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Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power: The Emergence of Revolutionary China, 1937-1945 1st Edition
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Johnson gives several reasons why it was the Communist Party that benefited from social mobilization. He contends that the Japanese overextend their forces- taking large swaths of land that they could not occupy effectively. This initial drive pushed out Nationalist troops and civilian authorities- leaving behind a power vacuum. Because the Communist guerilla forces were more mobile they were able to enter these chaotic regions and provide organization and guidance for the peasantry. Additionally, Johnson argues that the Japanese identified the Communists as the primary enemy while the Kuomintang was courted as potential friends. This strengthened Communist claims that the Kuomintang were "collaborators", and increased Communist Party legitimacy in the eyes of many peasants.Read more ›
Johnson supports his theory with two main lines of evidence; first, he argues that the Japanese occupation was a major factor because prior to invasion (the Jiangxi Soviet of the 1920s and 30s), the Party's land reform policies and Marxist-Leninist ideology did not win enough support. Johnson explains that the Communist Party's anti-Japanese response was considered, in rural areas, to be more successful than the Kuomintang's activities. Consequently, when the Japanese were defeated, a large proportion of the rural population (particularly in former occupied areas where Japanese savagery was witnessed first-hand) supported overwhelmingly the CCP during the civil war. According to this view, the term Communist was perhaps synonymous with the word patriot; thus joining the Communists was viewed as patriotic resistance to the Japanese. Second, Johnston compared the CCP victory with another nationalist victory, in former Yugoslavia, in which the German invasion was crucial for Communist success (comparisons were made between the resistance party in that country and the strategy of the CCP).Read more ›