Is Mao Independent of Moscow?
To the Editor:
For a generation Franz Borkenau has fought the greatest assault on truth the world has ever witnessed: the Soviet falsification of history, past and present. . . . But it is beyond all understanding that it should be Franz Borkenau (“The Peking-Moscow Axis and the Western Alliance,” December 1954) who now asserts: “One sure fact can serve as the starting point for our investigation of Russo-Chinese relations today. Mao Tse-tung, alone among the present leaders of international Communism, rose to power without Stalin’s support. In fact, had not Stalin been ignorant of and largely indifferent to what was happening in the areas of China under partisan control before 1937, Mao would in all likelihood have been purged long ago.”
In 1928 Stalin was a very busy man, but not so busy that he should have been both ignorant of and indifferent to the Chinese Communist party. He managed to summon up enough intelligence and interest to expel Chen Tu-hsiu, leader of the Chinese Communist party and member of the Executive Committee of the Communist International; to remove Li Li-san, Chen’s chief assistant, from all of his party positions (detaining him in Moscow for fifteen years), and personally to place Mao Tse-tung at the head of the Chinese party.
This, incidentally, occurred at the time the Sixth Congress of the Chinese Communist party was meeting in Moscow, at which Congress Stalin personally made the decisions. (See “China’s Fate,” by Bertram D. Wolfe, American Mercury, January 1947.)
Stalin was at this time consolidating his power in Russia. He also was assuming complete control over every national party of the Comintern. From 1928 to 1938, he was doing precisely what Mr. Borkenau now says he neglected to do with respect to the Chinese party: expelling and/or physically purging every dissident, every independent, every oppositionist in the Communist world, whether in France or on 13th Street. . . .
One need not refresh Mr. Borkenau’s recollection concerning Stalin. He is among the most knowledgeable writers on the subject of that insatiable assassin. He will concede, I am sure, that when it came to purging, Stalin just never got bored. . . .
Would Stalin have overlooked an independent and oppositionist who commanded an army encamped at or near the Russian border—an army which bore Russian guns, was trained by Russian military men, spent Russian money? We must be true to the Vozhd’s memory: Joseph Stalin was never that generous!
A brief, accurate history of the Chinese Communist party, together with an analysis of the monopoly structure of Soviet society, would annihilate Mr. Borkenau’s thesis that Mao Tse-tung is or ever was an independent force in the Stalinist world. . . .
Mamaroneck, N. Y.