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Beijingfuturesdreams, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Warlords, The 2nd Sino-Japanese War, and the rise of the CPC

Warlords, The Second Sino-Japanese War

From 1916 to1936 a number of different power centers struggled with one another over the remnants of the briefly lived Republic of China. The Kuomintang (KMT), upholding the nationalism of it charter, held power in much of the South, while the North Beiyuan government was consumed by internal strife.

The Treaty of Versailles, following World War I, served as an ignition point for the growing dissent within the working classes, students, and small business owners. Dissatisfaction with the Allied Forces treatment of China during wartime reparations, led to a surge in cultural re-evaluation, and created the small but popular Communist Party of China (CPC).
The CCP and the KMT joined forces to attack northwards both militarily and politically. Known as the First Unified Front, this partnership was short lived due to conflicts between secondary agendas. However, despite its short life, the First Unified Front was able to accomplish a new power structure in the North, and begin the stabilization of the region.

A complicated civil war followed the First Unified Front – a war that encompassed the second Sino-Japanese War, WWII, and ended in the People’s Republic of China. This Civil War between the forces of the KMT and the CPC, was as much an ideological battle as it was a militaristic effort, and various foreign powers also contended for the land and people of the China.

The Second Sino-Japanese War became a major turning point for the national direction of China, fusing, though temporarily and superficially, divisions between Nationalism and Communism. These two political and military entities faced a common enemy in ousting the Japanese forces from mainland China, and strategic decisions made by both parties eventually led to the Kuomintang’s defeat by the CPC.

The devastating attacks of Japan’s highly sophisticated armed forces, have left long lasting marks on China’s perception of its Island neighbor. With total casualties being estimated between 20 million and 35 million, property losses at nearly $400 billion (USD, 1937), and nearly 95 million refugees, it remains a vicious scar in the minds of many.

Finally, the National Revolutionary Army of the KMT was so severely diminished during this war, that the Communist Party of China under the leadership of Mao Zedong was able to wrestle away political power and establish the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

For more information on this convoluted time period of Chinese history, the truths and impacts of which are still becoming clear today, please follow some of these links:

Wikipedia: Timeline of China’s History – Modern Period
History of China
China Knowledge
China History Forums

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