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

By Lucian W. Pye | Go to book overview

4. A CASE STUDY OF THE
KUOMINCHÜN

It would be hard to make the case that any warlord organization was particularly "typical" of all such armies, for there was a fair variety, among them. Chang Tso-lin was possibly the archetype of the supertuchünwith a secure geographical base, but Manchuria and the territory "beyond the wall" was hardly "typical" of China. The "Model Governor" of Shansi, Yen Hsi-shan, was in many respects an exemplary tuchün, but he was something of an isolationist and never a vigorous participant in the national political process. Possibly Wu P'ei-fu, because of the forces he built up in Honan, deserves the title of being the typical or model tuchün, but unfortunately, his organization is not an easy subject of a case study because he left so little in the way of historical records. 1

Although it is hardly likely that the tuchün who was called the "Christian General" could have been the most typical commander, we shall take Feng Yü-hsiang's experience as a guide to the range of problems that beset warlords in their attempts to create significant organizations that could shape the development of China. Feng was a man who, more than most warlords, was historically conscious, and his organization was one of the most significant factors in the complex balance of power that was at the heart of warlord politics.

For our purposes, we shall be more interested in the organization that Feng created and his policy problems than his personality and his individual style. We are fortunate that there is a remarkably insightful and historically balanced biography of Feng Yü-hsiang by James E. Sheridan. 2 Feng was an exceptional man; well over six feet tall, he exuded confidence and an openness of spirit, even when, as was his wont, he belittled himself and those about him. During his years of power, he did take some pride in his claims to Christianity; he loved the role of the pastor and preached to any available audience. He was amused that the

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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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