Chinese Civil War: 1946-1949;we’ll be exploring how China transformed into a communist state.
Despite thousands of years of dynastic rule and as always we’ll need to wind back the clock to really understand how this process unfolded.
Throughout the 17th century and up until the 19th century the Ching dynasty.
Loosely reigned over China as it was plagued by regionalism and corruption to make matters worse.
European merchants arrived in China on mass during the 18th century.
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these Westerners arriving were driven by financial interests and some would later say that it was the wave of merchants, who would spell China’s near ruin?
Meanwhile in Japan things were looking up after their decisive victory over the Chinese in the sino-japanese war.
In Richard Bernstein’s work. He writes this of the conflict.
Japan’s major goal was the possession of Korea and Manchuria.
The vast landmass is just across the sea that were stepping stones towards the even larger prize, which was China.
This defeat prompted cries for reform and after a series of failed revolts including the.
1899 Boxer Rebellion the Qing government found itself in an even more precarious position by.
1911 the government was fully overthrown in what was called the Wu Chun Revolution the leaders of this revolution selected the exiled
Intellectual Sun yat-sen to be China’s first president in 1912.
However, their territories were limited to southern China.
Meanwhile, the boy Emperor Puyi remained in power in the north. He was backed by General Yuan Shikai.
Who had the largest army in the region and therefore pretty much called the shots?
Thus soon yot sent one XI Chi over to his side without bloodshed by offering him the presidency.
From there, things didn’t exactly go as planned. You want to impose a military dictatorship and egg Sun yat-sen after he formed the opposing Kuomintang or KMT in 1916 yuan proclaimed himself emperor of China pretty much missing the point of the rebellion in Ireland.
He quickly lost much of his support and after his death China was once again balkanized in two regions under the control of local
Warlords after yuan died soon yat-sen returned to China and at the helm of the nationalist
Kuomintang party was able to take power and impose yet another military government in 1921 shortly after in 1923.
They sealed cooperation with the Communist Party of China or CPC in exchange for assistance in ending regionalism.
The CPC had been founded in the wake of the may 4th movement.
which involved a series of student protests formed in opposition to the Chinese government’s.
Ineffective response to the Treaty of Versailles, which transferred what was formerly Chinese own land to the Japanese.
The may 4th movement.
popularized Marxism as a radical alternative to the Kuomintang really the only reason the CPC aligned itself with the KMT was so it could spread communism as it liberated each warlord state with the assistance of the much stronger KMT in 1925 .
Soon yat-sen died leaving China in the hands of Chiang kai-shek who two years later initiated what was known as the white terror in response to a communist plot to overthrow him this resulted in the deaths of thousands of members of the CPC in the aftermath communist leaders lead Lee Sung and Mao Zedong.
Began waging a guerrilla war against the Kuomintang.
While this was happening the soviet union who saw the CPC as their communist allies.
Directed it to take a more aggressive stance.
Against the Kuomintang as a result Lee Lisan ordered an offensive to be carried out against the Nationalists.
It was a disaster and led to his replacement by a group of Chinese intellectuals called d28 Bolsheviks, with warlords still in control of numerous regions and the two major political factions of China in all-out war the situation was looking worse than ever seeing the turmoil unfold the shadow of Japan once again loomed over China in 1931.
They sent roughly 45,000 men to occupy Chinese Manchuria with no troops to spare the Kuomintang was forced to concede without resistance Chiang now understood that he needed to defeat the CPC before China was fully invaded to this end Chang assembled the largest Kuomintang army yet.
And in 1934 encircled Mao’s guerrilla forces stationed in the mountains.
The climax of this episode was the long march which began when the CPC devised a near-suicidal plan to break through Shang’s encirclement and march over 6,000 miles to regroup in the north.
About half of the CPC’s forces were lost when crossing the Xiong river a decision which the 28 Bolsheviks shouldered responsibility for in the wake of this debacle mount took control of the Communists.
By the time the remnants of the CPC reached their northern destination only 10 percent of them were still alive prompting now to launch a massive recruitment effort.
Recognizing that if the Japanese invaded both day and the Kuomintang would be destroyed Mao sought to form yet another United Front.
Shang was vehemently opposed to the offer but his generals weren’t they took matters into their own hands taking Shang hostage and pressuring him to accept Mao’s offer Chiang eventually decided to accept and formed what was called the second United Front in 1937.
When Japan did invade that year the Kuomintang proved unable to fully repulse the invader’s something which worried the Chinese people and now capitalized on this discontent to recruit even more men to his cause furthermore his forces did not engage those of Japan very frequently allowing the Kuomintang to bear the of the Japanese onslaught.
After Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945.
The Kuomintang and CPC ended the second United Front.
It only took one year for the Chinese Civil War to rage on yet again.
the CPC was now armed with leftover Japanese weapons and equipment had newfound support from the populace and faced a foe who suffered 3.2 million casualties.
Against the Japanese, whereas the Communists lost approximately four hundred and forty thousand after a highly successful guerrilla campaign both Beijing and Nanking had fallen to the communists with the capture of these two major cities.
It would not be long before Mao was victorious and the People’s Republic of China was established.
Chiang kai-shek and the defeated Kuomintang government went into exile in Taiwan in 1949 which to this day still has the official name of the Republic of China.
Under Mao 30 year reign tens of millions of people starved even so it is still debated to this day whether Mao contributed to China’s modernization or whether he delayed its development.
Either way the Chinese government still sees Mao as one of their founding fathers.
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