Inevitable forces of history

There’s only so much that a man can do. There’s only so that any nation can do, to put a stop to inevitable forces of destruction during their lifetime.

That’s not to say they shouldn’t try. We’ve got to somehow oppose the evils in this life, in this time.

This is what I’m thinking about as I research my current writing project, a novel about inevitabilities in the year 1937. Fascism, was a damn near unstoppable force during that time, although the Allies were later able to pull it off when they had defeated the Nazis of Germany, Italy, and Japan by 1945. But there were eight years of pure hell before the beast was put back in his cage.

However, there was another rising tide during those turbulent times of the late 1930s and ’40s– communism. It was in the background.  Over  yonder in Russia, eastern Europe and China, the ideology of Marx and Lenin was a slumbering giant.

Consider the plights of two military leaders (later political leaders) of that time: Tomas Masaryk of Czechoslovakia and Chiang Kai-shek of China. These two men and their armies were contending against the terrible fascist war machines of their era.

But life is never simple, and the perils of war are never predictable. In Czechoslovakia, Tomas Masaryk was trying to lead his fledgling democratic nation into an alliance with the Allies of the west, most specifically France. However, Vladimir Lenin’s revolutionary mustering of the Comintern would inevitably blind-side the Czechs and overtake their democratic impulses, but that didn’t happen until the late 1940s, after a whole damn world war, the Second! one, had been fought and driven into the dust of tragic history.

In the 1920s and ’30s. the Czech leader, Masaryk, had his hands full trying to deal with the after-effects of German-Austrian militarism (left-over from WWI) even as the fascist beast began to raise its ugly head again as Hitler’s zombified nazi war machine.

So it was quite sensible, quite understandable, that Masaryk did not want to take sides in the Russian civil war–communist Reds against nationalist Whites. Masaryk didn’t want to involve his people in a bloody Bolshevik struggle when there was still so much to be dealt with on the German side of his problems.

While developing an alliance with the French in the aftermath of WWI, Masaryk and his Czechs neglected the Russian bolshevik threat from the east.  But that same Russian bear later reared up in the late ’40s and overtook the Czechs anyway.

How could Tomas Masaryk have known? It was all he could do to handle the snake-pit of military and political evils on his western front.

There’s only so much a man, or the nation that he is leading, can do.

Chiang Kai-Shek had the same problem in China. His nationalist armies were fighting Mao Tse-tung’s communist Reds in the 1930s. Meanwhile, just across the sea, the fascist imperial Japanese were about to devour half of China (and all of China if it could have). The Japs took advantage of the Chinese infighting between Chiang and Mao’s opposing forces, until the Japanese threat became so undeniably serious. Both Chinese factions had to lay low against each, even in some cases work together, to run the damn Japs back to their island.

But then after all that had blown over–after the World War in which millions had died–in the late 40s, Mao’s unstoppable communists ran Chiang Kai-Shek and his Kuomintang army off the mainland to Taiwan.

There’s only so much a man can do. Communism, during the 1940s, was a slumbering, though inevitable, giant in both Europe and Asia. Now, alas, seventy years later, the whole idea of communism–the whole Marx/Leninism platform– has kind of ground itself into a post-1989 skid; it lingers confusedly with its finger occupying its nose as the world arranges itself into a new set of slings and arrows and inevitable evils and the heroics that oppose them.

Go figure.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

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