Chinese Civil War Extended Essay

1. The causes of the Chinese Civil War

This extract is from Michael Lynch’s book, China from Empire to People’s Republic 1900 – 1949:  The Chinese civil war part one 
This extract is from Mao by Michael Lynch: The formation of the United Front
The readings below come from Causes, Practices and Effects of Wars by Keely Rogers and Jo Thomas: Long term and short term causes
Long March
Impact of the Japanese

ATL skills: Thinking Skills 

1. Using your knowledge of the period of Chinese History from 1911 – 1927 answer the question “What caused the Chinese Civil War” in pairs by using the Thinking Routine: generate – sort – connect – elaborate

2. Switch your visible thinking with another pair and give them some specific feedback on their ideas. Use a different colour sticky note to give your feedback.

3. Read the following pdf about the causes of the Chinese Civil War. Use the Thinking Routine: Connect – Extend – Challenge to help you to understand it.

The Causes of the Chinese Civil War

ATL Skills: Communication

Complete the Essay scaffold to address the title: Examine the causes of the First Chinese Civil War in 1927.

2. The Course of the First Chinese Civil War (the end of the first United Front 1927 – the start of the second United Front 1937)

Read the following section from the textbook: The Course of the Chinese Civil War – Jiangxi Soviet and Long March

Key Events:

The Jiangsi Soviet 1927 – 1934 also known as The First Red State in China:

Michael Lynch The Jiangxi Soviet

Invasion of Manchuria by Japanese 1931

  • Japanese established Manchukuo with Pu Yi as leader
  • 1937 Japanese left Manchuria and attacked Beijing (start of 15 year war)

The Long March 1934 – 35

The Long March – Encyclopaedia Britannica

Michael Lynch The Long March

  • Important for Mao’s rise to power
  • Rebuilding of CCP after attacks by GMD
  • Part of future party ‘mythology’
  • Important turning point in the Civil War

Rise to Power of Mao – Authoritarian and Single Party State Leaders

The Long March – Causes, Practices and Effects of War

The Yanan Soviet 1935

Mistakes made by Chiang Kai Shek

  • Failed to implement Sun Yat-sen’s Three Prinicples
  • Failed to deal with the Japanese
  • Poor treatment of the peasants

Leadership, ideology and policies of the GMD and CCP 1911 – 1937 

1. work in pairs take one large sheet of paper divide it into two with a timeline in centre and CCP events on one side, GMD on other and common events in the middle

2. make a timeline to show the leadership changes and the key events of the time period including both united fronts summarize the ideology, summarize the policies for both Ideology and policies give specific examples.

3. The Second United Front 1937 – 1945

Michael Lynch The Xian Incident 1936

4. The Fifteen Year War between Japan and China 1931 – 1945

What was the impact of Japanese aggression on the domestic struggle for power?

15 Year War Manchuria Lynch

15 Year War Origins Lynch

15 Year War Sino – Japanese Lynch

15 Year War WW2 Lynch

http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/pacificwar/timeline.htm 

5. The Second Chinese Civil War 1946 – 49

The Chinese Civil War resumed after the surrender of the Japanese. Make a table to show the key events in each of the three phases of the civil war and how they impacted the war.

                    Date         Key Events     Impact on  the civil war
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3

Civil War 1946 -9

The extract below are taken from Causes, Practices and Effects of Wars by Keely Rogers and Jo Thomas
The causes and events of the Chinese Civil War 1946 – 49
The reasons for the Nationalist defeat
The reasons for the Communist victory

This wikipedia site has a very good summary of the Chinese civil war:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Civil_War

The reading below is from the book Mao, The Unknown Story by Jung Chang:
The Russians in Manchuria and support for the CCP

The document below is from China: from Empire to People’s Republic 1900 – 1949 by Michael Lynch

6. Why did the CCP win the Chinese Civil War in 1949?

Causes, Practices and Effects of War – Why did the CCP win the Chinese Civil War in 1949?

Why did the CCP win the CCW in 1949? Lynch

7. How significant was foreign intervention in the Chinese Civil War?

Look at the role of these three foreign powers during the CCW 1927 – 1949 by completing the table below:

Examples of assistance (weapon, money etc)Examples of how the foreign assistance specifically impacted the CCWExamples of how the foreign assistance lengthened the war or changed the outcome.Analysis of significance
Japan
USA
USSR

 

Summary of The Chinese Civil War (1927–37 and 1946–49)

  • Even after the overthrow of the Chinese government, Manchu Dynasty, in 1911 China was still exploited by foreign powers.
  • The Chinese Civil War fought between the Communists and the Nationalists was to restore control over China.
  • It formed two parts, starting in 1927, separated by the Sino-Japanese War in 1937, and started again in 1946 after the war with Japan was over.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

For the first half of the 20th century, China faced political chaos. Following a revolution in 1911, which overthrew the Manchu dynasty, the new Republic failed to take hold and China continued to be exploited by foreign powers, lacking any strong central government. The Chinese Civil War was an attempt by two ideologically opposed forces – the nationalists and the communists – to see who would ultimately be able to restore order and regain central control over China. The struggle between these two forces, which officially started in 1927, was interrupted by the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937, but started again in 1946 once the war with Japan was over. The results of this war were to have a major effect not just on China itself, but on the international stage.

Long-term causes of the Chinese Civil War[edit]

Socio-economic factors[edit]

Summary of Socio-economic factors

  • Peasants under the rule of the Manchu Dynasty were poor, worked on land, lived a hard life, and paid all the taxes.
  • Their population grew by 8% but the land cultivated increased only by 1% in the second half of the 19th century, and this imbalance caused famines.
  • Peasants, often driven to the cities by their poverty, had to pay up to 80% of their harvest to landlords, and usually struggled with unemployment and debt due to cheap Western technology.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

In 1900, China was ruled by the imperial Manchu dynasty. The vast majority of the population were peasants. Their life was hard, working the land, and most were extremely poor. It was the peasants who paid the taxes that in turn paid for the great Manchu imperial court. It was also the peasants who faced starvation during floods or droughts, as their subsistence farming techniques often left them with barely enough to feed their families. The population in China grew by 8 percent in the second half of the 19th century, but the land cultivated only increased by 1 percent. This imbalance made famines more frequent. Peasants' plots of land were reduced, though at the same time landlords increased rents; some peasants had to pay 80 per cent of their harvest. Peasants would be driven to the cities by poverty, where there was already high unemployment due to improved technology and cheap Western imports.

Political weakness and the influence of foreign powers[edit]

Summary of Political weakness and the influence of foreign powers

  • China's destabilised economy was exploited and humliatied through Western imperialism after the mid 19th century Opium Wars and the great Chinese empire had been "carved up into spheres of influence."
  • China had been forced to sign unequal treaties, maintain extra-territorial courts for foreigners who disobeyed Chinese laws, saw inflation, corruption, and financial chaos from imperialist powers.
  • Large portions of the tax revenue did not reach the central government as provisional governments were corrupt.
  • In 1864, the first political reform and religious movement was shut down after the regional armies killed millions of Chinese rebellions.
  • Even the Chinese educated and elite in the Self-Strengthening Movement were divided on how to modernise China.
  • China had lost the war with Japan in 1895, and lost land to Japan in the Russo-Japanese settlement in 1904−5).
  • There was a widespread and popular anti-Western feeling, which started the Boxer Rebellion in 1899, but without modern weaponry, any anti-foreign revolt was futile.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

In the century that preceded the Chinese Civil War, the European imperialist powers had humiliated and exploited China and caused the destabilisation of China's ruling Manchu regime. Britain had defeated China in the mid 19th century in the Opium Wars, and subsequently the great Chinese Empire was carved up into spheres of influence by the Europeans, Americans, and at the 19th century, the Japanese.

China had been forced to sign unequal treaties that gave the imperialist powers extraordinary controls over Chinese trade, territory, and ultimately sovereignty. Foreigners refused to abide by Chinese laws and they had their own extraterritorial courts. In addition, missionaries flooded into China in an attempt to spread Christianity. Inflation and corruption weakened the financial position of the Manchus. Widespread corruption among local and provisional government officials also meant that a large portion of tax revenues did not reach the central government.

In 1850, the Taiping Rebellion spread throughout southern China. The rebellion, which lasted until 1864, was part religious movement and part political reform movement. It was only put down after the death of millions of Chinese by regional armies. This involvement of regional armies began to move away from centralized control, which would result in the Warlord Era in the 1920s.

There had been attempts to resist Western control by sections of the educated elite in China. However, the Self-Strengthening Movement was divided in how to modernize China, and the Manchus did not coherently support reform. China remained subjugated to the West and faced the humiliation of defeat in war to Japan in 1895. China lost more territory to Japan when it was part of the settlement in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05). The extent of popular anti-Western feeling turned into widespread violent rebellion against Westerners and the Boxer Rebellion in 1899. However, without modern weaponry, the anti-foreign revolt was doomed to fail.

The overthrow of the Manchu dynasty[edit]

Summary of The overthrow of the Manchu dynasty

  • Chinese government felt increased tension when the death of the Emperor and succession of two year old Pu Yi in 1908, alongside the the ever-growing sensation of imminent 'Westerinisation.'
  • Prince Chun ruled in regent, his incompetence saw the dismissal of Jiang Jieshi, and he increased taxation, contributing to socio-economic downturn.
  • In 1911, the dynasty was overthrown in a revolution known as the Double Tenth and a republic was created.
  • Dr Sun Yixan, who had been in exile in the USA during the revolution, was to become the first president of the new republic in Nanjing.
  • In an attempt to over-throw the rebellion, the imperial government tried to use the Northern Army general, Yuan Shikai, only to be double-crossed. In February 1912, Pu Yi was abdicated.
  • Despite this revolution, there was no establishment of democracy and former imperial officers held their positions.
  • Historian Michael Lynch argues that the revolution was essentially a revolt by the provinces against the center government; "a triumph for regionalism."Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

By the beginning of the 20th century, China was in a desperate condition and there was a growing feeling that the ruling Manchu dynasty would be overthrown so that China could be Westernized and democracy introduced. The political weakness of the Manchu dynasty intensified with the death of the Emperor and the succession of a two-year-old boy, Pu Yi, in 1908. The former Emperor's brother, Prince Chun, ruled as regent, but was not capable of conducting the essential programme of reform. Indeed, he dismissed the potential troublemaker General Jiang Jieshi, humiliated him, increased taxation and frustrated the business classes without any socio-economic progress being made.

In October 1911, the ruling dynasty was overthrown in a revolution known as the Double Tenth. A republic was created. The revolution began when the government lost control of the military; soldiers in Wuchang revolted and rebellion spread quickly. Most provinces then declared themselves independent of Beijing. The key tensions and issues that led to this revolution would also be significant to the outbreak of the civil war 15 years later: the impact of imperialism, anti-foreign sentiment and political weakness.

In November 1911, in an attempt to seize the political initiative, delegates from 'independent' provinces gather in Nanjing to declare the creation of a Chinese Republic. A political exile, who had been in the USA during the revolution, was invited to be China's first President − Dr Sun Yat Sen (or also known as Dr. Sun Yixian).

The imperial government attempted to use the former influential general of the Northern Army, Yuan Shikai, to suppress the rebellion, but he double-crossed them, arranging a deal with Sun Yixan. Sun agreed for Yuan Shikai to be President of the new republic in February 1912 in exchange for the end of Manchu rule in China. On the 12th of February 1912, Pu Yi abdicated.

The revolution, however, was incomplete. There was no real introduction of democracy and most former imperial officials kept their positions. The impetus for the revolution was wholly Chinese, but had not been led by the middle classes. It had been the military who ignited the rising and Chinese radicals had joined in later. Michael Lynch argued that the revolution was fundamentally a revolt by the provinces against the center:

The Double Tenth was a triumph of regionalism. It represented a particular phase in the long-running contest between central autocracy and local autonomy, a contest that was to shape much of China's history during the following forty years

—Michael Lynch, China: From Empire to People's Republic 1900−49, 1999.

The rule of Yuan Shikai[edit]

Summary of The rule of Yuan Shikai

  • Yuan Shikai was military dictator from 1912 to 1915. His military dictatorship was the key obstacle in uniting China.
  • Sun's party reformed to become the Guomindang (GMD) in 1912.
  • To win the political battle for China, a military was required; a lesson learnt by the GMD and the Chinese communists.
  • In an attempt to undermine the the influential Yuan Shikai's rule, Sun tried moving him from his power base in Beijing to Nanjing.
  • The GMD were a regional power when Shikai refused, and the republicans were not ready to face resistance from Yuan.
  • The 'second revolution' against Yuan failed in 1913, and Sun fled to Japan.
  • The republicans created regional assemblies, which Yuan abolished and alienated provisional powers, and tax revenues.
  • However, Yuan's ultimate mistake was when he declared himself Emperor in 1916. He lost support from the military and died soon after.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

Yuan ruled China as a military dictator from 1912 until 1915. However, the key issues that had led to the revolution in 1911 remained unresolved. Regionalism continued under Yuan's rule and became the key obstacle to a united China. Sun's party reformed as the Guomindang (GMD) in 1912, and declared itself as a parliamentary party.

It is argued that Sun agreed to Yuan Shikai's rule in order to avert the possibility of China descending in to civil war. The republicans were not powerful enough at this stage to take on the military. It was a lesson that both the GMD and the Chinese communists would take on board − to win the political battle for China military power was needed.

Sun attempted to undermine Yuan's power by moving him from his power base in Beijing to the south of Najing to set up a new government. Yuan refused to leave. At this point the GMD were a regional power only in the southern provinces and the republicans were not sufficiently organised to mount resistance to Yuan. A 'second revolution' failed and Sun had to flee to Japan in 1913. However, Yuan mastered his own downfall by a series of ill-conceived acts. The 1912 Republican constitution had created regional assemblies, which he abolished in an attempt to centralise power. This act further alienated the provincial powers, especially as tax revenues were centrally controlled. Yuan's final miscalculation was to proclaim himself Emperor in 1916. At this point he lost the support of the military and stood down. He died three months later.

The GMD and the Three Principles[edit]

The GMD had been set up by Sun Yat sen in 1912. He wanted to create a unified modern and democratic China. He had returned to China after the Double Tenth Revolution in 1911, and established a government in southern China, in Canton. Sun was not a communist, although he was willing to cooperate with them, and the organisation of the GMD was along communist lines. Sun also saw the need to develop a GMD army.

Sun stated that he and his party had three guiding principles:

  1. Nationalism − to rid China of foreign influence, unite China and to regain its international respect,
  2. Democracy − the people should be educated so that they could ultimately rule themselves democratically, and
  3. People's Livelihood − this was essentially 'land reform,' the redistribution of land to the peasants and economic development.
  4. people-they lived older

Short-term causes of the Chinese Civil War[edit]

Political weakness: regionalism − the warlords (1916−28)[edit]

Summary of Political weakness: regionalism − the warlords (1916−28)

  • After the abdication and death of Yuan, China lost the final degree of unity.
  • China broke up into smaller provinces controlled by warlords which lasted between 1916 and 1928.
  • The warlords ran their areas independently, collected taxes, had their own laws and currencies.
  • The Chinese were highly embarrassed by this, and the peasants suffered.
  • Internal state of anarchy, division, and regionalism and provincialism was to play for the cause of the chinese civil warWas supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

A key cause of the civil war in China was the increasing lack of unity in the country by the second decade of the 20th century. Indeed, regionalism or provincialism was to play a significant role not only in causing the war, but also in its course and outcome.

With the abdication and death of Yuan, China lost the only figure that had maintained some degree of unity. China broke up into small states and provinces, each controlled by a warlord. These warlords ran their territories independently, organising and taxing the people in their domains. They had their own laws and even their own currencies. As warlords extended their power and wealth by expanding their territories, it was the peasants who suffered in their continuous wars. None of the warlords were willing to relinquish their armies or power to the central government.

The warlord period increased the sense of humiliation felt by many Chinese and, coupled with their desire to get rid of foreign influence, led to an increase in nationalism during the decade of warlord rule.

China had all but ceased to exist − it was in a state of internal anarchy. If the warlords remained, China would remain divided.

The May Fourth Movement[edit]

Summary of The May Fourth Movement

  • Led by students in 1919, and in response to the Treaty of Versailles, a mass demonstration was held in Beijing, against the warlords, traditional culture, and the Japanese.
  • China had joined the Allies in a "rebirth" as an independent nation inspired by the Bolshevik revolution in 1917.
  • Imperialism was perceived as the main cause for China's problem.
  • China's GMD party had grown stronger during the the warlord period.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

During this period, two political movements developed in response to both the warlords and foreign influence in China. The May Fourth Movement began in 1919. Students led a mass demonstration in Beijing against the warlords, traditional Chinese culture and the Japanese. The hostility had been ignited by the Versailles settlement, which had given Germany's former concessions in Shandong province to Japan. China, it seemed, had joined the Allies in the war.

The significance of the May Fourth Movement was that it was dedicated to changing and resurrecting China as a proud and independent nation. Some intellectuals and students were inspired by revolutionary ideology in order to achieve these goals. The Bolshevik revolution of 1917 provided a practical example. The new Bolshevik government had also denounced the imperialists and said that all contested border claims would be dropped. Imperialism was perceived by many as the main cause of China's problems.

Other Chinese were inspired by the GMD nationalist party, which had grown much stronger during the warlord period. These two groups − the communists and the nationalists − were to come together in an alliance in 1922.

Attempt to unify China: the First United Front[edit]

Summary of Attempt to unify China: the First United Front

  • Both the GMD and the CCP wanted a unified China and took up a united front to fight the warlords in 1923.
  • Sun Yixan's third principle, 'the People's Livelihood,' otherwise known as socialism, convinced Cominterm that this front could be trusted.
  • Though he had been educated in Moscow, and found funding from the USSR to train GMD officers, Jiang became increasingly anti-Communist which nearly broke the front.
  • The GMD and the CCP went on a Northern Expedition (1926−8) to crush the warlords, which was a success.
  • The GMD announced it was a legitimate government and situated the new capital in Nanjing.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

Both the GMD and the CCP wanted a unified China. They agreed that the first step to this was to get rid of the warlords, and in 1922 they formed the First United Front. Both parties also agreed that China needed to be free of the foreign imperialist powers. The Third Principle of Sun Yixian's, 'the People's Livelihood,' was often call 'socialism,' which convinced the Comintern that this was a party they could back. In addition, Jiang had studied in Moscow in 1923 and then ran the Whampoa Military Academy, which was set up and funded by the USSR to train GMD officers. Despite his Soviet links, however, Jiang was not a communist. Indeed, he became increasingly anti-communist and began his leadership of the GMD by removing communists from key positions in the party. He stopped short of breaking off the alliance with the communists as he knew that he must first take out his primary obstacle to a unified China − the warlords.

Jiang, now determined to act on the first of the Three Principles, attempted to unify China by putting an end to the warlords' power. Together with the communists, the GMD set out on the 'Northern Expedition' in 1926 to crush the warlords of central and northern China. This operation was a great success; by 1927, the GMD and the communists had captured Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Nanjing. They took Beijing by 1928. Within two years, the United Front of the GMD and the CCP had destroyed the power of the warlords. The GMD announced that it was the legitimate government of China and the new capital and seat of government would be Nanjing.

Immediate causes of the Chinese Civil War: the GMD attacks on the CCP[edit]

Summary of Immediate causes of the Chinese Civil War: the GMD attacks on the CCP

  • The tension between the GMD and the CCP was the last of the tension in China and their alliance was of convenience.
  • Their success was as a result of the CCP promise of land to the peasants and GMD ambitions.
  • Jiang was sympathetic to the landlords and middle classes but began to expel all communists from the GMD due to communist support.
  • The 'White Terror' in April 1927 was Jiang's peak attack. Jiang turned the powerful 'workers' party army' under Zhou ENlai against the CCP, 5,000 communists were shot.
  • Jiang's 'purification movement' killed around 250,000 people, including communists, trade unionists, and peasant leaders.
  • By 1927, the CCP were nearly destroyed.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

Despite the results of the Northern Expedition, China was still not unified. The United Front was only a friendship of convenience. What had united the CCP and the GMD − the fight against the warlords − was over and ideology divided the two parties. The success of the Northern Expedition had not only been due to nationalist ambitions, but it was also because of the communist promise of land to the peasants; this commitment had given them local peasant support. The communists also had support from industrial workers. For example, Zhou Enlai, a communist leader of the GMD, had organised the workers rising in Shanghai.

The popular support for the communists was a key reason that Jiang decided he could no longer tolerate them in the GMD. There could be no more cooperation. Jiang was sympathetic to landlords and the middle classes, and was far more right-wing than Sun had been. Areas under communist control had seen peasants attack landlords and seize land − this could not be tolerated. It seemed to Jiang that the CCP needed to be crushed before China could truly be unified under the GMD.

Jiang now expelled all communists from the GMD and his attacks on the communists reached a peak in Shanghai in the 'White Terror' in April 1927. A powerful 'workers' party army' under Zhou Enlai had proved very effective during the Northern Expedition and Jiang turned on them, using informants from the underworld of triads and gangsters; 5,000 communists were shot. The GMD carried out similar attacks in other cities in what became known as the 'purification movement' which meant the massacre of thousands of communists, trade unionists, and peasant leaders. About a quarter of a million people were killed. Despite attempts to resist (eg. Mao's failed Autumn Harvest Rising), the CCP was very nearly crushed by the end of 1927.

Ignoring the orders of the Comintern to retain the United Front, the CCP decided that its only hope of survival was to flee into the mountains of Jiangsi. The GMD pursued them, determined to destroy the communists. The civil war had begun.

The course of the war[edit]

Timeline of events 1930−50[edit]

1930−31Jiang's First Encirclement campaign attacks Jiangxi Soviet, defeated by the CCP.
1931Japanese attack Manchuria. Twenty-Eight Bolsheviks take over Central Committee of CCP. Jiang launches Second and Third Encirclement Campaigns against Jiangxi Soviet; both are defeated.
1932Japanese attack Shanghai. Jiangxi Soviet declares war on Japan. Fourth Encirclement Campaign begins.
1933Truce with Japan. Fifth Encirclement Campaign.
1934The Long March begins.
1935Survivors of the Long March reach Shanxi Soviet base.
1936Jiang Jieshi taken hostage by warlord Zhang Xueliang in Xi'an. Second United Front established.
April1937The Second United Front is formed.
JulyThe Japanese invade China.
NovemberJiang Jieshi moves government to Chongqing.
DecemberRape of Nanjing.
August1940Hundred Regiments assault on Japanese by Red Army.
January1941Anhui incident ends Second United Front.
October1944US commander General Joseph Stilwell leaves China at Jiang Jieshi's request.
August−October1945US Ambassador Hurley leads talks between GMD and CCP.
OctoberAgreement announced, but both sides send forces to Manchuria.
SeptemberJapan formally surrenders in China theatre.
DecemberUS General Georce C. Marshall arrives to lead negotiations.
January1946Truce between CCP and GMD.
MarchUSSR begins to withdraw from Manchuria. Fighting breaks out in Manchuria between GMD and CCP.
January1947Marshall leaves China.
MarchJiang Jieshi takes Yan'an.
OctoberMao announces land reform.
April1948US Congress passes China Aid Act − aid sent to GMD again.
NovemberBattle of the Huai-Hai begins.
January1949The GMD lose the battle of Huai-Hai.
AprilThe CCP capture Nanjing.
MayThe CCP take Shangai.
OctoberMao announces the establishment of the People's Republic of China.
DecemberJiang flees to Taiwan.

The Jiangxi Soviet[edit]

Summary of The Jiangxi Soviet

  • The CCP retreated to Jiangxi, which became known as Jiangxi Soviet.
  • Mao Zedong's writing suggests that the White Terror was proof that the United Front ultimately doomed.
  • Mao also believed that the GMD and Cominterm had the wrong strategy for China; it should be peasant based.
  • Mao said "The peasants are the sea; we are the fish. The sea is our habitat," which shifted the ideological orthodox interpretation of Marxism to Maoism.
  • His tangent ideology was successful with the results of recruitment found in the Jiangxi Soviet.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

The CCP were forced to retreat into Jiangxi province in order to survive the GMD onslaught. This territory became known as the 'Jiangxi Soviet.' Mao's writings suggest that the White Terror had only confirmed what he had already thought about the United Front, ergo that this cooperation with the GMD would destroy the CCP. He also believed that the GMD and the Comintern had the wrong strategy for China, basing their revolution on urban areas. Maos' revolution would be based on the peasants. Essentially, this was a more realistic strategy, as the vast majority of Chinese were not urban workers but rural peasants. From a population in China of around 500 million, only 12 per cent were in urban areas, whereas 88 per cent lived in rural regions. From a total workforce of approximately 259 million, 205 million were agricultural workers and a mere 54 million were non-agricultural or industrial workers.

Mao arrived at Jiangxi and organised the Jiangxi Soviet around his idea of the central revolutionary role of the peasant − 'The peasants are the sea; wer are the fish. The sea is our habitat,' he stated. His ideological shift away from orthodox Marxism, which placed the proletariat at the centre of the revolution, put him at odds with more orthodox members of the CCP. But his success in recruiting and organising the peasants in Jiangxi Soviet began to win him the argument.

Division within the CCP[edit]

Summary of Division within the CCP

  • Both the CCP and the GMD suffered from 'internal factionalism' during this period of the civil war.
  • Mao's beliefs were, by 1930;
    • Revolution carried out by the peasants,
    • Guerrilla warfare, and
    • Land reform.
  • Li Lisan "misinterpreted" commands and attacked the Jiangxi Soviet in what was thought as a global end of capitalism in the Great Depression.
  • His attacks failed due to the parties influence in rural areas.
  • Lisan was dismissed from leadership in January 1931.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

Both the CCP and the GMD suffered from 'internal factionalism' during this period of the civil war. Mao's views on the revolution and how the civil war should be fought could be summarised, by 1930, in the following key points;

  • The revolution will be carried out by the peasant masses, thus the peasants will be mobilised and politicised by the Red Army,
  • The army's tactics will be guerrilla warfare, and
  • Land reform will be carried out in their areas of control.

Yet his views were not shared by the Soviet Union and the Comintern. The USSR saw the Great Depression as the beginning of the end of capitalism, and believed that the world was on the brink of international revolution. In February 1930, the Comintern official Li Lisan used an instruction to all CCP members to attack cities in Jiangxi and Hunan. This order was known as the 'Li Lisan Line.' All the attacks failed, and the communist army was forced into retreat. (The Comintern then blamed Li Lisan by saying he had misunderstood its orders.) The CCP in the cities was shattered, and it appeared that the Party could only hold its influence in rural areas. Li Lisan was dismissed from his leadership of the CCP in January 1931.

GMD attempts to exterminate the CCP[edit]

Summary of GMD attempts to exterminate the CCP

Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists

    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

From 1928 to 1934, Jiang had the chance to carry out Sun's Three Principles. His government was ineffective, however, and Jiang made no progress towards democracy or land reform. His support came from landlords and the rich, and so initiatives were limited to the building of some roads and the construction of more schools. From 1931, Jiang also had to face the threat of the Japanese, who invaded Manchuria in 1931.

Jiang's main goal remained the elimination of the communists, and during this time he carried out the 'Five Encirclement Campaigns' in an attempt to destroy the Jiangxi Soviet and the CCP. The GMD strategy was to encircle the Reds and cut them off from supplies and resources. The communists focused their strategy on survival, and based themselves and resources. The communists focused their strategy on survival, and based themselves in the mountains between Hunan and Jiangxi provinces. Here they built up their military forces − the Red Army. Mao explained his strategy in a letter to Li Lisan in 1929: 'The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy halts, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats; we pursue.'

Li Lisan was replaced by a group of Moscow graduates known as the 'Twenty-Eight Bolsehviks' and the influence of the Comintern remained strong enough to move Mao as chief commissar of the Red Army. Mao did not like these 'inexperienced men.'

The first three Campaigns were launched between December 1930 and September 1931. The Red Army under Mao and Zhou Enlai faced increasingly strong GMD forces, first 100,000, then 200,000, and finally 300,000 men − and they defeated all three. Using Mao's strategy of revolutionary war, they allowed the GMD to enter their territory and begin to round up communists, and then they attacked the fragmented units. Their knowledge of the terrain and their use of the support of the local peasants meant that they could choose the place and timing of their engagements.

Mao was not involved in the Fourth Encirclement Campaign. Zhu De was commander-in-chief of the Red Army, and he used the same tactics as before with the same results − the GMD was forced back again in March 1933.

The Long March[edit]

Summary of The Long March

  • The Fifth Encirclement Campaign saw a force of 800,000 men, air cover and artillery, as a result of German advice.
  • It was successful at Ruijin in 1934, and instead of surrendering Mao decided to break the GMD's lines and set up a new base.
  • This was successful on the 19th of October 1934, when the CCP trekked 9,600km to Shaanxi.
  • It took 368 days, 90% of the 90,000 communists died, and they passed inhospitable territory.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

Seven months later, in October, Jiang attempted his fifth and final campaign against the 'bandits.' On this occasion he had taken the advice of a German general to adopt a gradual approach. This time a force of 800,000 men was sent in, with air cover and artillery. The Red Army could not take advantage of its previous strengths of higher mobility and local support. Outnumbered and surrounded by GMD forces, it fought and lost a final battle at Ruijin in 1934.

Military Strategy 1930−1934[edit]

1930−311932−331934
Mao in chargeZhu De in ChargeTwenty-Eight Bolsheviks in charge of Red Army
Guerilla warfareGuerilla warfare'Stand and fight'
GMD Encirclement Campaigns 1−3GMD Encirclement Campaign 4GMD Encirclement Campaign 5 (began 1933)
GMD Campaigns 1−3 failGMD Campaign 4 failsGMD Campaign 5 succeeds − German military advice. Red Army breaks out / Long March

The CCP faced annihilation. Mao decided that the only change the CCP had was to break through the GMD's lines and set up another base. They succeeded in doing this on the 19th of October and then embarked on what became known as the 'Long March.' The Long March took the CCP on a seemingly impossible 9,600km trek to Shaanxi across some of the most inhospitable territory in China. It took 368 days and it led to the death of more than 90 per cent of the 90,000 communists that broke through their encirclement at Jiangxi.

Key events of the Long March[edit]

Summary of Key events of the Long March

  • The 28 Bolsheviks led the CCP to Xiang River, which was strongly defended by the GMD.
  • 50,000 attempting to cross the river died - they were "sitting ducks" for Jiang's forces.
  • In January 1935, the CCP captured the town of Zunyi using Guerilla tactics.
  • At this time, the 28 Bolsheviks were discredited as a result of the disaster at Xiang River.
  • Mao became leader.
  • At Zunyi, Mao declared war on Japan, led the Red Army towards Sichuan and met with 40,000 other communists.
  • Jiang met Mao along the western provinces of Yunnan and Tibet, the GMD destroyed all the boats at Yangtze River, attempting to disrupt Mao's rout.
  • Mao deceived the nationalists by sending units 136km further along, tricking the GMD and crossing another bridge.
  • The CCP covered 134km in 24 hours two weeks later, and came across Dabu River.
  • Local people built a bridge to help the CCP and the GMD should have blown the bridge but this would have caused local outcry.
  • Jiang's forces removed the planks, stopping the CCP.
  • According to the CCP, 22 volunteers threw grenades to take out the machine-gun ready GMD and let the rest of the Red Army cross.
  • The success here led to a massive boost in morale, encouraging members of the GMD to switch sides.
  • With only 10,000 left, Mao met with 45,000 other men at Sichun under the command of Zhang.
  • They quarreled on the next move of te he CCP, and split forces, Zhang taking Zhu De.
  • The GMD attacked Zhang's army, and Zhu De fled to meet with Mao.
  • Mao crossed the deadly Songpan marshes, 3,000 men died across the 400km region.
  • After marching 9,600km, fighting 15 major battles, Mao arrived at Shaanxi Soviet in October 1935.
  • A new based was formed in the town of Yan'an.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

Crossing the Xiang River[edit]

The Xiang River was strongly defended by the GMD, and Jiang was determined not to let the CCP escape. Mao criticised the strategy the CCP used at the river, where around 50,000 died. The CCP had not used his tactics of outmanoeuvering and deceiving the GMD; they had also been loaded down with furniture and other unnecessary equipment. The Twenty-Weight Bolsheviks, now in charge of the army, had simply led the CCP in a line into the river, where they were 'sitting ducks' for Jiang's forces.

Zunyi Conference[edit]

In January 1935 the CCP, this time using 'guerrilla tactics,' managed to capture the town of Zunyi. The Twenty-Weight Bolsheviks had been discredited due to their disasters at Jiangxi and the Xiang River. At a party conference held here to determine future CCP policy, Mao emerged as leader.

Upper Yangtze River Crossing[edit]

At Zunyi, Mao declared that his forces 'marched north to fight the Japanese,' and now led the Red Army towards Sichuan to meet up with the 40,000-strong communist army under leadership of Zhang Guotao. Jiang pursued Mao across the far western provinces of Yunnan and Tibet. The GMD destroyed all the boats at the Yangtze River crossing in an attempt to rout Mao's forces. Mao deceived the nationalists that his army was constructing a bridge to cross, but sent units to a town 136km further along. Thus, while the bridge was being built, the CCP crossed the river in another place. Mao got across before the GMD realised what was going on.

The Luding Bridge[edit]

Just two weeks later, with Mao forcing the pace, covering 134km in just 24 hours, the Red Army came to the Dadu River. Local people had built a bridge, using their own resources to pay for it, from 13 heavy iron chains covered by wooden planks. The river was very fast moving, but here was the only way to cross. The GMD could, and should, have blown the bridge, but this action would have led to local outcry. Instead Jiang's forces removed the planks that covered the chains. What took place next is disputed, but according to the CCP, 22 volunteers crossed the bridge, clinging on to the chains and throwing hand grenades at the machine-gun posts that fired on them. Only five of the attackers survived, but they managed to take out the machine-gun posts, while those behind them laid new boards so that the Red Army could then rush across. In the ensuing battle, the GMD attempted to set fire to the bridge, but it was too late. The crossing was a great morale boost for the CCP, and their courage inspired many members of the GMD to switch sides.

Disputes between Zhang Guotao, Zhu De and Mao[edit]

Mao had 10,000 left in his army, and this force finally met up with 45,000 men under the command of Zhang in Sichuan. The two leaders disagreed on what the Red Army's next move should be. Mao wanted to go north to the Shaanxi Soviet, where they could fight the Japanese. Zhang wanted to stay in western Sichuan, or go further west to have closer access to the USSR. They could not agree and ended up going separate ways. Zhu De decided to go with Zhang, and the two generals took the majority of forces with them. The GMD attacked them, split their forces, and Zhu fled to join Mao. Zhang's forces were virtually destroyed.

Songpan Marshes[edit]

To get to Shaanxi, Mao had to cross the unmapped and deadly Songpan marshes, where men sank into the mud and drowned, faced attack from local tribes, and ate poisonous plants in an attempt to fend of starvation. Of the 10,000 that entered there marshes, only 7,000 made it across the 400km region.

Shaanxi[edit]

After marching 9,600km, and fighting 15 major battles and many smaller skirmishes, Mao's army arrived at the Shaanxi Soviet in October 1935. Here they set up a communist base centred on the town of Yan'an.

Mao and revolutionary warfare[edit]

Summary of Mao and revolutionary warfare

  • Not trying to defeat GMD, but impose revolutionary ideology onto Chinese people.
  • Maoism would reconstruct all of society, economy, and government.
  • Nationalism involved maintain the status quo.
  • Mao believed peasants were central to revolution; his priority was to persuade and support them with communist cause.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

Mao's war against the GMD can be classed as a revolutionary war, as he was not only trying to defeat the GMD but also to impose a revolutionary ideology on the Chinese people. The choice the Chinese people had was between Maoism, and with its total restructuring of society, economy, and government, and the nationalists' policy, which basically involved maintaining the status quo. Mao believed that the peasants were central to revolutionary war, and so his priority had to be to persuade them to support the communist cause.

Mao's revolutionary warfare consisted of several stages:

Setting up base areas[edit]

Summary of Setting up base areas

  • Mao would set up base areas to organize and educate peasants who would accept the new taxes and justice system.
  • Base areas were remote and difficult for the GMD to interfere with.
  • Part of 'Eight Rules of the Eighth Army' was to respect everyone - gained support with peasants.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

Mao planned to set up 'base areas' in which he would organise the peasants and educate them in communist ideology. They would then, it was hoped, accept new taxes and justice systems applied by the CCP, which would be better than those they had previously endured. These base areas would be remote and thus difficult for the GMD to interfere with during this 'education process.' Part of the 'Eight rules of the Eight Route Army' was to treat everyone with respect, and this very powerful idea helped to gain the support and trust of the peasants.

The organisation phase[edit]

Summary of The organisation phase

  • Once one base was up, CCP leaders sent out to other villages to set up more bases.
  • Aim to take over countryside, isolating cities, slowly taking control of China.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

Once a base camp was set up, CCP leaders would be sent out to other villages to repeat the process. Mao called this the 'organisation phase.' The aim was slowly to take over the countryside, thereby isolating the cities to allow the CCP ultimately to take political control of China.

Defending the bases[edit]

Summary of Defending the bases

  • Mao organized 'hit and runs' as there was good knowledge of terrain and support from locals.
  • GMD tried to hunt down CCP, drawing them to hostile areas, but guerrilla tactics usually prevailed.
  • Enemy became demoralised and word down and any attempt to destroy CCP (looting villages/massive attacks/etc) only increased hostility and improved CCP status.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

The next stage was to defend the base areas, which would not remain free frm GMD attack, especially once GMD taxes were going to the CCP. Mao organised the peasants to use hit-and-run tactics, their advantage being the knowledge of terrain and support of the local population. If the GMD attempted to hunt down the CCP units, they would be drawn into hostile areas, which would enable the guerrillas to attack them attack them again and/or disappear into the local community. In this way, the 'enemy' would become demoralised and worn down. Any attempt by the GMD to wipe out the CCP presence with massive attacks and looting of villages would only increase hostility to the nationalists and improve the position of the communists.

The guerrilla phase[edit]

Summary of The guerrilla phase

  • Communists can survive by retreating like in the Long March to new bases or create new bases.
  • This made new guerilla fighters.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

The communists could always survive by retreating, as they had in the Long March. Other bases could be set up as they retreated − these would then created more guerrilla fighters. This was the 'guerrilla phase' of the war.

Protracted war[edit]

Summary of Protracted war

  • Mao knew this would lead to a longer war, however as the number of guerillas increased, the number of attacks increased.
  • Balance eventually fell in favour of guerillas.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

Mao understood that his strategy would lead to a long war; indeed, the idea of a 'protracted war' was central to his thinking. However, as the number of guerrillas grew, and in turn the number of attacks on the enemy increased, the balance would finally tilt in favour of the guerrillas.

Seizing power[edit]

Summary of Seizing power

  • Guerillas joined together to form convention army in the 'open or mobile phase'.
  • CCP in last stage of guerilla warfare when second civil war broke out (1946).
  • When the CCP were in power, consolidation occurred; removing remnants of the 'old regime.'Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

At this stage, the revolutionary war would go into the 'open or mobile phase,' where guerrilla units joined together to form a conventional army. The CCP was in this last stage of guerrilla warfare when the second phase of the civil war broke out in 1946. Once in power, a period of consolidation would be needed to rid China of the remnants of the 'olg regime.'

End of the first stage of the Chinese Civil War – the Second United Front (1937)[edit]

Summary of End of the first stage of the Chinese Civil War – the Second United Front (1937)

  • Long March essential for Mao to become unchallenged leader even though Jiang Jieshi still determined to defeat CCP.
  • China was invaded in 1931 by Japan (Jieshi made this deal), taking over Manchuria.
  • Jieshi appealed to League of Nations, as CCP was a greater threat; called the Japanese "a disease of the skin while communists were a disease of the heart."
  • Jieshi attempted to resist Japanese in Shanghai 1932, truced later. This led to an anti-Japanese sentiment.
  • Mao called for another 'United Front' to fight Japanese; all agreed including northern warlords.
  • It was the Comintern and not Mao who ended up pushing the alliance between CCP and GMD as Stalin was worried about Japanese expansion.
  • 1936, Jieshi was the only leader in China who could effectively fight them.
  • Jieshi was kidnapped by warlords, and was released on Cominterm orders after 13 days, forcing the front.
  • Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

The Long March was essential for ensuring the survival of the CCP and also for making Mao the unchallenged leader. Jiang Jieshi was still determined to defeat the communists, but he also had to deal with the threat of Japan. China had been invaded in 1931 when the Japanese took over Manchuria. Jiang initially did little about this apart from appealing to the League of Nations, as he still regarded the communists as the more dangerous threat. He said that the Japanese 'were a disease of the skin while the communists were a disease of the heart.'

Jiang unsuccessfully attempted to resist the Japanese attacks on Shanghai in 1932, and in May agreed to a truce. The Japanese advanced to the Great Wall in January 1933, however, and their growing control in China led to a great increase in anti-Japanese sentiment.

Mao called for another 'United Front' to fight the Japanese, and this was supported by all who had suffered under Japanese occupation − including the northern warlords Shang Zueliang and Yan Xishan. Yet in the end it was the Comintern and not Mao that pushed the alliance between the CCP and the GMD. Stalin was worried about Japanese expansion in and from Manchuria. By 1936 he saw Jiang Jieshi as the only leader in China who could effectively fight them. The Second United Front was sealed when Jiang Jieshi was kidnapped in Xi'an by the warlord Zhang (he had been there planning his next assault on the CCP.) It shocked both the Chinese and the Soviets − and although some wanted to shoot Jiang, he was released on Comintern orders after 13 days.

In April 1937, the Second United Front was formed. The civil war was suspended, and there was instead a 'National War of Resistance.' The GMD would benefit from support from the USSR, and potentially aid from the USA. The CCP benefited from the legitimacy the alliance gave them − they could no longer be dismissed as 'bandits.' The communists also hoped that they war against Japan would exhaust the GMD.

The Japanese responded to this new situation with a show of force − attacking the Marco Polo bridge outside Beijing in July 1937. This was the beginning of the war proper between Japan and China. In the battle for Shanghai, Jiang Jieshi's forces were forced to retreat after losing around 300,000 troops. The Capital, Nanjing, was relocated 1,200km to the west to Congqing for the remainder of the war. Nanjing was left to face the onslough of the Japanese. The atrocities that were then perpetrated there became known as the 'Rape of Nanjing.'

Why was the CCP able to survive the first stage of the Chinese Civil War?[edit]

Summary of Why was the CCP able to survive the first stage of the Chinese Civil War?

  • Long March ensured CCP survival with a defensible base in Yan'an; propaganda victory for CCP; won support for claim to fight Japanese.
  • Mao became leader who consolidated the group of revolutionaries.
  • Mao offered to join a front with GMD won him popularity.
  • GMD's decision to deal with Japanese after CCP lost support.
  • Poor treatment of peasants by GMD degraded their popularity.
  • GMD failed to implement Sun's Three Principles.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
    • However, they had Manchuria when WWII ended and didn't directly give it to the CCP.
  • Gave the CCP weapons and handed them 200,000 prisoners of war to put in the PLA
  • Helped with transfer of weapons and training of commanders in Manchuria
  • Didn't allow the GMD into key cities in the Manchuria area

The final victory of the CCP after 1945 could never have occurred had it not been for their successes between 1928 and 1936. Why were they successful in this period?

CCP successes[edit]

  • The Long March ensured CCP survival and offered a defensible base in Yan'an. It was also a propaganda victory for the CCP, who were able to use the journey to proclaim their policies to many thousands of people. They also won patriotic support for their claim to be going north to fight the Japanese.
  • The march also confirmed Mao as the leader of the CCP, gave the CCP a good deal of fighting experience and welded the survivors into a very tight, dedicated group of revolutionaries.
  • Mao's offer to create a joint front with the GMD against the Japanese again won the CCP popularity, allowing them to pose as the true nationalists.

GMD errors[edit]

In contrast to the CCP, the GMD forces made several errors. Their decision to deal with the CCP before the Japanese lost them patriotic support. In addition, the poor treatment of peasants by the GMD forces further degraded their popularity. They had also failed to implement Sun's Three Principles.

The Sino-Japanese War[edit]

The events of the war against Japan were key to explaining both the reasons for the outbreak of the second phase of the civil war and also the ultimate victory of the CCP.

The impact of the war on the GMD[edit]

Summary of The impact of the war on the GMD

  • GMD gambled on USA defeating Japan, sending best troops to Yan'an, demoralising the army.
  • Jieshi lost tax revenue as Japan occupied land; he printed more money causing high levels of inflation, hurting the middle class - the natural GMD supporters.
  • Corrupt GMD army, low moral, ill treatment, and conscription that alienated peasants.
  • Japanese control ports and key land routes; limited supplies despite American aid.
  • Military failures, internal faction, and inflation caused discontent - Jieshi simply increased repression.
  • GMD only controlled territory around the capital and areas in the south.
  • CCP had light losses with guerrilla tactics, the GMD bore the brunt of Japanese attacks and had been damanged physically and psychologically.
  • GMD lost support for 'sitting back' and waiting for the Americans to win the war.Was supposed to support the CCP - as mutual communists
This photo is of a Chinese Boxer and illustrates the poor levels of armament compared with the contemporary European and Japanese military forces.
This map shows the route of the Long March between 1934 and 1935.
A photograph of Luding Bridge.
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