Series of great political upheavals in China between 1911 and 1949 which eventually led to Communist Party rule and the establishment of the People's Republic of China. In 1912 a nationalist revolt overthrew the imperial Manchu dynasty. Under the leaders Sun Zhong Shan
(Sun Yat-sen) (192325) and Jiang Jie Shi
(Chiang Kai-shek) (192549), the Nationalists, or Guomindang
, were increasingly challenged by the growing communist movement. The 10,000-km/6,000-mi Long March
to the northwest, undertaken by the communists from 1934 to 1935 to escape Guomindang harassment, resulted in the emergence of Mao Zedong
as a communist leader. During World War II the various Chinese political groups pooled military resources against the Japanese invaders, but in 1946 the conflict reignited into open civil war . In 1949 the Guomindang were defeated at Nanjing and forced to flee to Taiwan
. Communist rule was established in the People's Republic of China under the leadership of Mao Zedong.
First republican government
The Chinese revolution came about with the collapse of the Manchu dynasty, a result of increasing internal disorders, pressure from foreign governments, and the weakness of central government. A nationalist revolt from 1911 to 1912 led to a provisional republican constitution being proclaimed and a government established in Beijing (Peking) headed by Yuan Shihai. The Guomindang were faced with the problems of restoring the authority of central government and meeting the challenges from militaristic factions (led by warlords
) and the growing communist movement.
After 1930 Jiang launched a series of attacks that encircled the communists in southeast China and led to an attempt by communist army commander Chu Teh to break out. The resulting Long March to northwest China, from October 1934 to October 1935, reduced the communists' army from over 100,000 to little more than 8,000, mainly as a result of skirmishes with Jiang's forces and the severity of the conditions. During the march a power struggle developed between Mao Zedong and Jiang Guo T'ao which eventually split the force. Mao's group finally based itself in Yan'an, where it remained throughout the war with the Japanese, forming an uneasy alliance with the nationalists to expel the invaders.
Mao's troops formed the basis of the Red Army that renewed the civil war against the nationalists in 1946 and emerged victorious after defeating them at Huai-Hai and Nanjing in 1949. As a result, communist rule was established in China under Mao Zedong's leadership.
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