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COURSERA: The Modern World, Part Two: Global History since 1910, W4.08 Revolutionary Asia

W4.08 Revolutionary Asia

Welcome back. Make yourself comfortable. Let's now go around the world and look at revolutionary Asia in the late 1940s. Huge world historical events are happening here. There are two revolutionary models really in play for the whole future of China, the most populous country on Earth. The first actually is the Nationalist Chinese model, the Guomindang, Because, after all, they had started as a revolutionary party back in the 1920s, taking the place of the warlords, antiforeign, Chiang Kai Shek looking to models, both in Moscow and even in the fascist countries, for ideas of how to organize his nationalist state. Very much the image now of the national conservative, the top-down modernizer, the restorer of ancient Chinese traditions in a modernized China. The United States of America, during the war, takes a lead in sponsoring nationalist China as a future great power. Indeed, it's Franklin Roosevelt and the American administration that say that China should be a permanent member of the Security Council of the new United Nations they're creating. The United States helps bring together a summit meeting in which Chiang is treated as the leader of a world power, in this summit meeting in Cairo with Roosevelt, Churchill and Chiang: 1943. Of course the other revolutionary model, the Communist model, represented by the Chinese Communist Party. Its signature leader, Mao Zedong. You've seen these images before of Mao in the 1930s. The young firebrand, the charismatic orator. The party officials seen here huddled at a party meeting with Zhou Enlai. I especially like this picture. You kind of have a sense of the unheated room, with the men having to wear their coats even though they're indoors, conferring at a party meeting surrounded by the papers, yet that sense of informality, of a revolutionary movement. Both of these revolutionary models are backed by great powers, though the Soviet Union also hopes to have good relations with the Nationalist government, as well. In 1947, the civil war takes a decisive turn because of decisions being made by both sides. So, at the beginning of 1947, if you'd been taking bets on what's going to happen in the Chinese Civil War, most of the smart folks would've told you that the Nationalists were probably going to win. And the Communists were a lot of trouble, but the Nationalists bound to win. Here's the map in 1947. From the Nationalist Chinese point of view, they are holding this blue line; they are holding these places in Manchuria. They've got most of the country. Communists are in this area, getting some supplies from the Soviet Union, but the Nationalists are hoping they're going to launch an offensive that's going to decisively defeat the Communists in 1947. But meanwhile, while the Nationalist government, the Guomindang, is trying to decisively defeat the Communists, they're also moving their capital and trying to reestablish a state, because most of this had been occupied by the Japanese, it's in chaos. So they're both fighting a war and trying to rebuild a state in lands that had been ravaged by years of warfare. They're moving their capital from here, Chongqing, Chungking is the way they used to call it, back here to where their capitol had been, in Nanjing. So the Guomindang is trying to rebuild the state at the same time it's fighting a civil war. It's overextended, its economic base is fragile, it's spending a ton of money trying to reestablish public services, but there's not a sound basis for the currency. It begins to tip over into economic chaos and hyperinflation, again, while they're still trying to fight this war. The Chinese Civil War isn't nearly as well understood as some other huge events like, say, the American Civil War or World War II, for example, or even the Vietnam War. And that's puzzling, because this is a civil war that's deciding the fate of the most populous country on Earth. The fate of China is clearly pretty important in world history. So it's worth just taking a few minutes to feel like we understand the outcome of the Civil War better. Now it wouldn't be interesting if the outcome of the Civil War was just a foregone conclusion: Nationalists kind of rotten, Communists bound to win. But actually that's not where I think modern historians are, like the Norwegian Odd Arne Westad argues that the outcome of the Civil War was really up in the air in 1947 and 1948. So, what I'll try to do to help bring this kind of obscure patch of extremely important history alive for you, is show you about five minutes worth of film from a wonderful documentary made and shown in the United States during the 1960s. This documentary does a really nice job of covering the ground of the Civil War very quickly but using just some remarkable film footage taken at the time that kind of brings that period and people to life. Just kind of look at the people, the machines, the scenes they're showing you. There's really a lot there in those five minutes. Let's take a look. » [SOUND] The Nationalists, with all the transport of America at their disposal, enplane their troops to seize the cities of the Yangtze Valley. This ease of movement will lead them onto larger appetite. Dispersion of their forces up from the Yangtze to seize the cities not only of North China but beyond. Manchuria, with its vital industry of rails. Nor will the Communists sit still. Together, Mao and Zhou, like Chiang, decide the key lies in Manchuria. They choose Lin Biao as field commander to make the dash. From Yenan, in North China, they will strike east and north, while Chiang is readying troops to move from Yangtze ports and airfields. [MUSIC] By foot and pack train, Lin Biao sets out. The Russians have temporarily occupied Manchuria by the surrender terms with Japan. Communists expect to get from Russians surrendered Japanese equipment and guns and hold the countryside before Chiang arrives. [MUSIC] The rumble of inevitable clash causes America to replace Hurley with General George Marshall. This architect of global victory is sent to save the peace for which so brilliantly he labored. Received by Chiang Kai-Shek, Marshall gropes for American solutions to the bitter revolutionary surges of a strange Asian nation, torn by barbarisms a generation old. To his Chongqing headquarters, he invites a communist delegation led by Zhou Enlai, chief communist negotiator, to meet with Chiang Kai-Shek's spokesmen. Marshall suggests, and they agree to, an American answer for China's groping search for order. A federal government peacefully permitting the two parties to govern provinces they now hold politically. Freedom of speech permitted everywhere, and disputes resolved by talk, not guns. [MUSIC] In January 1946, both parties celebrate a truce with a handshake. No paper truce, however, can mend a nation ripped apart by 50 years of killing. Within two months, troops are on the move again. Each side blames the other. But a hundred savage skirmishes now flare to full-scale war. Manchuria is the cockpit of the struggle. The industry Japan has built and left is the greatest prize in China. Chiang�s American-equipped troops seize all major cities to find a hollow triumph. The Russian occupiers have looted every factory before withdrawal, ripped-out sockets show where great machines once stood. For Mao, the fighting in Manchuria is prelude to the climax of his theories: the day when guerrilla bands group into formal armies and shove frontal combat at a weary enemy. He fights for more than safety now. His ambition seeks to mold all of China to his theories. » I asked Mao Zedong what their policy was with regard to freedom of the press and he said they believe in absolute freedom of press and absolute freedom of speech, and it wasn't going to be like Chongqing when they won. Everybody would have the right to say whatever he felt. There wouldn't be censorship the way Chiang Kai-Shek had in Chongqing. So I said you, you really mean that? He said, of course we mean it. And I said, do you mean that if you come to power, anybody will be able to print anything he wants in a newspaper, or publish any newspaper he wants? And Mao Zedong said, of course, he said, except for enemies of the people. Nor did he ever define, and I was too young to ask him to define, what he meant by enemies of the people. Obviously, now it means anybody who disagrees with him. » In summer �46, Chiang returns his government to Nanjing and once again, as 17 years before, reports the victory of his cause at Sun Yat-sen's mausoleum. The fighting in the North is only distant thunder in the Yangtze Valley. American advisers urge he seize this moment to win the hearts and firm the loyalties of his people by new reforms. Thus in Nanjing, Chiang convenes a congress to write a modern constitution, in one last try to govern China by the order Sun Yat-sen has preached. But the thrust of all his background is still military. His troops must win by force of arms. With American arms, he feels the Communists can be crushed, but his troops dig in to garrison rail junctions, cities they have occupied. American advisers insist such static defense is major error. They say he pins down his best divisions where Communist guerrillas will isolate them. » So against that backdrop, the big powers make some key decisions. In 1947, the Soviet government decides to really make a decisive effort to help the Communists win. They've been trying to kind of play both sides because they thought the Nationalists might be in charge. In �47, they really commit themselves to Communist victory. The Americans are also making some key decisions in 1947. Marshall had been very disillusioned with the Nationalist government from his experiences there in 1946. And actually, the Americans eliminated much of their assistance to China in early 1947. They were selling them some stuff for cash, in a situation where the Chinese were not flush with money. They weren't really giving up, giving away very much except some equipment that they couldn't use. A representative of the American military, a gentleman named Wedemeyer, actually went to China in late �47. He comes back with a report, really interesting. Basically says: Yep, the Chinese government has big flaws. But we need to go in heavily there, get them to make the reforms that they need to make, and then back them with a lot of money, a lot of military advisers, help them figure out how to fight and win the Civil War, give them the finances to do it. So if we go in, we get them to make the changes they need to make, we go in with the advisers and the money to make good on it, so that we win the Civil War. Marshall quashes the Wedemeyer report. He just does not think that the United States should make a huge investment, an intervention, in this Chinese Civil War. Fundamentally, he's decided to just kind of let the chips fall where they may, and that he's going to concentrate his energy on trying to rescue Europe. That turns into decisive differences during 1948. Moscow ups its play. A key official, Anastas Mikoyan, goes to China, meets with the Chinese. The Chinese tell Mikoyan that they view the Soviet Union as their model for how to build the state. The lavish him with praise, compliments. They're his pupils, he's the teacher. Mao in fact, is very worried that the Americans are going to intervene in the Civil War, that thousands of American soldiers are going to come into play. But those fears turn out to be unrealistic. Marshall, in fact, goes to the Congress, which is very worried about China, and says, okay, you want to give aid to China, go ahead. His deal with the Congress says: You want to start giving aid to China in 1948? Appropriate the money. Because the bargain he wants is he wants Congress to appropriate the money for European needs, for the European Recovery Program. That's the political deal he makes; they'll help Europe in exchange for his going along with their doing something for China. Of course, by the time a lot of that money and equipment will arrive in China to help the Nationalists, there won't be a lot, there won't be American advisers attached to it. And the money and help will be too late. It will be too late to save the Nationalist government, which begins to lose decisive battles in the second half of 1948. And then their fortunes decline faster and faster, to the point that the Communists conquer all of China in 1949. Now you have to stop and reflect on the effects of this, and what a momentous development this is. If you're thinking about a struggle to quote contain communism, well you've just failed to contain communism in the most populous country on Earth, a country that a lot of people have realized for a hundred years is a potential pivot in the course of world history. China has gone communist, and indeed it's created a whole model for revolutionary change: coming out of the countryside, organizing the peasants, land reform, it's showing poor countries a model for revolution. And for Stalin and Mao, who get together to celebrate Stalin's 70th birthday in this photograph, they're talking together: What are the new possibilities? What's the new world? And for Stalin, and Mao, they look together at the world of East Asia and they see a world full of turmoil. Again, here's that standard map from 1948. Korea, divided. A kind of low-grade civil war going on between the Soviet-sponsored regime in the North and an American supported regime in the South. In turmoil. The leader of the communists there wants the Soviets and Chinese to help him overrun the South. In Taiwan, the Nationalists have fled here as their last refuge. Mao wants to launch an invasion across the Taiwan Straits that will wipe them out and occupy Taiwan for Communist rule. In Indo-China, the Viet Minh are seeking support from the new Chinese Communist government and the Soviet Union in their battle against the French and their Vietnamese allies. Even in the Philippines, an insurgency rages against the new republic there, supported by the American government, from an insurgency called the Huks, who also would like to get some support here. And there are arguments about the future of this new country, Indonesia, that's taking the place of the Netherlands Indies, where there's a strong Indonesian Communist Party that wants to play a role in that part of the world, too. And as for the Americans: What do they think? 1949 is a tough year for the American government, for a lot of reasons we'll get into more next week. But basically, they're hoping that the Chinese will be more nationalist than communist. That they'll come to disagree with the Soviets and, who knows, maybe the Americans will be able to forge better relations with them. And in a way, their whole experience with China has raised with them a key dilemma. Here you are. You've got this government that you like. But the government you like is very deeply flawed. Frankly, if it weren't deeply flawed, it wouldn't be involved in a civil war, probably. So you have this deeply flawed government. What do you do? Option one, do you bolster them? Do you just give a ton of help to that flawed government? Sure, you're going to argue to them that, if I'm going to give you all this help, you need to change, you need to fix all these flaws. So do you bolster the flawed government, hoping you can get them to fix and change themselves. Or do you say you're so flawed, it's not worth pouring money into you? We should just abandon you and leave you to your fate. From the point of view of some Americans, China offered a lesson from both schools. They should have bolstered Chiang, should have intervened in the Civil War. Or there's an argument that no, China was best left to its fate and maybe it will work out for the best. How this whole story will work out, how the Soviet and Chinese plans and ambitions played out against these American hopes and fears, we'll see next week. See you then. [BLANK_AUDIO]



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W4.08 Revolutionary Asia

Welcome back. Make yourself comfortable. Let's now go around the world and look at revolutionary Asia in the late 1940s. Huge world historical events are happening here. There are two revolutionary models really in play for the whole future of China, the most populous country on Earth. The first actually is the Nationalist Chinese model, the Guomindang, Because, after all, they had started as a revolutionary party back in the 1920s, taking the place of the warlords, antiforeign, Chiang Kai Shek looking to models, both in Moscow and even in the fascist countries, for ideas of how to organize his nationalist state. Very much the image now of the national conservative, the top-down modernizer, the restorer of ancient Chinese traditions in a modernized China. The United States of America, during the war, takes a lead in sponsoring nationalist China as a future great power. Indeed, it's Franklin Roosevelt and the American administration that say that China should be a permanent member of the Security Council of the new United Nations they're creating. The United States helps bring together a summit meeting in which Chiang is treated as the leader of a world power, in this summit meeting in Cairo with Roosevelt, Churchill and Chiang: 1943. Of course the other revolutionary model, the Communist model, represented by the Chinese Communist Party. Its signature leader, Mao Zedong. You've seen these images before of Mao in the 1930s. The young firebrand, the charismatic orator. The party officials seen here huddled at a party meeting with Zhou Enlai. I especially like this picture. You kind of have a sense of the unheated room, with the men having to wear their coats even though they're indoors, conferring at a party meeting surrounded by the papers, yet that sense of informality, of a revolutionary movement. Both of these revolutionary models are backed by great powers, though the Soviet Union also hopes to have good relations with the Nationalist government, as well. In 1947, the civil war takes a decisive turn because of decisions being made by both sides. So, at the beginning of 1947, if you'd been taking bets on what's going to happen in the Chinese Civil War, most of the smart folks would've told you that the Nationalists were probably going to win. And the Communists were a lot of trouble, but the Nationalists bound to win. Here's the map in 1947. From the Nationalist Chinese point of view, they are holding this blue line; they are holding these places in Manchuria. They've got most of the country. Communists are in this area, getting some supplies from the Soviet Union, but the Nationalists are hoping they're going to launch an offensive that's going to decisively defeat the Communists in 1947. But meanwhile, while the Nationalist government, the Guomindang, is trying to decisively defeat the Communists, they're also moving their capital and trying to reestablish a state, because most of this had been occupied by the Japanese, it's in chaos. So they're both fighting a war and trying to rebuild a state in lands that had been ravaged by years of warfare. They're moving their capital from here, Chongqing, Chungking is the way they used to call it, back here to where their capitol had been, in Nanjing. So the Guomindang is trying to rebuild the state at the same time it's fighting a civil war. It's overextended, its economic base is fragile, it's spending a ton of money trying to reestablish public services, but there's not a sound basis for the currency. It begins to tip over into economic chaos and hyperinflation, again, while they're still trying to fight this war. The Chinese Civil War isn't nearly as well understood as some other huge events like, say, the American Civil War or World War II, for example, or even the Vietnam War. And that's puzzling, because this is a civil war that's deciding the fate of the most populous country on Earth. The fate of China is clearly pretty important in world history. So it's worth just taking a few minutes to feel like we understand the outcome of the Civil War better. Now it wouldn't be interesting if the outcome of the Civil War was just a foregone conclusion: Nationalists kind of rotten, Communists bound to win. But actually that's not where I think modern historians are, like the Norwegian Odd Arne Westad argues that the outcome of the Civil War was really up in the air in 1947 and 1948. So, what I'll try to do to help bring this kind of obscure patch of extremely important history alive for you, is show you about five minutes worth of film from a wonderful documentary made and shown in the United States during the 1960s. This documentary does a really nice job of covering the ground of the Civil War very quickly but using just some remarkable film footage taken at the time that kind of brings that period and people to life. Just kind of look at the people, the machines, the scenes they're showing you. There's really a lot there in those five minutes. Let's take a look. » [SOUND] The Nationalists, with all the transport of America at their disposal, enplane their troops to seize the cities of the Yangtze Valley. This ease of movement will lead them onto larger appetite. Dispersion of their forces up from the Yangtze to seize the cities not only of North China but beyond. Manchuria, with its vital industry of rails. Nor will the Communists sit still. Together, Mao and Zhou, like Chiang, decide the key lies in Manchuria. They choose Lin Biao as field commander to make the dash. From Yenan, in North China, they will strike east and north, while Chiang is readying troops to move from Yangtze ports and airfields. [MUSIC] By foot and pack train, Lin Biao sets out. The Russians have temporarily occupied Manchuria by the surrender terms with Japan. Communists expect to get from Russians surrendered Japanese equipment and guns and hold the countryside before Chiang arrives. [MUSIC] The rumble of inevitable clash causes America to replace Hurley with General George Marshall. This architect of global victory is sent to save the peace for which so brilliantly he labored. Received by Chiang Kai-Shek, Marshall gropes for American solutions to the bitter revolutionary surges of a strange Asian nation, torn by barbarisms a generation old. To his Chongqing headquarters, he invites a communist delegation led by Zhou Enlai, chief communist negotiator, to meet with Chiang Kai-Shek's spokesmen. Marshall suggests, and they agree to, an American answer for China's groping search for order. A federal government peacefully permitting the two parties to govern provinces they now hold politically. Freedom of speech permitted everywhere, and disputes resolved by talk, not guns. [MUSIC] In January 1946, both parties celebrate a truce with a handshake. No paper truce, however, can mend a nation ripped apart by 50 years of killing. Within two months, troops are on the move again. Each side blames the other. But a hundred savage skirmishes now flare to full-scale war. Manchuria is the cockpit of the struggle. The industry Japan has built and left is the greatest prize in China. Chiang�s American-equipped troops seize all major cities to find a hollow triumph. The Russian occupiers have looted every factory before withdrawal, ripped-out sockets show where great machines once stood. For Mao, the fighting in Manchuria is prelude to the climax of his theories: the day when guerrilla bands group into formal armies and shove frontal combat at a weary enemy. He fights for more than safety now. His ambition seeks to mold all of China to his theories. » I asked Mao Zedong what their policy was with regard to freedom of the press and he said they believe in absolute freedom of press and absolute freedom of speech, and it wasn't going to be like Chongqing when they won. Everybody would have the right to say whatever he felt. There wouldn't be censorship the way Chiang Kai-Shek had in Chongqing. So I said you, you really mean that? He said, of course we mean it. And I said, do you mean that if you come to power, anybody will be able to print anything he wants in a newspaper, or publish any newspaper he wants? And Mao Zedong said, of course, he said, except for enemies of the people. Nor did he ever define, and I was too young to ask him to define, what he meant by enemies of the people. Obviously, now it means anybody who disagrees with him. » In summer �46, Chiang returns his government to Nanjing and once again, as 17 years before, reports the victory of his cause at Sun Yat-sen's mausoleum. The fighting in the North is only distant thunder in the Yangtze Valley. American advisers urge he seize this moment to win the hearts and firm the loyalties of his people by new reforms. Thus in Nanjing, Chiang convenes a congress to write a modern constitution, in one last try to govern China by the order Sun Yat-sen has preached. But the thrust of all his background is still military. His troops must win by force of arms. With American arms, he feels the Communists can be crushed, but his troops dig in to garrison rail junctions, cities they have occupied. American advisers insist such static defense is major error. They say he pins down his best divisions where Communist guerrillas will isolate them. » So against that backdrop, the big powers make some key decisions. In 1947, the Soviet government decides to really make a decisive effort to help the Communists win. They've been trying to kind of play both sides because they thought the Nationalists might be in charge. In �47, they really commit themselves to Communist victory. The Americans are also making some key decisions in 1947. Marshall had been very disillusioned with the Nationalist government from his experiences there in 1946. And actually, the Americans eliminated much of their assistance to China in early 1947. They were selling them some stuff for cash, in a situation where the Chinese were not flush with money. They weren't really giving up, giving away very much except some equipment that they couldn't use. A representative of the American military, a gentleman named Wedemeyer, actually went to China in late �47. He comes back with a report, really interesting. Basically says: Yep, the Chinese government has big flaws. But we need to go in heavily there, get them to make the reforms that they need to make, and then back them with a lot of money, a lot of military advisers, help them figure out how to fight and win the Civil War, give them the finances to do it. So if we go in, we get them to make the changes they need to make, we go in with the advisers and the money to make good on it, so that we win the Civil War. Marshall quashes the Wedemeyer report. He just does not think that the United States should make a huge investment, an intervention, in this Chinese Civil War. Fundamentally, he's decided to just kind of let the chips fall where they may, and that he's going to concentrate his energy on trying to rescue Europe. That turns into decisive differences during 1948. Moscow ups its play. A key official, Anastas Mikoyan, goes to China, meets with the Chinese. The Chinese tell Mikoyan that they view the Soviet Union as their model for how to build the state. The lavish him with praise, compliments. They're his pupils, he's the teacher. Mao in fact, is very worried that the Americans are going to intervene in the Civil War, that thousands of American soldiers are going to come into play. But those fears turn out to be unrealistic. Marshall, in fact, goes to the Congress, which is very worried about China, and says, okay, you want to give aid to China, go ahead. His deal with the Congress says: You want to start giving aid to China in 1948? Appropriate the money. Because the bargain he wants is he wants Congress to appropriate the money for European needs, for the European Recovery Program. That's the political deal he makes; they'll help Europe in exchange for his going along with their doing something for China. Of course, by the time a lot of that money and equipment will arrive in China to help the Nationalists, there won't be a lot, there won't be American advisers attached to it. And the money and help will be too late. It will be too late to save the Nationalist government, which begins to lose decisive battles in the second half of 1948. And then their fortunes decline faster and faster, to the point that the Communists conquer all of China in 1949. Now you have to stop and reflect on the effects of this, and what a momentous development this is. If you're thinking about a struggle to quote contain communism, well you've just failed to contain communism in the most populous country on Earth, a country that a lot of people have realized for a hundred years is a potential pivot in the course of world history. China has gone communist, and indeed it's created a whole model for revolutionary change: coming out of the countryside, organizing the peasants, land reform, it's showing poor countries a model for revolution. And for Stalin and Mao, who get together to celebrate Stalin's 70th birthday in this photograph, they're talking together: What are the new possibilities? What's the new world? And for Stalin, and Mao, they look together at the world of East Asia and they see a world full of turmoil. Again, here's that standard map from 1948. Korea, divided. A kind of low-grade civil war going on between the Soviet-sponsored regime in the North and an American supported regime in the South. In turmoil. The leader of the communists there wants the Soviets and Chinese to help him overrun the South. In Taiwan, the Nationalists have fled here as their last refuge. Mao wants to launch an invasion across the Taiwan Straits that will wipe them out and occupy Taiwan for Communist rule. In Indo-China, the Viet Minh are seeking support from the new Chinese Communist government and the Soviet Union in their battle against the French and their Vietnamese allies. Even in the Philippines, an insurgency rages against the new republic there, supported by the American government, from an insurgency called the Huks, who also would like to get some support here. And there are arguments about the future of this new country, Indonesia, that's taking the place of the Netherlands Indies, where there's a strong Indonesian Communist Party that wants to play a role in that part of the world, too. And as for the Americans: What do they think? 1949 is a tough year for the American government, for a lot of reasons we'll get into more next week. But basically, they're hoping that the Chinese will be more nationalist than communist. That they'll come to disagree with the Soviets and, who knows, maybe the Americans will be able to forge better relations with them. And in a way, their whole experience with China has raised with them a key dilemma. Here you are. You've got this government that you like. But the government you like is very deeply flawed. Frankly, if it weren't deeply flawed, it wouldn't be involved in a civil war, probably. So you have this deeply flawed government. What do you do? Option one, do you bolster them? Do you just give a ton of help to that flawed government? Sure, you're going to argue to them that, if I'm going to give you all this help, you need to change, you need to fix all these flaws. So do you bolster the flawed government, hoping you can get them to fix and change themselves. Or do you say you're so flawed, it's not worth pouring money into you? We should just abandon you and leave you to your fate. From the point of view of some Americans, China offered a lesson from both schools. They should have bolstered Chiang, should have intervened in the Civil War. Or there's an argument that no, China was best left to its fate and maybe it will work out for the best. How this whole story will work out, how the Soviet and Chinese plans and ambitions played out against these American hopes and fears, we'll see next week. See you then. [BLANK_AUDIO]

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