Baylor College Medical School

137 3. Communism Spreads In East Asia

137 3. After World War II, Mao Zedong led communist forces to victory over Jiang Jieshi's Nationalists, who fled to Taiwan. Then Mao began to reshape China's economy. First, he gave land to peasants, but then called for collectivization. Under this system, MAO MOVED PEOPLE FROM THEIR SMALL VILLAGES AND INDIVIDUAL FARMS INTO COMMUNES OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ON THOUSAND OF ACRES. Known as the Great Leap Forward, the program was intended to increase farm and industrial production. Instead, it produced low quality, useless goods and less food. Bad weather also affected crops, and many people starved.

To remove "bourgeois" tendencies from China, Mao began the Cultural Revolution. Skilled workers and managers were removed from factories and forced to work on farms or in labor camps. This resulted in a slowed economy and a threat of civil war.

At first, the United States supported the Nationalist government in Taiwan. The West was concerned that the Soviet Union and China would become allies, but border clashes led the Soviets to withdraw aid and advisors from China. U.S. leaders thought that by "playing the China card," or improving relations with the Chinese, they would further isolate the Soviets. In 1970, the United States established diplomatic relations with China.

Korea was an independent nation until Japan invaded it in World War II. After the war, American and Soviet forces agreed to divide the Korean peninsula at the 38th parallel. Kim II Sung, a communist, ruled the North; and Syngman Rhee, allied with the United States, controlled the South. In 1950, North Korean troops attacked South Korea. The United Nations forces stopped them along a line known as the Pusan Perimeter, then began advancing north. Mao sent troops to help the North Koreans. UN forces were pushed back wouth of the 38th parallel.

In 1953, both sides signed an armistice to end the fighting, but ytoops remained on both sides of the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Over time, South Korea enjoyed an economic boom and a rise in living standards, while communist North Korea's economy declined. Kim II Sung's emphasis on self-reliance kept North Korea isolated and poor.


3. What is the significance of the 38th parallel?

Asked by
Last updated by Aslan
Answers 1
Add Yours

Mao sent troops to help the North Koreans. UN forces were pushed back South of the 38th parallel. This would become the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea.