The Republic 1912-1949 The Guo Min Dang Warlords The communists The Japanese invasions Civil War and the People’s Republic
Their best general Yuan Shi Kai refused to suppress the rebels, preferring to live as a Daoist monk for a short while, and the emperor abdicated to retire to the Forbidden City. The Double Ten Revolution of 1911 was successful. Sun Yat Sen was declared first president of the new Chinese Republic in1912.
Yuan Shi Kai returned to politics and replaced Sun Yat Sen who had no power base. Sun became minister of transport hoping to modernise China. Yuan was a general and an autocrat however and wanted to become emperor of China. He caved in to Japanese pressure and was opposed by other generals. He died in 1916 but set a precedent for generals to try to seize power. China was to enter one of its darkest periods, the War Lord Period.
The Warlords They fought for control of Beijing, to be recognised as the official government of China . The effects were disastrous, particularly on the peasants who were raped and pillaged and forced to pay taxes up to 30 years in advance, for their “protection and safety”. Li Yuanbong Zhang Zuolin Yan Xishan Feng Yuxiang
China joined the allies in the Great War hoping to regain at least the territories run by the Germans but the treaty of Versailles awarded them to the Japanese. On May 4th 1919 demonstrations broke out in many Chinese cities and people of all classes protested and joined parties like the Guo Min Dang or the newly founded Communist Party. They united in 1922 to end warlord rule and western domination of China. Despairing of the imperial powers they turned to Communist Russia for help. They realised the need for an efficient army of their own, if China was ever going to be free and strong.
Following the Russian revolution the GMD turned to Russia for help. The Comintern sent Mikhail Borodin (left) to organise the new Chinese Communist Party and to assist the GMD to unite and overthrow the warlords.
They organised a military academy outside Guangzhou at Whampoa to train officers to create an effective army.
Sun Yat Sen seen here on a fundraising tour in the USA
Unfortunately Sun died in 1925 before his plans could come to fruition. His funeral train is seen with his picture on the front.
His brother in law and leader of the new army Chiang Kai Shek quickly took command and established himself as leader moving against the War Lords in the successful Great Northern Expedition.
GMD soldiers in Guangzhou eat before departing for the North.
The success of the Northern Expedition surprised everyone as many of the Warlords were defeated or made peace with the GMD.The march to Shanghai became a triumphal parade but left Chiang with a problem. He did not want to share power with his Communist allies, preferring the capitalist way of development which would ensure close ties with the USA. He decided therefore to end the United Front which had been so successful in defeating the Warlords and to eliminate his communist allies. A bloody purge of the communists followed in Shanghai and in Guangzhou. The massacre was successful and left Chiang free to march on Beijing and establish himself as China’s first strong ruler since 1911. He would be in a position to carry out Sun Yat Sen’s programme of modernisation of a united country.
China soon came to know him as the ruler of the country. He liked to be called the Genralissimo. He was able to modernise China as the electric cables for street cars shown in this picture demonstrate. Generally cities, particularly Shanghai, made great progress, even in the harsh economic climate of the 1930’s Great Depression.
Even Pu Yi the former boy emperor adopted Western ways
A new capital was built in Nanjing, to demonstrate a break with the past. The language was simplified and great efforts made to improve literacy, particularly in the cities. In the next slide the rich man is determined on an old and new funeral.
The cheong-sam became very fashionable as foot binding was finally eradicated as a custom.
Some people became very rich…….. Whilst others remained desperately poor.
Some communists escaped the purges like Mao and Zhou and took communism to the country side, starting the civil wars again.
The Encirclement Campaigns drove the communists to escape in the Long March. Mao is seen here with his second wife who accompanied him on the march.
The Japanese posed an even bigger threat,taking Manchuria and putting Pu Yi on the throne as a puppet. After 1937 they invaded and conquered the rich coastal plains and cities of China in a brilliantly successful but brutal campaign, culminating in the massacre at Nanjing where 300,000 civilians were slaughtered in an orgy of rape, pillage and execution. Victorious Japanese troops at Shanghai It then became Chiang Kai Shek’s turn to flee to the interior of China and resist as best he could in Chung king until the Americans arrived with help.
By 1941 the world was at war and China found a great ally in America who sent men and huge quantities of supplies. America also tried to bring the ever distrustful Nationalists and Communists together. Chiang Kai Shek with “vinegar Joe” Stillwell
Reluctant and distrustful allies, Chiang and Mao
The Americans tried hard to persuade the Communists to work with Chiang.
But with the Japanese defeated, the Civil War (1946-49) began again. Here a suspected communist is lead off to execution.
The Communists had the best leaders, the best general Zhu De and the best tactics. America became disillusioned with the corruption of Chiang’s regime and withdrew support. Popular support for the communists among the peasants proved decisive and Chiang fled to Taiwan to set up his Republic of China.
The People’s Republic of China is declared. The Chinese have their first strong government for over a century.
It’s time for the Foreign Devils to go home. They had started the turmoil and the fall of the Empire a 100 years before after the first Opium War. Here they are seen escaping Shanghai as refugees from the advancing Red Army, the People’s Liberation Army. There would be no more unequal treaties.