Book Review: Far East: A Study of the Chinese Communist Movement 1927–1934

AuthorWm. G. Saywell
Date01 June 1967
Publication Date01 June 1967
DOI10.1177/002070206702200238
SubjectBook Review
BooK REviEws
347
While
this
is
clearly
a
weakness,
the
book
as
such
remains
a
valuable
addition
to
our
knowledge
of
an
important
field
of
eastern
European history
in
an interesting
period.
The
University of
Calgary
FREDERICK
C.
HEYMANN
Far
East
A
STUDY
OF
THE
CHINESE
COMMUNIST
MOVEMENT
1927-1934.
By
Shanti
Swarup.
1966.
(Oxford:
Clarendon
Press.
Toronto:
Oxford
University
Press.
viii,
289pp.
$5.59)
This
study
covers
the
crucial
years
between
the
failure
of
the
first
Kuomintang-Chinese Communist
Party
united
front
and
the
rise
of
Mao
to
de
facto
leadership
in
the
summer
of
1934.
Swamp
makes
it
clear
that
Mao's
ascendancy
can
be
dated
at
least
from
mid-July
1934
though
it
was
not
to
be
formally
recognized
until
several
months
later
at
the
Tsunyi
conference.
The
author
has
wisely chosen
a
topical
approach
in
which
he
deals
separately with
strategy
the
Party
and
the
peasantry
proletariat,
problems
of
nationalism, relations
with
the
Comintern
and
the
evolution
of
C.C.P
leadership.
Two
introductory
chapters
on
C.C.P
-Kuomintang
co-operation
1924-27,
and
general
political
forces
in
China,
1927-34,
add
little
fresh
evidence
but
offer
some
new
and
valid
perspectives and
emphases.
Swarup's
major
thesis
is
that
the
Chinese
Revolution
was
an
in-
divisible union
of
social
and
nationalist
forces.
In
this
period
the
party
failed to
recognize
this
and
consequently
failed.
Mao's
own
strategy
rested
on
the
profound recognition
of
both
these
needs.
But
between
1931
and
1934,
when
Mao
was
clearly
in
opposition
to
the
majority
of
the
party's
leadership, the
C.C.P
failed
to
make
a
meaningful
plea for
nationalist
support, and antagonized
nationalist
groups
it
could
have
won
support
from
by
an
excessively
socialist
programme.
The
author
makes
a
convincing case
for
his
argument
that
"If
the
Kuomintang
had
begun to
lose
its
grip
over
the
pulse
of
China
because
of
its
fear
of
social
changes,
the
Communists'
excessive
and
exclusive
emphasis
on
social
revolution
between
1931
and
1934
brought
them
near
to
catastrophe.
It
seems
clear
that
after
the
Manchurian
and
Shanghai
incidents
of
1931-2,
the
C.C.P
could
have
made considerable
headway
both
within
the
Soviet
and
Kuomintang
areas
by
appealing
for
a
broad
united
front
that
would include
Kuomintang
generals
and
the national
bourgeoisie.
But
it
refused
to
do
so
and
compounded
its
blunder
by
emphasizing
the
threat
of
Japan
to
the
Soviet
Union
rather
than
to
China.
It
also
failed
to
distinguish
between
the imperialist
powers,
and
moved
to
the
left
in
its labour
and
land
policies
which
in
particular
antagonized
the
rich
peasantry
and
national
bourgeoisie. Indeed,
they
even chose
this
time
for
adventurist
drives
against
tne
cities,
tnereby
giving
Chiang
the
public
support
he
needed
to
resume
his
encirclement

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