With victory in the civil war with the Nationalists in 1949, Mao claimed to have liberated China from both Japanese imperialists and Western colonialists, and restored her dignity. "China has stood up!" he said.His party's claim to absolute power was rooted in what it had done, and also what it must do. Only a party with total power could lead a world revolution. Only an all-powerful party could abolish inequality in a way that made the French Revolution look like a rebellion at Berkeley.Xi Jinping's problem? The Cold War is over. China is herself in the capitalist camp, a member of the G-8, and inequality in the People's Republic resembles that of America in the Gilded Age.How does the Chinese Communist Party justify control of all of China's institutions today – economic, political, military and cultural?If Marxism is mocked behind closed doors by a new economic elite and tens of millions of Chinese young, what can cause the nation to continue to respect and obey a Communist Party and its leaders, besides the gun?The answer of Europe in the 1930s is China's answer today.Nationalism, tribalism, patriotic war if necessary, will bring the masses back. If the Chinese nation is being insulted, if ancestral lands are occupied by foreigners as in olden times, the people will rally around a regime that stands up for China. Nationalism will keep Chinese society "under control while you go forward."Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe traces the aggressiveness of Beijing in the Senkaku Islands dispute to a "deeply ingrained" need to appeal to Chinese nationalism in the form of anti-Japanese sentiment dating to the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945.Chinese nationalism, says Abe, is also behind China's quarrels with Vietnam and other nations over islands of the South China Sea.If Beijing is unable to deliver economic growth, "it will not be able to control the 1.3 billion people ... under the one-party rule," Abe told The Washington Post. He is now denying those quotes.But China is not alone in stoking the flames of nationalism to maintain legitimacy.Abe has himself taken a firm stand against China in the Senkakus and is moving rightward on patriotism, security and a defense of Japan's history in the 20th century, and he is rising in the polls. The apologetic and pacifist Japan of yesterday is no more.
The most important economic element in this war ideology was inflationism.