Three Worlds Theory

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The Three Worlds Theory (simplified Chinese: 三个世界的理论; traditional Chinese: 三個世界的理論; pinyin: Sān gè Shìjiè de Lǐlùn), developed by Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, posited that international relations comprise three politico-economic worlds: the first world consisting of superpowers, the second world of lesser powers, and the third world of exploited nations.[1]

Notably, Chairman Mao included the US and the Soviet Union in the First World group of countries. In 1974, then Chinese Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping explained the Three Worlds Theory in a speech to the United Nations, justifying China's cooperation with non-communist countries.[citation needed]

The Three Worlds Theory developed by Mao Zedong should not be confused with the Western theory of the Three Worlds which states that the First World comprise the West, the Second World the Soviet Union and its allies, and the Third World the neutral and nonaligned countries. Mao's division of the worlds highlighted what he considered to be the patterns of exploitation rather than diplomacy or formal ideology.


Some anti-revisionist political parties and organizations were disillusioned by the Three Worlds Theory. Subsequently, in Albania, Enver Hoxha, leader of the Party of Labour of Albania, posited an ideological alternative, opposed to both the Three Worlds Theory and to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s stance. This led to the Sino-Albanian split among communist parties previously aligned with China and Albania.

The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and the Maoist Internationalist Movement, founders of the modern Maoist movement, were also highly critical of Three Worlds Theory and left it completely out of their respective programs, considering it to fall under the banner of Mao-Zedong-Thought rather than Marxism–Leninism-Maoism.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chairman Mao’s Theory of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds is a Major Contribution to Marxism-Leninism". People's Daily. 

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