The U.S. and Communism in East Asia (China) 1921-1959

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy

Table of Contents

December 4th 2008
November 25th 2008
September 25th 2008
September 24th 2008
September 23rd 2008
September 16th 2008
August 14th 2008
July 12th 2008
July 3rd 2008
June 30th 2008
May 30th 2008
April 30th 2008
April 24th 2008
March 27th 2008

December 4th 2008 . . . go to Student's Paper

Okay, notes fixed.
Now the last thing to be done - send a finalized reference list.

September 25th 2008 . . . go to Student's Paper

(1) Your table of contents and organization of chapters did not coincide. Don't worry, when posting I fixed that.
(2) note 17 : Koryo Communist Party - Daum Blog : not quotable. In a blog there are a number of persons, often expressing diverse opinions. And, often, they hide their identity. If the person is not willing to sign his opinion with his name, it is not credible. An alias / pen name only is accepted in exceptional situations.
(3) Direct quotations in your paper, which miss corresponding footnotes (do not re-write text; just send me a list of footnotes)
III.1.4 Also, according to accounts by Edgar Snow, communism was widely advertised by the Red Army's mass meetings, inflammatory speeches, revolutionary songs, propagandistic plays, and the moderate land reforms and redistribution
reference to Snow missing [add footnote 11a]
III.2.2 Meanwhile, the Shanghai Provisional Government was organized in 1919
Your readers may not know the Shanghai Provisional Government; add footnote [15a]
IV.1.1 According to accounts by Edgar Snow, Chang's Guomindang army Again reference to Snow missing [27a]
IV.1.2 "evaluate the potential contribution of Communists to the war effort." add [44a]
IV.1.2 "I would serve under General Stilwell, and I would Obey." add [44b]
IV.1.3 (According to the Short History of Chinese Communism, Zhang disobeyed Mao and located his base on the Soviet border on purpose; there was no account of the mass murder) no note; add [51b]
IV.1.3 Franklin W. Houn appears to give the most unbiased account of the situation of the Chinese Communists, without giving much personal interpretation. The book clearly states that the "Chinese Communists' call for an early war against Japan was primarily a stratagem to weaken the GMD and to give their own party and opportunity to recuperate and expand'. Zhou Enlai is accounted to have said that ¢®¡Æthe first day of the anti-Japanese War will mean the beginning of the end for Jiang Jieshi". add note [54a] (you listed Houn, but not the page number; for any direct quote a page number is required)
VI.2.2 The United States, betraying North Korean expectations, took immediate action to deal with the situation. On the day the war began, June 25th, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling for an "immediate cessation of hostilities" and demanding the "authorities of North Korea to withdraw forthwith their armed forces to the thirty-eighth parallel." A second resolution was passed requesting the member nations to "furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and restore the international peace and security in the area". On the 28th, President Truman authorized the Far Eastern Commander in Chief to deploy certain ground units to Korea; two days later, the Commander in Chief was commanded to use all forces available to him to repel the invasion, and ordered a naval blockade on all the coasts of Korea. On July 8th, General Douglas MacArthur was appointed the Commander in Chief of the United Nations Army, and a week later, all ROK security forces were also placed under MacArthur's ]' command. (111) 1 Paragtraph with 3 direct quotes and one note; divide into three notes [111a, 111b, 111c]
VI.2.4 The project called for "actual functioning of all activities which would be involved in an atomic strike, including weapons assembly and testing, leading, [and] ground control of bomb aiming." [124a]
VI.2.4 On June 28th, the date of the first fall of Seoul, the president televised his statement on the Korean War: "I have ordered the United States air and sea forces to give the Korean Government troops cover and support. The attack upon Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war." [122a]
VI.3.2 McCarthy made his first appearance in early 1950 by giving a speech, "I have here in my hand a list of Communists in the State Department." [139a]
VII.2.1 Some of the American allies, in the meanwhile, drifted toward accepting the Chinese Communists. In December, the ambassador in India sent a message that due to "geographic position and Asian interests, the Government of India must carry out its program for recognition ... although [it] would not act regardless [of the] decision [of the] other members." The Great Britain informed that it would recognize the Communist Government "not to confer a compliment but to secure a convenience." *** The other members of the commonwealth generally agreed with the British; "the Canadian Government realized that recognition was inevitable"; Australia and New Zealand thought that it would be difficult to make "immediate recognition", but were willing to do so after obtaining "assurance of respect for international obligations and territorial integrity of neighboring countries"*** from the Communists; both Pakistan's and Ceylon's views "generally coincide[d] with those of the United Kingdom."*** The other European nations such as the Netherlands and France "wished to delay recognition" until the Chinese agreed to respect the diplomatic protocols of the international community (162). bunch of stars to be replaced by notes [162a, 162b, 162c]
In the online version of your paper, your narration and direct quotes are easily distinguished; I may have overlooked a quote where you missed to give a note. double check.
(4) Bruce Cumings spelled with one m; I fixed that
For your information, just today I received a shipment of books on Chinese history, among them B.W. Tuchman, Stilwell and the American Experience in China 1911-1945 (1971), J.E. Sheridan, China in Disintegration, The Republican Era in Chinese History 1912-1949 (1975), P. Cheng, A Chronology of the People's Republic of China from October 1 1949 (1972), Ch.Y. Salisbury, Long March Diary (1986)

September 25th 2008 . . . go to Student's Log

I posted your Table of Contents, Summary and Conclusions. The following comment focusses on the conclusions.
These conclusions form a significant step forward.
(1) It is unusual to have two separate conclusions; You might consider to merge them into one conclusion with two subchapters and tghink of more original titles. It is not necessary for a conclusion to run under the title "conclusion".
(2) People nowadays recall the People's Republic of China, rather than the Republic of China on Taiwan, when thinking of 'China.'
Nowadays people associate 'China' with the PRC rather than with the ROC. By the way, as your paper focusses on China and Korea, you may use the abbreviations PRC, ROC, ROK and DPRK instead of the lengthy titles; your readers can handle.
(3) The Communists had two advantages over their counterparts: (central hierarchical organization, loyalty of party member s to leadership).
During the Chinese Civil War : pereception of the Communists as less corrupt. Mao had given out the order that soldiers should join the peasants working in the fields (for the rice they took; you should have found a quote to thuis effect in your studies), while the Nationalists collected taxes 50 years in advance. China was a peasants' country; the sympathy of the peasants was of essential importance.
(4) However, as was observed throughout this paper, there were constant shifts in the degree to which the Americans backed up Chiang Kai-shek¡¯s regime.
replace constant by frequent.
(5) The second shift in policy came in early 1947, for two reasons: first, the negotiations between the Nationalists and Communists for a coalition government did not turn out successful; secondly, the American Government became more cautious about the Soviet ambitions in Europe, thus accepting the "Primacy of Europe." By disregarding the truce agreement and refusing to make any compromises, Chiang Kai-shek proved himself stubborn and incapable of following the general goal of the US. Furthermore, the Kuomintang Nationalist Government proved itself to be incompetent, incapable of managing the domestic post-war problems and defending the communists¡¯ military challenges. As a result, the Truman Administration chose to embark the ¡®disengagement¡¯ policy; the administration opposed to extending any economic aid to Chiang Kai-shek and withdrew American military advisors from China. All US programs of aid were limited not to reach the level of direct responsibility in either the conduct of the fighting or in Chinese economy.
Correct, but you omit the Berlin Blockade which forced the U.S. to relocate much of her air force stationed in China to Germany, thus depriving the Chinese Nationalist government of vital protection.
(6) The fourth important shift in policy came during the Korean War, the apex of the Cold War tension, as a result of many intertwined factors. First, the American public became extremely cautious of the threats of International Communism. Second, the fear of International Communism was used as a political tool by the Republican Party, most notably by Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Correct, but perhaps you should go a step further. When McCarthy began his crusade, the Democrats had been in office for 6 terms (1933-1952, Roosevelt I, II, III, IV, Truman I, Truman II) and were desparate to get a Republican in. The Democrats did not want to be outdone by the Republicans in what by uninformed voters was seen as 'patriotism', and during elections there was a contest of which of the two parties was seen more anti-Communist. Keep in mind, the two main "deputees" of McCarthy in trying to fix the label of 'Comminist' or 'Communist Sympathizer' on political figures were Richard Nixon (Republican) and Bobby Kennedy (Democrat).
So can you observe more intense Anti-Communist activity during the U.S. election campaigns, while prudence and practicality comes back when presidents are not bound to prepare for reelection ?
(7) The conclusion drawn from this analysis is that the US policy toward China went through constant shifts,
replace constant by frequent
(8) What ever situation the US government faced, it tried to make decisions that would best protect their security and interests; in the scope of this paper, the American interest would be the check against communist expansion.
the American interest : one of America's major interests would be the check of Communist expansion
Democrat policy to cut U.S. aid to China can also be defined as a legitimate American interest.
(9) General Comment : What you write in your conclusion is correct, but not that focussed and therefore not leading to a really convincing analytical thesis at the end.
If you do not organize your conclusion in a chronological order - your paper and summary are organized that way; now you may establish a different organization, but rather define the different American interests (I) Win WW II and to that effect assist (aid) Nationalist China, force cooperation with Yenan Chinese
(II) After WW II : reduce the amount of financial aid (which had become excessive during the war years)
(III) a policy of Containment of Communism
and perhaps not American interest, but tools of U.S. political parties
(IV) use Anti-Communist hysteria to poromote political gain
and even (V) the Military-Industrial Complex pushing Anti-Communism to derail an Eisenhower-Khrushchev Detente
and juxtapose these, you might arrive at a more clear-cut analytical thesis.

September 24th 2008 . . . go to Student's Log

I posted your conclusion.
Please be so kind to consider that I posted your last draft only yesterday, posted chapters by KIH, PKW, LSH and comments on all of them this morning, and I feel somewhat fatigued.
You have written a paper of such a size that it requires a second look. You have to go over the footnotes, decide what tables, figures, maps you want to add (I do not think many such additions are necessary); You will have to check your style, especially for words which have no plural.
(1) Communism first appeared in China during the Imperial Age of late 1910s ..
The Imperial Age ended in 1911, which is the early 1910s.
(2) The hardships hardship has no plural.
(3) During the World War II, During World War II
(4) Immediately after the end of the World War II, the United States put genuine efforts in
How do you count effort ? If you can't count it, no plural.
(5) The first 5 paragraphs of the conclusion are an attempt to summarize the China/Korea part of your paper. The next 4 or 5 paragraphs try to summarize the American Far Eastern Policy as analyzed in detail in your paper.
This is a possible and legitimate way to conclude your paper.
However, your paper is rather dependent on your sources; for entire chapters you give one book as reference; in other chapters you make extensive use of direct quotes. In order to cover an area as wide as you do, this is legitimate; only if your 100 page analysis is so dependent, I hoped for your conclusion to be more independent.
My suggestion : Rename your conclusion into summary. And add a conclusion in which you free yourself of facts and analyze. What were the major turning points in American policy toward the Far East ? Were these turning points established by events taking place in the Far East, thus did U.S. policy react, or were there such turning points determined by shifts in the U.S. ?

September 23rd 2008 . . . go to Student's Log

Just posting the new chapters with notes cost me about 5 hours today.
As you point out at the end of the paper, the spelling of placenames (except in direct quotes) needs to be standardized. Also the capitalization of names.
Overall comment : an impressive paper, convincing in organization and tenor.
Detail comment :
(1) F.ex. last paragraph : The Assistant Secretary of State Robertson gave a speech in March 1959, assailing "the fanatical, aggressive, hostile, and threatening International Communist regime of Peiping, an implacable enemy dedicated to the destruction of all the foundations upon which a free society exists.¡± (186) President Eisenhower also backed up this position when he announced in Taipei that ¡°the United States did not accept the claim of the warlike and tyrannical Communist regime in Peking to speak for the Chinese people.¡± (187) He assured to the Chinese Nationalists that the United States would stand with them against any aggression.
You quote a Robertson speech and an Eisenhower statement, but in your corresponding notes you state : Dulles p.186 resp. p.187. If you quote indirectly, as you do very frequently, you should express this in your note :
(186) Speech by Assistant Secretary of State, Robertson, in March 1959, quoted after Dulles (year) p.186.
and similarly everywhere you give an indirect reference.
(2) In your notes : if you quote one specific page, it is Dulles (year) p.186. If you quote more than one page, it is Dulles (year) pp.188-190.
(3) General MacArthur¡¯s challenge against the Truman administration grew bolder with time. On December 6th, the president sent a message to message to his Joint Chiefs of Staff to be delivered to the general, demanding that all public statements made by the general be submitted as documents. However, MacArthur did not yield to the command and made public announcements threatening an attack on the Chinese mainland and the use of nuclear weapons. On December 29th, the administration ordered MacArthur to maintain his hold on South Korea if this was possible without heavy losses: "A successful resistance to the Chinese-North Korean aggression on some position in Korea and a deflation of the military and political prestige of the Chinese Communists would be of great importance to our national interest." On the next day, however, MacArthur sent a message to the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposing a policy of his own which the government might like to adopt. He says, "should a policy determination be reached by our government or through it by the United Nations to recognize the state of war which has been forced upon us by the Chinese authorities and to take retaliatory measures within our capabilities, we could: (1) blockade the coast of China; (2) destroy through naval gunfire and air bombardment China¡¯s industrial capacity to wage war; (3) secure reinforcements from the Nationalist garrison on Formosa to strengthen our position in Korea if we decide to continue the fight for that peninsula; and (4) release existing restrictions upon the Formosan garrison for diversionary action, possibly leading to counter-invasion against vulnerable areas of the Chinese mainland. ... Whether defending ourselves by way of military retaliation would bring in Soviet military intervention or not is a matter of speculation." (128) Such statements conflicted directly with the policies of the president and other high officials. Especially at this time, the president was eager to prevent the USSR's entrance into the Korean War and was attempting to design a peace settlement. However, MacArthur continued to disregard his superiors. In March, President Truman and the United Nations collectively began pursuing a peace settlement based upon the prewar border of the 38th parallel; General MacArthur was instructed not to take any action that might thwart the peace talks. However, the general rejected the idea of a negotiated settlement; he continued to plan for war, and had sent a letter to the House Minority Leader, disagreeing with President Truman¡¯s policy of limiting the war. Moreover, he sent a critical demand for a cease-fire on his own decision: "Even under the inhibitions which now restrict the activity of the United Nations forces ... Red China ... has been shown its complete inability to accomplish by force of arms the conquest of Korea. The enemy, therefore, must now be painfully aware that a decision of the United Nations to depart from its tolerant effort to contain the war to the area of Korea through an expansion of our military operations to its coastal areas and interior bases, would doom Red China to the risk of imminent military collapse. ... The Korean nation and its people ... must not be sacrificed. ... I stand ready at any time to confer in the field with the commander-in-chief of the enemy forces in the earnest effort to find any military means whereby realization of the political objectives of the United Nations in Korea ... might be accomplished without further bloodshed." By doing so, MacArthur had transformed a cease-fire intended as an offer to negotiate into an ultimatum demanding surrender. The president¡¯s efforts at peace settlement had been sabotaged. Appalled at the complete disregard General MacArthur continued to display, President Truman announced that "By this act MacArthur left me no choice ? I could no longer tolerate his insubordination." He informed his decision to relieve the general from his position to the nation: "A number of events have made it evident that General MacArthur did not agree with that policy. I have, therefore, considered it essential to relieve General MacArthur so that there would be no doubt or confusion as to the real purpose and aim of our policy." (129) The general was officially relieved from office on April 11th, 1951.
This long paragraph of yours contains 4 direct references, but you give only 2 notes.
Every single direct quote requires a reference; even if it is the same source and page as the one before.
You asked me once, if you can give one note at the end of a paragraph if the entire paragraph is based on the same source(s). This works only for paraphrased texts.
It seems to me you have to redo the notes for the entire text.
(4) replace England by Britain or the United Kingdom.
(5) It is a well known fact that the Cold-War sphere dominated the international relationships of nations in the post-World War II era,
Here you make a superfluous statement; the readers of your paper will have a pretty good understanding of the history of the Cold War in general and want to be filed in on specifics. Do not offend your readership by treating them as stupid. Rephrase
(6) VI. 3. 1 Cold War Policies
In chapter five, the United States domestic politics and diplomatic policies during the early Cold War era will be discussed

Don't you mean chapter six ?
(7) In chapter five, the United States domestic politics and diplomatic policies during the early Cold War era will be discussed in order to have a comprehensive understanding of the United States¡¯ international position at the time and to get a grasp of how it may have influenced the United States¡¯ relationships with Communist China and the two Koreas. To do so, this section begins with expositions on the Cold War.
According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner¡¯s Dictionary, the Cold War is defined as ¡°a state of extreme unfriendliness existing between countries, especially with opposing political systems, which expresses itself not through fighting but through political pressure and threats.¡± Wikipedia gives a more detailed definition: "Cold War is the term used to describe the state of conflict, tension and competition that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies from the mid-1940s to the early 1990s. Throughout this period, rivalry between the two superpowers was expressed through military coalitions, propaganda, espionage, weapons development, industrial advances, and competitive technological development, e.g., the space race. Both superpowers engaged in costly defense spending, a massive conventional and nuclear arms race, and numerous proxy wars."

Are these two paragraphs necessary ? Same comment as under (5). I recommend to skip this.
This is my comment for the moment; I am tired.

September 16th 2008

Register of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. China Office. Records, 1943-1948, at Hoover Institution,

August 14th 2008 . . . go to Student's Log

(1) inconsistent spelling and capitalization
(2) problems with footnotes remain. For every book you quote, give year of publication in short reference
(3) In the transition from WW II to Chinese Civil War, Korean War I miss coverage of issues such as : (a) transition from wartime economy to peacetime economy (b) coverage of the issue of displaced persons (c) coverage of inflation (d) coverage of corruption on the side of the non-Communists (5) I wonder if, in the context of your paper, we can keep up the notion of one coherent U.S. foreign policy regarding the Far East. When Truman ordered the U.S. planes from the Far East to Berlin, MacArthur was protesting constantly. During the Korean War, MacArthur acted like Napoleon, more or less ignoring the existence of a government back home. Your paper, at my first glimpse, does not sufficiently cover these differences.

July 12th 2008 . . . go to Student's Log

(1) notes : (pgs.31-33) => pp.31-35
(2) somewhere you state a U.S. Declaration of War on Japan. Double-check; the acclaimed movie 'Tora, Tora, Tora' has Japan declare war on the U.S., a declaration which was intended to precede the attack on Pearl Harbor, but was delayed. Explain this complex situation in a note.
(3) you know that you are inconsistent in the usage of placenames - sometimes Beiping, sometimes Beijing. The same for Nanking / Nanjing.
(4) Other collaborators included the Reform government of Nanking, the 'Japanized' government in Taiwan, and Inner Mongolia.
(5) your note (19) quotes Lee pp.30-32. Your reference list has two Lees. I recommend in notes to always give author, year, p.
(6) therefore, in this section, I would like to contrast the views on CCP from Jung Chang and Jon Halliday's famous biography of Mao,'Mao: The Unknown Story', Benjamin Yang's 'Deng: A Political Biography', Franklin W. Houn's 'Short History of Chinese Communism', and the Department of State Publication 'United States Relations with China With Special Reference to the Period 1944-1949'.
Some of the titles you list here do not appear in your reference list.
Taiwan was a Japanese colony since 1895 and does not stand the comparison with the pro-Japanese administrations in Nanjing and Inner Mongolia.
It took me more than two hours to post your draft.

July 3rd 2008 . . . go to Student's Log

(1) A few words about notes.
(a) you have a strange way to count. After note 18 comes note 15, then note 19. Notes must be in numerical order and can a number can not be used more than once. renumber.
(b) In your notes you occasionally refer to books. If you do, in notes you must give the specific page number(s) you refer to - another reason for not recycling note numbers.
(2) Your usage of terms such as the Eulsa Treaty and 6.10 strikes without explanation can not be tolerated. You write your pper in English and can not expect your readers to be experts in Korean history. Expect an interested, open-minded American reader who does not speak any foreign language, can not pronounce any foreign name correctly and, with some difficultry, is barely able to locate Korea on a world map. Your final draft should either explain such terms in endnotes or contain a glossary; I recommend the latter. The glossary should be written as an image file (gif) so that you can use both Korean and Chinese characters.
(3) Now I focus on the added chapter - Communist Parties in Korea
(a) Koreans found the key to independence in communism,
Rephrase. It can be read that the only way to escapre from Japanese colonial rule any Korean could come up with was communism.
(b) From what I remember of written texts, documentary videos and academic discussions, one aspect why Communism succeeded better than most other political ideologies to establish a support base in China (and perhaps also among Koreans) was the party organization and discipline - the concept of a political party was alien to Oriental culture; politicians tending toward other political philosophies failed in establishing properly functioning party organizations, the KMT perhaps a good example to prove the case. I do not see this line of thought given proper weight in your analysis.
At present you are the guy making most progress.

June 30th 2008 . . . go to Student's Log

(1) if you want images to be included in your paper, you need to send them as separate files, preferably gif or jpg format.
(2) if you want to include images, be aware of the copyright issue. Except for images stated as completely free of copyright, you need a written permission to use them. a way out - modify images and add note : after (reference)
(3) Mao's red army - has to be capitalized throughout, as it is a name.
(4) Chinese names - I agree to your statement on standardization. I recommend a glossary with all spelling varieties.
(5) lumpenproltariats - writing about this topic you should know that Proletariat refers to all workers onthe planet combined. Therefore a plural is not possible.
(6) When I post your paper I fix spelling (lower case to capital), grammatical mistakes (eliminate plural where it does not belong etc. or stylistic ones. I expect you to continue with the file AS POSTED, not with the one you saved on your computer. F. ex. for posting I had to throw out the images; this affected the numbers of your notes. I write this, because when I posted your table of contents, I corrected "Communists in theNational Liberation Struggles " to ".. Liberation Struggle". In the file yoy sent me, it is "Struggles" again. I don't want to have to do the same correction twice.

(7) I separated chapters II and III.1 from the altered torso of a table of contents.
(8) As, for a significant number of chapters, you write paragraphs in which you state that the entire chapter is largely based on this or that source, I think we should move these chapters into endnotes, and list the respective number after the respective chapter title.
(9) Have you seen the video documentary series on China we have in the library (PBS) ? Your account of the CCP history ignores the importance of foreign functionaries (M. Borodin, Otto Braun).
(10) Britain, France, and Germany made vigorous endeavors to take a new lead in occupying and exploiting various regions of China, and soon, Japan, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United States followed to gain increasing spheres of influence.
Spain, the Netherlands out; in the late 19th / early 20th century they had no such ambitions.
(11) Few powerful Yangban (the Korean nobility) families,
either skip "families" or change "the Korean Kobility" to "Korean noble".
(12) By the end of the century, the Yangbans consisted over 40 per cent of the total population.
Such a statement is not acceptable without reference.
(13) Their movement ultimately led to a military uprising in 1895, but it was turned down by Japanese and Russian forces; not turned down, suppressed
(14) I just poted your draft this morning, have classes and a test to prepare. I did not have the time yet to thoroughly read your chapter III.1; I will do so in the coming days and if I find something to criticize, will post updates on this log. Check it every now and then.

May 30th 2008 . . . go to Student's Log

However, beginning in the 17th century, the scientific and technological knowledge of China gradually fell behind the Western worlds.
There is only one western world.
When the Age of Imperialism reached its peak, China's powers were no match for those of the European imperialist nations. China was eventually forced to open itself to increasing foreign missionary activity and trade, and its international stand was severely weakened after its defeat to Britain in the Opium Wars. In the coming years, China was forced by the Western Powers to cede various rights and territories, and open up its major ports for increasing trade. Britain, France, and Germany took lead in occupying and exploiting various regions of China, and soon, Japan, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United States followed.
worsened after the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and calls for reform and revolution reached their peak. At last, in 1912, the royal family abdicated and the imperial rule of China ended. No meed to mention the Chinese Revolution of 1911 ? If you use an account from the perspective of the Chinese Communist Party, perhaps they may find it convenient to omit that event as it legitimized/started KMT rule.
Portugal held Macao from 1557 to 1999, the Dutch held Taiwan (at that time not regarded part of China) from 1624 to 1662. Who followed whom ? If your source lists the nations that way, double-check. Do you refer to the cession of territory, or to opening Chinese ports to merchants of these nations ?

The situation in Korea was similar to China if not worse.
That comparison is too simplistic. China's troubled relation with the European nations goes back to the 16th century, when the Portuguese leased Macau and the Chinese separated it from the rest of China by building a wall, when the Spanish established an entrepot in Manila, in the 17th century followed by the Dutch entrepot on Taiwan. Korea successfully maintained isolation until 1876. China after 1840 can blame part of her domestic social problems on the foreigners, Korea can not. You also might want to compare the development of Korea's economy, technology and society with that of contemporary China. The fact that Korea, as a peninsula adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, could get away with an isolationist policy until 1876, and was forced to open by the Japanese, indicates that the west regarded it not worth the trouble to send an expedition.
By the end of the century, the nobility (Yangban) consisted over 40 per cent of the total population.
That figure seems extreme to me. I will double-check.
Few powerful noble families harassed the weakened monarchy, and dominated the politics; the bureaucracy was filled up with incompetent officers who flattered or bought their positions. Noble status was sold for money or counterfeited, and many rich peasants and merchant classes entered the nobility one way or the other.
As I understand it, technically there was no nobility except for the royal family. The Yangban class were literati, acquiring their social status by passing state examinations. The Korean Yangban were quasi-nobles because they managed to monopolize the education system. Use terminology which is not that easily disputable.
These peasant revolutions were suppressed when the incapable government invited Russian and Japanese army to attack its own people.
I doubt both the entire Russian and the entire Japanese army were active in Korea in 1894; better a Russian and a Japanese regiment. Also, not the entire Korean nation had joined the rebels - but one might interprete your sentence that way.
Imperial Japan began its colonial rule, harassing the Korean people with oppressive militarism and economic exploitation.
Is it fair / historically correct to summarily describe Japanese rule as exploitative ? How about characterizing Japanese policy as characterized by the resolve to modernize the country, to utilize its resources and manpower in the service of Japan's interest, to assimilate the Koreans into Japanese culture. The speedy implementation of rules of a modern society, for instance the land registration procedure, announced in Japanese language, resulted in social disruption of major scale, such as the confiscation of land by the Japanese authorities which then was handed out to Japanese settlers. Try write in a style which convinces your reader; do not assume that they share your prejudice. Your reader might be a Japanese.
The destitution and misery of the Korean peasants were worse than ever.
'was worse than ever'; while you use two words they refere to one situation. "Ever" is the real problem; in areas affected by war, during a major pandemic I can imagine worse situations. Avoid statements which do not leave room for exceptions, such as superlatives. They only provoke your reader to try challenge that statement. How about 'were worse than before' ?

April 30th 2008 . . . go to Student's Log

Very detailed; would fit an academic thesis.
As you organize it chronologically, there is a gap between the Long March 1934-1935 and the beginning of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War 1937.
Perhaps : From the Long March to the Beginning of the War with Japan
I have a problem with the title of IV.2. Non-Koreans will ask : What war with Japan ? The struggle of Korean patriots with Japan did not begin in 1937, but in 1919, and does not fulfil the criteria of a war. Rephrase. You want to convince, not perplex.
Your usage of "Performance" is puzzling; I can only guess what you mean. We may consider a different phrasing, but that can be done after you wrote the respective chapters.
Overall I like your organization.

April 24th 2008 . . . go to Student's Log

You forgot to list the documentary videos you watched. You know that I have Americana Annual 1937, 1938, 1939, Britannica Book of the Year 1944-1997
Other bibliographies you may consider to use in Scarecrow series, Historical dictionary of Republic of Korea, PR China.
' Do not list serial publications with full reference by volume; save the forest.

March 27th 2008 . . . go to Student's Log

Your list is more extensive than those your classmates posted so far.
(1) the last for positions in your list you indicate being electronic sources, but you don't give any URL. Add the URLs in the next update.
(2) add the yearbook entries which contain information on your topic.
(3) Solbi has borrowed (from me) English language biographies of Mao Zedong and of Deng Hsiao Ping; get those books and add them to your list.
(4) If a source of yours is in a language other than English, indicate that (China Watch; I had to add that comment)
(5) In a reference list, you do not have to list the numbers of pages the book has

Next step : Write a Working Table of Contents / Outline.