Why did communism take root in Russia and China?

Discussion in 'History' started by desi, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. desi Valued Senior Member

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    It seems like communism took root in Russia and made it the USSR and it happened close by in China too. Why those two countries? Is it something about the culture or the people, or was it situational to the time in their history that it happened?
     
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  3. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    People were mislead by their leaders into giving up their rights and be taken advantage of by those that were in charge...the "state".
     
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  5. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    Following a civil war. October Revolution
     
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  7. birch Valued Senior Member

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    ironically, it may benefit them in the long run though to some extent. it isn't always positive to give too many rights to the public as it tends to generate too many self-promoted differing factions and less cohesiveness. sometimes a unifying power can go a long ways to further progress. it's more a balancing act between rights for the individual and what is good for a nation as a whole.
     
  8. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    In China (as well as in Vietnam) the choice was between an absolutely corrupt "democratic" government and a relatively honest communist movement. The situation in the middle east has a resemblance in that corrupt governments are under attack, but we don't know what will replace them.
     
  9. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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    I think it was something of an accident of history. Communism was the new "scientific" approach to government at the time of the revolution in Russia. So any revolutionary was likely to latch onto it as it sounds good in theory and had not yet been shown to be a complete failure in actual practice.
     
  10. yaracuy Banned Banned

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    Revolution happen because the government and the people become allien to each other . The government is the ruling class of people which have forgotten its debt to the masses .
     
  11. jmpet Valued Senior Member

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    Large land masses with an abundance of population... central planning takes over.
     
  12. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    It should be noted that the Soviets intervened directly in China to support Mao in the civil wars and buttress his subsequent government. These are not exactly two isolated, unrelated countries that just happened to exhibit communist tendencies - up until the 1970's they were considered a unified bloc on the international scene.
     
  13. desi Valued Senior Member

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    When did Russia start getting nervous about China so close to its borders? Why do you suppose the US and Europe didn't do more to stop Mao from beating the other guy, sounds like Jeng Ki Shek?
     
  14. Cifo Day destroys the night, Registered Senior Member

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    Re China:

    Chinese society, mostly agricultural at the time, had decayed into landlords and tenant farmers. The landlords required a fixed payment in kind for tenancy regardless of crops actually produced (that is, compared to requiring a fraction of the crop production).

    As a result, landlords oppressed their tenants and, in times of poor crop production (that is, droughts etc), some/many tenants were forced to turn over their entire harvest to the landlords, and sometimes ended up owing the landlords. Landlords engaged in exorbitant loansharking. The masses had to work so hard that children had to help, and this meant no time to attend school, resulting in uneducated generations whom the rich landlords could further, and more easily, dupe. Landlords could afford hire mercenaries to enforce their rules. The tenant farmers essentially lived as slaves.

    Along come the communists who explain that the landlords are evil because they claim "ownership" to the land, from which all life depends. This goes against nature, and it’s grossly unfair. If only no one owned the land, but that it was all "public property" -- owned by all -- then everyone would free from the oppression of the evil landlords.

    When communism in Russia and China recently shifted toward capitalism, unlike Russia, China did not allow the private ownership of land.
     
  15. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    First question - as soon as Mao started to act independently and not like a satellite, like in Eastern Europe.

    Second question - WWII had just ended and the job looked to big for anyone to intervene. Look at Vietnam.
     
  16. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Around the time that Mao had consolodated his power and was no content to continue as junior partner in a Soviet-led international Communist entente, from what I can tell.

    Well, what more could they have done? Invaded? They supported the Nationalists to a similar extent as the Soviets supported the Communists - it was more a matter of the Communists having the advantage on the ground. The Nationalists had legitimacy and popularity issues to begin with, and are supposed to have taken much heavier losses than the Communists against Japan in WWII (although there is much revisionist history since then trumping up the Communist role in that conflict).

    As for other related factors: not so much "communism" as such, but there is a geographical factor in the degree of centralization (both political and economic). This stems from how well suited the geography of a country is to defense and movement of goods. The USA is generally held to exhibit among the lowest pressures for centralization, because the country is secured by two huge oceans (so you don't need much standing army to defend yourself, on the day-to-day) and because a huge portion of productive lands are linked together (and to the sea) by navigable natural waterways (i.e., the Mississippi and tributaries). So, we also needn't build huge sets of centrally-planned infrastructure to enable the economy (although we have anyway, as a bonus).

    Russia is on the opposite extreme: not much in the way of geographical barriers to invasion (open plains all the way to western Europe), so they must maintain a large standing army (and are chronically insecure and reactive). Russia also lacks useful waterways for connecting different parts of the country (most rivers flow north into the Arctic, others freeze for much of the year, etc.), so they must invest in considerable infrastructure just to enable the economy to function. These factors combine to push Russia towards a strongly centralized system (both politically and economically). That needn't be communism as such (the new oligarchism is similarly centralized), but it's hard to see how you can have communism without such centralization.

    China is somewhere in the middle: some pretty useful rivers (though they require linkage via canal to truly connect the country), and decent geographical barriers to invasion (Himalays, deserts, ocean). To the extent that China feels insecure these days, it owes to the presence of much more powerful actors that could overcome those barriers without much trouble - historically China has been rather secure, even to the point of becoming blase about such. But I'd suggest that China's considerable demographic pressures may be more important that geography in terms of pressure for centralization.
     
  17. Tyler Registered Senior Member

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    4,888
    That's not exactly true. The Soviets sided with the GMD for the majority of the time. Often explicitly, even as the GMD were killing communists. It's really quite bizarre.

    The major reason that the Chinese intelligentsia turned to the Soviets was the Treaty of Versailles. Before that, most of the major intellectuals in China were interested in liberal democracy. The Treaty saw Western nations go back on a number of promises they had made to China, and the West essentially allowing China to fall to other nations. It was around this, the May Fourth Movement in 1919, that China turned left.
     
  18. Tyler Registered Senior Member

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    4,888
    Again, not quite. The major turning point was the announcement of de-Stalinization. It wasn't that Mao wanted to one-up the CCCP, it's just that they were advancing an anti-Maoist line. I'm no supporter of Mao's, but he was kind of in a forced position.
    1. The Americans supported the Nationalists exponentially more than the Soviets supported the Red Army.
    2. The Communists did not have an advantage on the ground for more than two decades. That was not the reason. It had a lot more to do with land reform, an isolated economy (saved the massive inflation of Chongqing), the disillusionment of the intelligentsia, etc.
    3. That scholarship is not 'revisionists' (you talk like a Maoist!), it is entirely valid. Neither side put up much of a fight for a lot of the war. Warlords lost a ton of men, too.

    ------

    Although I like your environmental touch. I'm not as much of a determinist, but they're all ideas worth thinking about.
     

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