Mao Tse Tung
Quotations from Mao Tse Tung

18. Patriotism and Internationalism


Can a Communist, who is an internationalist, at the same time be a patriot? We hold that he not only can be but also must be. The specific content of patriotism is determined by historical conditions. There is the "patriotism" of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler, and there is our patriotism. Communists must resolutely oppose the "patriotism" of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler. The Communists of Japan and Germany are defeatists with regard to the wars being waged by their countries. To bring about the defeat of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler by every possible means is in the interests of the Japanese and the German people, and the more complete the defeat the better.... For the wars launched by the Japanese aggressors and Hitler are harming the people at home as well as the people of the world. China's case, however, is different, because she is the victim of aggression. Chinese Communists must therefore combine patriotism with internationalism. We are at once internationalists and patriots, and our slogan is, "Fight to defend the motherland against the aggressors." For us defeatism is a crime and to strive for victory in the War of Resistance is an inescapable duty. For only by fighting in defense of the motherland can we defeat the aggressors and achieve national liberation. And only by achieving national liberation will it be possible for the proletariat and other working people to achieve their own emancipation. The victory of China and the defeat of the invading imperialists will help the people of other countries. Thus in wars of national liberation patriotism is applied internationalism.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 196. *

What kind of spirit is this that makes a foreigner selflessly adopt the cause of the Chinese people's liberation as his own? It is the spirit of internationalism, the spirit of communism, from which every Chinese Communist must learn.... We must unite with the proletariat of all the capitalist countries, with the proletariat of Japan, Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy and all other capitalist countries, before it is possible to overthrow imperialism, to liberate our nation and people, and to liberate the other nations and peoples of the world. This is our internationalism, the internationalism with which we oppose both narrow nationalism and narrow patriotism.

"In Memory of Norman Bethune" (December 21, 1939), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 337. *

In the fight for complete liberation the oppressed people rely first of all on their own struggle and then, and only then, on international assistance. The people who have triumphed in their own revolution should help those still struggling for liberation. This is our internationalist duty.

Talk with African friends (August 8, 1963).

The socialist countries are states of an entirely new type in which the exploiting classes have been overthrown and the working people are in power. The principle of integrating internationalism with patriotism is practiced in the relations between these countries. Common interests and common ideals closely bind us.

"Speech at the Meeting of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution" (November 6, 1957).

The people of the countries in the socialist camp should unite, the people of the countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America should unite, the people of all the continents should unite, all peace-loving countries should unite, and all countries subjected to U.S. aggression, control, intervention or bullying should unite, and so form the broadest united front to oppose the U.S. imperialist policies of aggression and war and to defend world peace.

"Statement Supporting the Panamanian People's Just Patriotic Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism" (January 12, 1964), People of the World, Unite and Defeat the U.S. Aggressors and All Their Lackeys, 2nd ed., p. 9.

Things develop ceaselessly. It is only forty-five years since the Revolution of 1911, but the face of China has completely changed. In another forty-five years, that is, in the year 2001, or the beginning of the 21st century, China will have undergone an even greater change. She will have become a powerful socialist industrial country. And that is as it should be. China is a land with an area of 9,600,000 square kilometers and a population of 600 million people, and she ought to have made a greater contribution to humanity. Her contribution over a long period has been far too small. For this we are regretful. But we must be modest - not only now, but forty-five years hence as well. We should always be modest. In our international relations, we Chinese people should get rid of great-power chauvinism resolutely, thoroughly, wholly and completely.

"In Commemoration of Dr. Sun Yat-sen" (November 1956).

We must never adopt an arrogant attitude of great-power chauvinism and become conceited because of the victory of our revolution and certain achievements in our construction. Every nation, big or small, has its strong and weak points.

"Opening Address at the Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of China" (September 15, 1956).


Chapter 19: Revolutionary Heroism