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THE CHINESE CIVIL WAR. First Phase 1927-1937. Objectives. What were the strategies and objectives of the GMD and the Communists during the Ten Years Civil War that lasted from 1927 to 1937?

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the chinese civil war


First Phase 1927-1937

  • What were the strategies and objectives of the GMD and the Communists during the Ten Years Civil War that lasted from 1927 to 1937?
  • What were factors that accounted for the successes and defeat of both sides as they sought to gain control of China?
continued attempts by chiang to unite china
Continued Attempts by Chiang to Unite China
  • After the Shanghai Massacre, Chiang continues his military campaign to unite China.
  • With the support of his warlord allies, he captures Beijing; this leads to international recognition of the GMD as the legitimate government of China
  • Eventually, the left wing of the GMD, located at Wuhan, will turn on the Communists and accept Chiang’s rule
  • That being said, alliances with warlords were often tenuous, as indicated by the Central Plains War of 1930, where the GMD entered battle against former allies such as the Guanxi Clique and FengYuxiang, the Christian Warlord
  • Warlords remained powerful within China even after the GMD took power
point to consider
Point to Consider
  • What were the struggles that Chiang faced in attempting to consolidate his rule in China?
aftermath of the shanghai massacre
Aftermath of the Shanghai massacre
  • Following the Nationalist (GMD) attack on Communists at Shanghai in 1927, Communist forces respond with further attempted uprisings at Nanchang and Guangzhou.
  • Both are put down by the GMD
  • Mao was involved in the Peasant Harvest Uprising, in Hunan Province
  • After the failure of the Peasant Harvest Uprising in Hunan Province, Mao’s forces flee to the Jinggang Mountains in Jiangxi Province
chinese soviet republic
Chinese Soviet Republic
  • A Chinese Soviet Republic is established in Jiangxi Province in the early 1930s
  • It becomes a haven for Communists fleeing from China’s urban areas
  • Along with Zhu De, Mao creates the Red Army (otherwise known as the PLA). It adopts a strategy of guerilla warfare in the fight against the Nationalists
red terror
Red Terror
  • Although the Communists introduce reforms in Jiangxi that benefit many peasants, such as land reform and the implementation of greater rights for women, the CCP also uses violence and terror as a tool of maintaining power
  • During the AB League Incident, the Communists in Jiangxi killed and terrorized thousands in Jiangxi, including members of their own power
mao on red terror
Mao on Red Terror

"Red terror ought to be our reply to these counter-revolutionaries. We must, especially in the war zones and in the border areas, deal immediately, swiftly with every kind of counter-revolutionary activity."

point to consider1
Point to Consider
  • How were the Communists able to survive in the after of the Shanghai Massacre and other defeats at the hands of the GMD?
madame chiang kai shek
Madame Chiang Kai Shek

After the Northern Expedition, Chiang marries Soong Meiling

soong sisters
Soong Sisters

The three Soong Sisters. Meiling was married to Chiang Kai Shek, Chingling was the widow of Sun Yat-sen (she was also a Communist sympathizer) and Ailing was married to HH Kung, the wealthiest man in China.

attempts at reform and modernization
Attempts at Reform and Modernization
  • Chiang’s government made efforts to reform and modernize China
  • Revisionist historian Jay Taylor credits Chiang with being a positive force in this regard
  • Transportation improvements, urban industrial development in some of the major cities, a reduction in foreign concessions, and an increase in the number of public schools were all positive developments
  • Still, however, the bulk of these reforms never affected most of the people
new life movement
New Life Movement
  • In order to fight corruption and counter the Communist appeal, Chiang Kai Shek and his wife introduce the New Life Movement
  • To some extent, it was also a rejection of the excesses of western individualism
  • The purpose was to promote traditional Chinese values that were based on Confucian principles
  • Ultimately, however, it reached only a limited number of people
chiang on the new life movement
Chiang on the New Life Movement
  • The New Life Movement aims at the promotion of a regular life guided by the four virtues, namely, li [ritual/decorum], yi [rightness or duty], lian [integrity or honesty], and chi [sense ofshame]. Those virtues must be applied to ordinary life in the matter of food, clothing, shelter, and action. The four virtues are the essential principles for the promotion of morality. They form the major rules for dealing with men and human affairs, for cultivating oneself, and for adjustment to one’s surroundings. Whoever violates these rules is bound to fail, and a nation that neglects them will not survive.
gmd repression of opponents
GMD Repression of Opponents
  • The GMD Bureau of Military Statistics operated as the Secret Police, terrorizing and killing the party’s opponents
  • Similarly, the short-lived Blue Shirts Society (made up of Whampoa graduates) sought to silence opponents of the government
the japanese threat
The Japanese Threat
  • The GMD and the Japanese had first clashed at Jinan (in Shandong) during the Northern Expedition
  • In 1931, Japan invades Manchuria after the Mukden Incident
  • Later, in 1932, it attacks and heavily damages Shanghai in what became known as the January 28 Incident.
chiang kai shek s response
Chiang Kai Shek’s Response
  • Chiang contends that the GMD is not capable of defeating the Chinese at the moment
  • Thus, in the short term, he is willing to make concessions to Japan
  • He views Communism as the greater immediate threat to China
chiang kai shek on communism
Chiang Kai Shek on Communism

"The Japanese are a disease of the skin; the communists are a disease of the heart."

point to consider2
Point to Consider
  • To what extent was Chiang successful in transforming China?
encirclement campaigns
Encirclement Campaigns
  • In attempt to dislodge the Communists and Mao from Jiangxi, the GMD launches a serious of military operations known as the Encirclement Campaigns
  • The first four of these fail—an indication, in measure, of the success of Mao’s guerilla tactics
  • Another reason that perhaps curtailed the ability of the GMD’s effectiveness in the Third Entitlement Campaign was the Mukden Incident, when the Japanese take over control of Manchuria
fifth encirclement campaign
Fifth Encirclement Campaign
  • Chiang changes tactics on the advice of German military advisers
  • The Nationalists adopt a policy of constructing blockhouses to fortify their positions as they moved forward against the Communists
  • At the same time, the Comintern brings in a German Communist, Otto Braun, who is supported by Mao’s rivals—a group known as the 28 Bolsheviks
  • As a result, Mao temporarily loses control of the Chinese Soviet Republic in Jiangxi
long march
Long March
  • Facing a GMD attack on their capital city at Ruijin, the CCP decides to leave Jiangxi
  • From October 1934 to October 1935, the CCP undertakes the Long March from Jiangxi to Yanan
  • Most of the marchers are lost along the way
  • It becomes a mythical within the history of CCP and allows the party to survive and rebuild
  • It also allows Mao to regain control of the CCP
  • Some historians claim today that war lords allowed the Communists to pass through their territory as a means to ensure that the GMD and Chiang would be preoccupied
zunyi conference
Zunyi Conference
  • At the Zunyi Conference during the Long March, Mao regains power of the CCP from Otto Braun and Bo Gu
  • Key to Mao’s victory was the support that he received from Zhou Enlai
  • From this point forward, the role of the Comintern and the USSR within the CCP declines considerably
long march myth or reality
Long March—Myth or Reality
  • Some historians have recently started to challenge some of the events of the Long March
  • For example, Jung Chang, Mao’s biographer, suggested that neither the Dadu River Crossing or the Luding Bridge Crossing never occurred
  • Also, recent historical works suggest that some of the marchers deserted, while others were essentially forced to march
arrival in yan an
Arrival in Yan’an
  • In the end, only a small percentage of the original marchers arrived in Yan’an
  • Still, the isolated location serves the CCP as it begins to rebuild its strength
point to consider3
Point to Consider
  • What are the implications of the Long March for the Chinese Civil War?
zhang xueliang
Zhang Xueliang
  • Known as the Young Marshall, Zhang was the Manchurian warlord
  • His support had been instrumental in Chiang Kai Shek taking over Beijing during the Northern Expedition
  • After the Japanese took over Manchuria in 1931, Zhang continued to support Chiang Kai Shek
  • As time went on, however, he became increasingly disgruntled with Chiang’s attitude towards fighting the Japanese
the revival of the united front
The Revival of the United Front
  • Zhang felt that Chiang Kai Shek, instead of focusing on the defeat of the Communists, should form an alliance with his rivals to defeat the Japanese
  • After meeting secretly, Zhang comes up with a plan to force Chiang to cooperate with the CCP

In December 1936, Chiang went to Xi’an to direct fighting against the Communists

  • During the night, he was kidnapped by troops acting on the orders of Zhang
  • Following negotiations with Zhou Enlai, Chiang agrees to the concept of a United Front
  • Stalin, the leader of the USSR, urges the CCP to support the idea as well
  • Mao is less supportive, but agrees to the United Front in the end
point to consider4
Point to Consider
  • What impact did the Xi’an event have on the Chinese Civil War?