Mao's Evaluations of Stalin
China's ascent to the ranks of the world's second largest economic power has given Stalin and Mao: A Comparison of the Russian and Chinese Revolutions . If there is a slight resemblance in those early periods, it is only in relation to what. the estimation of the nature of the CCP-Moscow relationship, personalized in the relations between Mao and Stalin. Garver believe, that Stalin regarded Mao . differences of emphasis, not of substance. By substance, I mean what I called the . In part II below we attempt a summary of Mao's criticisms of Stalin by specific topic. but to the Soviet Union's historic relations with Eastern Poland. .. [ Although this tribute sounds effusive to us today, when compared to the.
Mao could not claim the firsthand knowledge possessed by many other leading members of the CCP of how communism worked within the Soviet Union nor the ability to read Karl Marx or Vladimir Ilich Lenin in the original, which some of them enjoyed.
He could and did claim, however, to know and understand China. The differences between him and the Soviet-oriented faction in the party came to a head at the time of the so-called Rectification Campaign of — That program aimed at giving a basic grounding in Marxist theory and Leninist principles of party organization to the many thousands of new members who had been drawn into the party in the course of the expansion since In March Mao achieved for the first time formal supremacy over the party, becoming chairman of the Secretariat and of the Political Bureau Politburo.
Shortly thereafter the Rectification Campaign took, for a time, the form of a harsh purge of elements not sufficiently loyal to Mao. Looking back at that period inwhen the Sino-Soviet conflict had come to a head, Mao declared: InStalin wanted to prevent China from making revolution, saying that we should not have a civil war and should cooperate with Chiang Kai-shek, otherwise the Chinese nation would perish.
But we did not do what he said. The revolution was victorious. After the victory of the revolution he [Stalin] next suspected China of being a Yugoslavia, and that I would become a second Tito. Before the Chinese had time to profit from the resources made available for economic development, however, they found themselves dragged into the Korean War in support of the Moscow-oriented regime in North Korea.
Only after that baptism of fire did Stalin, according to Mao, begin to have confidence in him and believe he was not first and foremost a Chinese nationalist. In such circumstances the Soviet Union provided the only available model. A five-year plan was therefore drawn up under Soviet guidance; it was put into effect in and included Soviet technical assistance and a number of complete industrial plants. Yet, within two years, Mao had taken steps that were to lead to the breakdown of the political and ideological alliance with Moscow.
In a report of Julyhe reversed that position, arguing that in China the social transformation could run ahead of the technical transformation.
Deeply impressed by the achievements of certain cooperatives that claimed to have radically improved their material conditions without any outside assistance, he came to believe in the limitless capacity of the Chinese people, especially of the rural masses, to transform at will both nature and their own social relations when mobilized for revolutionary goals. The tendency thus manifested to pursue his own ends outside the collective decision-making processes of the party was to continue and to be accentuated.
In the face of the disorders called forth by de-Stalinization in Poland and HungaryMao did not retreat but rather pressed boldly forward with that policy, against the advice of many of his senior colleagues, in the belief that the contradictions that still existed in Chinese society were mainly nonantagonistic.
Henceforth he would rely primarily on the creativity of the rank and file as the agent of modernization. It was against that background that Mao, during the winter of —58, worked out the policies that were to characterize the Great Leap Forwardformally launched in May As a result, the peasants, who had been organized into cooperatives in —56 and then into fully socialist collectives in —57, found their world turned upside down once again in Neither the resources nor the administrative experience necessary to operate such enormous new social units of several thousand households were in fact available, and, not surprisingly, the consequences of those changes were chaos and economic disaster.
By the winter of —59, Mao himself had come to recognize that some adjustments were necessary, including decentralization of ownership to the constituent elements of the communes and a scaling down of the unrealistically high production targets in both industry and agriculture.
At the Lushan meeting of the Central Committee in July—AugustPeng Dehuaithe minister of defense, denounced the excesses of the Great Leap and the economic losses they had caused. He was immediately removed from all party and state posts and placed in detention until his death during the Cultural Revolution.
Retreat and counterattack Though few spoke up at Lushan in support of Peng, a considerable number of the top leaders sympathized with him in private. Khrushchev also tried to put pressure on China in its dealings with Taiwan and India and in other foreign policy issues. Moscow timeMarch 5, Comrade Stalin represented our entire new age. His activities have led the Soviet people and the working people of all countries to turn around the whole world situation.
Moreover, the influence of this victory is daily spreading to every corner of the world. The victory of socialist construction in the Soviet Union was not only a victory for the people of the Soviet Union, but also a common victory for the people of the whole world.
First, this victory proved in the most real-life terms the infinite correctness of Marxism-Leninism and concretely educated working people through the world on how they should advance toward a good life. Second, this victory ensured that during the Second World War humanity would have the strength to defeat the Fascist beast. The achievement of victory in the anti-Fascist war would have been inconceivable without the victory of socialist construction in the Soviet Union.
The fate of all humanity was bound up with the victory of socialist construction in the Soviet Union and victory in the anti-Fascist war, and the glory for these victories should be attributed to our great Comrade Stalin.
His speech at the Nineteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is a precious last testament bequeathed to the Communists of all the countries of the world. We Chinese Communists, like the Communists of all countries, search for our own road to victory in the great works of Comrade Stalin. We rallied around him, constantly asked his advice, and constantly drew ideological strength from his works.
Comrade Stalin was full of warmth for the oppressed peoples of the East. Everyone knows that Comrade Stalin warmly loved the Chinese people and regarded the might of the Chinese revolution as incalculable. On the question of the Chinese revolution, he contributed his exalted wisdom. It was by following the teachings of Lenin and Stalin, along with having the support of the great Soviet state and all the revolutionary forces of other countries, that the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people achieved their historic victory a few years ago.
What a misfortune this is! The sorrow that this misfortune has brought us cannot be described in words. In memory of our great teacher Stalin, the great friendship between the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people [on the one hand] and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet people [on the other] formed in the name of Stalin will never cease to be strengthened.
This party has been our model in the past, is our model at present, and will still be our model in the future. Any imperialist aggression will be smashed by us, and all their despicable provocations will be to no avail. There are certain things that can be talked about everywhere. The bad things about Stalin and the Third International can be transmitted to the [special] district [Party] committee secretaries as well as to the xian [Party] committee secretaries.
These [bad things] were not written into the article out of consideration for the situation as a whole. In this article there was but one line written: Some bad suggestions were madeand we are not prepared to discuss them in newspapers or among the masses.
Why did Stalin commit errors? At present, things like this still [occur] frequently in our work. To be subjective is to proceed not from objective reality or from realistic possibility but rather from subjective desires…. Since some mistakes have occurred in the Soviet Union and those things have been much talked about, they have been exaggerated, and now there is the impression that mistakes of that kind are really terrible.
There is something wrong with such an outlook. It is impossible for any nation not to commit any mistakes at all, and [since] the Soviet Union was the first socialist country in the world, and has had such a long experience, it is impossible for it not to have made some mistakes. They are partial and temporary. Although we hear that some [of these] things have been around for twenty years already, they are nevertheless still temporary and partial and can be corrected.
The main current in the Soviet Union, its principal aspect, the majority [of its people], was correct. Russia gave birth to Leninism, and after the October Revolution, it became the first socialist country. It built socialism, defeated fascism, and became a great industrial state. It has many things from which we can learn. Of course, we should study the advanced experiences, and not the backward experiences.
We have always proposed the slogan of studying the advanced experience of the Soviet Union. Who asked you to learn the backward experiences? Some people say that no matter what, even the farts of the Russians smell good; that too is subjectivism. Even the Russians themselves would admit that they stink!
Therefore, things must be analyzed. There are some other questions, too, on which we disagree. A comment made to P. Yudin, the Soviet ambassador to China. The Russians have now relinquished the knife represented by Stalin.
Gomulka and some people in Hungary have picked up this knife to kill the Soviet Union, [by] opposing the so-called Stalinism. The Communist parties of many European countries are also criticizing the Soviet Union; the leader [of these parties] is Togliatti.
The imperialists are also using this knife to kill people; Dulles, for one, picked it up and played around with it for some time. This knife was not loaned out; it was thrown out. We, the Chinese, did not discard it. Rather, we have acted in accordance with the actual situation.
As I see it, much of it has already been discarded. Is [the experience of] the October Revolution still valid? Can it remain a model for all other countries?
This is to say that other countries no longer need to emulate the October Revolution. Once this door is opened, Leninism will basically be abandoned…. All you have is a Lenin and a Stalin.
But you have discarded Stalin, and most of Lenin too.
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We study Marxism-Leninism, and we learn from the October Revolution. Marx has written so much, and Lenin has also written so much! Relying on the masses and taking the mass line are things we learned from them. It is very dangerous not to rely on the masses in waging class struggle and not to distinguish between the enemy and ourselves.
This version of the speech, however, had many strong criticisms of Stalin removed from it. See the next item below. The mass line, our political work, and [the theory of] the dictatorship of the proletariat have all been learned from the October Revolution. At that time, Lenin had focused on the mobilization of the masses, and on organizing the worker-peasant-soldier soviet, and so on. He did not rely on [doing things by] administrative decree.
Rather, Lenin sent Party representatives to carry out political work. Today, the Soviet Union still has some advanced experiences that deserve to be emulated, but there are some other [aspects] in which we simply cannot be like the Soviet Union.
For example, the socialist transformation of the capitalist industries and commerce, the cooperativization of agriculture, and the Ten Major Relationships in economic construction; these are all ways of doing things in China. Therefore, we must still propose the slogan of learning from the Soviet Union; just that we cannot forcibly and crudely transplant and employ things blindly and in a doctrinaire fashion. Stalin spoke [the language of] materialism and the dialectical method, but in reality he was subjectivist.
He placed the individual above everything else, negated the group, and negated the masses. Stalin also spoke of the dialectical method, but in reality [he] was metaphysical. For example, in the [Short] History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Bolshevikhe wrote of the dialectical method, [but] put [the theory of] contradictions [only] at the very end.
We should say that the most fundamental problem of dialectics is the unity of contradictory opposites. It is [precisely] because of his metaphysical [character] that a one-sided viewpoint was produced, in which the internal connections in a thing are repudiated, and problems are looked at isolatedly and in a static way. To pay heed to dialectics would be to look at problems and treat a problem as a unity of opposites, and that is why it would be [a] comprehensive [methodology].
Life and death, war and peace, are opposites of a contradiction. In reality, they also have an internal connection between them. That is why at times these oppositions are also united. When we [seek to] understand problems we cannot see only one side. We should analyze [it] from all sides, look through its essence. In this way, with regard to [understanding] a person, we would not be [taking the position] at one time that he is all good, and then at another time that he is all bad, without a single good point.
Why is our Party correct? It is because we have been able to proceed from the objective conditions in understanding and resolving all problems; in this way we are more comprehensive and we can avoid being absolutists.
But we Communists are materialists; we acknowledge that it is the masses who create everything and are the masters of history. In fact, since Lenin died, the mass line has been forgotten in the Soviet Union.
Of course, more recently, attention has begun to be paid to this, but the understanding is still not [sufficiently] deep. At one time, the divergence between Lenin and the Third International and the Second International was mainly along the lines that the Marxists emphasized the class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat whereas the opportunists were unwilling to acknowledge them.
One of the lessons to be learned from the occurrence of the Polish and Hungarian Incidents, in addition to [the fact that] there were shortcomings in the work [of the Communist parties], is that after the victory of the revolution they had not properly mobilized the masses to weed out thoroughly the counterrevolutionary elements.
One excessively long paragraph in the report of this speech has been broken up into three paragraphs for readability purposes. A remark made to the Soviet ambassador.
Following that, the imperialists cooked up two major anti-Communist storms, and in the international Communist movement also there were two big storms of debate. Some of the [Communist] parties in Europe and America felt the impact of these upheavals and suffered considerable damage, but the damage sustained and the degree to which the [Communist] parties in the countries in the East were affected was relatively small.
Marxism-Leninism also includes [the code of] revolutionary ethics of the proletariat. You supported [Stalin] so very enthusiastically in the past; before making such a big switch now, you must at least give some reason [for doing so].
The Stalin problem involves the entire international Communist movement, and the parties in all countries have become involved. This is a normal feeling and a normal reaction. Among a minority, however, there is stirring. Whenever a typhoon approaches, the ants will leave their holes before the rain comes. These are the vacillating elements in the Party; they vacillate whenever they get the chance. Later, when the imperialists hit back with a few blows, and a few blows were delivered from within the international Communist movement itself, even Khrushchev had to change his tune, and they again swung back over to this side.
Compelled by the general trend, they had no choice but to swing back. To swing back was not their true intention; their true intention was to swing over to the other side. Those people within the Party and outside it who gloated about the Polish affair and the Hungarian affair made a good show of it!
They talked about Poznan one moment and about Hungary the next. In this way they exposed themselves; the ants left their holes, and even the turtles have come out. The situation has changed now, and they do not utter a sound. Silence [,however,] is not their true intention; their true intention is to make a lot of noise. I advise everybody to pay attention to this problem….
Version I is also available in SW vol. See below for the same passage from version II. Before it rains, there are bound to be ants leaving their holes. In China, too, a small number of ants wanted to leave their holes to engage in some activity. Now Khrushchev has changed, and the ants have withdrawn, gone back [into the holes]. The [Communist] parties in many countries suffered damage: The British Party lost one-fourth [of its membership], the Swiss [Party] half; and the United States made chaos throughout the world.
The Eastern parties and the Party in China were not quite so severely affected. The problem of Stalin has involved the entire Communist movement. Some people criticize Stalin without making any analysis. The people who were most staunchly supportive of Stalin in the past are precisely the most vehemently opposed to Stalin now.Why Stalin Let the Korean War Happen - Explained
They have suddenly turned around degrees; they no longer talk of Marxism-Leninism, or of ethics. In the Party, some people begin to teeter as soon as there is any rustling in the wind. Some sway once or twice and then stop swaying; some will go on swaying forever. Saplings, the stalks of rice, barley, corn, and the grass on the wall always sway when they see the wind coming; only the big tree will not sway. There are typhoons every year, but there is not necessarily a political typhoon every year.
This phenomenon is a natural phenomenon in society and politics. Some Party members, even though they have struggled hard and arduously for many years, have not learned Marxism-Leninism well, and cannot endure typhoons ideologically and politically; they ought to pay attention. Some people in the Party have passed every gate except this gate of socialism…. See previous item for the same passage from version I. The shortcoming of some of our Communist Party members and Communist intellectuals is precisely that they know too little about the things on the opposite side.
They read a few books written by Marx and proceed to talk about them accordingly; this is relatively monotonous. Their speeches and writings [therefore] lack persuasiveness. Marx, Engels, and Lenin were not like that. They all studied energetically and learned all sorts of contemporary and historical things; moreover, they counseled others to do the same. The three component parts of Marxism were produced through the process of studying the things in bourgeois [society], studying German classical philosophy, British classical economics, and French utopian socialism, and struggling against them.
Stalin was a bit less sound. For instance during his time German classical idealist philosophy was said to be a kind of reaction on the part of the German aristocracy to the French Revolution. To draw a conclusion like that is to totally negate German classical idealist philosophy. The first that he talked about was the relationship between things, as if all things were related for no reason.
In fact, how are things related? The relationship is actually between the two aspects of a contradiction. Few historians take their work seriously, and several of the most influential figures in the field—including Andrew J. Goodman— published a book to rebut it. But is starting a war of aggression less of a crime than launching economic policies that cause a famine?
Tombstone is a testament to inhumanity and occasional heroism that pits collective memory against the historical amnesia imposed by those in power. Stunning in scale and arresting in its detailed account of the staggering human cost of this tragedy, Tombstone is written both as a memorial to the lives lost—an enduring tombstone in memory of the dead—and in hopeful anticipation of the final demise of the totalitarian system. The Soviet Union suffered upward of 8 million combatant deaths and many more due to famine and disease—perhaps about 20 million.
As for Hitler, should his deaths include the hundreds of thousands who died in the aerial bombardments of Germans cities? After all, it was his decision to strip German cities of anti-aircraft batteries to replace lost artillery following the debacle at Stalingrad. And what of the millions of Germans in the East who died after being ethnically cleansed and driven by the Red Army from their homes?
On whose ledger do they belong?