History 394 is a comprehensive introduction to the last hundred years of China's relations with the world, with emphasis on American-Chinese relations, but within the necessary context of China's relations with other countries from Asia to Europe to Africa and elsewhere (as well as Washington's changing relations with Beijing). China's role in the world can be understood only when the full background and international context is made clear. This course has no prerequisites: freshmen and others lacking background will find it manageable and interesting. Students who have successfully completed this course will be well positioned to understand some of the most important of current events, and if they like, pursue the topics as careers (there will be no shortage, I assure you). Although much will be said about diplomacy, and Chinese diplomatic strategy in particular, the mile-posts of the course will be a series of wars: World War I and its effects on China; the heroic Chinese war of resistance against Japan (1937-1945) in which, effectively without allies, the Chinese avoided defeat; the bitter Civil War that followed almost immediately (1946-1949) and brought Mao Zedong and his Communists to power while the predecessor Nationalist government fled to the island of Taiwan; then the Korean War (1950-1953) and the close Chinese-Soviet alliance that followed; The Taiwan Straits Crises (1954-1955, 1958, 1996); the Chinese-Indian war (1962) the origin of a situation now heating up; the Sino-Soviet border conflicts (1969); the Vietnam War (1955-1975) which changed the United States profoundly while reorientating China internationally; the (at the time) little noticed Chinese invasion of Vietnam (1979) - and finally the increasingly tense situation today, between Chine and India, and China and her maritime neighbors from Japan to Indonesia, many U.S. allies.
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