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China 1900-76

Questions on Chapter 3 Pages 31 - 47

1. What role did Mao play in the 1911 Revolution?

During the 1911 Revolution, Mao was 18 years old and wrote a poster supporting the
revolt and cut off his pigtail. Mao decided to join the revolutionary army and there
was talk of his unit marching north in support of Sun Yat-sen against Yuan Shikai.
When Sun Yat-sen conceded the presidency to Yuan Shikai, revolutionary forces were
demolished and Mao retired to his life as a student.
2. Describe the New Youth Movement.
The New Youth journal was founded by Chen Duxiu in 1915 in Shanghai. It adopted
vernacular Chinese (baihua), not the classical scholarly language. In adopting baihua,
the New Youth was striking a blow against the past. Mao published an essay in the
journal in 1917, challenging established Chinese habits and his countrymens
preference for torpor over exertion. Young Chinese students who thought about
European ideas rather than old, Confucian ideas contributed to this journal. The New
Youth came to embody the hopes of transforming Chinese society and culture.
3. Did the May 4th movement change Chinese society?
Yes, the May 4th movement was a significant event in Chinese history. It was an
intellectual revolution, as it introduced many radical ideas on science and politics.
Collectively, the goal of scholars and students was to rid Chinese culture of elements
which they believed had led to Chinas stagnation, and to create new values for a new,
modern China. The May Fourth Movement marked a shift from tradition to modernity
Furthermore, the May Fourth Movement paved the road for Communism, as it
established radical intellectuals who went on to mobilize peasants and workers into
the Communist party and gained the organizational strength that would solidify the
success of the Communist Revolution.
4. What key factors influenced the early years of the GMD/KMT?
The KMT had Three Principles of the People: nationalism, socialism, and
democracy. The May 4 th movement played into their principle of nationalism
and democracy and influenced the early years of the KMT. Also, the warlord
system brought a lot of suffering and upheaval to China. Socialism, the aim to give
peasants land, was influenced by how the warlords exploited the peasants. There were
also floods and droughts, causing misery and death. The KMT came together to try
and provide unity and stability to China.

5. What problems were created by the warlord system?

Peasants suffered as a result of the warlord system, as they had to pay increased
taxes and were treated badly by warlords and their private armies. Many peasants
were forced to grow opium poppies, so food production declined and there were
famines in some areas. Also, China's industry and transport began to collapse attempts to modernise the country ended because the warlords were too busy fighting
each other and would not co-operate. Lastly, the warlord system caused China to no
longer be a united country, and there was no real central government to keep law
and order.

6. How influential was Russia in the formation of the CCP?

Russia seemed an obvious model and ally to those Chinese wishing to transform
China. Chen Duxui, leading light in the May 4th movement, was increasingly
interested in Marxism. Small Marxist study groups were founded in Shanghai and
Beijing. The groups were small, but Comintern agents changed this.
Gregory Voitinski first made contact with Chen Duxui. The following year, a new
Comintern agent, Hendricus Sneevliet, arrived in Shanghai and organized the
founding congress of the party. Sneevliet opened the conference and pushed the
official line of developing links with the proletariat. Comintern provided US$5000 per
annum to keep the party alive.

7. What were the pros and cons of the United Front?

Pros: The KMT and CCP joined to form the National Revolution Army to get rid of
the warlord system. Their alliance made them stronger, as they had more people.
Cons: Both parties had different aims, causing conflict. The CCPs aim was to spread
Communism through the KMT's numbers, whilst Chiang's aim was to help control the
Communist party from the inside. Eventually, their different aims created too much
tension and conflicted, and the United Front died.

8. How influential was Russia in the development of the GMD/KMT?

Russia was very influential in the development of the KMT. Adolf Joffe, a senior
Soviet diplomat, was sent to make formal contact with Sun Yat Sen in 1923. They
agreed that national unity and independence were the prime aim and the USSR would
sponsor the KMT in achieving this. Later in the year, a more permanent Soviet
representative arrived, Mikhail Borodin. Suns ideas were repackaged by Borodin and
the Three Principles of the People became the partys mantra. Borodin shipped arms
into Canton, Suns base. With Borodin, the KMT gained a new lease of life. The
Soviet regime offered them money and advisers to support a new military academy.

9. What was the Northern Expedition?

The Northern Expedition was an attempt by the newly formed Nationalist Army
under Chiang Kaishek to gain control of the Yangtze valley, and expand KMT control
northwards from their base areas around Canton. It started in 1926, and by 1927 the
KMT had defeated many of the warlords. In 1928 they took over Beijing. The CCP
also helped, as part of the first United Front. Many peasants helped the GMD/CCP
army against the warlords by rebelling. The aim was to overthrow all warlords and
wipe out reactionary power so that they could implement the Three Principles and
complete the National Revolution.

10. Why did the success of the Northern Expedition affect the United Front?
The Northern Expedition caused tension between the KMT and the CCP.

11. What were the Shanghai Massacres?

In April 1927, KMT forces, aided by urban gangsters and warlord militias, attacked
Chinese Communist Party members in Shanghai. Hundreds of communists were
rounded up, arrested and tortured; most were executed or assassinated. The Shanghai
Massacres triggered a nationwide purge of communists from the KMT and years of
anti-communist violence. The instigator of the Shanghai Massacre was Chiang Kaishek, the National Revolutionary Army commander.

12. What were the consequences of the Shanghai Massacres for the future
direction of China?
The Shanghai Massacres were a turning point in Chinas political development. They
marked the end of the First United Front between the CCP and KMT, as well as the
end of Soviet support for the Nationalists. It was also the start of the Chinese Civil
War. Chiang Kai-sheks attack on the communists exposed him as a right-wing
militarist and created divisions within his own party. Surviving communists were
either forced underground or into rural and provincial areas outside KMT control,
while the CCP leadership was force to reassess its revolutionary strategy.