Chinese Civil War

  • Fall of the Manchu Dynasty

    Fall of the Manchu Dynasty
    On this day, the final member of the Manchu dynasty abdicated. This marked the end of the Chinese dynasty system. The revolution which displaced the Manchu dynasty failed to unite the country, resulting in the country being divided into territories ruled by warlords. With the fall of a strong ruling dynasty, China became politically weak, opening the path for Japan to invade China and for radical parties like the Chinese Communist Party to win support from the country.
  • Warlord Era

    Warlord Era
    Between 1916 and 1928, China was ruled by competing warlords. The warlords used their resources to gain more power through warfare. Peasants and everyday Chinese suffered from the wars sweeping their lands and longed for peace. This allowed Jiang Jieshi's party worked to gain national control, but allied with the warlords and found it difficult to keep them under check. This difficulty in controlling the warlords made people continue to distrust the GMD and look for an alternative, the CCP.
  • The May Fourth Movmement

    The May Fourth Movmement
    In 1919, students demonstrated across China in protest to the warlord system and the weakening of China. These students wanted to establish a stronger China and looked to radical methods to do so. The significance of this event is that students turned either to the Kuomintang (GMD) or the Chinese Communist Party to save China from being split amongst foreign powers. These parties gained support in the following years and began a collision course that would result in the Chinese Civil War.
  • Period: to

    First United Front

    The GMD allied with the communists starting in 1922 in order to end the warlord system. When Jiang Jieshi took over the GMD, he began to push the communists out of leadership positions and finally with the April Massacre, the alliance fell apart. Jiang Jieshi then began his purge of communists throughout the country, solidifying his power over the country, for a time.
  • Northern Expedition

    Northern Expedition
    Jiang Jieshi attacked to the Yangtze River battling warlords. The expedition came before the collapse of the First United Front and so was supported by Soviet military advisers. The offensive was a success and helped form a united China at least for the time being. After the successful campaign, the GMD had the chance to drive the British out of China, but the alliance fell apart before the GMD could launch an attack.
  • Shanghai Massacre

    Shanghai Massacre
    GMD forces led by Jiang Jieshi chose to violently suppress communist forces, marking the beginning of a full-scale purge of the communists. This marked the beginning of the civil war, which would result in the defeat of the GMD. The purge weakened the Chinese Communist Party, but failed to destroy it, which was a costly failure because the CCP would gain the support of the peasants as the GMD's policies failed and as it failed to adequately defend the country.
  • Japanese Invade Manchuria

    Japanese Invade Manchuria
    In 1931, the Japanese used a phony attack on the Japanese railway in Manchuria as an excuse to invade Manchuria. The League of Nations was powerless to stop the conflict, once again proving how toothless the organization was without the United States. Japan's successful invasion and lack of a Chines defense further emboldened its military leadership, contributing to the country's decision to launch the Sino-Japanese War 7 years later.
  • Truce Between China and Japan

    Truce Between China and Japan
    In 1933, China made a truce with Japan to at least postpone the conflict between China and Japan. The truce was important because it gave Jieshi the opportunity to launch another encirclement campaign against the communists, further weakening Chinese forces prior to Japan's renewed invasion of China in 1937. Once again, the encirclement campaign failed to defeat the CCP and hurt the Nationalists' standing in the countryside.
  • The Long March Begins

    The Long March Begins
    The Long March began when the leader of the nationalists, Jiang Jieshi, launched one of his encirclement campaigns to crush the CCP. In order to escape capture, the communists marched 6,000 miles, crossed 18 mountain ranges, and crossed 24 rivers while being pursued by the Nationalists. The March was crucial because it resulted in Mao's emergence as the undisputed party leader and a new base for the CCP in northwest China.
  • Jiang Jieshi Captured

    Jiang Jieshi Captured
    Jiang Jieshi, the leader of the Nationalist Armies, was captured by a Chinese warlord. The warlord had been fighting against Japan while the Nationalist armies had been trying to encircle and destroy the CCP. Jieshi's capture was used to force the GMD to support a United Front against Japan. This was critical for the outcome of the war; the truce between the CCP and GMD gave the CCP time to build its military forces and gain the support of the peasants while the Nationalist armies were weakened.
  • Second United Front

    Second United Front
    At the end of 1936, the CCP and the GMD decided to put their differences aside in order to fight the Japanese menace. The alliance was a tenuous one at best. Each side remained wary of the other. The alliance broke down in 1941 because both sides had attempted to strengthen their control over China at the expense of defending China from Japan. This break-down of the alliance resulted in both sides having to divert troops from the war against Japan to the revolutionary conflict.
  • Rape of Nanking

    Rape of Nanking
    During the SIno-Japanese War, the Japanese captured Nanking, the capital of China, and following their victory proceeded to murder an estimate 150,000 Chinese prisoners-of-war and rape upwards of 20,000 women and girils. To this day, Chinese-Japanese relations are rocky from Japan's unwillingness to recognize the truthfulness of this murder on a vast scale. This encounter strengthened the resolve of both the GMD and the CCP to defeat the Japanese and remain united until this victory was achieved
  • U.S. Escalates Support of China

    U.S. Escalates Support of China
    Following the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. entered World War II on the side of the allies. In order to maintain pressure on the Japanese on all fronts, the United States escalated its support for the Guomindang (GMD), sending weaponry and much needed military supplies. These supplies helped keep the GMD in the war, but were not enough for the Nationalists to drive the Japanese out of China. Due to the GMD's inability to defend China, the CCP gained popularity.
  • Marshall Mission to China Begins

    Marshall Mission to China Begins
    In 1945, U.S. General George S. Marshall traveled to China in an attempt to negotiate a joint government between the GMD and the CCP. Although Marshall was initially successful in getting both sides to agree to a cease-fire and a conference to negotiate a coalition government, the deal broke down by that Spring as fighting began in Manchuria following the withdrawal of Soviet forces. This renewed the conflict between the two sides and resulted in the CCP's evacuation from mainland China.
  • Harry Truman Wins Election and Ends Aid to GMD

    Harry Truman Wins Election and Ends Aid to GMD
    Following Truman's come-from-behind presidential victory, Truman cut off aid to Jiang Jieshi's government because he had lost faith in its ability to beat the communists and establish an uncorrupted government. Prior to his victory, the United States had sent aid, both military and financial, to the GMD, but Truman had grown tired of the corruption of Jiang Jieshi's govenrment. The loss of aid to China hurt the GMD's ability to wage war.
  • End of the Battle of Huai Hai

    End of the Battle of Huai Hai
    550,000 GMD forces were surrounded and destroyed by the Red Army. This was a crucial turning point in the conflict. After this battle, more and more GMD forces began to flee the army and return to their homes. By the end of the year, the GMD would be driven out of China and the Civil War won by the communists.
  • Mao Announces People's Republic of China

    Mao Announces People's Republic of China
    After routing the GMD's armed forces, which at the beginning of the war had far outnumbered his own, Mao Zedong founded the People's Republic of China. The country was led by one ruler, Mao Zedong, and at first allied itself closely with the Soviets. After the Soviet Union's refusal to give China the atom bomb, China moved away from the U.S.S.R. and established itself as its own power. A communist country, Mao instituted land reforms and, unlike the Soviet Union, focused on the peasants.
  • Effect: McCarthyism

    Effect: McCarthyism
    Following the Chinese Civil War and America's failure to keep China an ally in the Cold War, Joseph McCarthy declared that he possessed a list of 205 card-carrying communists in the State Department. McCarthy's accusations made through the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) fomented mistrust of the government and created a Red Scare throughout America. People began to accuse their co-workers of being secret communists and fear began to spread of a communist revolution.
  • Jiang Jieshi Declares His Reinstatement as Leader of China

    Jiang Jieshi Declares His Reinstatement as Leader of China
    From the safety of the island of Taiwan, Jiang Jieshi created a state to rival communist China and re-declared himself leader of China after stepping down in 1949. With the support of the United States, he modernized Taiwan's economy and maintained his promise to retake China from the Communists. Due to the Chinese Civil War, he and the GMD forces had fled to Taiwan where they maintained a Chinese government-in-exile. To this day, China still declares ownership over the island.
  • Effect: Chinese Cross the Yalu River

    Effect: Chinese Cross the Yalu River
    With U.S. and U.N. forces approaching North Korea's border with China, China deployed millions of soldiers across the Yalu River in order to avoid being encircled by capitalist enemies. Chinese involvement resulted in a stalemate. Following the Chinese Civil War, China was wary of any attempts by the United States or other 'imperial' powers against its new communist state. Moreover, Mao wanted to establish China as a force with which to be reckoned after the evacuation of the GMD from China.