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China,  1898-1941


1898-1900- Failure of the Boxer Rebellion convinced the Empress Dowager that some reform along western lines would be necessary.

1905- Traditional exam system abolished. Opened flood gates to flow of new ideas..

1908- Empress Dowager (Tzu Hsi) and the emperor she dominated died. New emperor was six years old. Central government ceased to provide effective government. Widespread corruption and nepotism. National assembly created.  Internal dissent increased.

1911- Military turned on the dynasty.

1912- The last emperor abdicated. Mandate of Heaven withdrawn. No replacement dynasty. Sun Yat-sen elected President by provisional national assembly. Sun Yat-Sen formed the Kuomintang (National People’s Party) Sun yielded power to China’s leading general.

1916-1921  - The central government decayed. Most of China ruled by local warlords. No consensus in China on nature of changes, or direction country should go. Hugely divided. Exceptions- anti-westernism, anti-foreign attitude. Peasant passivity.

1915- forced to make concessions to Japan.

1916-1917- Europe continued to support coercive actions by Japan in China.

1917- entered WWI on Allies’ side.

1918- China upset. Got almost nothing for support of Allies.

1919- mass urban revolt stirred up by unhappiness with Japan.  Western liberalism being discredited.

1921- Sun Yat-sen re-elected on a platform of national freedom, democratic government, and socialist economy. Sought Western help to restore order. Turned down. 

1921-1922, Chinese Communist party formed. Joint membership permitted with KMT

1923- Sun Yat-sen turned to Soviets for help. Formed military alliance.   Chiang Kai-Shek in charge (Sun’s brother-in-law). KMT’s first army.

1925-  Sun died. Chiang Kai-shek took over.

1926- Chiang controlled only parts of southern China. Warlords controlled the rest. Chiang came to see that only chance for political unification was to move away from communism. Kept foreign investment, appeased the business community.

April, 1927- Chiang moved against workers. Stalin ordered the communists to seize power. Coup attempt crushed. Mao and Chiang now split.

Sept. 1927- Mao organized peasants for the CCP. Became a warlord in his own right. 1928- Japan blocks KMT efforts to control far north. Japan assumed control of Manchuria.

1930- Mao purged Anti-Bolsheviks from the CCP . Formed his own secret police.

1932- Japan lands at Shanghai. In 1933 they came south across the Wall.  Settlement left part of traditional China in Japanese hands.

1934- KMT forced the “Long March”. KMT was prevented from further action vs. CCP by Japanese threat.

1937-  Sino-Japanese war began. By 1938, KMT forced to abandon most northern ports and coastal areas.

1937-1941, CCP and KMT cooperated vs. Japan. Western aid too little, too late.  By 1941, China virtually cut off.