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Cold War China’s Secret Military Industrial Complex


Covell Meyskens (Naval Postgraduate School)

In 1964, the Chinese Communist Party made a momentous policy decision. In response to rising tensions with the United States and Soviet Union, the state directed resources away from existing cities towards the construction of a massive military industrial complex hidden in the mountains of inland China.

This covert military-industrial complex received more government investment than any other developmental initiative of the Mao era, and yet this huge drive to build an industrial war machine in underdeveloped regions was not officially acknowledged for over a decade and a half.

Drawing on a rich source base, Covell Meyskens provides the first history of Cold War China's top-secret military industrial complex. His research shows how the militarization of Chinese industrial development linked the social and economic geography of the nation to the temperature of the global Cold War, merging geopolitics with local change and producing a clandestine industrial world that to this day most people in China still know very little about.

Event is part of the Annual Military History Lecture.