Asia210- Republican China.docx - Republican China 1911-1949...

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Republican China: 1911-1949 Introduction: on October 10th 1911, a mutiny headed by the New Army officers broke out at Wuchang they seized the city and obtained the support of the Hubei provincial assembly the provincial assembly declared the province independent from the empire. by December all the provinces of central and southern China had followed suit a republic was declared Sun Zhongshan (Sun Yatsen) was invited to become provisional president the Qing court appealed to Yuan Shikai, to come to its support instead he decided to support the republic and to force the emperor to abdicate. between 1912 and 1916, Yuan Shikai ruled, first as president and then as emperor his death in 1916 left a political vacuum until 1928 the government in Beijing exercised only symbolic authority over the country real power resting in the hands of the warlords. during these years several important events took place: a) the May Fourth Movement - the political and cultural movement which climaxed in 1919; b) the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1921; c) the reorganization of the Guomindang, or Nationalist Party; d) the Northern Expedition of 1926-8, which led to the nominal reunification of the country. between 1928 and 1937, the Guomindang attempted to transform China into a modern state, at the same time it battled the CCP with which it had split in 1927. in 1931 Japan seized Manchuria Jian Jieshi, now leading the Guomindang, refused to respond he preferred to pursue the Communists, who set out on the Long March in 1934. by 1936 Japanese forced Jiang Jieshi to agree to a united front with the Communists the Japanese were already into north China,
in the following year the Sino-Japanese War broke out. after an initial period of heroic resistance, the Guomindang retreated to Chongqing the Communists, on the other hand, fought on from their base at Yan'an. after the defeat of Japan in 195, the Guomindang and CCP fought a civil war it resulted in the Communist victory of 1949. The Social Background to the Revolution: by the beginning of the 20th century, major changes were taking place in Chinese society, this was particularly true in the treaty ports where Western influence was most apparent. the traditional elite, the gentry, no longer relied on the exam system to justify its position wealthy gentry families moved into the cities they employed members of the lower gentry to manage their rural estates although the gentry despised commerce, many engaged in commercial activities on occasion they joined with merchants, forming the `merchant-gentry alliance.' the emergence of a new merchant class was due to two factors: a) the opening of China to world trade b) the emigration of many thousands of Chinese to the Americas and South-east Asia this class included compradores, they were the agents of Western firms who handled the Chinese side of the business

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