ch41 - Chapter 41 War and Revolution in China and Vietnam...

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Chapter 41 War and Revolution in China and Vietnam Chapter Summary. Unlike their neighbors in Japan and Korea, China and Vietnam shared many of the experiences of the former colonial nations. They suffered from the assaults and exploitative terms of exchange imposed by imperialist powers. Each is faced with the problems of overpopulation, underdevelopment, poverty, and environmental degradation. Unlike many colonized peoples who maintained basic traditional cultures despite the weight of colonial rule, China and Vietnam suffered the destruction of the Confucian system that had been an integral component of their life. Both had derived few benefits from European domination. They had to embark on full-scale revolutions to rebuild their countries. The Struggle for China. The abdication of the last Qing emperor in 1912 opened the way for a long political struggle for control of a united China. The alliance that had overthrown the Manchus shattered and regional warlords rose to domination. Yuan Shikai, who hoped to found a new dynasty, headed the most powerful group of warlords. Wealthy merchants and bankers comprised a second power center, while students and teachers were an influential, but defenseless, group. Secret societies had strength in some regions. All the factions became overshadowed by Japan's imperialist entry into China. The May Fourth Movement and the Rise of the Marxist Alternative. Sun Yat-sen, the head of a loose anti-Manchu coalition, the Revolutionary Alliance, claimed the succession to the dynasty, but lacked power to counter warlord opposition. The support for the Alliance was confined to the urban trading centers of the south and central coast. The Alliance elected Sun Yat-sen as president in 1911 and established a European-style parliament. Sun Yat-sen conceded his powerlessness by resigning the presidency in favor of Yuan Shikai in 1912. He soon created an autocratic regime and worked to become emperor. Rivalry with other warlords, republican nationalists, and the Japanese checked his ambitions. During World War I Japan seized Germany's spheres of influence in China and then moved to build a dominant position. In 1915 they presented Yuan with the Twenty-One Demands; acceptance would have made China a Japanese protectorate. Yuan ignored the demands and a rival warlord deposed him in 1916. When Japan received confirmation at Versailles of their control of the former German concessions, mass nationalist demonstrations occurred on May 4, 1919. They were the beginning of an extended period of protest against Japan. The May 4th movement initially aimed to make China a liberal democracy; Confucianism was rejected in favor of Western ideas. The movement did not take into account the realities of the political situation: China was ruled by warlords and gradualist solutions did offer a remedy for the deprived status of the peasantry. Many Chinese wanted more radical alternatives, and some turned to the example of the Russian Revolution and spread Marxist theories. Thinkers, such as Li Dazhou, Marxism to make peasants the vanguard of change.
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