MODERNIZATION INTERRUPTED? TOTAL WAR, STATE BREAKDOWN, AND THE COMMUNIST CONQUEST OF CHINA

Authors

  • Pavel Osinsky

    Corresponding author
    1. Appalachian State University
      Pavel Osinsky, Department of Sociology, Appalachian State University, ASU Box 32115, Boone, NC 28608-2115; e-mail: osinskyp@appstate.edu
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Pavel Osinsky, Department of Sociology, Appalachian State University, ASU Box 32115, Boone, NC 28608-2115; e-mail: osinskyp@appstate.edu

Abstract

A state-centered perspective in studies of revolutions holds that international pressures contribute to outbreak of revolutions, assuming that the magnitude and intensity of international pressures vary from case to case. This study argues that in the paradigmatic communist revolutions of the 20th century, such as the Russian and Chinese Revolutions, the role of the exogenous factor of war was paramount. After outlining a war-centered framework for studying communist revolutions, this research shows how the devastating experience of total war against Japan (1937–1945) undermined the Kuomintang state in China and created structural conditions for the communist takeover.

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