The Spread of Communism in Asia China Since the 1920s, Chinese communists, led by Mao Zedong, had been engaged in civil war with Kai-shek’s Nationalist Koumintang (KMT). Despite significant American support for the KMT it had grown out of touch with the people, and the communists were eventually victorious. On the 1 October 1949 Mao Zedong announced the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Chiang Kaishek fled to the nearby island of Formosa (later renamed Taiwan) The Chinese people have stood up!" What was Russia’s Reaction? Russia was delighted that China was now communist. Stalin had never expected the communists to win the war. He was determined to establish a link with his new communist neighbour. Therefore the Treaty of Friendship was agreed between the two powers. It was agreed that Russia would help China to develop economically, technologically and militarily. How did the USA react? America was severely disappointed by these developments; China was a vast country with a massive population and huge resources; its fall to communists turned the Cold War into a worldwide struggle. Americans suspected that the fall of China was part of Stalin’s scheme to spread communism across the world. Even more worryingly, its fall came shortly after Russia successfully exploded its first atomic bomb. Truman’s regime came under massive criticism at home for its failure to stand up to communists more forcefully. This Day in History 1949: Soviets explode atomic bomb What was the US response? 1. 2. America regarded Mao Zedong to be nothing more than Stalin’s puppet, the US government: Refused to recognise the new regime as China’s legitimate government. Tried its best to ignore communist China and continued to support Chiang Kai-Shek’s right to represent China in the UN. Stalin’s attempt to obtain the Chinese seat at the UN for the communists were rejected; in response the Soviets staged a walkout and boycotted the UN. The Threat of Asia Many concerns surrounded the fall of China. The Americans feared that their neighbours may follow. America’s fear of a series of neighbouring countries becoming communist one after the other became known as the domino theory. If Indochina falls, Thailand is put in an almost impossible position. The same is true of Malaya with its rubber and tin. The same is true of Indonesia. If this whole part of South East Asia goes under Communist domination or Communist influence, Japan, who trades and must trade with this area in order to exist must inevitably be oriented towards the Communist regime. Vice-president Richard Nixon, speech, (December, 1953) How to stop this ‘domino theory’? To stop this happening containment would have to become a worldwide policy- not just a European one. The first test of America’s determination to oppose the spread of communism in Asia came almost immediately. This time the country involved was China’s neighbour Korea. Click on the next slide for a French T.V. broadcast on the Korean War and the following page a Korean broadcast. You will be learning more on this in the coming lessons. Read page 172 of your CCEA Textbook Answer questions 1-3 Again make note of the revision tip. The fall of China to communism is when the domino theory came into play. It is very important that you do not get this mixed up with the Cold War in Europe. Many candidates have made the mistake in the past and said that the Domino theory started in Europe. DO NOT DO THIS.