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In line with the view that it would be a long time before socialist construction was on the agenda, Mao outlined a moderate economic policy that would appeal to non-CCP elements. Private capitalist production would be allowed so long as it did not dominate the "livelihood of the people on a national scale." In the countryside, a rich peasant economy was proposed, with only "big landlords" having their land confiscated and redistributed. This economic program was depicted as being in line with Sun Yat-sen’s ideas.

This more open and conciliatory external policy was accompanied by an extensive set of internal party campaigns that were intended to weed out opponents to current policy, tighten party discipline, and crush dissent while building adherence to Mao and his supporters’ analysis of the past and visions for the future. The disciplining of the party that began in earnest in 1941 carried on through until 1945.

During this period, Comintern direct influence on the CCP was slight and, as argued above, was not necessarily detrimental to Mao’s ascendance to power within the party as many authors have suggested previously. The decline in the influence of the Comintern is clearly seen in the manner of interpretation by the CCP of key Comintern decisions during this period. As noted above, it was on receiving news from Moscow of the Comintern’s tacit support that Mao decided to convene the Sixth Plenum of the Sixth CC at which he defeated Wang Ming politically.

The war with Japan did not exist in isolation and the CCP leadership in Yan’an could not afford to ignore the Comintern totally. Just as publicly Mao and the CCP gave full support to the Soviet-Nazi Non-Aggression Pact of 23 August 1939, so they supported the neutrality pact the Soviet Union concluded with Japan on 13 April 1941. However, both events allowed the CCP to pursue its own course independent of Moscow’s aims. Thus, for example, the CCP’s comments on the neutrality pact stated that it marked another triumph of the Soviet Union’s peace policy. It was claimed that this pact had in no way compromised Soviet support for China’s war effort, a view quite different to that of Chiang Kai-shek. However, the CCP used the pact as a chance to put forward the view that it was up to China itself to recover all the Chinese territories south of the Yalu River by itself. Despite this, the CCP was being forced into defending a position that was clearly not going to push forward its nationalist claims. From the CCP’s point of view, the German invasion of the Soviet Union that began on 22 June 1941 came as a fortunate relief. Overnight the Soviet peace policy in the midst of a capitalist war was changed into a position of the Soviet Union as the leader of the fight against fascism.

Now, the "capitalist powers" such as Great Britain and the US who had been "conspiring" to encourage a Japanese attack on the Soviet Union to preempt a Japanese push southward had to be courted as a part of the international united front against fascism. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the US into the war and enabled the CCP to call for international involvement in the war to push forward the united front. The CCP had moved swiftly from the view of recovering all its territories on its own.

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