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Communistic doctrine and Communist leadership as they developed in China, and their changing relations to the Kremlin, are the subjects of this documented, readable—and controversial—book. Benjamin Schwartz points out that we have witnessed in China not only an elemental upsurge of the masses, but also the rise to power of a vigorous new ruling group basing itself on a forceful new strategy neither planned in advance nor anticipated by the Kremlin.
Schwartz studies the beginnings of Communism in China. He then analyzes the peculiar nature of the Communist–Kuomintang alliance of 1924 and the cause of its collapse, and discusses the role played by Mao Tse-tung during these years. He goes on to trace the growing isolation of the Chinese Communist Party from the urban proletariat; the shift of power to Mao Tse-tung in the countryside; and the emergence of a new strategy whose relation to the Kremlin’s party line is more a matter of faith than of fact. For, under the leadership of Mao, the Chinese Party, while firmly convinced of its own orthodoxy, came to realize in the face of Marxist-Leninist doctrine that the peasantry could provide the mass basis and the motive power for a revolutionary transformation—and acted on that belief. The nature and extent of “’Titoism”’ in China and elsewhere is the subject of Schwartz’ thought-provoking final chapter.