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THE CHINESE CIVIL WAR1 1927-1937; 1945-1949 SECTION A THE BASIC STORY

The Civil War in China is usually understood as the war between the forces of the GMD and the CCP. It can be broken into two periods, or, like a film, Part 1 and Part 2.

The first part of the civil war was the ten year struggle, known in mainland China as the "Ten Year's Civil War", between Chiang Kaishek, the leader of the GMD and Mao Tsetung, leader of the CCP.

This first civil war began in 1926, when the two parties of the GMD and the CCP had agreed to work together as the United Front, in order to defeat the War Lords who had taken over the various provinces of China and restore a central government, started fighting each other.

The Communists had to go into hiding and the GMD became the Nationalist government of mainland China. The GMD pursued the CCP throughout its ten year rule, in addition to continuing their fight against many of the War lords who remained in power.

The GMD were on the side of the financiers and business interests of Shanghai and Nanjing (Nanking)
as well as the big landowners of the countryside.

The CCP were the champions of the lesser peasantry, the urban working class as well as the poor.

The Comunists were forced into hiding in the Yenan.


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TOK HISTORY EXERCISE related to the Chinese Civil War. Have a look at this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYTwQ3hqMdI . Then look at the comments.

This first civil war lasted ten years, until the Xi'an Incident in 1936 (The Xian indicident took place in a city called Xian. It was when Chiang Kai-shek, the lmeader of the GMD, was kidnapped by his enemies, the Communists, whilst he was visiting Xian, who then set him free once he had promised to form with them the Second United Front to fight against a new common enemy, the invading Japanese.

The struggle against the Japanese lasted from 1937 to 1945. Once the Japanese were beaten, the GMD and CCP once again turned their attentions to fighting each other.

Despite the attempted peace negotiations between Kaishek and Mao, the truce fell apart on June 26th 1946 and a full scale war between CCP and GMD began a Civil War that lasted until 1949/50.

It began again because, it could be argued, despite many achievements by the government in the
areas it fully controlled, the social, and economic reforms which might have produced a more united China were not pursued.

In the end, it finished with Communist victory. The Communists took power in China, set up a one party state and Mao-Tsetung became the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party.

The leader of the GMD, Chiang Kaishek fled to Taiwan with most of the Chinese gold reserves. There he set up an alternative Republican Government of China. Until 1970, it was Kaishek in Taiwan, and not Mao and the CCP in China, who was recognised as being the offical Chinese government by the USA and thus most of the rest of the non-communist world.

SECTION B SOME FACTUAL MATERIAL TO REMEMBER NOTES ON THE CIVIL WAR FROM Fairbank and Goldman, China a New History, and Jack Grays Rebellions and Revolutions. China from the 1800s to 2000. 1916-1927 was the warlord era. 1919: May 4th, the start of the May 4th movmeent. (decision at Versaille to leave former German concessions in Shandong in Japanese hands) 1945: August: Japan surrenders 1945: October: Chiang and Mao meet with US Ambassador Hurley in Chongqing. But the Nationalists were already working with the Japanese to fight the Communists. 1946: January: General Marshall tried to bring them together.

It is surprising that the Communists won when you consider that the GMDs army was at least twice the size of the CCPs in 1945 and was being supplied with US equipment. In addition they controlled all of Chinas major cities and most of its territory. The main reasons were strategic errors on the battelfields and what Fairbanks calls incompetence behind the lines. He should have waged war from the Yangzi Valley in South China against the Comunists in the North. CCP beat them into the North East. GMD made mistakes in other aspects of their control: Inflation was out of control. Corrupt seizure of assets. Alienated the people Violent repression of peace movement. The currecny reform of 1948 and the issuing of the gold yuan was the last straw. Prces rose 85,000 times in six months. The CCPs land reforms began in January 1946 in the villages of North China. As Fairbanks writes, the GMD were modernising and reactionary: the GMD walked on two legs which unfortunately went in opposite directions, one modernizing and one reactionary.

SECTION C SOME IB RELATED QUESTIONS


May 4th 1919 is a more significant date in Chinese history than October 10th 1911. How far do you agree with this statement? The events following October 10th 1911 saw the overthrow of the Qing (Ching) and the establishment of the Republic, which was followed by its betrayal by Yuan Shikai (Yuan Shih-kai). There was a change of regime, but not a change in political culture. May 4th 1919 saw a new type of political activism and gave its name to an intellectual, cultural and political movement, which may be dated back to the founding of New Youth in 1915 and lasted into the early 1920s. Politically, expect reference to student demonstrations, opposition to the Treaty of Versailles, the impact of the Russian Revolution and Communist ideology, the creation of the Chinese Communist Party and Suns reform of the Guomindang (Kuomintang). Intellectually, it included the rejection of Confucianism, the debate between science and metaphysics, the vernacular language movement and emergence of writers like Lu Hsun (Chou Shu-jen). Credit candidates who argue for either date. Some may argue that the act of creating a republic may not have had the immediate effects hoped, but that doing so lay the foundation for what was to follow. Others may see the real change as stemming from the events of May 4th 1919 and the intellectual and cultural renaissance it came to represent. In what ways, and to what extent, was Yuan Shikai (Yuan Shih-kai) responsible for the rise of warlordism in China in the early twentieth century? You will need to define warlordism and to recognise that its roots may be traced to the decline of the authority of the Qing (Ching) central government and the rise of provincial leaders in the second half of the nineteenth century. Yuan Shikai was himself a protg of Li Hongzhang (Li Hung-chang), who had remained governor-general of Chihli province for 25 years. Yuans actions during 19111925 showed that he had no loyalty to either the Qing or the new Republic. Yuan failed to become emperor, but his example undoubtedly encouraged other military commanders to use their armies to establish control over whatever regions they could and then to expand if possible to control all China. The role of Sun Yatsen (Sun Yat-sen) in the emergence of modern China has been greatly exaggerated. To what extent do you agree with this statement? Sun Yatsen (Sun Yat-sen) is remembered as the father of modern China, whose opposition to the Qing (Ching) led to their overthrow in 1911. Suns uprising in Canton in 1895 failed and he spent most of the following years abroad, organizing opposition to the Qing (Ching) and raising support for the revolutionary cause in Europe and the United States and amongst the Overseas Chinese in general. In 1905 he formed the Tongmenghui (Tung Meng Hui) in Tokyo, along with another revolutionary, Huang Xing (Huang Hsing) (18741916). In the following years several unsuccessful revolutionary incidents occurred in the South. In 1911 the situation was worsened by severe flooding in central China, economic depression, opposition to the proposed nationalisation of the railways and discontent within army units. The 1911 rising began when a planned insurrection was brought forward after the plot was discovered. Sun was abroad and did not return to China, instead raising support in the United States for the revolution which was supported by the provincial assemblies of southern and central China. Though Sun returned to China and accepted the presidency of the revolutionary government, he turned it over to Yuan Shikai (Yuan Shih-kai). Sun continued to play an active role until his death in 1924. Expect reference to his role in reorganizing the Guomindang (Kuomintang) and defining the Three Principles of the people.

To what extent was Sun Yixian (Sun Yat-Sen) responsible for bringing about the revolution of 1911 in China? Analyse Sun Yixians (Sun Yat-Sens) role in fomenting rebellion, obtaining funds and devising a political programme, although the details were not fully worked out. His role needs to be seen in relation to other revolutionaries and the actual revolution placed in the context of the situation in, and events of, 1911. The revolution itself took place without Sun and was not of his planning, but his impact on the events before and after was significant. Compare and contrast the aims and policies of the Communists and the Nationalists in China during the First United Front established in 1924. Most people would probably conclude that each party had its own agenda but a common immediate purpose; the defeat of the warlords and the establishment of a unified government for China. However, they differed as to the ultimate form of that government. Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai Shek) used the Communists support among the peasantry and workers to gain popular support for the military drive to the north. The Communists used the opportunities created by the northern advance to spread their ideology among the people. With the capture of Shanghai, Jiang Jieshi (Chiang hai shele) and the Nationalists gained access to the wealth and influence of the powerful commercial classes and turned on the Communists. The Communists, on the other hand, had also their agenda of social revolution in both town and country. The Nationalists struck first, but expect candidates to recognise that the programmes of the two parties were basically incompatible. You might also wish to point out the role of Stalin and the Comintern in support of the United Front, even after the events in Shanghai in 1927, and the role of factional leaders in both parties. Compare and contrast the attitudes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Guomindang (Kuomintang) to the First United Front (19241927). The United Front was formed to defeat the warlords of central and northern China with the Communists supporting the Northern Expedition led by Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) against their common enemies. The Communists operated largely among the peasantry and the urban working classes, preparing the way for the advancing armies. Both parties looked forward to a time when they would dominate China, but Jiang (Chiang), with the support of the business and financial elites, struck first with the White Terror against the Communists in Shanghai. The Nationalist government established in Nanjing (Nanking) in 1928 began a long struggle to eliminate the Communist Party as a political force in China. In what ways, and for what reasons, was the period 1928 to 1937 a turning point in Chinese history? These years saw the Guomindang (Kuomintang) Party in power as the Nationalist Government of China after the break-up of the United Front with the Communists. 1937 marks the beginning of war with the Japanese. In 1928 there was the possibility of a united China under a single government, but many of the warlords remained in power after swearing allegiance to the new regime. The conflict with the Communists diverted the Governments attention from the Japanese and, dependant on the financiers and business interests of Shanghai and Nanjing (Nanking) and on landowners in the countryside for support, it largely ignored the problems of the peasantry and the urban working class and poor. Although the Communists were driven to Yanan (Yenan), they were not eliminated and forced upon Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) the Second United Front in 1936. Despite many achievements by the government in the areas it fully controlled, the social, and economic reforms which might have produced a more united China were not pursued. Despite the pressures upon China it is possible to argue that the decade was one of missed opportunities for the Guomindang (Kuomintang), though some candidates may trace a more positive story through the survival of the Communist Party. Whichever line is taken, candidates will

probably agree with the question. Why were the Communists able to defeat the Nationalists in China in 1949? Mention the improved military position of the Communists after the war with Japan and their occupation of Manchuria; their ideological appeal based on their relatively moderate policies in the areas they controlled; their military strength and experience; their freedom from corruption; and their effective propaganda and the favourable impression they had made upon western journalists and observers. The Nationalists had suffered severe defeats in resisting the early Japanese invasion; had become demoralised and on their reoccupation of eastern China failed to produce the social, economic and political reforms which may have won support. Unwise military strategy, low morale, war weariness and corruption undermined support within China and dissuaded the United States from effective intervention. Why did the Communists win the Civil War in China between 1945 and 1949? You will need to analyse Communist strengths and Nationalist failings and weaknesses during the period. Communist victory was not certain in 1945 and was aided by Nationalist mistakes in strategy, policy and behaviour in a situation that would have tested any government and tended to undermine its support while strengthening that of an ably led Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In the end, the Nationalists were weakened by corruption, weak government, poor military strategy and failure to retain respect and support, while the Communists possessed an able and confident leadership and offered policies attractive to the bulk of the population, undermining the morale of nationalist forces.

SECTION D TOWARDS THE IDEAL ESSAY Analyse the causes (and the effects) of the Chinese Civil War (1927-1949).

Those who support the Taiwanese perspective of the R.O.C. might most likely blame Mao and the Communists. Whilst those who support the views of mainland China will most likely blame Kaishek for the Civil War.

It was Chiang Kaishek who appears to have been the trigger for this Civil War, soon after becoming leader of the GMD on the death of Sun Yatsen in 1925. He certainly dealt the first blow in the Civil War on April 12 th 1927 during what the Communists call the April 12th Incident or the Shanghai Massacre, in which Kaishek turned on the Communists during their Northern Expedition against the War Lords and begun what has come to be known as the White Terror. This is often said to led to a counter-reaction on the part of the Communists. Often referred to as the Autumn Harvest Uprising, it was an armed insurrection held by peasants and miners and communists led by Mao in the Hunan province. If this was clearly the indisputable trigger of the civil war, it then begs the question as to why Chiang Kaishek attack the Communists with whom his GMD had formed a United Front in order to rid China of ithe War Lords? One might argue that it was on account of the ideological differences between the GMD and the Communist Party. After all, whilst they may have had similar nationalist interests in the sense of wanting to establish one central government for all of China, they had very different ideas about the shape of the society and the economy which any such centralised Chinese government would rule over. Chiang Kaishek was more for the western liberal capitalist model of society. This vision of society and its economy was very different to that held in the communist ideology. One could take this even further and suggest that this ideological difference as a causal

factor was reinforced and exacerbated by a genuine social division between the different groups of Chinese society represented by both of these parites. The GMD repsented and in turn received their funding from the rich merchant classes of Shanghai and Nanjing (many of whome were connected with the old imperial powers who for so long had exploited and abused China) and the large landowners of rural China funding. On the other hand, it was the urban and rural poor and peasants, by far the vast majority of people in China, who were championed by the Communist Party. Moreover, the Communist Party were actively seeking support amongst the urban and inudstrial trade unions (The first Communist led union, the Shanghai Mechanics Union, had been set up in 1920.) and their influence amongst the railwaymen, the seamen, the postal and telegraph workers and the power station workers was growing. Yet whilst these ideological differences and social divisions were real they do not explain why China fell into civil war. After all, the GMD and the CCP had managed to form a United Front. Moreover, earlier on, when the GMD was led by Sun Yatsen, the ideological differences were much less obvious. If Chiang Kaishek and his hatred of the Communists and his ambition to become the national leader of China, can be said to be the the trigger or immediate cause of the Civil War in 1926, a very important short term cause was the death of Sun Yatsen. As leader of the GMD, he had been the only person who had been able to hold the alliance of the GMD and the Communists together under his leadership and vision with its umbrella programme of the Three Principles of the People. Sun Yatsen had managed to gain the support of the USSR, which was evident in the Sun Joffe manifesto as well as the first United Front which the GMD and Communists formed to fight the war lords. Given that Sun Yatsens death paved the way for Chinag Kaishek to become the leader of the GMD, then his death must be seen as a major factor in causing civil war in China. As jack Gray has written the restive right wing had been held in check only by the personal authority of Sun Yatsen. Whilst the death of Sun Yatsen is possibly the most important short term causal factor which

explains the outbreak of Civil War, a longer term cause was the political instability and the political vacuum ushered in with the fall of the Manchu Imperial government. Indeed, another way of putting this would be to talk of Sun Yatsens failure to install a secure firmly rooted government in the wake of the revolution of 1911. The Manchu Imperial Dynasty fell in 1911 due, ultimately, to its inabiblity to master the forces of modernisation. Rather than this simply being a revolution, Sun Yatsen, did not act quickly enough and was not strong enough to consolidate his republican values and his three principles of the people in the form of a strong centralised government that could keep all of China together. Besides allowing General Yuan Shikai to subvert the Republican cause and make himself Emperor, Shikai's death signalled the end of a central government and the rise to power of a series of indepdent regional War Lords. With regard to the second part of this civil war, two obvious short term causal factors were the end of World War Two as well as the failure of U.S. mediation. The end of World War two, as far as China was concerned, came with the final surrender of Japan after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. It was only a matter of time before they were then driven out of China. With the Japanese defeated, one could argue that the GMD and the Communists could then concentrate on doing what they did best, and that was fighting each other. Having said that, one migh be tempted to include the role of the two post war superpowers, the US and the USSR, as causal factors. After all, it was the USSR who gave the Communists the Japanese armaments they had captued in their defeat of the japanese in Manchuria. Similalry, not only had the U.S.A. failed in their diplomatic mission to make Kaishek and Mao agree a peace, it could be argued that their presence actually encouraged Kaishek in his ambition to become the leader of China and his belief that he could easily defeat the Communists with U.S help. Yet, whilst theose things are undboutebly factors which had a role to play, I think it is fair to say that Civil War was inevitable due to the personlaities of both Kaishek and Mao. .For by 1946,

Kaisheks and Mao hatred of one another was so confirmed and intense, and of such a longstanding nature, as well as their determination to become the sole leader of China. As Mao said the sky cannot have two suns. So much so that one could argue that these two civil wars are really only one civil war, interupted momentarily by the successful invasion of the Japanese in 1937. And that, even without such new factors as Soviet and American involvement, this was a civil war which, once started, was going to be fought to the very death come what may.

EFFECTS With regard to effects of the Civil War, and in keeping with what has just been said about the causes of the second civil war, the most obvious effect of the first civil war was the second civil war. It is difficult not to see the second part as inevitable. The most obvious political effect of the first civil war was the establishment of the Nationalist government in 1928. Their actual policies and the way in which they actually ran the country cannot be seen as a direct effect of the civil war, only their victory. Similarly one could argue that a direct effect of the dfirst part of the civil war was the growth in popularity and, after the Long March, the mythic and legendary status of the Communist Party and its armed forces. In terms fo the effects of the second civil war, the most obvious immediate effect was the profound political consequences for China of a Communist victory. A single party state was installed led by Chairman Mao, who very soon began one of the most radical social and economic transitions. It also led to a Nationalist government being set up in Taiwan, and, ofcourse a longstanding anatgonism between the two countries, which still exists today. The arrival of the Sino-liberal refugees from a now communist controlled mainland China was, in the long term, a major econmic beneficial effect, be it in running state run heavy industry, which, in the 1950S, were then transferred to private ownership. By 1988 GNP was 95 billion dollars.. The government, with American help, also managed to set up a stable rural sector of farmer-

owners. Education: Tawain National University was set up, with lots of graduates going to the US for training. A major geo-political effect was the way in which support for the Republic of China against the Peoples Republic of China came to be a main issue inf the Cold War. The ROC held the Chinese seat on the Security Council until 1971. The US prevented a Chinese invasion of Taiwan during the Korean War.