Sunday, April 21, 2013

The conditions of the Long March

This was a short reading--partly due to the fact that we discussed Boston on Friday, so we have not yet gotten into the whole concept of a 'party mandate' for Mao.  This reading--albeit short--mentions many factors that contribute to the status of the communist party by the time of the 'Long March' in the mid 1930s (I will go over the historical context of the March in class).  Comment on some of these conditions below--whether it is the Status between China and Japan, the continued quest for a Communist leader, Chiang Kai-Shek's son, or any other issue that comes to mind...

11 comments:

  1. I thought is was interesting how Chiang Kai-Shek forged this entire Long March just to "initiate his Reds-for-son swap." I still don't exactly understand the details of this entire thing, but I have to admit that the conclusion of it all was a bit of a let down. The Russians kept his son in hostage by simply saying that he "did not wish to return." Did he actually want to stay? And when Chiang Kai Shek got this response he stated he "could cope with it calmly" and admitted that now he could just "shrug off this family calamity". So if he was not really determined to get his son back then could we assume that he had ulterior motives?

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    1. Don't worry, this isn't the entire conclusion--there is another chapter to come!

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  2. "the continued quest for a Communist leader" is a very interesting phrase. This almost makes it seem as if the people wanted a communist leader. This is a difficult and near impossible question to answer. If we asked someone from North Korea if they wanted a communist leader, we would probably get the answer "yes". But we wouldnt be able to determine if they were saying yes because they truly meant it, or if they feared opposing the current government. I don't know if there was a real yearn for a communist leader, but more a mix of fear and obliviousness that created the "quest" for one.

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  3. we already know from the last reading that conditions were very poor and there were many deserters, and this reading doesn't really explain (or maybe i just missed it) who the 80,000 people walking the long march are. I think it was fascinating that it was all a set up for a red-for-son swap, so much effort put into the whole operation and it seamed that, despite his political views, Chiang seamed to only really care about his son. I'm still a bit shaky on the details of the march, so i guess ill just have to learn more about it in class.

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  4. The idea of "the continued quest for a Communist leader" is interesting, as Mitch stated. It is sort of an ironic phrase based on the reading. For example, the beginning of the reaading states "So it was this fierce anti-Communinist who manned the fourth fortification line, situated at an ideal place to wipe out the Reds". Chiang sisn't want communists on the heartland of China and wanted to imprison them. He wanted to weaken the Red Army, but not kill them completely. He knew that was the only way to keep his son safe.

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  5. The quest for a communist leader intrigues me. There general public had no idea of mother political parties as Communism became so widespread. Mao was able to control the entire country and get his ideologies known across the country.
    This is why is is interesting that the word 'quest' is used. It makes it seem like the people were searching for a great leader, when really they had no choice at all.

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  6. The whole scenario with Chiang Kai-Shik's son, Ching-Kuo, was the most interesting aspect of this reading, in my opinion. Initially, Stalin had told the world that he had volunteered to stay in Moscow, whereas in reality he was being held hostage. Chiang developed such anxiety over his son that is is theorized he is responsible for the murder of Shao Li-tzu's murder in Rome. It is believed this was done by Nationalist agents under Chiang's authorization. Towards the end of the reading, it is stated that, the "Long for March was used by Chiang to indicate his Reds-for-son sweep"; he himself knew his son would be safe if he did more for the Reds. The ending of the passage really surprised me - Ching was not freed because he "wanted to stay" (?), and Chiang Ka-Shuk even claims that he feels he has made progress because he can "shrug off this family calamity."

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  7. I find the "quest for a communist leader the most interesting". As rob said, I found it funny how quest was used instead of another word. Because in reality, there wasnt a quest. Maybe for Mao it was a quest because of what he went through, but all in all, the public had no idea what their national views were transforming into. They didnt have a choice. They weren't going on a quest, he was.

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  8. having all of these people march for only one person is stupid in my opinion. Chiang Kai-Shik put his family ahead of his people and to me that is a very hard decision, but i think saving your people from the pending doom might be a little better then saving your son. Either way it is a tough call and one that was not made lightly.

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  9. The reading was a little confusing to me. When I did a little research about the long march I found out that it was a retreat of the communists, that they were escaping - which sounds plausible to me in connection to the suffering the reading was outlining. The reading also shows how important this time of suffering was for Mao's rise to power. Maybe he was more a leader than I suspected. Still I don't understand the context of the retreat and I liked to talk about it more in class!!

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  10. Chiang Kai-Shek's son's senario was definitely the most interesting part of the reading. I almost found it funny that such a huge movement would be organized by such stern leaders for one person. Again another "funny" senario was the fact that the Russians simply didn't hand him over, claiming that he chose to stay in Russia. It made Chiang Kai-Shek look weak, and I think that led in some way to his overthrow.

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