a) Background to the revolution of 1911:
b) The 1911 revolution
c) The warlord era (1916-28)
a. In the mid 19th century china found itself faced by a number of crises.
b. Europeans started to force their way into china to take advantage of trading
c. The british were first on the scene, fighting and defeating the Chinese in the opium
wars. They forced china to hand over Hong Kong and to allow them to trade at certain
d. Taiping Rebellion , a religious and political reform movement, aimed to set up a
heavenly kingdom of great peace. But it was eventually defeated by regional armies.
e. This began the process in which provinces began to assert their independence from
the central government, culminating in the warlord era.
f. China was defeated in a war with japan and forced to hand over territory.
g. A Chinese uprising – the boxer rising was defeated by international army, and the
empress Tz’u-his was forced to pay massive compensation for damage done to foreign
property in china.
h. More territory was lost to japan as a result of the Japanese victory in the russo-
i. Young Chinese were educated abroad and full of radical , revolutionary ideas of
overthrowing the Manchu dynasty and westernizing china. Some revolutionaries, like
Dr Sun Yat-sen, wanted a democratic state modelled on the USA.
a. The government tried to respond to the new radical ideas by introducing reforms,
promising democracy and setting up elected provincial assemblies, but still further
from the central government.
b. The revolution began among soldiers in Wuchang in 1911 and most provinces quickly
declared themselves independent of Beijing.
c. The government, ruling on behalf of the child emperor Pu YI, still had a lot of influence
with the generals.
d. Yuan Shih-kai , commander of northern army, deal with the revolutionaries- they
agreed to his becoming first president of the Chinese republic in return for the
abdication of Pu Yi and the end of the Manchu dynasty.
e. With the support of the army, yuan ruled as a military dictator from 1912 until 1915,
but he made the mistake of proclaiming himself emperor. This lost him the support of
the army, which forced him to abdicate.
a. The country now disintegrated into literally hundreds of states of varying sizes, each
controlled by a war lord and his private army.
b. As they fought each other it was the ordinary Chinese peasants who suffered untold
c. However, two important positive developments took place during the period.
i. Fourth movement began in 1919 with a huge student demonstration in
Beijing, protesting against warlords and against traditional Chinese culture.
ii. The Kuomintang or Nationalist party grew gradually stronger and succeeded in
The movement also anti Japanese, especially when the 1919 versailles
settlement gave japan the right to take over Germany’s concession in
bringing the warlords under control by 1928.
The Kuomintang, Dr Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek
a) The Kuomintang:-
a. The Kumintang:-
i. The main hope for the survival of a united china lay with the Kuomintang or
ii. He wanted to create a modern, united, democratic state. He succeeded in
iii. The KMT was not a communist party, though it was prepared to co-
iv. After his death in 1925, little progress had been made towards
v. Until the KMT armies were built up, he had to rely on alliances with
National people’s party formed in 1912 by Dr Sun yat-sen.
setting up a government at Canton in southern china.
operate with the communists, and developed its own party organization slon
communist lines, as well as building up its own army. He summarized hisaims
as the three principles.
3. Land reforms.
achieving the three principles, mainly because he was not himself a general.
sympathetic warlord, and he had difficulty exercising any authority outside
b) Chiang Kai-shek:-
a. General Chiang Kai-shek became leader after sun’s death. He received his military
training in japan, being a strong nationalist he joined in KMT.
b. New soviet Russian government was providing help and guidance to the KMT in the
hope that nationalist china would be friendly towards Russia.
c. However, in spite of his Russian contacts, chiang was not a communist, in fact he was
more right wing that sun yat-sen and became increasingly anti-communist, his
sympathies ling with businessmen and landowners.
d. Soon after becoming party leader, he removed all left wingers from leading positions
in the party.
e. In 1926, he set out on the Northern march to destroy the warlords of central and
f. Much of Chiang’s success sprang from massive local support among the peasants
attracted by communist promises of land.
g. The capture of shanghai was helped by a rising of industrial workers organized by
Zhou Enlai, a member of the KMT and also a communist.
h. During 1927 Chiang decided that the communists were becoming too powerful. It was
time to destroy an embarrassing ally. All communists were expelled from the KMT and
a terrible ‘ purification movement’ was launched in which thousands of communists,
trade union and peasant leaders were massacred;
i. The communists had been checked, the warlords were under control and Chiang was
the military and political leader of china.
j. The Kuomintang government proved to be a great disappointment for the majority of
Chinese. Chiang could claim to have achieved Sun’s first principle Nationalism but
didn’t the second and third.
Mao Zedong and the communists:
a) Mao Zedong and the Chinese communist party:-
b) Why did Mao and the communists gain support?
a. The party had been officially founded in 1921; at first it had very little military
strength, which explains why it was willing to work with the KMT.
b. Mao was responsible for changing the party’s strategy: they would concentrate on
winning mass support among the peasants rather than trying to capture industrial
towns where several communist insurrections had already failed because of the
strength of KMT.
c. Mao and his supporters concentrated on survival as Chiang carried out five
extermination campaigns against them between 1930 and 1934 and concentrated on
building up the Red Army.
d. Mao decided that the only chance of survival was to break trough Chiang’s lines and
set up another power base somewhere else.
e. In October 1934 the breakthrough was achieved and almost 1 lakh communists set out
on the remarkable Long March which was to become part of Chinese legend.
f. Mao was able to control the provinces of Shensi and Kansu. During the next ten years
the communists continued to gain support, while chiang and the KMT steadily lost
a. The inefficiency and corruption of the KMT in government:
i. Made no effective attempts to organize mass support.
b. There was little improvement in factory conditions.
c. There was no improvement in peasant poverty.
i. Spread famine in rural areas.
ii. High taxes and forced labour.
iii. In contrast, the land policy followed in areas controlled by the
d. The KMT put up no effective resistance to the Japanese
i. This was the crucial factor. The Japanese occupied Manchuria in 1931 and
communists was much more attractive.
ii. Chian seened to think It was more important to destroy the communists than
iii. Chiang was taken prisoner by some his own troops, who were incesed
were obviously prepating to bring the nerghbouring provinces of northern
china under their control.
to resist the Japanese, and moved into south Shensi to attack Mao.
at the Japanese invasion. They demanded that chiang should turn against the
Japanese, but at first he was unwilling.
iv. Only after the prominent communist Zhou Enlai came to see him at
v. The new alliance brought great advantages for the communists; CCP was
vi. When full scale war broke out with japan in 1937, the KMT forces were
vii. This enabled the communists, undefeated in Shensi, to present
viii. This won them massive support among the peasants and middle
Sian did he agree to a fresh alliance with the CCP and a national front against
quickly defeated and most of eastern china was occupied by the Japanese as
Chiang retreated westwards.
themselves as patriotic nationalist, leading an effective guerrilla campaign
against the Japanese in the north.
The communist victory
a) Victory for the communists was still not inevitable
b) There were several reasons for the CCP triumph
a. Japanese were defeated in 1945, the KMT and the CCP became locked in the final
struggle for power.
b. The americans helped the KMT to take over all areas previously occupied by the
Japanese- except Manchuria, which had been captured by the Russians.
c. Here the Russians obstructed the KMT and allowed CCP guerrillas to move in .
d. In 1948 the ever- increasing communist armies were large enough to abandon their
guerilla campaign and challenge Chiang’s armies directly.
e. The KMT armies began to disintegrate. 1949, the communists took Beijing, chiang and
what remained of his forces fled to the island of Taiwan, leaving Mao Zedong in
command of mainland China.
a. Communists won popular support by their restrained land policy.
b. Communist armies were well-disciplined and communist administration was honest
c. KMT administration was inefficient and corrupt. Its policy of paying for the wars by
printing extra money resulted in galloping inflation.
d. Army gradually disillusioned with chiang and began to desert to the communists.
e. Finally, the CCP leaders, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, were shrew enough to take
advantage of KMT weaknesses and were completely dedicated.