The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations - Vol. 2

By Cathal J. Nolan | Go to book overview
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century, when Japan and the United States at last emerged as major nonEuropean naval powers.
Suggested Readings:
Brenda Buchanan, Gunpowder: The History of an International Technology (1996); J. Guilmartin, Gunpowder and Galleys (1974); Marshall Hodgson, The Gunpowder Empires and Modern Times (1974).
Guomindang (National People’s Party, or Nationalists). A Chinese nationalist party formed in 1891 by Dr. Sun Yixian. After playing a lead role in the Chinese Revolution (1911), and winning a majority of seats in China’s first national elections in 1913, it failed to keep control over Yuan Shikai, who easily defeated Guomindang troops in 1913 and established a personal dictatorship to 1916. It initially failed to contain or subdue the many warlords who devastated and divided China. In the 1920s it was reorganized by Sun as a Leninist party (structurally though not ideologically) and tactically aligned with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Its cadres accepted arms from the Soviet Union and received military training from Comintern advisers. After 1925, led now by Chiang Kai-shek, Guomindang forces fanned out from Guangzhou (Canton) and suppressed the northern warlords. During the Northern Expedition, the Guomindang defeated—or bribed, intimidated, or were joined by—most of the northern warlords, thus reunifying most of China under Chiang’s dictatorship by 1928. Chiang then turned on the CCP, killing its urban cadres in the Shanghai massacre and scattering the rest to various rural soviets. Chiang’s turn on the Communists both anticipated and precipitated what became the huge struggle of the Chinese Civil War. The party, still organized as a Leninist-style vanguard (but not Marxist) dictatorship, set up a national government in Nanjing and commenced bandit suppression campaigns against CCP bases (soviets). This prolonged and bloody contest was interrupted by rank Japanese aggression in Manchuria in 1931 after the Mukden incident, though Chiang continued the campaigns against Mao and other Communists holed up in the Jiangxi soviet, ultimately forcing them onto the Long March. Then the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) broke out, subsuming the Civil War and then itself being taken in by World War II. From late 1945 the Civil War resumed on a greatly enlarged scale, with events and battles initially favoring the Guomindang. However, very soon reverses in the field were encountered that revealed depths of corruption and incompetence in the Guomindang, rising right to the top leadership, which made victory—and then just survival—evermore problematic. The Civil War culminated in a Communist victory and then the Chinese Revolution (1949). The Guomindang had not so much been militarily defeated—though it lost massively in the last several months of fighting in the Huai-Hai campaign (November 1948–January 1949)—as it had collapsed from within, morally and fiscally, as well as militarily. Its remnants retreated to Taiwan, where over the next years they were given enough arms by the United States to fend off an expected invasion by mainland forces, but never enough to themselves invade China.

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