Cores, Peripheries and Peaceful Rising
The period 1937–49 wreaked havoc on China. For some eight years the country was swept by continuous warfare involving numerous combatants: the Japanese, the Kuomintang, the Communist Party, assorted warlords, local regional wartime states and Americans forces. In 1949 the formal declaration of the People’s Republic of China marked the Chinese Communist Party elite’s embrace of this inherited chaos; it was the starting point for their work in rebuilding China. The events of the civil war, the military victory of the armies of the CCP in 1949 and the subsequent difficult pacification of the country established the overall shape of contemporary China, that is, New China. The domestic establishment of a state-socialist system combined both successes and failures: the creation of an effective state machine, the expulsion of foreigners and the achievement of a measure of social order and economic recovery plus the costs of inaugurating these programmes, the latter exemplified by the events of the Great Leap Forward. Then, in a wider international context, the reactions of the elite of the USA to the so-called loss of China were negative and helped usher in the business of cold war in East Asia. This general political environment plus the Korean War along with subsequent tensions around Taiwan and wars in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries, reinforced the perceptions amongst the Beijing elite that they had, perforce, to fight for their revolution against domestic opponents and foreign enemies.
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