20th Century Chinese History - Article 1 >> go to Main Page
The year 1927 was the start of the Chinese Civil War between the Nationalists Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party of China (CPC). Each political party had different ideologies on which to govern the country but the two that most stood out were capitalism and communism as each party represented a different class of society. Early in the war the Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek was expected to crush the People's Liberation Army (PLA) under the Communist Party. At the time the Nationalists were the legal government of China and held superior advantages in numbers and resources with foreign aid coming from America. However plagued by bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption the war dragged on for decades and was interrupted by the Japanese invasion during World War II before resuming.
From 1946 to 1949 when the Chinese Civil War resumed the momentum had shifted and the Kuomintang’s superiority had drastically fallen. Chiang Kai-shek’s troops were severely weakened from direct clashes with Japanese troops whilst Mao’s army employed guerrilla warfare that was less damaging to their numbers. Additionally with Stalin’s aide, Russia’s Soviet Red Army supported Mao’s army by handing over seized land in Northeastern China and weapons taken from the surrendered Japanese troops.
i) Sino-Soviet friendship, ii) Land reform for the whole nation, iii) The mobilization of revolutionary peasants, iv) Advance couragelously while holding high the red banner of Mao Zedong
In a country that was predominantly based on agriculture and supported itself through farming the Chinese lower class were mainly made up of poor peasants who earned their living as land laborers. It would be the economic plight of this desolate lower class that would turn the war in Mao’s favor and his Communist Party. The widening wealth gap caused by corruption and exploitation meant that Chinese peasants would often have to deal with starvation and multi-generational slavery from debt that was owed to their landlords. The CPC's land reform policy gave hope to the starving and repressed Chinese peasants living under the worst form of poverty and abuse. For the promise of freedom and to be able to own land in their own name (something that was unheard of in those times) many Chinese peasants agreed to fight for Mao’s People's Liberation Army. This strategy provided the PLA with an unlimited supply of newly recruited soldiers to use in combat.
i) Long live the People's Republic of China, ii) Founding of the Nation
In 1949 the Chinese Civil War was over and Mao Zedong’s power reigned supreme. After a span of over 2 decades of fighting it was estimated that 8 million Chinese had died from the Civil War. The people hoped that a united China would bring peace and prosperity under the officially established “The People's Republic of China” but these hopes would be short lived. In the early 1950s under Communist control the country would experience the start of a new upheaval, greater brutality and loss of lives. It would be a challenging period of time for the people of the new nation.
cont. Article 2 - The Reign of Chairman Mao Zedong
Please note: It is my impression that most if not all historical accounts and records have a degree of biased and uncertainty by way of which side provides the account and especially concerning estimated numbers. It is important to hear both sides of the story to get a balanced picture. Please bear this in mind.