Chinese Civil War 1927-36; 1945-50

Causes and effects of 20th century wars

This topic focuses on the causes, practice and effects of war in the 20th century. The topic explores the causes of wars, as well as the way in which warfare was conducted, including types of war, the use of technology, and the impact these factors had upon the outcome.

 

Examination questions for this topic will require students to make reference to specific 20th-century wars in their responses, and some examination questions will require discussion of wars from more than one region of the world. 

Causes of war

  • Economic, ideological, political, territorial and other causes

  • Short- and long-term causes

Practices of war and their impact on the outcome

  • Types of war: civil wars; wars between states; guerrilla wars

  • Technological developments; theatres of war—air, land and sea

  • The extent of the mobilization of human and economic resources

  • The influence and/or involvement of foreign powers

Effects of war

  • The successes and failures of peacemaking

  • Territorial changes

  • Political repercussions

  • Economic, social and demographic impact; changes in the role and status of women

Summary of Chinese Civil War

The Chinese Civil War started, in many respects, with the Shanghai Massacreand the collapse of the First United Front in 1927.

Following the Shanghai Massacre in April 1927 the CCP went into a state of retreat from Nationalist forces. They remained in conflict until the mid-1930s, when Japan began to threaten an invasion of China. In 1935 the Communist International (Comintern) in Moscow urged communist parties to form alliances with non-communist governments and groups, in order to combat fascism and militarism.

 

In China, the CCP began calling for national unity against Japanese military aggression. Slogans circulated included “Chinese must not fight Chinese” and “Immediate war with Japan; stop fighting Communists”. They generated some nationalist sentiment and aided the communist cause. Jiang Jieshi, on the other hand, remained focused on eradicating the CCP, declaring that the “Japanese were a disease of the skin [while] communism is a disease of the heart”.

 

The main phase of the Chinese Civil War, however, is generally regarded as the period spanning late 1945 to October 1949. After the Japanese surrender in August 1945, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Nationalists agreed to peace talks and an abortive ceasefire. But by the start of 1946, the two were again fighting for control of China. The Chinese Civil War culminated in the CCP’s capture of Beijing, where its leader Mao Zedong declared the formation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

 

Nationalist generalissimo Jiang Jieshi was forced to retreat to Taiwan, where he established an alternative government called the Republic of China (ROC). The civil war inflicted major suffering on China’s civilian population, already exhausted and economically ravaged by decades of revolution, warlordism and conflict with the Japanese. The war caused millions of casualties, collapsed the economy through hyperinflation and corruption, and displaced millions of refugees. The CCP secured victory in 1949 but like the Republicans of 1912, they inherited a divided, unstable and economically depleted nation.

China : A Century of Revolution episode 1 - 1911 - 49

Chinese History Podcast  - Chinese Civil War

Causes of the Chinese Civil War

LT Causes review

19thC China in trouble

Opium wars + foreign intervention

Decline of Qing + Taiping Rebellion

Self Strengthening failure

Political instability and corruption

Population growth + famine

How do each of these affect China?

Which is more important and why?

ST Causes review

20thC China collapse

Qing dynasty collapse

Yuan Shikai + Sun Yat-sen

Regionalism + warlords

May 4th movement

Communists + Nationalists

1st United Front

Communists v Nationalists

How did each of these affect China?

Which is more important + why?

Practice of the Chinese Civil War
Map_of_the_Long_March_1934-1935-en.png

First Chinese Civil War

- Encirclement

- Jiangxi Soviet

- Long March 

Click on the map to the left...

How did these involve the GMD?

How did these involve the CCP?

How did these affect Mao Tse-Tung as a young CCP member?

Read and compile summary notes on:

- Tactics + technology used

- Economic + human mobilisation

- Influence of foreign powers

2nd Sino-Japanese War 1937-45

- Yunan Soviet

- Japanese occupation

- 2nd United Front + GMD tactics

Click on the book cover bottom left...

How did these involve the GMD?

How did these involve the CCP?

Read and compile summary notes on:

- Tactics + technology used

- Economic + human mobilisation

- Influence of foreign powers

Second Chinese Civil War

- CCP tactics + position

- USA + USSR influence

- GMD weaknesses + mistakes

Click on the book cover on the left...

How did these involve the GMD?

How did these involve the CCP?

Read and compile summary notes...

- Tactics + technology used

- Economic + human mobilisation

- Influence of foreign powers

Effects of the Chinese Civil War - see Mao page