an international Communist threat. In his provocative book, Michael Sheng strongly challenges this position.

On the basis of extensive new information obtained from recently available Chinese sources, Sheng demonstrates that the foreign policy of the CCP under Mao Zedong did, in fact, follow the directions recommended by Joseph Stalin. Sheng reveals that Mao and Stalin were in frequent and direct contact by radio and by correspondence, beginning in 1936, and that Mao consistently acted on Stalin's advice. Battling Western Imperialism analyzes the CCP's relations with both the Soviet Union and the United States and provides conclusive evidence that there was no "lost opportunity" for the U.S. in China. He shows that the CCP viewed the United States as a hostile capitalist power that opposed its revolutionary aims. The author has drawn on an unprecedented collection of Chinese-language materials to make a powerful new argument.

Author Notes

Michael M. Sheng is Associate Professor of History at Southwest Missouri State University

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Sheng challenges the conventional wisdom that the Chinese Communist Party was essentially motivated by nationalist goals, that its relationship with the Soviet Union was an uneasy marriage of convenience, and that the anticommunist hysteria of the Cold War caused the US to lose an opportunity to establish friendly relations with the Chinese communist regime. Although perhaps overstated, Sheng's thesis is a corrective to this consensus (which itself was a reaction to Cold War assumptions of a monolithic communist bloc). Instead, he argues, Mao Zedong and the CCP saw the world in ideological terms that presumed a fundamental antagonism toward the US and a common cause with the Soviet Union. Mao closely followed Stalin's guidance in foreign relations, and the CCP's attitudes and policies were in concert with Soviet policy. Sheng draws from newly available Chinese sources. Unfortunately, despite the availability of Soviet archival materials, Sheng does not use any Russian-language sources, which might confirm or modify his thesis. Upper-division undergraduates and above. R. E. Entenmann; St. Olaf College

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 3
Ch. I The Roots of Mao's Pro-Soviet Policy before 1937p. 15
Ch. II CCP-Moscow Relations during the Anti-Japanese War, 1937-1945p. 31
Ch. III From Enemies to Friends: CCP Policy toward the United States before Pearl Harborp. 57
Ch. IV Courting the Americans: The CCP's United Front Policy toward the U.S., 1942-1945p. 74
Ch. V Postwar Alignment: CCP-Moscow versus GMD-Washington in Manchuria, August-December 1945p. 98
Ch. VI Mao Deals with George Marshall, November 1945-December 1946p. 119
Ch. VII The CCP and the Cold War in Asia: Mao's "Intermediate-Zone" Theory and the Anti-American United Front, 1946-1947p. 145
Ch. VIII Mao's Revolutionary Diplomacy and the Cold War in Asia, 1948-1949p. 161
Conclusionp. 187
Notesp. 197
Select Bibliographyp. 229
Indexp. 245