History of the Republic of China Part III
Guomindang’s relationship with the communists
The relationship between the Nationalist Party / Guomindang and the Communists changed fundamentally from the early years to the Republic and to the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949. Sun Yat-sen established early contact with the Soviet government in Moscow. This was well received, and as a gesture to mark their benevolence, the Soviet Union declared in 1923 that they had abandoned the former Russian tsar regime’s properties and special rights in China. Sun Yat-sen believed that communism and the Soviet system could not be introduced into China, as Chinese conditions did not facilitate this, and national unity and full independence were the most important. The diplomats in the Soviet Union understood this and promised China support in this fight.
According to Rrrjewelry, Sun was not a Marxist, but he was interested in how the Soviet Union had built up a powerful army and a solid party apparatus. He therefore sent among others Chiang Kai-shek to Moscow in 1923 to learn from the Russian experience. During this stay, Chiang became convinced that Soviet communism was not suited to Chinese conditions, and that Soviet leaders did not understand the ideology or challenges Guomindang had. He also became aware of power struggles in the Soviet Union and internally in the Communist Party there and eventually became a clear opponent of communism.
However, Sun Yat-sen insisted that an essential part of Guomindang’s ideology was national unity through cooperation with all groups in society, including the Communists, and was convinced that cooperation with the Soviet Union was right. The first unity front between Guomindang and China’s Communist Party was formed in 1924, where members of Communist parties could become individual members of Guomindang at the same time. This was one of the prerequisites for China to receive military assistance from the Soviet Union.
After Sun died in 1925, tensions between the right wing in Guomindang and the communists increased. This led Chiang to remove all communists in leadership positions in 1926, and the following year he started the purge of communists in rural areas under Guomindang’s control. Gradually, the opposition also increased between the left side of Guomindang and the Communists, and the first unity front was disbanded in 1927.
Communists had already in 1935 wanted a common front against the Japanese. But Chiang Kai-shek was immune to this, until during his stay in Xian he was captured by his former backing, Zhang Xueliang, who was then expelled from the Man Jury. Chiang was persuaded to head a national resistance against the Japanese. This led to the establishment of the second unit front in 1937, which this time consisted of two independent and equal parties. This front existed formally until the end of the world war in 1945, when negotiations between the two parties broke down and the result was civil war.
In November 1931, the first Soviet Republic was established in Ruijin, Jiangxi, with Mao Zedong as its chairman. In the areas it controlled with its army, the land was confiscated and distributed according to the Republic’s constitutional law. In February 1932, this “state” declared Japan war, but in 1934 it was completely invaded by the troops of the Nationalist government. 100,000 forces succeeded in breaking out, and in October they began the famous long march from Jiangxi to Shaanxi in the northwest. There, the army reached after a year, greatly reduced in number. In December 1936, the communists set up their headquarters in Yanan.
In 1937, the Japanese took Beijing and Tianjin and supported the province of Shanxi, where they faced strong resistance from the communists. After hard fighting, Shanghai and Nanjing fell, and the government there moved first to Wuhan and later to Chongqing in Sichuan. The Japanese initially deployed a provisional government in Beijing, but despite their superior equipment, they failed to break Chinese resistance. The Japanese held a number of hubs and all important port cities, but the Chinese operated a lively guerrilla behind their lines.
Following the assault on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, both Japan, the United States and China joined World War II. Even though China now had the allies of allies, the position deteriorated, as the Japanese besides Indochina also occupied Thailand and conquered Malaya and Myanmar. China’s only connection to the outside world was a flight route that the United States created from India. Through this route large quantities of military equipment and machinery were sent to the country. Myanmar was recaptured through a British-Chinese offensive in 1943-1945, and in 1945 the road from Ledo in Assam was opened.
During World War II, China’s prestige rose. In 1943, Chiang Kai-shek, along with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill, participated in the Cairo meeting, which agreed that China should, at the conclusion of the peace, regain all Japanese conquests of Chinese territory. That same year, the United Kingdom and the United States waived their extra-territorial rights. China was also given a permanent seat on the Security Council at the creation of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945. However, China’s superpower position was poorly funded.
Communists take over
The Guomang government was weakened by the war, with strong inflation and much corruption as the most serious symptoms. The Communists, on the other hand, had strengthened their position by skilful leadership of their guerrillas. Politically, they had also consolidated the position in the area of Yan’an government. Everything in 1938 began again meetings between their and the Guomindang government. The United States sought to mediate and sent General Patrick J. Hurley as a dealer in 1944–1945. Communist representative in Chongqing was Zhou Enlai.
The situation intensified during rivalry to occupy formerly Japanese-conquered areas. Government troops received US aid, occupied Beijing and Tianjin, and cities in Manjury. The Soviet Union had, by the Yalta agreement in February 1945, regained its rights in Male Jury, which they had surrendered to Japan in 1905, and began to remove industrial equipment from there and train the evacuation of the country. According to a ceasefire in 1946 between the communists and Guomindang, a national assembly was supposed to establish the country’s constitution, but the communists did not meet.
Following Japan’s capitulation and failed US mediation attempts, the civil war flared up again in earnest. The dissatisfaction with Chiang Kai-shek’s board increased. The nationalists suffered great losses and many deserted; Communist army was superior, numerically as strategically. In October 1948, Mukden fell, and the rest of Manjury was quickly occupied. In January 1949, Beijing and Tianjin fell. Chiang Kai-shek and his followers fled to Guangzhou and on to Chongqing, which fell in December. By the turn of the year, communists had occupied virtually the entire country, and the Guomindang government was relocated to Taiwan.
On October 1, 1949, the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed with Chairman Mao Zedong as President and Zhou Enlai as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.