The Chinese revolution of 1949
The declaration of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 by the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong signified a revolution in China that brought an end to the costliest civil war in Chinese history between the Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that had lasted a period of 22 years from 1927 to 1949. The Chinese revolution of 1949 signified the beginning of an era of Communist Chinese rule ushered in by the popular Chinese Communist Party at the expense of the Nationalist Party. According to historian Michael Lestz, the Communist victory was an inevitability that was aided by the actions of the preceding Nationalist government (Lestz, 2010). Lestz states that the weakness and administration ineptitude displayed by the Nationalist Party in economic, military and civil affairs created an environment that was conducive for the Communist Party to prosper. Author John King elaborates that the Nationalist party did more to lose the peasants’ support than the Communist party did to gain the peasants’ favor (King, 2006). Therefore, this paper will focus on the failures of the Nationalist Party in the Civil War and World War II coupled with the consequences. It will compound the various issues that harbored the Nationalist Party such as corruption and the failure of the government to accommodate or abate Communist dissent. The paper will also cover the failed efforts by Nationalist Party to integrate Western policies into China.
The Civil War between the Nationalist Party and Communist Party was as a result of differing ideologies that lead to the collapse of a unified front by the two parties that had succeeded in defeating the warlords, but not in unifying China. The Nationalist party failed in resolving the differences or compromising on different aspects in respective ideologies between the two parties in the unified front. The KMT under the leadership of General Chiang Kai-shek came under heavy criticism for the manner in which it decided to expel CCP from the government. General Chiang with increasing power and under the assumption of “leader of China” arrested and executed hundreds of CCP members in what would be known as the Shanghai massacre, an act that the peasants disassociated with and viewed as devoid of honor or respect.
The KMT under Chiang assumed control over the Wuhan government and the capture of Beijing in 1928 assured control over eastern China and international recognition of Nanjing government under Chiang as the government of China. However, the KMT ideologies and formula for revolution: political tutelage, military unification and constitutional democracy were viewed as dictatorial and oppressive by the peasants, and only favorable to the intellectuals. Chiang’s pursuit of the fleeing communists into Jiangxi and Southern China was despised by the peasants who were often the casualties of the Civil war. Historian, John Fitzgerald suggests...