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Victorious Insurgencies

Victorious Insurgencies: Four Rebellions that Shaped Our World

Anthony James Joes
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Victorious Insurgencies
    Book Description:

    Insurgencies, especially in the form of guerrilla warfare, continue to erupt across many parts of the globe. Most of these rebellions fail, butFour Rebellions that Shaped Our Worldanalyzes four twentieth-century conflicts in which the success of the insurgents permanently altered the global political arena: the Maoists in China against Chiang Kai-shek and the Japanese in the 1930s and 1940s; the Viet Minh in French Indochina from 1945 to 1954; Castro's followers against Batista in Cuba from 1956 to 1959; and the mujahideen in Soviet Afghanistan from 1980 to 1989.

    Anthony James Joes illuminates patterns of failed counterinsurgencies that include serious but avoidable political and military blunders and makes clear the critical and often decisive influence of the international setting. Offering provocative insights and timeless lessons applicable to contemporary conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, this authoritative and comprehensive book will be of great interest to policy-makers and concerned citizens alike.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-2972-3
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. INTRODUCTION: Who Cares about Yesterday’s Wars?
    (pp. 1-4)

    This book is about four insurgencies whose success changed the structure of world politics.

    For the past six decades, the most common type of conflict has been insurgency, in the form of guerrilla war. Today, such conflicts rage all across the globe, from South Asia to South America, from Sinkiang to Sudan. An influential student of insurgency warned long ago that “guerrilla warfare is what regular armies always have most to dread, and when this is directed by a leader with a genius for war, an effective campaign becomes well-nigh impossible.”¹ All major military powers have had difficult, sometimes disastrous,...

  4. 1 China: The Long War, 1929–1949
    (pp. 5-67)

    China, wrote Lucian Pye, is “a civilization pretending to be a state.”¹ The sheer massiveness of the country is impressive. In area, China is three times the size of India, six times that of Iran, twenty-five times that of Japan, and twenty-seven times that of Germany. The distance from Beijing to Hong Kong—by no means the longest axis in the country—is roughly equal to the distance between Stockholm and Istanbul. And China’s population of 1.25 billion is equal to that of North America and Europe combined. More than one out of every five human beings on this planet...

  5. 2 French Vietnam: A War of Illusions
    (pp. 69-140)

    Many Americans think of Vietnam primarily or solely as a place where American troops once fought. Some journalists and academics write about Vietnam as if that word refers to something that happened to Americans, or even as a series of events that unfolded inside the Beltway.¹ But long before Americans arrived in Vietnam, the French were there, and their experience set the stage for everything that followed.

    Lying between China and Australia, Vietnam and the other countries of Southeast Asia constitute the crossroads of the Pacific Basin and the Indian subcontinent. Many people, probably most, in this area have been...

  6. 3 Cuba: The House of Cards
    (pp. 141-165)

    During the Cold War, it was customary in some circles to refer to the seizure of power by Fidel Castro and his followers as the first Communist revolution in the Western Hemisphere. This description was completely misleading. Castro did indeed impose a Communist regime on the Cubans, but he had not led a Communist revolution. Nevertheless, the flight of the dictator Fulgencio Batista out of Havana in the waning hours of the year 1958 signaled not only the complete collapse of his dictatorship but the beginning of a true transformation of the politics of the Western Hemisphere. This transformation had...

  7. 4 Afghanistan: End of the Red Empire
    (pp. 167-229)

    In 2001, U.S. and allied troops entered Afghanistan and overthrew the grotesque Taliban regime that had long terrorized that country. The Taliban had taken power in the aftermath of the protracted and savage conflict between Soviet armed forces and most of the people of Afghanistan. Any description of that Soviet-Afghan struggle generates a string of superlatives. For example, the popular resistance to the Soviet invasion constituted “the largest single national rising in the twentieth century.”¹ The Afghan war was the longest military conflict in Soviet history: direct Soviet involvement extended from December 1979 to mid-1988. During the conflict Soviet forces...

  8. 5 Lessons Learned—or Not
    (pp. 230-250)

    Now let us review the most salient features of the conflicts we have analyzed and see what useful lessons we can find.

    In seeking to explain the victory of Mao Tse-tung and the Communists over Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists, one cannot ignore, of course, the multifaceted and deeply rooted socioeconomic backwardness of twentieth-century China. Nevertheless, that consideration does not explain why the Communist victory occurred in 1949, instead of 1939 or 1959—or occurred at all. Any effort to offer a full explanation of the final victory of Maoist Communism needs to give due weight to key political and...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 251-290)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 291-314)
  11. Index
    (pp. 315-320)