1919 – Peking & Guangzhou became rival centres of powerSouthern warlords were loosely allied while those in the Nth struggles to gain control of PekingForeign powers were only concerned that they were able to carry out their affairs in China unhampered & dealt with whatever warlord with in power in the part of the country that concerned themWarlord armies armed with modern weapons but had the following flaws:- Bad training & poor discipline- No loyalty beyond their immediate commanders- Populace despised them- Soldiers & commanders were not willing to put their lives on the line because they did not have worthy ideals to inspire them.- Unable to est. effective civil administration that wouldextend beyond the area of direct military ruleSocial Impact of Warlord EraWarlords seriously exploited common peopleWarlords demanded services from the people for example peasants were required to provide carts and animals for warlord troops. During frequent wars that warlords engaged in during their struggle for territory and control of Peking many people were killed creating even more misery in society. Warlords paid little attention to constructive social reform and were more concerned with the monetary benefits of their actions. The unsafe social conditions that Warlords created forced peasants to join secret societies for self protection. This lead Communists to set up peasant associations in the 1920s. Thus the warlords indirectly contributed to the expansion of Chinese Communism.
Traditionally members of the scholar – gentry class were social leaders in the village. However during the warlord era the scholar gentry became subservient to the warlords and jointly exploited the people. As a result the peasants were more prepared to accept and welcome the new social leadership offeredby the Communists. The social disorder led to a further breakdown of China’s social tradition. Human relationships were based less on moral bounds and more on the expectations of reward and benefit. Social and geographic mobility also increased. As more people moved from lower social positions to higher ones or from one territory to another. Amount of control that a Warlord exercised over his army determined the social impact they had intoparticular regions. E.G some warlords maintained strict discipline in armies while others allowed troops to terrorize the local population. Economic impacts of the warlord era seen most clearly through China’s agriculture, trade and industry. recurrent warlord disorder destroyed crops, plants and farms. production of opium had almost stopped by 1916, the warlords revived it by giving large areas of land to opium growth because it was a profitable business.