Western Policies in Post War Asia 1945–1979


Origins of the Cold War pre-1945

  • Stalin was wanted to turn his back on Mao in favour of Jiang Jieshi.
  • Truman rejected Stalin's suggestion of working out the details of the Korean trusteeship as he didn't think that the USSR would mobilise their troops in the far east before the war with Japan was over.
  • The US retreated from its somewhat anti-colonial stance as they believed that the USSR posed a bigger threat than European imperialists.
  • Resentment was created as the US kept their atomic bomb programme a secret when they were supposed to be allies with the USSR. 
  • Ideological differences between the capitalist US and the communist USSR.
  • Clashes of interest over Iran, Germany, Turkey and Korea. 
  • US disapproval of Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe.
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Yalta February 1945

  • Who was present: The 'Big Three'- Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt
  • Aims of the West: Maintaining empires, US wanted to ensure Soviet entrance into the Pacific War, Roosevelt wanted the USSR to join the UN to secure future peace and alliance, Soviet-American-British-Chinese trusteeship would lead independence in Korea.
  • Aims of the USSR: Secure and obtain land, secure positions in their 'spheres of influence', USSR gained portions of Sakhalin, Port Arthur, Manchurian railroads and Kurile Islands, Stalin agreed to support Jiang Jieshi instead of Mao, ensuring easy naval access in the Pacific.
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Potsdam July 1945

  • Who was present: Churchill (replaced by Attlee halfway through), Stalin, Truman
  • Aims of the West: Truman rejects finalising Korea trusteeship because the atomic bomb test means that the USSR is no longer needed in the Pacific War, China to occupy northern French Indochina, British South East Asia Command (SEAC) to occupy southern French Indochina, US wanted to keep control of Okinawa.
  • Aims of the USSR: Stalin confirms that he will enter the war against the Japanese.
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US Policies and USSR Responses:

  • February 22nd 1946: Kennan's Long Telegram marked the beginning of a war of words. Kennan stated that Soviet antagonism was due to their government's need to exaggerate external threats in order to maintain domestic legitimacy. The Soviets were depicted as aggressive which became the accepted Western reason for the Cold War.
  • Truman Doctrine: The US agreed to help any country under the threat of communism as part of their containment policy. This prevented a communist takeover of Greece in 1947.
  • Marshall Plan: Economic Aid given to war-torn Europe as Truman believed that communism flourished in places of "misery and want". Truman also wanted Europe to recover as a trading partner and to prevent another economic depression. This was dubbed by the USSR as "an American plan to enslave Europe".
  • September 1947: Cominform created to strengthen ties between communist countries. 
  • January 1949: Comecon formed to rival Marshall Aid, i.e. communist countries would give eachother aid instead of accepting it from the US, despite a lack of surplus money to do so.
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Model States

What were the USA's aims in creating Model States?

  • The USA wanted to remould pre-war countries after their own system as they believed that theirs was the best in the world.
  • "Ensure that Japan will not again become a menace to the peace and security of the world"
  • Ensuring that new countries would be pro-American.

Post-War Fates:

  • USA occupied Japan and granted Filipino independence.
  • China was ravaged by civil war between communists and anti-communists.
  • The British return to Malaya.
  • The French returned to Indochina.
  • The Soviets took Japanese surrender in northern Korea and the US took it in the south.
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Japan as a Model State

  • SCAP: Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, led by MacArthur and his administration. It consisted of 3000 US military and civilian personel by 1948.

What three methods were used to transform Japan into a Model State?:

  • Creating a pro-American constitutional monarchy.
  • Human rights and equality enforced.
  • War and armed forces renounced.

Why did the 'Japan Crowd' win over the 'China Crowd'?

  • 'China Crowd': Belived Japan to be a permanent threat to the US
  • 'Japan Crowd': Japan could easily be moulded into a post-war ally.
  • The onset of the Cold War led many of the Truman administration to conclude that Japan would be important in the containment of communism.
  • The appointment of George Marshall as Secretary of State in 1947 shifted emphasis to economic revival in Japan, so that a rejuvinated economy would prove useful against communism.
  • A more prosperous Japan would make the population less inclined to support communism.
  • Japan was costing the US huge sums of money ($1bn in 1945-1948), leading many in Washington to believe that it would be cheaper to build up the Japanese economy.
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Japan as a Model State

How was 1950-51 a turning point?:

  • After the outbreak of the Korean War, most US soldiers in Japan were diverted to Korea. 
  • American purchases for the Korean War greatly stimulated the Japanese economy. 
  • Communists were repressed in the 'red purge' which began in 1950.
  • War also increased Japan's international respect.
  • In September 1951, Yoshida signed a peace treaty and a defence treaty with the US (US-Japanese Security Treaty) and the US occupation of Japan came to an end.
  • Ziabatsu: Cartels/ Large groups of companies.
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Did Japan become a successful Model State?

  • Policies for changing Japan into a Model State: Created a constitutional monarchy, using Hirohito to place SCAP in a positive light; well behaved soldiers; new American-style education system; human rights, gender equality and collective bargaining were emphasised; land redistribution in 1946 reduced the power of the landowning elite; tried to break up 83 ziabatsu; democratic elections held from 1946; government purge of 250,000 people, 25 of whom were tried for war crimes; pro-labour to pro-business approached reduced the appeal of communism. 
  • Effectiveness of policies: SCAP was widely respected as the Japanese were traditionally subservient to authority; many Japanese people were amazed at the good behaviour of US soldiers compared to that of the Japanese in China; high school attendance had doubled by 1955; the lack of Japanese speakers in SCAP enabled Japanese authorities to delay, change or even ignore instructions; Yoshida Shigeru became Prime Minister (May 1946-May 1947) and he was pro-American; the value of Japanese exports rose from $174 million in 1947 to $827 million by 1950; ziabatsus remained intact; women had more rights but were not 100% equal to men; ensuring that the royal family weren't implicated in war trials helped acceptance of the US presence; MacArthur diverted army surplus food to feed starving civilians in 1946.
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The Philippines as a Model State

Why did FDR promise Filipino independence (granted in 1946)?

  • Considered the Philippines to be an economic burden.
  • Sought to halt Filipino immigration to the US and the free importation of Filipino products such as sugar, which threatened American producers.

What did the JCS think about the Philippines?

  • The JCS gave Japan, Okinawa, Korea and Guam higher priority than any bases in the Philppines but like the idea of influence. 

How did Roxas allow the country to be exploited and why?

  • He allowed this because he feared the loss of US aid.
  • He did this through allowing a Philippine Trade Act (1946) and territorial concessions (March 1947) which gave 99-year leases on 22 military and naval bases.
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Did the Philippines become a successful Model Stat

  • Yes: Americanisation of society (rich women would serve US canned fruit as a status symbol, implying that society was pro-American); 7500 Filipino troops joined UN forces in the Korean War, and the US were granted vital bases as Clark Field and Subic Bay; MacArthur had also gained Filipino respect due to US Liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese in 1944; Magsaysay also managed to decrease hostility from the Huks due to his offer of amnesty and the reduction of brutality under him, as well as rural development sponsership, making the Filipinos less inclined to revolt, and communism didn't have much hold outside central Luzon which illustrates American success.
  • No: Roxas was frequently undemocratic, e.g. through his expulsion of 11 elected representatives in 1946 so he could pass the 1946 Philippine Trade Act, which prevented the buying of any non-US goods; violent repression by Roxas' military police caused resentment towards the US as they supported him; the Huk rebellion also demonstrated a lack of control; the Filipino government also mostly consisted of pardoned wartime collaborators, conveying that the basis of the government wasn't pro-USA; The Philippine Trade Act was also widely unpopular was also widely unpopular, even amongst US congress, where it was believed to go against the US ideals of freedom and independence.
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Why did China fall to communism

  • The Japanese Invasion: Cost Jiang his best troops and much of his money, and allowed the CCP to establish itself in the countryside; Jiang's refusal to co-operate with the CCP made him look less patriotic than Mao.
  • Communist appeal to the peasantry: Mao came from peasant stock; unequal land and wealth distribution made communism appealing to the poor as 10% of the population owned 70% of land, and peasants were forced to give the majority of their crops for rent.
  • Jiang's loss of middle-class support: repressive secret police and lack of democracy; GMD employed corrupt bureaucrats from previous regimes; Jiang made no attempt to stabilise hyperinflation, which hit peasants and urban dwellers badly as he rose taxes.
  • Jiang's army: Officers sold food on the black market, leaving soldiers hungry; 70% desertion rates; conscription hit peasantry hard and caused resentment; low morale, as reflected by the surrender of Bejing to the CCP without a fight in 1949. 
  • Jiang's strategies: Suspicions lay in the wrong place, as Jiang's assistant chief of staff ensured that the CCP knew GMD plans.
  • Communist military performance: 8 rules of conduct ensured that CCP soldiers had better relationships with the peasantry; CCP lost fewer men than the GMD against the Japanese as they mostly relied on guerilla warfare.
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Why did China fall to communism?

  • Mao's leadership: Mao won more supporters than Jiang through his social and economic policies; more flexible as he adjusted reform policies to maximise support; played more effectively on Chinese nationalism than Jiang; seemed more democratic due to his willingness to form coalitions and to listen to people; superior military strategy made him seem stronger.
  • Impact of US and Soviet intervention: European containment took greater priority; Stalin remained true to Yalta promises, but Jiang had little appeal; Republicans in Truman's government said that China fell as a result of inadequate support for Jiang; arms shipments to Jiang were halted after the collapse of the GMD and CCP truce in 1946; arms embargo lifted too late to help Jiang (1947); US cancelled all aid to Jiang in December 1948 as many felt that he was a hopeless case; "China White Paper" issued in August 1949 stated that only the Chinese forces could determine the outcome of their civil war.
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Significance of the fall of China to communism:

  • Truman's failure to recognise communist China as the true government exacerbated the Cold War in Asi as he continued to support the unpopular Jiang in Taiwan. Truman feared that Republicans would slate him for being pro-communist if he recognised the government.
  • The Republicans gained much political capital from the 'loss' of China, as Truman became a victim of his own doctrine.
  • Brought the Cold War to Asia with a vengeance, leading to involvement in Taiwan, Malaya and Korea. 
  • US nuclear monopoly was now over after the USSR tested their atom bomb in August 1949, so they were pressured even more to become involved in Asia, following the 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship.
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NSC-68 (1950)

  • NSC-68 (1950): A US National Security Council review document that proposed the tripling of America's defence budget to build up a massive US military presence to contain communism. This document rejected the idea of friendly détente and containment, and called for a more active role, such as the development of the hydrogen bomb.
  • The NSC-68 advocated: the development of the hydrogen bomb; build up of conventional forces; tax increases to pay for military spending; alliances with other nations and the mobilisation of public opinion to create a "cold war consensus"
  • Could the NSC-68 cause conflict in Asia?: Led to the tripling of the US defence budget; it represented a more hard-line approach by Truman to the developing Korean crisis; the NSC-68 was a secret document, and as such could not deter Stalin and North Korea as they were unaware that the US would follow these plans; attitudes represent a post-1950 reality as a result of communist China and the Soviet hydrogen bomb.


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The Defensive Perimeter Strategy (1950)

  • The Defensive Perimeter Strategy (1950): Protecting Pacific islands from falling into communist hands as they provided valuable resources such as rubber and tin. Military, naval and air bases were to be set up along the border of Okinawa, which was seen as a strong point of control from which a defensive attack could be launched. This was essentially an imaginary line linked by military bases, so that an attack on any other Pacific land would be considered an attack on the US.
  • US attitude to the strategy: the State Department saw the perimeter as a detached position from which to encourage Asian national movements; the JCS saw it as a low-cost defensive line in the event of war, by relying on it instead of requesting higher funding for adequate forces; MacArthur saw it as a series of bases for offensive attacks to regain mainland China; policy was undermined by US actions on the Asian mainland- e.g. Korea and Indochina- so some historians view it as a half-measure.
  • Why was the DPS introduced?: Asian markets provided the world with 90% of rubber, 60% of tin and essential raw materials such as petrol and timber; Asian national movements to oust imperialist powers as communists inspired and feared Soviet influence; the CIA stressed the importance of keeping offshore islands out of hostile hands to allow access to strategic raw materials.
  • How did the DPS cause conflict?: the US was considered hypocritical in calling for decolonisation while persuing imperialist policies; encouraging capitalism was blatantly anti-Soviet; the US was considered to usurp the Cold War balance of power in Asia by expanding Western influence.
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Nixon's Détente:

  • By the beginning of the 1960's, the USSR and PRC had some serious ideological and doctrinal differences in their interpretations of Marxism and how communism was implemented in their own countries. This breakdown of relations is known as the Sino-Soviet Split.
  • The Monolithic Communist Bloc is the idea that communist countries want the same thing, and this was destroyed by the Sino-Soviet Split which paved the way for diplomatic relations with China.

Differences Between the USSR and PRC:

  • USSR: Marxist-Leninism (emphasis on the industrial Proletariat); Khrushchev spoke frequently about peaceful coexistence; Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
  • PRC: Importance of peasantry; Khrushchev's 1956 criticism of Stalin upset Mao; aggressive anti-Western rhetoric found to be dangerous and provocative; resented a lack of support in the Quemoy and Matsu crises and the Sino-Indian crises.
  • Détente: A relaxation of tension between the USA and China.
  •  Nixon's Visit to China: February 21st-28th 1972
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Nixon's Détente

  • Bipolar World Order: The USA and USSR were the most powerful countries in the world following WWII. From the 1960's, the Cold War changed as the US and USSR were unable to dominate world politics in the same way in a new multipolar world.
  • "The right can do what the left can only dream of": Nixon was able to go to China as a result of his tough stance on communism.
  • Shanghai Communiqué: Joint statement summarising the agreements and disagreements of the visit.
    • Opposition to any country seeking hegemony in Asia (jibe at USSR, as China had accused them of just that)
    • China said that the communists were the sole legitimate rulers of China, and would not begin diplomatic relations with the US until they withdrew from Taiwan.
    • Nixon promised to reduce the US military presence in Taiwan.
    • Both countries to increase contact by encouraging trade and travel.
  • Rapproachment: An establishment or resumption of harmonious affairs.
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The division of Korea

North Korea

  • 1945-48: Governed by Soviets
  • 1948-Present: DPRK

South Korea

  • 1945-48: Governed by USA
  • 1948-Present: PRK

How were the two Koreas established?:

  • 1943 Cairo Declaration stated that Korea was to become independent in "due course".
  • At Yalta, it was agreed that Korea would be governed by a trusteeship.
  • At Potsdam, the US rejected the trusteeship.
  • At the Moscow Conference in December 1945, the US and USSR secretaries of states agreed to establish a Soviet-American Joint commission, after the KPR. This was to bring about Korean independence within 5 years.
  • Korea was to be divided at the 38th parallel. 
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The US and Taiwan

  • The US supported Jiang as leader of Taiwan (and self proclaimed, -and US endorsed- leader of the Republic of China), where he fled upon the communist takeover of China.
  • Quemoy and Matsu Crises: Mao threatens to shell Taiwan and make it part of the PRC, following shelling of Quemoy and Matsu after the US-Taiwan Treaty of 1954. The USA uses 'brinkmanship' and nuclear threats to get Mao to back down.
  • Taiwan is expelled from the UN following the détente in 1971, and China joins.
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Reasons for the Sino-Soviet Split

  • Ideological differences 
  • Bitterness regarding the Soviet-backed Ili Rebellion, wherein Stalin showed loyalty to Jiang by showing him Sheng's letter offering him the province.
  • Mao feels betrayed by a lack of direct military support by the USSR in the Korean War.
  • Khrushchev handed Port Arthur to the PRC in 1954.
  • Mao is upset over Khrushchev's 1956 speech that denounces Stalin's rule as a 'cult of personality'.
  • Foreign policy differences caused tension, such as Khrushchev's idea of 'peaceful coexistence' and Mao's anti-Western hostility.
  • A lack of consultation regarding PRC's actions during the Quemoy and Matsu crises caused resentment, as well as Chinese dictation of what the USSR could do in response to US nuclear threats.
  • Khrushchev pulls most advisers out of China in 1958 as Mao refuses joint defence projects.
  • Sino-Indian disputes worsen relations due to a lack of Soviet support, with the USSR mostly supporting India in the Sino-Indian War (1962).
  • The USSR and PRC begin to defame eachother in the press in the 1960's.
  • Mao ends diplomatic relations with the USSR in 1964.
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Britain and Malaya:

  • British policies in Malaya: pre-war Malaya contained indigenous Malays, Chinese and Indians; pre-war rule favoured indigenous Malays; Chinese and Indians came over to work in rubber plantations and tin mines; many Chinese joined resistence against the Japanese, while the Malays remained docile.
  •  Antagonism between the Malays and Chinese increased post-war because: The Malays didn't want the Chinese to have citizenship rights because they outnumbered them; the Chinese represented a lack of Malay resistence to the Japanese; the British now seemed to favour the Chinese due to their resistence efforts.
  • The British Military Administration 1945:46: Established to ensure the return of civilian rule; failed to prevent a minority of soldiers from engaging in plunder and ****; ineffective at handling economic problems and communal violence.
  • The Malayan Union 1946-48: Britian proposed a Malayan Union consisting of the Malay penninsula states in which non-Malays would have equal citizenship rights, excluding Singapore's most important port which had a Chinese majority.
  • Britian made these proposals because: A centralised government would hep revitalise the economy and prepare Malaya for independence; appreciation for Chinese resistence to the Japanese; fear that a lack of citizenship would cause the Chinese to transfer their loyalty to China; equal citizenship seemed to be the only way forward for an independent Malaya.
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Britain and Malaya:

  • Britain soon dropped the idea of a union because: Mass peaceful Malay protests; fear of creating an anti-British sentiment; unenthusiastic Chinese and Indian response. 
  • The Federation of Malaya Agreement (February 1948): Restored the power of traditional Malay rulers; made universal citizenship dependent on a 15-year residency in Malaya for non-Malays.

The Malayan communist uprising:  The MCP previously encouraged peaceful protest and strikes for independence, but decided on an armed struggled in 1948 because: the British Administration was making life difficult for Chinese trade unions and deporting Chinese communist leaders; inspired by the CCP's military progress in China; replacement of the disgraced Lai Teck (MCP's head) with radicals in 1947 was used to discredit co-operation with the British; the Federation of Malaya had restored Anglo-Malay collaboration and domination.

  • A state of emergency was declared after three British planters were murdered by the Malayan Races Liberation Army and membership of the MCP was made illegal.
  • The MRLA targeted mines, plantations and communications, and assassinated owners, managers and members of the public.
  • Campaigns were directed from jungle camps near Chinese squatter communities, from which there was a great deal of support.
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Britain and Malaya:

  • Reasons for the communist defeat by 1955: Government force and power; opposition to the MCP by moderate Chinese; mass detention of Chinese squatters and resettlement of many in areas free of MCP influence; Templer's counterinsurgency campaign, e.g. Strategic Hamlets; communist divisions over leadership and doctrine; the Korean War increased demands for tin and rubber, causing an economic boom and reducing the appeal of communism; the 1952 announcement that independence was imminent; support for the British.
  • Independence: Malayan Federation declared independent in 1957, with Malaysia forming in 1963 upon combination with British territory in Singapore and Borneo. Singapore is separated from the Federation in 1965.
  • US policy and British Malaya: Communist insurgency was an important factor in determining foreign policy in Asia; the sucess of strategic hamlets in Malaya was based on insurgents being detested by Malayan villagers, but this failed in Vietnam due to a lack of racial tension.
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