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China in the 20th Century


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Title: China in the 20th Century

China in the 20th Century
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A French political cartoon of 1899 represents the
carving of China into spheres of influence
Twilight of the Qing Dynasty
  • Boxer Rebellion left no doubt about need for
  • Empress Cixi accepted reforms
  • New education system based on Western model
  • Provincial national legislatures
  • Not allowed to pass laws
  • Reforms did not improve economic conditions
  • Emerging middle class impatient with pace of

Empress Cixi chills out at the Summer Palace
Sun Yat-sen
  • Republican anti-Qing activist
  • Educated in US and lived in Japan
  • Founded Chinese Revolutionary Alliance in 1905
  • Popular with overseas Chinese, reformers, and
    young military officers
  • Three Principles of the People
  • Nationalism overthrow the Manchu Dynasty and end
    foreign hegemony
  • Democracy establish an elected republican
  • Peoples livelihood implement a mild form of
    socialism to aid the common people

Sun Yat-sen celebration Tiananmen Square,
Beijing, 2005
  • 1908
  • Empress Cixi died
  • Pu Yi became emperor at age 3

Xinhai Revolution (1911-12)
  • October 1911 discontented army units in Wuhan
    overthrew the local govt after an anti-Qing plot
    was discovered
  • Similar uprisings from army units and
    Revolutionary Alliance groups followed throughout
  • 15 of 24 provinces declared independence
  • January 1912 Sun Yat-sen elected first President
    of the Republic of China by independent provinces
  • General Yuan Shikai joined the rebellion and
    turned on the Qing govt
  • February 1912 Emperor Puyi abdicated

Revolutionaries hang flags in the streets of
Shanghai during the revolution
A poster commemorating Yuan Shikai and Sun Yat-sen
Long live the Republic!
Early Republic
  • Republic of China was established in Nanjing on
    January 1, 1912 with Sun Yat-sen as Provisional
  • All effective power, however, was possessed by
    General Yuan Shikai in Beijing
  • To prevent civil war Sun Yat-sen resigned in
    favor of Yuan Shikai in March 1912
  • Yuans military power overshadowed that of
    political parties and parliament
  • Yuan became increasingly dictatorial
  • In August 1912 the anti-Yuan Kuomintang won a
    majority of seats in parliament

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Rebellion Chaos
  • Relations between Yuan and the Kuomintang
    deteriorated in 1912-13
  • In July 1913 7 southern provinces rebelled
  • Rebellion was swiftly suppressed by Yuan and a
    compliant parliament elected him President
  • Most countries formally recognized Yuans govt
  • Yuan agreed to autonomy for Outer Mongolia and
    Tibet and special privileges for Russia and

China Under Yuan
  • Small bandit armies wreaked havoc throughout the
  • In 1914 Yuan substantially enlarged the powers of
    the President
  • Political parties, provincial leaders, and the
    public grew steadily more disenchanted with Yuan
  • In December 1915 Yuan declared himself emperor of
  • Several southern provinces declared independence
  • In March 1916 Yuan abdicated as emperor
  • He died in June 1916

21 Demands
  • In 1914 China declared war on German and seized
  • In 1915 Japan issued the 21 Demands to the Yuan
  • Japanese economic control in Shandong, Manchuria
  • Yuan to appoint Japanese advisors to key posts
  • Would essentially make China a protectorate of
  • China rejected most demands but accept Japanese
    control over parts of Shandong Manchuria
  • Concessions were extremely unpopular with the
    public but a sign of the govts weakness

Warlord era (1916-27)
  • After Yuans death in 1916 no new national govt
    was able to assert control over the provinces
  • Regional warlords fought each other for control
    in a series of constantly shifting alliances
  • In 1917 Sun Yat-sen became President of a rival
    govt in southern China
  • Both northern and southern govts were highly
    reliant on regional warlords and were
    unsuccessful in unifying the country

1916-28 China was essentially divided among
warlords constantly fighting one another
May 4th Movement
  • In 1917 China declared war on Germany in hopes of
    recovering Shandong from Japan
  • In May1919 the Great Powers at Versailles decided
    to allow Japan to retain Shandong
  • This sparked massive demonstrations throughout
    China against Japan and the West
  • China refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles
  • Students, intellectuals and reformers became
    disillusioned with the West, democracy and
  • The May 4th Movement defined Chinas aspirations
    as nationalistic and anti-Western

Economic changes
  • European American traders brought changes to
    Chinas coastal cities
  • Growth of industry
  • Rise in imports and exports
  • China increasingly linked to world market
  • Improved transportation and communications
  • Improved banking system
  • New crops raised food production
  • Negative impacts
  • New factories destroyed existing local industries
  • Profits went to foreigners

Shanghai in 1920
Cultural changes
  • 35,000 foreigners lived in Shanghai and shared
    their culture with the new Chinese urban middle
  • Western literature, art, clothing, and music
    became popular
  • Some reformers condemned Chinese traditions as
  • Young people were drawn to Western ideas
  • Individualism
  • Womens rights
  • These cultural changes hardly reached most
    Chinese in rural areas

Cigarette advertisements
Chinese communist party
  • Founded in 1921 in Shanghai
  • Most Chinese communists believed that the
    revolution must come from the tiny urban
  • Mao Zedong believed that the peasantry must be
    the source of revolution
  • Party remained very small and weak during 1920s
  • Comintern agents were sent by Moscow to help
    organize the CCP
  • In 1923 they orchestrated a United Front with the
    Kuomintang (KMT)

  • Largest opposition party during the 1920s
  • Led by Sun-Yatsen until his death in 1925
  • Advised by the Comintern to ally with the CCP
  • Chiang Kai-shek was an ally of Sun Yat-sen and
    rose through the ranks to become the head of the
    Whampoa Military Academy
  • Was quickly seen as Suns successor
  • Had a more right-wing and nationalist set of
    beliefs than Sun

Chiang consolidates power (1925-27)
  • In 1925 Chiangs National Revolutionary Army
    (KMT) embarked on the Northern Expedition to
    defeat warlords and unify China
  • By 1926 half of China was under KMT control
  • Chiang became increasingly suspicious of the
    loyalty of the CCP to the alliance
  • In April 1927 Chiang initiated the Shanghai
    Massacre in which most of the CCP leadership was
    killed or arrested
  • The alliance was destroyed and the CCP was
    severely weakened
  • Chiang was now undisputed leader of the KMT

KMT consolidates power
  • By 1928 KMT controlled most of China and moved
    capital to Nanjing
  • Recognized by foreign govts
  • 1928-36 time of relative stability
  • Nationalist govt initiated reforms
  • Legal and penal systems
  • Banking and currency
  • Railroads and highways
  • Hospitals and schools
  • Industry and agriculture
  • Reduced foreign concessions
  • Newspapers and radio proliferated
  • Promoted womens rights
  • KMT reduced political freedom and opposition
  • Throughout much of China KMT still heavily relied
    on cooperation of regional warlords and generals

China received significant industrial and
military aid from China from 1928-36
Civil war (1927-34)
  • Shanghai Massacre (1927) is start of the Chinese
    Civil War
  • Remnants of the CCP flee to rural areas of
    southern China and work to foment peasant
  • All revolts are small and quickly crushed by KMT
  • Mao creates the Jiangxi Soviet based on communist
  • 1930-34 KMT repeatedly launches unsuccessful
    raids to crush it
  • KMT encirclement in 1934 forces CCP to flee
    Jiangxi and trek north to unite with other CCP

Long March (1934-35)
  • 90,000 CCP members and families trek west and
    north over 12,500 km to unite with CCP group in
    Yenan province
  • Arrive in Yenan after 1 year
  • KMT and warlords attack Red Army all along the
  • Extreme cold, hunger and fatigue take heavy toll
  • Only 8,000 survived the trek
  • During this ordeal Mao shows good judgment and
    consolidates his position as leader of the CCP
  • By 1936 the CCP has been all but annihilated and
    quarantined within China by the KMT

Manchurian incident (1931)
  • In 1931 Japan invades Manchuria and establishes
    puppet state of Manchukuo
  • Motivated by desire for raw materials and
  • League of Nations fails to respond effectively
  • 1932-36 Japanese forces slowly extend control
    into coastal provinces
  • KMT preoccupied with war against CCP
  • Public is increasingly disillusioned with
    Nationalists priorities, corruption,
    incompetence, and Westernism

Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45)
  • 1936 Chiang is kidnapped and forced to ally with
    the CCP in order to fight the Japanese as the
    term of his release
  • 1937 skirmishes at the Marco Polo Bridge near
    Beijing lead to full-scale warfare between China
    and Japan
  • KMT and CCP declare the Second United Front
  • Japanese army rapidly advances into coastal China
    and captures Nanjing
  • Rape of Nanjing
  • KMT retreats and continues the war from central

KMT army marches through Burma during the Second
Sino-Japanese War
The CCP in Yenan (1937-45)
  • Second United Front gives CCP a chance to
    consolidate hold in Yenan and grow
  • CCP allows KMT to do bulk of fighting against
  • From 1940 KMT-CCP conflicts become more frequent
  • Administrative, land and tax reforms in Yenan
    prove highly popular with peasants
  • During this period Mao becomes undisputed leader
    of CCP and expounds his interpretation of
    communism based on a peasant proletariat

  • Japan surrenders in September 1945
  • Much of eastern and China has been destroyed
  • Hyper-inflation, starvation, and homelessness
  • Floods and war create a refugee crisis
  • Nationalist govt infamous for corruption,
    profiteering and hoarding
  • Soviet troops occupy Manchuria
  • Remove most industrial infrastructure to USSR
  • Allow CCP to access military equipment of
    retreating Japanese Army

Mr. Mrs. Chiang Kai-shek with American advisor
Joseph Stilwell (1942)
American involvement
  • During WW2 US sees China as a key ally against
  • Send high level advisors and billions of in
    military aid
  • US is repeatedly disillusioned by corrupt and
    ineffective Nationalist regime
  • In 1945 US forces occupy Beijing and adjacent
  • Provide logistical support to KMT to help govt
    consolidate control over all China
  • Increasing unpopularity of Nationalist regime and
    rising size of the CCP Red Army by 1947
  • US suspends weapons shipments and combat support
    in 1947 extends massive economic aid

War of liberation (1946-49)
  • Red Army expands in size, skill and technology by
  • 1946 negotiations fail and Chiang attacks CCP
    stronghold in north
  • Red Army adopts passive defense to avoid open
  • High attrition and desertion in KMT army as the
    Red Army grows in size
  • 1947-48 Red Army launches offensives in north
    and east China and gradually wears down the KMT
  • 1949 Red Army captures Beijing and invades
    southern China
  • Nationalists gradually retreat south

Establishment of the pRC (1949-50)
  • Mao proclaims Peoples Republic of China in
    Beijing on October 1, 1949
  • Chiang and 2 million Nationalists flee to Taiwan
  • Isolated pockets of resistance in western China
    are quickly subdued
  • Chiang proclaims Taipei as temporary capital of
    the Republic of China
  • Mao considers Taiwan a rebellious province

Why did the CCP win the war?
  • CCP won the hearts and minds of the Chinese
  • Reduced taxes, rents and interest on the peasants
  • Redistributed land to peasants
  • Helped raise agricultural production
  • Provided effective administration in rural areas
  • Encouraged peasants to participate in local govt
  • Proved willing to cooperate with the KMT to fight
  • 2. KMT proved corrupt and ineffective
  • Nationalist bureaucrats were known for
    incompetence and corruption
  • Nationalist leaders were seen as culturally
    Westernized and beholden to Western economic and
    political interests
  • Nationalists proved unable to provide effective
    governance in provinces
  • Unwilling to make modest social reforms to win
    popular support
  • Shouldered most of the fighting against the
  • Brutish behavior of KMT troops alienated the
  • In-fighting amongst Nationalist generals

Why did the CCP win the War?
  • 3. Maos leadership proved effective
  • used brainwashing and terror to keep CCP members
    in line
  • Allowed peasants to violently seize property from
  • Allied with local gentry when circumstances
  • Encouraged Red Army to show exemplary conduct
    towards peasants
  • Long-term ability to guide the CCP through
    constant danger to victory was seen as messianic
  • 4. Economic mismanagement of the Nationalist
  • Hyperinflation afflicted China from 1937 onward
  • Heavy borrowing to finance the war
  • Debasing the currency
  • KMT army requirements left little money for
    social spending or debt payments
  • Economic collapse discredited the regime

Why did the CCP win the war?
  • 5. Uneven foreign support
  • Soviets gave Japanese weapons to CCP in 1945
  • Soviets allowed Red Army to occupy most of
    Manchuria in 1945-46
  • US advisor Joseph Stilwell had horrible
    relationship with Chiang Kai-shek
  • US would sell but not give weapons to the KMT
  • US withdrew all combat support in 1947