Saturday, August 4, 2007

Communism: The Promise and the Reality - 5of6 - Guerrilla Wars


The face of war changed when bands of highly motivated guerrilla warriors showed that they could defeat even the most powerful armies in the world. The model for guerrilla warfare was set in Cuba when a small band of revolutionaries wrestled control from Battista's armies. The mobilization of the peasants to support the revolution created a prototype that would be copied around the world.

In Asia, the peasant armies of the Vietcong humbled America in front of the world by forcing the superpower to admit defeat. The North Vietnamese were a dangerous, but invisible threat, "like a fish in water." In Afghanistan, the people resisted communist ideals, believing them a threat to the traditions of Islam. In these "people's wars," the guerrillas drew strength from the local population which furnished recruits and supplies, shelter and underground intelligence. More than ever before, popular support was vital in deciding the outcome of a war.

The people remember: Vietman War, Cuba, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Vietnam Tet Offensive, tunnels, Afghanistan, Russian offensive and Mujahideen.

About Communism: The Promise and the Reality

Communism was the most cataclysmic social experiment of the century—a mass movement whose ideals promised hope to millions but whose methods claimed millions as its victims. Now, at the end of the century that it transformed, the time has come to document Communism's rise and fall.

In Communism: The Promise and the Reality, ordinary people describe how and why they were mesmerized by the promises of Communist regimes. With those regimes collapsing around the world, they are now able to speak openly and with perspective. Theirs are extraordinary stories—stories that describe courageous acts of rebellion and heroic endurances of hardship. Never before have so many paid a price for their idealism.

These witnesses participated in the most dramatic moments in the history of Communism—from the Bolshevik assault on the Winter Palace to the smashing of the Berlin Wall; from Mao's Great Leap Forward to Castro's invasion of Cuba; from the Tet Offensive to the Gdansk Shipyard strike. They also beheld the response to revolution—the crushing power of American and Soviet forces, the international arms build-up, the threat of nuclear weapons.

Their voices speak of Communism's horrors, but they remind us that there was hope—for education in Ukraine, self-determination in post-colonial Vietnam, land ownership in Cuba, religious freedom in Afghanistan, national strength in China, relief from poverty in Eastern Europe.

Communism did not achieve what it set out to do, but its unintended legacy, as evidenced by these witnesses, shows the power of human resilience.

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