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Double crisis: China and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

Zhu, Dandan (2009) Double crisis: China and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

The 1956 crisis in Hungary had a profound impact on China's international affairs and domestic politics. The Chinese Communist Party leadership - party chairman Mao Zedong in particular - had by the end of mid-1950s begun to conceive of "a great Chinese revolution", which would largely take the form of large-scale industrial modernization. At the same time, China's awareness that it could develop into a leading player in the international socialist camp led Mao and his colleagues actively to intervene on the East European scene, posing an implicit challenge to the Soviet dominance in the bloc. The apparent desire of the Hungarian people to break free from Stalinist socialism, and the real risk, as Mao saw it, of the bloc foundering, convinced the Chinese Party that only reverting to a Stalinist pattern of inter-state socialism could keep the camp intact. In the domestic context, the Hungarian events likewise played a formative role in the evolution of Chinese social policy as top officials critically reviewed the Soviet experience of collectivization. Intellectuals and statesmen began to doubt the efficiency of the party's rule, while Mao rejected meaningful reforms of institutional socialism in favour of "soft" means of conscripting the intellectuals and "remolding" popular thought. Having opened up to party to criticism from outside, Mao cited the risk of domestic opponents fomenting a Hungarian-style crisis in China in terminating the Hundred Flowers campaign and moving to a program of ideological purges and massive economic stimulation. By 1958 China was definitively set on the course of the Great Leap Forward and the break with the Soviet Union.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, Asia, Australia and Oceania, History, European, Political Science, International Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > International History
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2998

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