Communism Elsewhere

    The communist way of life is not secluded to one specific country. Versions of it are all over the world:


During the Korean War (1950-1953) North Korea was led by the Democratic People's Republic Kim Il Sung.  These communist dealt with strict political control and many orthodox patterns. Kim's own ideology of Juche (self-reliance) was strongly pursued along with acts of violence against the South Korean government. When the "Beloved Ruler" died in 1994, he was followed by his son, Kim Jong-il. North Korea's economy is one of the poorest in the world, and its society is highly regimented and closed to the outside world. Kim has pursued a program of militarization of the nation's nuclear energy program. North Korea's research in this area has been the central focus of negotiations between Kim and the members of the Six Party Talks (including the US, Japan, South Korea, China, and Russia). The contrast in economic development between the capitalist Republic of South Korea and its communist neighbor to the north is severe in that a massive famine has gripped the north during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Whether the famine is a result of the corruption of Communist Party officials or is a result of the inefficiency of the communist system is still a matter of debate among western scholars.


Cuban communism was instituted by Fidel Castro when he came to power in January of 1959. He attempted to extend the revolution further to other countries (Croan). Castro's communist state became a client state of the Soviet Union, with a close alliance forming between Castro and Soviet premier Khrushchev in the early 1960s. The Soviets propped up the Cuban economy through trade, but it became known that the Soviets were also placing intermediate and short range nuclear missiles inside Cuba, 90 miles off the coast of Florida, well within striking distance of most US eastern cities, including Washington, DC. The Kennedy Administration, smarting from a failed coup earlier in 1961 known as the Bay of Pigs invasion, moved cautiously to stop the flow of Soviet weapons to Cuba. In what became known in history as the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy placed a naval embargo around the island, which the Soviets wisely chose not to breach. Had Khrushchev called Kennedy's dare, World war III could have ensued. Instead ,t he Soviets withdrew their weapons and agreed to the Nuclear Test ban treaty of 1963. 

In 1965 Castro merged his political movement with the communist party of Cuba and then followed Soviet guidance. Because of various economic problems, and after the Soviet collapse in 1991, the Soviet aid to Cuba fell. Cuba's economy adapted to the loss of trade and subsidies with the Soviet Union, but it never brought about capitalist reforms seen in Russia and in China. Cuba relies on revenue from tourism from Western Europe, but the American embargo against trade with Cuba has persisted since it was put in place during the Castro years.

Western Europe

At the end of World War II, both France and Italy ended up with large communist parties.  Their main support system was the industrial workers and peasants. The spread of communism in western Europe was averted with the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, where the United States placed billions of dollars in the form of assistance and investments in those nations where communism was a threat. Nevertheless, Western European democracies have always had to contend with influential Communist Parties within their opposition forces. With the adoption of a new policy of "socialism in the colors of France," communists were appointed to the French cabinet (1981). Haley's Communist Party carried a permanent critical attitude toward Moscow and passed the "polycentrism" doctrine stating that there should be room for a variety of views among communist parties (Croan). This party's role in Italian politics was later underscored when they changed their name to the Democratic Socialist Party in 1991 to gain a mainstream of acceptance.


Under the power of Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) the communist "movement" won out in 1949. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was actually founded in 1921 and had built their party on peasant support alone after conflicts with the Chinese Nationalists. Mao Zedong saw the human race as being involved in a constant struggle against nature. The Chinese struggled between those who supported the Soviet viewpoint and those who thought of Soviets as a "bourgeois society." A Cultural Revolution was organized and ended three years later in 1969. Upon Mao's death in 1976, the power struggle finally ended. In 1979, China set up diplomatic relations with the United States. This move also improved relations with the U.S.S.R. (Croan). Once the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, China was left as the largest and most powerful Communist state. 


After World War II, the Communist Party (Viet Minh) became the strongest in all of Vietnam. Vietnam was split in 1954 into the communist North and the anti-communist South, upon receiving their independence from the French. The Vietnam War was instigated by a communist insurrection in the south (Croan). The North Vietnamese army conquered South Vietnam in 1975, two years after the United States had withdrawn from the war. A unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam was established in July of 1976. Vietnamese communists stood for a single party regime, state-owned industry, and collectivized agriculture.

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