AS THESE lines are written an earnest effort is being made to compose the long-standing differences between the Communists in China and the Kuomintang Government of Chiang Kai-shek. The good offices of United States representatives have been made available to assist in these negotiations, and the recent action of Soviet Russia in making an alliance with the National Government and in agreeing not to interfere in the internal affairs of China has led to the fresh attempt at compromise to ward off a civil war. No one can predict what turn the negotiations may take. But whether the Communists are brought into the National Government, or whether they remain a dissident faction, they have come to stay as a force of great political importance not merely to China but to Asia and the world.
The reasons for this conclusion, reached after five months of critical investigation in Communist-controlled China and developed against the background of four years' experience in Kuomintang territories, are set forth in the following pages. They are not offered as a survey of all the factors in the twenty-year struggle between Kuomintang and Communist parties in China; that complex chapter of history has often been told from varying points of view. My effort here is simply to set forth why I contend that the Chinese Communist movement is now so strong, and has its roots so well embedded in economic and political realities in China, that it could not be destroyed even in a civil war.
The Communists are entrenched in their former "Anti-Japanese War Bases" in the north and center of China proper, with their capital in the small cave town of Yenan, in the province of Shensi. It is estimated that the extent of this area, which the Communists have been liberating and defending against constant Japanese counterattacks during the last eight years, is some 300,000 square miles. The Communists claim to have 910,000 regular troops, and 2,200,000 militia auxiliaries. These troops are inferior in equipment to those of
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