Nationalists Overthrow Qing Dynasty
The early 20th century was a time of change in
China. Many Chinese resented the great control
that foreign nations had over their economy. Some
wanted to modernize China. They hoped it could
One of the leaders of this push was Sun Yixian.
His group was called the Kuomintang, or
Nationalist Party. In 1912, he led a revolt that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. A republic was established, and he was made the president.
Sun wanted political and economic rights for all
Chinese people. He also wanted an end to the foreign control of China. But Sun did not have the
support of the military. Six weeks later, he turned
over his presidency to Yuan Shikai, a powerful general. Yuan became a military dictator. After he died
in 1916, civil war broke out. The people suffered
terribly from famine and brutal attacks.
China's leaders hoped to win the support of the
Allies during World War I. They declared war on
Germany. When the war ended, though, they were
disappointed. The Treaty of Versailles did not give
China freedom from foreign influence. It only
changed masters. The parts of China that had been
controlled by Germany were handed over to Japan.
Angry Chinese protested during the May
Fourth Movement. Protesters included Mao
Zedong. He later became the leader of China’s
What did China's Nationalists want?
The Communist Party in China
In the 1920s, revolutionaries began to look to
Marxism and the Russian Revolution for a solution
to China's problems. Meanwhile, Sun Yixian
became disappointed in the Western democracies.
They refused to support his struggling government.
He decided to become allies with the newly
formed Communist Party. Sun sought Soviet help,
too. He died in 1925. Jiang Jieshi became leader
of the Kuomintang.
At first, Jiang Jieshi joined with the
Communists to try to defeat the warlords. These
warlords ruled as much of the Chinese countryside
as their armies could conquer. Together the
Nationalists and Communists successfully fought
What role did Jiang Jieshi play in creating the civil war?
Civil War Rages in China
Jiang had promised democracy and political rights
to all Chinese. But his government had become
less democratic and more corrupt. Nothing was
done to improve the life of the rural peasants.
Many of them gave their support to the Chinese
Communist leader, Mao Zedong, built an army
of peasants. In 1933, Jiang’s army surrounded
them. But the Communists got away. They began
the famous Long March of 6,000 miles to the
north. Thousands died. The Communists settled in
caves in Northwest China.
At the same time, China had other problems. In
1931, Japan invaded the part of China called
Manchuria. Japan took control there and six years
later began invading other areas. With this new
threat, Jiang and the Communists agreed to unite
temporarily to fight the Japanese.
Who fought the civil war AND what was the outcome?