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Posted on March 31st, 2013, by

In the current essay I would like to consider the reasons why were the Communists able to defeat the Nationalists in China. With the aim to understand why the Communists came out the winner of the fight I would like to identify the main features of the overall situation in China by the end of World War II.
It should be noted that there are three factors that led to the outcome of events 1945 – 1950 years. They are all the result of Japanese aggression: the aggravation of poverty in the countryside, a crisis of massive collaboration, and the weakening of the Nationalist’s government and party institutions. Impoverishment of the peasants in some parts of China as a result of chaos and devastation of wartime gave the Communists the “social laboratory”¯ for land reform. Of course, the main resistance to the Japanese army, although it was unsuccessful in most cases, were provided by Nationalists, this led to exhausted military, economic and moral resources of the regime, as described in Chinese Civil essay
However, to the end of the war with Japan, Nationalists have significant advantages over their rivals within the country. They controlled the state, its tax, mobilization and administrative functions. Moreover, the legitimacy of the Nationalist’s government was well recognized both domestically and abroad mainly due to the fact that Chiang Kai-shek was the leader of the anti-Japanese resistance. However, it is essential to note that in the period 1945 – 1948 years Nationalists made several major mistakes, which led to the collapse of the regime. Instead of restoring the unity of the Chinese elite, which were broken the Japanese occupation in the major regions of the country, Nationalists set power in the coastal areas, subjected to ostracism of many businessmen, intellectuals and public figures. Thus, Chiang Kai-shek has significantly strengthened distrust to him at the regional level, as stated in Decisive Encounters: The Chinese Civil War, 1946-1950.
Moreover, Chiang’s insistence to resolve the conflict with the Communists by the military offensive in late spring of 1946 was another mistake. Although the behavior of the Communists in Manchuria was a challenge to Chiang Kai-shek’s ideal of national unity, the decision to use force have placed a heavy burden on public finances and the system of international alliances of the regime – and this burden has ultimately proven to be unsustainable. Also, Chan and his advisers made several fatal mistakes in the field of military strategy, the largest of which was their failure to stop the advance of troops and to gain a foothold in the occupied territories in late 1946 – early 1947. Along with tactical mistakes during the decisive battle near the town of Huayhay at the end of 1948, these strategic errors probably led to the defeat of the Nationalists in the war, as stated in China’s Political History 1917-1980.
In turn, the major advantage of the Communists was very strong unity within the top leadership, which not only saved the party from defections in difficult times, but also greatly facilitated communication and policy making process at the highest level. Being primarily a result of a charismatic leadership style party, the commitment of its top leaders to Mao Zedong helped to preserve the unity of purpose and unity of command, which lacked the opponents of the Communists in the country.

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