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AP World History POD #23 – Emerging Asia Chinese Civil War
Class Discussion Notes Bulliet – “China and Japan: Contrasting Destinies”, pp. 778-780 Bulliet – “East Asia, 1931-1945”, pp. 805-808
The People of China (circa 1900) Population of approximately 400 million (largest of any country in the world) Average peasant plot was between 1and 4 acres (this was half the size of 2 generations earlier) Farming methods had not changed in centuries, and landlords and tax collectors took more than half of the harvest. Most lived in fear of floods, bandits and tax collectors while trying to survive on a diet of grain and vegetables Landowners lived off the rent of the peasantry
Civil Service Examination system dating from the Confucian era was used to select the government bureaucracy Those who scored well on the test were put into government service and were able to get rich from taxes, and the government monopoly on salt, iron and other products Young men living in the treaty ports saw no chance for social or economic advancement in the old system of examinations and official positions – some learned foreign ways in Christian missionary schools or studies abroad in an attempt to improve their position and status There was a sharp contrast between the squalor of the urban underclass and the decadent enclaves of foreign merchants in the port cities leading to resentment and discontent, especially among the educated
Boxer Rebellion “In 1900 China’s Empress Dowager Cixi (TSUH- shee), who had seized power in a palace coup two years earlier, encouraged a secret society, the Righteous Fists, or Boxers, to rise up and expel all the foreigners from China. When the Boxers threatened the foreign legation in Beijing, an international force from the Western powers and Japan captured the city and forced China to pay a huge indemnity. Shocked by these events, many Chinese students became convinced that China needed a revolution to get rid of the Qing dynasty and modernize their country.” (Bulliet, p.779)
Sun Yat-sen Led the Revolutionary Alliance after the death of Cixi in 1908 He had spent much of his life in Japan, England and the United States, and as such he brought a great deal of modern western influence to China Ideas were a mixture of nationalism, socialism, and Confucian philosophy Three Principles of the People – Nationalism, Democracy, Livelihood Elected president by a revolutionary assembly but did not have a military to take on Yuan Shikai, the most powerful military warlord in China Sun Yat-sen was forced to resign due to military weakness and a new national assembly elected Yuan Shikai to serve as president of the Chinese republic
Guomindang (Kuomintang) National People’s Party Political party founded on democratic principles by Sun Yat-sen in 1912 After the death of Sun Yat-sen the party was headed by Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jeishi) who turned it into an increasingly authoritarian movement
Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jeishi) Assumed control of the Guomindang in 1925 after the death of Sun Yat-sen Director of the military academy who trained hundreds of soldiers who would remain extremely loyal to him He was determined to defeat the regional warlords competing with him for control over China – after he was able to accomplish this he effectively established a dictatorship He had ambitious plans to build railroads, develop agriculture and industry and to modernize China from the top down His government was not competent (did not effectively use the ancient Confucian Civil Service Examination) nor were they truly interested in modernization – they were their for personal economic gain and prosperity through extreme taxation and corruption The little money that was legitimately collected by the government was used to support the military
Mao Zedong & Chinese Communist Party Mao Zedong was the son of a farmer who left home to study philosophy Discovered the writings and philosophies of Karl Marx and would become inspired to join the Communist Party in the early 1920s, rising through the leadership ranks The Chinese Communist Party was founded in 1921 operating in the shadows of the Guomindang 1927 – Chiang Kai-shek arrested and executed the communist party leadership as punishment for attempting to recruit industrial workers
“Swim in the Sea of the Peasants” Studied the plight of the peasant underclass in China Redistribute land from the wealthier to the poorer peasants Social revolution (from the bottom up) – as Marx called out for violent revolution and the establishment of a classless society – advocated for women’s rights and equality by allowing divorce and banning foot-binding and arranged marriages His reliance on the peasantry was a divergence from the well established Marxist-Leninst ideology being established in the Soviet Union – which stressed the backwardness of the peasants and pinned its hopes on industrial workers (he had to speak carefully on this as not to alienate Stalin)
Guerilla Warfare Mao could not match the power and force of the Guomindang army of Chiang Kai-shek and opted to build small strongholds throughout the countryside, rather than risk direct confrontation Confront the stronger force using hit-and-run tactics using their advantage of peasant support The Guomindang troops had a reputation for mistreating the civilians, and Mao insisted that his soldiers cultivate the help and support of the peasants by paying a fair price for food and supplies, as well as by treating local women with respect
The Long March “In spite of their good relations with the peasants of Jiangxi, the Communists gradually found themselves encircled by government forces. In 1934 Mao and his followers decided to break out of the southern mountains and trek to Shaanxi (SHAWN-she), an even more remote province in northwestern China. The so-called Long March took them 6,000 miles in one year over desolate mountains and through swamps and deserts, pursued by the army and bombed by Chiang’s aircraft. Of the 100,000 Communists who left Jiangxi in October 1934, only 4,000 reached Shaanxi a year later. Chiang’s government thought it was finally rid of the Communists.” (Bulliet, p. 806)
Sino-Japanese War 1937-1945 Japan continued their imperial conquest of China (they gained control of Manchuria in 1931) in an effort to gain natural resources to fuel and support their modernization The Chinese army was large and brave, but poorly led and armed – they lost every battle Japan gained control of the most valuable, rich and populous land in China within a year (coastal provinces and the river valleys around the Yellow and Yangtze)
Rape of Nanjing Winter of 1937-1938 Japanese troops took Nanjing and raped 20,000 women 200,000 prisoners and civilians were killed The city was looted and burned In an attempt to slow down the Japanese, Chiang ordered the Yellow River destroyed leading to a massive flood wiping out 4,000 villages, killing 890,000 people, and leaving 12.5 million homeless Japan responded with a “kill all, burn all, loot all” campaign
Guomindang & World War II Retreated to the mountain of Sichuan in the century of the country Drafted 3 million men to form an army (not to fight the Japanese) for battle with the Communists There were barely 1 million riffles to arm this, nor could they feed or clothe the soldiers, forcing the Guomindang to raise taxes on farmers, even in the face of famine (many farmers resorted to eating tree bark) The taxes (they refused to tax their wealthy supporters) were still not enough so the government printed money leading to inflation, hoarding and corruption THEY WERE LOSING ALL POPULAR SUPPORT
Communist & World War II Mao built and army and established a government in the city of Yan’an oin the Shaanxi province Mao and the communists listed to the complaints and grievances of the peasants Land redistribution was initiated as it was confiscated from the rich Rigid discipline was imposed and there was a zero tolerance policy on dissent and criticism from intellectuals While the army was weak, they won over the people and were able to gain propaganda victories They sold their government as the only one willing to fight the Japanese (even though this was better advertising than actual conduct)
Victory After the surrender of Japan to the Allies the Communists and Mao with the popular support of the peasants achieved victory in the Chinese Civil War gaining control of the mainland while the Guomindang and Chaing Kai-shek fled to the island of Taiwian Today China views Taiwan as a rebel province How would this issue factor into the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union
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