Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Editorial Department of Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily)

Chairman Mao’s Theory of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds is a Major Contribution to Marxism-Leninism

Build the Broadest International United Front and Smash Superpower Hegemonism and War Policies

The current fight of the people of the world against the hegemonism of the two superpowers and the fight against their war policies are two aspects of one and the same struggle. Hegemonism is their aim in war as well as their means of preparing for it. The danger of war resulting from Soviet-U.S. contention for hegemony is a growing menace to the people of the whole world. What attitude should we take towards this problem?

The people of China and the people of the rest of the world firmly demand peace and oppose a new world war. Faced with the gigantic task of speeding up our socialist construction and modernizing our agriculture, industry, national defence and science and technology, we in China urgently need a long period of peace. Like us, most countries in the world are against war. Except for a few war maniacs who vainly attempt to dominate the world, nobody wants a new war, which undoubtedly will bring humanity widespread disaster. As Chairman Mao consistently stated, our attitude towards a world war is: first, we are against it; second, we are not afraid of it.[1] We say we are not afraid of war not because we like it or fail to see the devastation it will cause but because fear solves no problem whatsoever. Moreover, we firmly believe that man will definitely eliminate war rather than the other way round. What are our tasks then?

First of all, we must warn the people of the danger of war. The two superpowers are making frenzied efforts to muster all their strength for war. Why? Lenin gave the answer long ago: War arises out of the very nature of imperialism. “The content of imperialist politics is ’world domination’ and the continuation of these politics is imperialist war.”[2] In his talk with the leader of a third world country in 1974 Chairman Mao pointed out: ”Imperialism does exist in this world. In our opinion, Russia may be called a social-imperialist country, and this system engenders war. Not that you or we or the third world want a world war. Nor do the people in the rich countries want a world war. This sort of thing happens irrespectively of man’s will,”[3] While we are not fatalists, we hold that history progresses in accordance with certain laws. Since modern war is a product of imperialism, we can eliminate world war only by making a revolution to overthrow the imperialist system. World war can definitely be eliminated if a social revolution takes place in the homelands of the two superpowers and transforms them into socialist countries. Such a revolution will come sooner or later. Since it has not yet done so, we have no reason whatsoever to relax our vigilance against a world war.

Since the rivalry between the two hegemonist powers is intensifying and especially since Soviet social-imperialism is on the offensive, the conflict between them cannot possibly be settled by peaceful means, when the chips are down. In the course of their fierce rivalry, these two superpowers may sometimes come to some agreement or other for a specific purpose. Chairman Mao said: “They may reach some agreement, but I wouldn’t take it as something solid. It’s transitory, and deceptive too. In essence, rivalry is primary.”[4] Such rivalry inevitably leads to war. At present, the factors for war are visibly growing. The two hegemonist powers are stepping up their war preparations while harping on the shopworn theme of “detente” and “disarmament.” Why don’t they simply stop it and destroy their huge arsenals lock, stock and barrel? Instead, they are spending huge sums of money on further research into new nuclear weapons and missiles and their manufacture, and on the development of still more efficient and still more lethal chemical, biological and other weapons. Their armed forces are so deployed that they can swiftly go into action, and they are constantly holding various kinds of military exercises. Each has massed hundreds of thousands of troops in Central Europe. Their fleets keep each other under surveillance as they prowl the oceans. Spies are sent out on new assignments, submarines embark on new missions, and new military satellites orbit in outer space. They are gathering military intelligence and readying themselves to wipe out each other’s war potential. All this makes it abundantly clear that the two superpowers are actively preparing for a total war. In the present historical circumstances, there is no possibility for a lasting peace, and a new world war is inevitable.

Secondly, we should make every effort to step up the struggle against hegemonism, that is, we should fight to put off the outbreak of war and in the process strengthen the defence capabilities of the people of all countries.

Both hegemonist powers are actively preparing for a new war to dominate the world. They will never change this policy and no one should cherish any illusion about that. However, it will not be so easy for them to achieve their aim. They are bound to come up against serious difficulties and roadblocks. Compared with wars in the past, a large-scale modern war is even less a purely military question. Its preparations cannot but be closely interwoven with such factors as domestic, financial and economic affairs and external relations. As each frenziedly strengthens its costly war machine, the Soviet Union and the United States are bound to intensify their oppression and exploitation of the people at home and thus aggravate contradictions in their economies and the internal contradictions between the different classes and between the different nationalities. In carrying out aggression and expansion everywhere and stepping up their global strategic deployment, they are bound to encroach upon the sovereignty and interests of other countries and thus aggravate their contradictions with these countries and people. Therefore it is only natural that, as they prepare for war, the Soviet Union and the United States should experience a sharpening of their internal and external crises. All this will inevitably upset their timetable for launching a war.

Chairman Mao said, “The United States is a paper tiger. Don’t believe in it. One thrust and it’s punctured. Revisionist Soviet Union is a paper tiger too.”[5] The U.S. imperialist policy of world domination has long since met with the courageous resistance of the people of all countries. Today, the United States is still doing its utmost to protect its vested interests in every continent. It has so much to protect and its battle fronts are so far-flung that it is “trying to catch ten fleas with ten fingers,”[6] as Chairman Mao put it. As a result it has landed itself in a passive position strategically. Today Soviet social-imperialism is on the offensive, but “in its offensive lies defeat.”[7] When the tentacles of its aggression claw a place for long, Soviet social-imperialism will be exposed and struggles against it will unfold. In its fight for the control of Europe’s flanks it has in recent years been devoting much of its resources to the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Red Sea area, the eastern and western seaboard of Africa and the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean, and yet in the end it has only met with a succession of ignominious defeats. Its naked power politics and gunboat diplomacy have met with growing and widespread opposition among the people of the world. Going all out as it does for arms expansion and war preparations, the Soviet Union finds that “its strength falls short of its wild ambitions,” and it is “unable to cope with Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, China and the Pacific Region.”[8]

The difficulties and setbacks suffered by the two hegemonist powers make it clear that in the excellent world situation obtaining today it is not only the common wish of the people of the world to put off the outbreak of war by stepping up the struggle against hegemonism and spiking the war plans of the Soviet Union and the United States, but it is also practical and possible to do so. World war, though inevitable, can be postponed. To guard against surprise attack by the war instigators, our defence work has to be based on the possibility of fighting a major war sooner rather than later. By that, however, we do not mean that war will break out tomorrow. The key to putting off war lies not in holding talks and concluding agreements, as is vociferously preached by some people, but in the united struggle of the people of all countries against hegemonism.

History has repeatedly shown that unity in struggle forged by the people of all countries is the main force in defeating the war instigators. The people of every country must work hard and step up their preparations materially and organizationally against wars of aggression, closely watch the aggressive and expansionist activities of the two hegemonist powers and resolutely defeat them. The people must see to it that these two superpowers do not violate their country’s or any other country’s sovereign rights, do not encroach on their country’s or any other country’s territory and territorial seas or violate their strategic areas and strategic lines of communication, do not use force or the threat of force or other manoeuvres to interfere in their country’s or any other country’s internal affairs; moreover, both powers must be closely watched lest they resort to schemes of subversion and use “aid” as a pretext to push through their military, political and economic plots. The people must also see to it that they do not establish, enlarge, carve up and wrest spheres of influence in any part of the world. So long as all this is done, it will be possible to hold up the timetable of the two hegemonists for launching a world war, and the people of the world will be better prepared and find themselves in a more favourable position should war break out. To this end, all the countries and people of the third and the second world that are threatened by the two hegemonists must first of all foster a dauntless spirit and strengthen the conviction that no matter how the superpowers huff and puff, they can be defeated. They must not give in to intimidation and never allow themselves to be taken in. They must persist in safeguarding their independence, interests and security mainly by relying on themselves, redouble their efforts to support each other on the basis of equality and unite with all the forces that can be united to carry the struggle against hegemonism through to the end.

Third, we must redouble our efforts to oppose the policy of appeasement because it can only bring war nearer. There are people in the West today who in fact adopt a policy of appeasement towards the Soviet Union. In striving to work out an “ideal” formula for compromise and concessions in the face of Soviet expansion and threats, some people have dished up such proposals as the “Sonnenfeldt doctrine” in the fond hope of assuaging the aggressor’s appetite or at least gaining some respite for themselves. Others intend to build a so-called “material basis” for peaceful co-operation and the prevention of war by means of big loans, extensive trade, joint exploitation of resources and exchange of technology. Still others hope they can divert the Soviet Union to the East so as to free themselves from this Soviet peril at the expense of the security of other countries. But aren’t all these nostrums just a revamping of what was previously tried and found totally bankrupt in the history of war? Did the Munich agreement to sacrifice Czechoslovakia, cooked up by Chamberlain, Daladier and company, stop or slow down the march of the voracious Hitler? True, Hitler did go east and overrun Poland, but didn’t he follow this up by turning west to occupy France? The United States, Britain and France gave Germany and Japan a shot in the arm by extending aid and loans to them and selling them war materials. And did they succeed in saving themselves? Today’s activities are indeed far more hectic than those before World War II, what with the SALT talks between the United States and the Soviet Union, the talks on the reduction of forces in Central Europe and the conference on European security and co-operation. But hasn’t the war crisis in Europe worsened rather than abated despite the intensified efforts to keep these conferences going and to make deals? Haven’t the weapons of all kinds installed on both sides of the European front grown in number rather than diminished? The more high-falutin the talk of detente and the more intense the efforts at appeasement, the greater the danger of war. This is not alarmist talk. It is a truth repeatedly borne out by history. It is high time that these appeasers woke up.

If war does finally break out, the result will definitely turn out to be just the opposite of what the war instigators wish. At present, each hegemonist power intends to spring a surprise attack on the other to destroy its war capabilities at one blow. However, this aim is very difficult to attain because they are both making intensive preparations to forestall just such an attack. As the war drags on, many changes beyond the calculations and control of the two hegemonist powers will take place in various parts of the world. In the meantime the people of all countries will surely avail themselves of the many opportunities that will arise to organize wars against aggression. And these raging wars against aggression cannot be stamped out. In the end, through prolonged and concerted efforts the people will definitely be able to wipe out the war instigators. As Chairman Mao pointed out, “If the imperialists insist on launching a third world war, it is certain that several hundred million more [people] will turn to socialism, and then there will not be much room left on earth for the imperialists; it is also likely that the whole structure of imperialism will completely collapse.”[9] In a word, if anyone should dare to provoke a world war, he will find himself most resolutely opposed and rebuffed by the people of the whole world, including the people of his own country, and complete destruction will await him.

In 1968 Chairman Mao stated that the Soviet revisionists and the U.S. imperialists “have done so many foul and evil things that the revolutionary people the world over will not let them go unpunished. The people of all countries are rising. A new historical period of struggle against U.S. imperialism and Soviet revisionism has begun.”[10] Today, the world forces fighting the hegemonism of the two superpowers are growing in strength, building as they are the broadest international united front. In the van of this united front the socialist countries stand shoulder to shoulder with the international proletariat. They resolutely expose and oppose the two hegemonists’ policies of aggression and war and support the joint efforts of all countries and people subjected to superpower threat and aggression. The countries and people of the third world are waging tit-for-tat struggles against the superpowers in order to safeguard their independence, sovereignty and security. The political awareness of the people of the first and second worlds is growing, and they are unfolding a struggle in diverse forms against the two hegemonists. The countries of the second world are unfolding their struggle against Soviet and U.S. control, and particularly against the Soviet Union’s threats of war, and they have shown a stronger and stronger tendency to get united among themselves and with the third world. All this points to the fact that the main trend in the development of the present international situation is unity for stepping up the struggle of all the forces in the world against the two hegemonist powers. As time passes, this main trend increasingly testifies to the correctness of Chairman Mao’s theory of the differentiation of the three worlds and to its power as the guiding concept for the international proletariat and the people of the world in building the broadest possible international united front against hegemonism.

It has been the consistent revolutionary policy of the international proletariat to form the broadest possible united front in world-wide revolutionary struggles to strike at the chief enemy. Lenin taught us: ”The more powerful enemy can be vanquished only by exerting the utmost effort, and most thoroughly, carefully, attentively and skilfully making use without fail of every, even the smallest, ’rift’ among the enemies, of every antagonism of interest among the bourgeoisie of the various countries and among the various groups or types of bourgeoisie within the various countries, and also by taking advantage of every, even the smallest, opportunity of gaining a mass ally, even though this ally be temporary, vacillating, unstable, unreliable and conditional. Those who fail to understand this, fail to understand even a particle of Marxism, or of scientific, modern Socialism in general.”[11] The revolutionary experience of the proletariat and the oppressed nations has time and again shown that those who correctly apply this policy can muster a mighty revolutionary army of the masses in their millions upon millions to concentrate the attack on the chief enemy and triumph in the revolution. Going against this policy can only drive to the side of the enemy those forces which could have been won over, swell the enemy’s ranks, isolate oneself and consequently condemn the revolution to failure.

The formation of an international united front against the two hegemonist powers has been viciously maligned by the Soviet revisionist renegade clique as ”forming military-political blocs and alliances with the imperialists and all the other reactionaries.”[12] Such calumny only goes to prove the correctness of this policy in an indirect way. This clique are mortally afraid that the people of the world will wield the revolutionary magic weapon of the united front to deal with them. So they vainly resort to pseudo-revolutionary phraseology in order to entice the revolutionary people into practising closed-doorism. This practice of rejecting allies is nothing new to the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese people. On the eve of the War of Resistance Against Japan, it was sharply criticized by Chairman Mao. He pointed out: “The tactics of closed-doorism are, on the contrary, the tactics of the regal isolationist. Closed-doorism just ’drives the fish into deep waters and the sparrows into the thickets,’ and it will drive the millions upon millions of the masses, this mighty army, over to the enemy’s side, which will certainly win his acclaim.”[13] Chairman Mao’s criticism of closed-doorism was warmly supported by the whole Chinese people. But the Trotskyites came out and attacked it, slandering the Chinese Communist Party’s policy of the anti-Japanese national united front as “a ’united front’ with bureaucrats, politicians, warlords and even butchers of the people,” as “giving up the class stand,” and so on. Our great thinker Lu Hsun hit the nail on the head when he denounced them by saying, “Your ’theory’ is indeed much loftier than that of Mr. Mao Tsetung and others, and, what’s more, yours is high up in the sky, while theirs is down-to-earth. But admirable as such loftiness is, it will unfortunately be just what the Japanese aggressors will welcome. Hence I fear that it will tumble from the sky and slip to the filthiest spot on earth. ... I want to remind you that your lofty theory will not be welcomed by the Chinese people and that your behaviour runs counter to the Chinese people’s present-day standards of morality.”[14] Today when we re-read these incisive statements by Lenin, Chairman Mao and Lu Hsun, don’t we feel that they are sharp swords piercing the Soviet revisionist renegades to the heart?

Much importance is attached to Chairman Mao’s theory of the differentiation of the three worlds by the forces ranged against the superpowers throughout the world. Why? Because, first, this theory gives immense confidence to the international proletariat and the people of the socialist countries and enables them to see clearly the essential relationships between the three forces – ourselves, our friends and our enemies – in the present-day world and visualize their eventual victory in the struggle against imperialism and hegemonism and the triumph of communism. Second, this theory gives immense confidence to the masses and countries of the third world and enables them to realize their own gigantic strength; it enables them to see that in their struggle they not only enjoy the sure support of the socialist countries and the international proletariat and the solidarity of the people of the first and second worlds, but they can to a certain extent also obtain co-operation from the countries of the second world and take advantage of the contradictions between the two superpowers. Third, this theory not only holds out high hopes to the people of the first and second worlds, but shows the way ahead for all the political forces of the second world striving to safeguard state sovereignty and national survival under the menace of aggression by the two superpowers. In a word, this theory is powerful because it accords with the objective realities of world politics and illuminates the bright future of mankind.

Chairman Mao always pinned high hopes on the people of all countries. He said that “the masses of the Soviet people and of Party members and cadres are good, that they desire revolution and that revisionist rule will not last long.”[15] On another occasion he said, “I place great hopes in the American people.”[16] With regard to the Japanese people Chairman Mao said, “Tortuous as is the road of struggle, the prospects for the Japanese people are bright.”[17] In a talk with personages from Africa and Latin America he pointed out: “We all stand on the same front and need to unite with and support each other.” “The people of the world, including the people of the United States, are our friends.”[18] Obviously, by the people of the world Chairman Mao meant, first and foremost, the international proletariat.

More than a century ago, Marx and Engels, the great teachers of the world proletarian revolution, pointed out in the Manifesto of the Communist Party: “What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.”[19] To accomplish its historic mission of burying the capitalist system which engenders world wars, the international proletariat must do its utmost to build, consolidate and expand an international united front against the Soviet and U.S. hegemonists and play to the full its role as the core of the united front. Marx and Engels said, “The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement.”[20] Victory in the world-wide struggle against hegemonism and victory in the international proletariat’s struggle for socialism and communism are identical as far as fundamental interests are concerned. Capitalism has reached the stage of imperialism which is moribund and decaying, and the two superpowers, their hands dripping with blood, are already inextricably caught in the net they themselves have cast over the world. The day is not far off when the international proletariat, the grave-diggers of the bourgeoisie, together with their close ally, the oppressed people and nations, will shake off their chains and win the whole world for themselves.

Proletarians and the oppressed nations of the world, unite! All countries subjected to aggression, interference, control, subversion and bullying by the two hegemonist powers, unite! Victory belongs to the people of all countries fighting the two hegemonist powers, the Soviet Union and the United States!


[1] Mao Tsetung, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” Selected Works of Mao Tsetung, Vol. V.

[2] V. I. Lenin, “A Caricature of Marxism and ’Imperialist Economism,’” Collected Works, Vol. 23.

[3] From a talk by Chairman Mao in February 1974.

[4] Ibid.

[5]From a talk by Chairman Mao in January 1964.

[6]From a talk by Chairman Mao in October 1975.

[7]From a talk by Chairman Mao in September 1975.

[8]From a talk by Chairman Mao in May 1974.

[9] Mao Tsetung, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” Selected Works of Mao Tsetung, Vol. V.

[10] From Chairman Mao’s telegram to the Albanian leaders, September 17, 1968.

[11] V. I. Lenin, “’Left-Wing’ Communism – An Infantile Disorder,” Collected Works, Vol. 31.

[12] The Soviet journal Kommunist, No. 12, 1975.

[13] Mao Tsetung, ”On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism,” Selected Works of Mao Tsetung, Vol. I.

[14] Lu Hsun, “Reply to a Letter from the Trotskyites,” Collected Works, Vol. 6.

[15] Mao Tsetung, Speech at the Enlarged Session of the Working Conference of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, January 30, 1962.

[16] From a talk by Chairman Mao in December 1970.

[17] From a talk by Chairman Mao with friends from Japan, People’s Daily, October 8, 1961.

[18] From a talk by Chairman Mao with trade union and women’s delegations and representatives from fourteen Latin-American and African countries and regions, People’s Daily, May 4, 1960.

[19] K. Marx and F. Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Vol. 4.

[20] Ibid.