"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
1 Phase 1, 1949 to 1976: The Mao Phase of Building the Foundation3 Phase 1, 1949 to 1976: The Mao Phase of Building the FoundationPhase 1, 1949 to 1976: The Mao Phase of Building the FoundationChapter 6: The Big Cycle of China and Its Currency2020-10-09Journal
As mentioned in Chapter 4, at the end of World War II Korea was split, with the Russians having control of the north and the Americans having control of the south, divided at the 38th parallel. In June 1950, guided by Stalin/the Russians, the North Koreans invaded the South. Initially the Chinese weren’t involved in the fighting as they were preoccupied by their own challenges and didn’t want to be drawn into a war. The United States, in conjunction with the United Nations, responded to the invasion by bringing its forces into the fighting and then taking the fighting into North Korea, which is on the Chinese border. The Chinese viewed this as a threat especially since the American General Douglas MacArthur made clear that he would attack China. China couldn’t have the United States on its border or in its territory, so China had to fight. China, like most countries, was very sensitive about having enemies on its borders. Though the Soviets and the Chinese had a pact to support each other, Stalin didn’t want to go war with the United States and so he didn’t provide China with the military support it expected. Though the Chinese were ill-prepared for a war against the much greater American power, which had nuclear weapons that China didn’t have, the Chinese entered the war and pushed the US and UN troops back to the previously established border. This was the first great challenge to Mao and China and was considered a great victory by the Chinese. Given China’s history with foreigners Mao/China understandably wanted extreme isolation within its sovereign border and was able to achieve that.