Chinese Civil War

From ProleWiki, the proletarian encyclopedia

The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China between the Communist Party of China and Kuomintang led Nationalist forces. It lasted from 1927 to 1936 before pausing until 1945, after which it lasted until the Communist Party victory in 1949, with the remnants of the Kuomintang setting up an repressive and murderous capitalist regime on Taiwan.


Revolution of 1911

On October 10, 1911, a revolution led by Sun Yat-sen began. By 1912 this revolution overthrew the Qing Dynasty in China, ending the monarchy that had existed for thousands of years before. Some early Chinese Communists played a role in the revolution which ushered in a bourgeois democratic republic. The revolution helped to transform social views in China, especially around the concept of one Chinese nation. A central principle in the revolution, as stated by Sun Yat-sen, was the equal treatment of all ethnic groups within China. This vision finally cemented the Chinese nation as one nation with one people, united in a common identity and purpose. The revolution also propelled economic development and began the removal of foreign economic oppression that had plagued the country for so long.[1]

Communist Party of China

The May 4th Movement in 1919 led to the spread of Communism as an ideology in China, leading to organization and study of Marxism-Leninism throughout the nation. The Communist Party of China was founded on July 23, 1921 as a Marxist-Leninist party. Dedicated to anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism. Chen Duxiu was chosen as the party's first General-Secretary.[2][3][4]


The Kuomintang was founded on December 24 1894 by Sun Yat-sen before being dissolved in 1913 and refounded in October 1919. The group was involved in the 1911 revolution and several efforts to overthrow warlord governments.

First United Front and the National Revolutionary Army

The First United Front, an alliance between the Communist Party and the Kuomintang was formed between the Communists and the Kuomintang in 1923 with help from the Soviet Union against warlords in China. It was led by Sun Yat-sen until his death in 1925, after which Chiang Kai-shek took over.[3]

In 1926 the United Front, through the National Revolutionary Army and supported by the Soviet Union, engaged in the Northern Campaign against the warlordship of the Beiyang government.[5]

The Shanghai Massacre began on April 12 at 4 in the morning. A combination of Kuomintang forces, organized crime groups, local authorities, and foreign forces attacked areas with a Communist presence and executed more than 5000 Communists, organized workers and other Left Wing figures. This massacre had been organized by the Kuomintang to purge the Communist Party of China.[5][6][7]

First Civil War 1927-1936

On August 1, 1927 the Autumn Harvest uprising began in central Hunan and Jiangxi led by Mao Zedong. In 1928 the Red Army was organized, renamed in 1930 to the Chinese Workers and Peasants Red Army. In 1931 the Red Army totaled more than 150000.[8]

Five major offensives against the Communists were carried out by the Kuomintang government between 1930 and 1934 culminating in the near defeat of the Red Army in Jiangxi.[8]

Long March

Following the defeat and Jiangxi the Red Army engaged in the Long March. Over the course of 1 year the Red Army marched more than 5,600 miles to Yan’an, Shaanxi, where they established a base and received aid from the Soviet Union. The march reduced the size of the Red Army to 7000 from 69,000 in 1934.[8][7]

Low intensity conflict continued until the beginning of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937.

Pause and Sino-Japanese War 1937-1945

Japan occupied Manchuria in 1931 and began a full scale invasion of China on July 7, 1937. The war that followed is commonly called the Sino-Japanese war or the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance in China, and was part of the conflict known as the Second World War in general.

United Front and Pause in Civil War

The Communist Party of China had been willing to make an alliance against Japan as far back as 1933, but the objections of Chiang Kai-shek in particular and the hard reactionary branch of the Kuomintang in general prevented it until 1936. The Xi'an incident from December 12-26 1936 involved the kidnapping of Chiang Kai-shek by disgruntled members of the Kuomintang, with his release only promised on the condition that he would cease fighting between the CPC and the Kuomintang. On December 24, in the last days of the incident a deal was made and the Second United Front was formed.[9][10]

War With Japan 1937-1945

The war lasted 8 years and resulted in more than 3.22 million Chinese military deaths and more than 17.5 million civilian deaths in China, with more than 1.1 million military causalities on Japan's side. The war consisted of 3 stages, from the beginning to the fall of Wuhan on October 25, 1938, from then to the declaration of war by the global allied powers against Japan in 1941, and from then to the end of the war. The Chinese resistance to Japanese imperialism is considered instrumental to the defeat of Fascism in the Second World War.[11]

Second Civil War 1945-1949

Fighting in the Chinese Civil War quickly resumed after the end of the war. The CPC forces, by this time called the Peoples Liberation Army were mostly located in the Northeast of China, with the Kuomintang in the South and West. When war broke out in the summer of 1946, the some of the Japanese armies that had previously fought the Kuomintang joined with them to combat the Communists with material aid help from the United States.[12][8]

The first major campaign in the war involved a Kuomintang offensive against the CPC. The CPC adopted a new strategy of offense in the Kuomintang held regions in the North and defence in the South.[8]

A PLA offensive began in July of 1947 and lasted to September, ending the Kuomintang offensive. The PLA numbered 1.9 million in June of 1947 and increased to 2.8 million by June of 1948.[8]

Three major PLA offensives against the Kuomintang occurred in the last stages of the war On April 21 1949 Nanjing, which was the capital of the Kuomintang government, was liberated by the PLA. By September the majority of the country was controlled by the CPC. On October 1 1949 Mao declared the People's Republic of China in Beijing. By the end of the was the PLA numbered more than 5 million soldiers.[8]


In the aftermath of the war the Kuomintang fled to Taiwan and set up the "Republic of China." There they committed the White Terror, murdering Communists and anybody who opposed their rule. this included a massacre on Feburary 28 1947, in which the Kuomintang murdered as many as 28,000 protesters.[13]