Nationalism is defined as the advocating of national interest, independence or national independence. It is understood as the consciousness of nationalism of an individual group. It is the awareness of distinguishing characteristics of individual nations like language, culture, customs and traditions. During the 19th century, all countries of the globe had been brought together by the single world system; this system linked people and regions both economically, socially and politically.
During this period, the world was dominated by the countries of Western Europe and North America. In colonized worlds, nationalist groups began challenging the European control due to the inspirations of the democratic traditions of Western Europe and America or the fascism and communism of east Europe. In India, for example, there was the emergence of the nationalist congress that supported liberation.
Nationalism and Communism in Asia
In countries like Japan, class mantra was the order of the day in the areas that were controlled by communists, the CCP which was the main political party was against agrarian radicalism and hence abandoned the class oriented war and its policy of compulsory acquisition and allocation of property. All this effort was centered on national salvation, and it resulted in land lords lowering their rent rates, and the interest rates though the peasants had to work for them.
These programs of the Mao and the CCP resembled those of the KMT where the landless population was considered the real force behind Red Revolution through the political eminence in the Communist Party. Indeed, there was a clear-cut relationship between Japanese invasion and the expansion of communism since it was motivated by the desire to create nations where none existed or to streamline the already existing states (Duiker and Spielvogel 563).
During the 20th century, countries such as China, India and Vietnam which were old societies were swept by the aspirations of nationalism and convulsions. This was largely motivated by a national feeling since the overriding tactic emphasized by Lenin as instruments of communist’s revolutionary was the desire to forge ahead and devise a united front with nationalistic movements.
With regards to a country like Korea, Russia due to its ability in machinery started training and installing a communist government and placed it under the leadership of Kim 11-Sung, and this led to the division of south Korea into two namely: the Peoples Republic of North Korea and the Republic of South Korea.
Eastern Asia is the region that bore the brunt of pro and anti communism battle. During the period of 1920, nationalism and not communism was the main driving force and there were several nationalist groups in Vietnam, Burma, Indonesia and Malaysia. It was as a result of the nationalisms that the sympathy for communism slowly developed.
The threat of communism was indoctrinated by satellite media stations that were dominated by the USA, and it was concentrated in South-East Asia and particularly Vietnam and Cuba or Western hemisphere as well as Africa. Just like communist revolutions in Europe, nationalism was the powerful political instrument that characterized revolutions in Africa, and it was spearheaded by African Marxists and Kremlin communists.
Various nationalist leaders had rejected egalitarian or a classless society but when they managed to overthrow the imperialists. The communist’s parties turned against their allies in liberations to execute power and to perpetuate socialist revolution.
USSR was considered to be the epitome and an advocate of nationalism. Lenin had the strategy of fanning communism all over the world or beyond the boundaries of Europe, according to him; this was to be realized through his policy of communist international or shortened as Comintern.
Comintern was an organization of communist parties that was oriented towards the advancement of world revolution. The headquarters of Comintern was in Moscow where communist agents were trained on the concept behind communism, and they were sent back to their countries to form or establish Marxist parties that would promote the cause of social revolution.
Communism did not command a lot of influence in the Middle East and only appealed to communist minorities like Armenia and Jews. The main proponents of Marxism in the non-western world were rootless intellectuals who were motivated by patriotism or egalitarian communism reasons to join the movement (Duiker and Spielvogel 564).
In Confucian societies like China and Vietnam, communism had a great impact because the traditional belief systems had failed to counter the westerns challenge. In Buddhist and Muslim societies, communism recorded minimal success due to the existence of traditional cohesive religions.
Communism and Marxism had a strong impact in China as evidenced in the formation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by a group of young radical Chinese as consequences of the 1911 failed revolution. By 1920, there existed nationalism-communism alliance that threatened to eliminate any central authority in China.
This period was characterized by the emergence of two competing political forces namely: the nationalist party that sought to solicit international assistance to facilitate its national revolution and the CCP that was aligned towards the strategies of Lenin (Duiker and Spielvogel 524).
Nationalism and Communism in Sub-Saharan Africa
The degree of communism influence on African nationalism is a subject of debate. It can be true to posit that indeed communism influenced African nationalism since nationalists sought for aid from the communists powers to overcome the capitalism that was tied to colonialism.
It is indubitable that agents of communism were critical in nurturing the infant African nationalist movements regardless of the fact that there existed philosophical and ideological incongruence. The communists support for FRELIMO for several years resulted in a Marxist Mozambique. The collapse of Portuguese colonialism which was the weakest of all the European domination in African led to the emergence of communists governments like Angola that joined other socialist elites like Tanzania, Guinea and Congo.
Nationalism originated from the west, and the nationalism in the non-western world is a pirated version of the western type of nationalism. The industrialization that took place in the west is what determined nationalism since it began spreading to other parts of the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, the strategies and the tactics of the Soviet Union worked.
African nationalists derived their ideologies from the theses that were titled: the socialist revolution and the right of nations to self-determination as well as a form the second congress of the communist international.
Communist side did not place a lot of interest on Africa not until the Second World War, but they target India and China but world war tow placed USSR in a better position to influence affairs outside Europe. The victory of Mao was considered as a victory for communism. Countries like Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria also upped their efforts to introduce communism in Africa and their interest appeared to parallel those of the USSR only that they lacked an elaborate strategy.
The commercial ventures and their political activities in the sub-Saharan Africa fell under the elaborate network of the Soviet policy. The one party state structure and the absence of official opposition that dominated the African politics is a characteristic of communism.
In countries lime Indonesia, the influence of Marxist and communism was aimed at maintaining neutrality towards Islam, in this regard the nationalist opponents emphasized the atheism of communism, but this was not enough to deter community coup in Indonesia.
Countries of Latin America experienced hard economic problems due to their heavy reliance on export and there was also increased hostility between the Latin America countries and the USA, and they began modeling their governments along the fascist regimes of Germany and Italy (Duiker and Spielvogel 532).
Nationalism and Communism in Middle East
The Arab nationalism which was a nationalist ideology was motivated by the desire to end western and European domination in the Arab world and the overthrow of those governments that heavily dependent on the western world. The nationalist individuals considered themselves as the descendant of Ottoman Empire and Damascus was chosen to be the coordinating centre of the nationalism. This happened following the establishment of France and British mandate.
Various parts of Asia and Africa experienced some rise in movements that championed for national independence, and it was spearheaded by native leaders who had obtained education in western and European countries. The civil disobedience of Mahatma Gandhi was instrumental in freeing India of British rule. There was also the emergence of communist movements in parts of Asia, and it was considered an alternative way of overthrowing western powers and eliminating imperialism (Duiker and Spielvogel 532).
Duiker, William and Spielvogel, Jackson. World History: Volume Two: Since 1500 (5th ed). New York, NY: Cengage Learning, 2006. Print.