Warlord Politics: Conflict and Coalition in the Modernization of Republican China

By Lucian W. Pye | Go to book overview

9. INTELLECTUALS AND BUSINESSMEN

As we have seen, the warlords, ensnared in the constraints of competitive power, adopted a reasoned approach in appealing to the Chinese public, and, in supporting civilians for high office, they tended to balance competence in the foreign office with more traditional concepts of prestige for the office of Prime Minister. These were not unreasonable tendencies in furthering the modernization of China. Yet, at the time, the Chinese public tended to see the warlords as an antimodern force, and, in particular, they saw the competition among the warlords as being destructive of progress.

This appeared to be the case especially in the eyes of the two groups who were the most important nongovernmental elements of Chinese society, the intellectuals and the business community. The tuchüns' relations to the intellectuals and businessmen were of critical importance because the former had been a dominant elite in traditional China and the latter would be decisive in providing the thrust necessary for the economic development essential for further modernization. With respect to the intellectuals, the workings of warlord politics probably destroyed any possibility that Chinese modernization would proceed under their leadership and caused the Chinese educated classes to become so alienated from competitive politics that they would thereafter seek only to identify themselves with monolithic authorities. On the other hand, the consequence of warlordism on the financial and commercial communities was less harsh but still damaging because it resulted in divisions that discouraged a coherent approach toward economic development.

In general terms, tuchün politics not only constituted a direct assault upon the monolithic structure of the traditional society but also, in its indirect consequences, served to undermine the position of those who might have sought to preserve the old. As the tuchün organizations developed into political associations competing for power, they succeeded in denying political power to other groups in the society. That no single tuchün could effectively direct his power to the realization of broad

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Warlord Politics: Conflict and Coalition in the Modernization of Republican China
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables vi
  • Preface vii
  • The Place of Warlords in Chinese Politics 3
  • The Sequence of Power Struggles 13
  • The Warlord Organizations 39
  • A Case Study of the KuominchÜn 60
  • The Making and Breaking of Alliances 77
  • The Warlords' Balance of Power 94
  • Public Relations and Propaganda 113
  • The Warlords and Cabinet Government 132
  • Intellectuals and Businessmen 154
  • Concluding Remarks 167
  • Notes 171
  • Bibliography 205
  • Index 209
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