Through a Euro-Soviet Lens: Bolshevism, Loyalties, and the Euro-Soviet Cohort during the Early 1920s

Sunday, January 6, 2019: 11:00 AM
Williford C (Hilton Chicago)
Marilyn Levine, Central Washington University
In the summer and winter of 1922, a European branch of the Chinese Communist Youth Corps and Party was formed whose 500 members resided in France, Germany, and Belgium [hereafter ECCO]. Forty members of the ECCO returned to China through travel and study in the Soviet Union. This paper will explore and analyze patterns of this Euro-Soviet Cohort, and focus on fifteen representative figures: Cai Chang, Chen Yannian, Deng Xiaoping, Guo Longzhen, Lin Wei, Liu Bojian, Mu Qing, Nie Rongzhen, Ren Zhuoxuan, Wang Ruofei, Xiao San, Yin Kuan, Zhao Shiyan, Zhang Shenfu, and Zheng Chaolin. This research is based on transcriptions of over 40 interviews conducted in 1985 and 1990 with participants in the European cohort and Chinese CCP scholars; research in nine archives in Europe and Asia; and the Chinese Biographical Database that includes over 2,200 biographical figures. This collective biographical analysis will examine regional origin, educational background, political and youth group affiliations, among other variables. Historical questions include, how did this cohort’s outlooks, life objectives, and relationships develop through common experiences in these foreign countries? How was the Leninist message of proletariat world revolution and the disciplined vanguard party experienced by the Euro-Soviet cohort? How was their ability to create revolution influenced by these cohort experiences? Were there personal networks that influenced later political activities and affiliations? It is important to understand how this Euro-Soviet experience influenced this cohort and the nature of their relationships that also allowed a preliminary social network analysis. These and other questions are important, because these leaders, those who died early, and those who lived longer lives were crucial to the success of the CCP revolution.
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