The Chinese Civil War, which lasted from 1927 to 1949, was a civil war in China which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) overthrew the Guomindang (GMD) . As the CCP had always been inferior to the GMD in many aspects, many were shocked and startled by the Communist’s victory; although numerous factors show that the Communist’s victory was almost inevitable. This essay will examine the factors that lead to the Communists victory, which includes ideology, economic, political, social, military, foreign issues, and personalities of the leaders.
One of the major advantages of the CCP can be seen in their social aspects and the support of peasants, which were the vast majority of people. They owned limited amount of land, had high rents, low productivity, were in dept and many lived on the edge of starvation. In addition, having peasant support for the CCP can supply with food resources. Therefore, Mao understood the first goal he had to achieve was the support from peasants. First, he set up peasant unions of Hunan from 1925-27, then in 1838-45 when Chiang had their attention focused on the Japanese Invasion, Mao and the CCP went to the rural areas, where the peasants were grateful for the way the soldiers behaved and helped the people.
Then, the political leaders confiscated land from the landowners and redistributed it to landless people; lastly, they were given rights to vote for village leaders. By doing all this, the once enslaved and exploited people of china gained faith and freedom established the myth that only the ‘Red Army’ was the true protector of China. In contrast, the GMD had no strong support from the peasants; and most of them felt no connection to the government. The GMD had no party organization helping the struggling provinces, and after the split of GMD and CCP in 1927, the support of common people was very low .
On the military aspects, the CCP was disadvantaged in the number of arm forces. In 1945, the GMD had 5 million troops, while the CCP only and 1.25 troops. However, there are a few points which can turn this into an advantage. Firstly, they made use of guerilla warfare, which is extremely suitable for small troops to travel swiftly, change position; be precise and alert. Secondly, the communists selected high quality troops and trained them strictly with strong discipline. Lastly, the communists had similar lifestyles between the leaders and soldiers, and with the peasant support, they sustained high morale within the Red Army. With all these advantages, we can see that in 1930-1931 Chiang Kai-shek sent 3 military expeditions to exterminate the Red Army, facing an army of 300000, the CCP defeated them all . Here, we can see how effective the guerrilla warfare is in facing a large amount of troops. In contrast, the GMD had huge troops and modern weapons . However, the GMD troops did not have strategies against the light armed and swift troops of the CCP. Moreover, because the life between the leaders and the soldiers had too much difference, they had low morale and did not have the full heart to fight for the GMD.
In terms of economic aspects of the CCP, and they did not have a lot of expenses due to the guerilla warfare tactics, and the people can self-supply themselves with food, as they were all peasants. In contrast for the GMD, 65% of the state’s budget was met by currency expansion and only 10% by taxes . Therefore, they were highly dependent on foreign aids of the US. The constant depreciation of the value of paper currency undermined in particular the morale in all jobs that were dependent upon the payment of salaries, including troops, officers and civilian officials. Their tolerance was limited and led to widespread corruption.
In terms of political aspects, the CCP had made a lot of errors and had escaped destruction by a hair’s breadth, but they had an extraordinary resilience, refused to give up and learned from their mistakes . In 1927 after the failure of the autumn harvest uprising and retreated to Jinggang Shan, he noticed needed to win the hearts of the peasants; therefore, he adapted the Marxist theory and incorporated it into the peasants . Then, as he retreated with the remaining troops, he set his base in the Jinggang shan mountains where nationalists were far. Here, it shows that Mao learned from his mistakes.
Furthermore in 1936 during the Japanese invasion, Mao forced the GMD to unite with them to defend the country, and here, we can also see that Mao truly cared for his country and did not just want power. In contrast, the GMD did not truly care for China. Firstly, the GMD’s support came from the wealthy city classes and landowners, which was a small population of China. Lastly, the GMD lacked passion and never learned from their mistakes, for example, in the final battle in 1948, when they were advised to concentrate his forces on the Huai River.
The foreign issues were also a crucial point in the victory of the communists. During the Japanese invasions in 1937, the GMD, who were supposed to be in charge of china, conserved his forces for the inevitable civil war, and pinned their hopes of interventions of foreign powers to defeat Japan . Moreover, as the GMD is dealing with the Japanese invasions, it gave chance to the CCP to gain popularity, strengthen their armies, and give them time to expand in general. By 1945, party membership gained from 100,000 to 1.2 millionOther factors such as the ideology and the personalities of the Mao and Chiang played an important role in the victory of the Communists.
In the ideology of communism by Marx, they were just supposed spread communism, but later, it was adapted by Mao to suit china’s conditions, focused on the peasantry as the main revolutionary force, instead of the workers. Meanwhile, the Nationalists did not remain to their original ideology, which was the three principles – people’s livelihood, democracy and nationalism. For example, when Chiang gave the warlords a position in the government to develop urban areas, he ignored people’s livelihood. During the Japanese invasion, he ignored nationalism by relying on foreign aid, and in 1932, he ignored democracy by suppressing the media, books, and the press. Gradually, the GMD lost support and the people favored the Communists.
In conclusion, the Communists’ victory was due to the peasant support, political organization, and their use of military tactics in guerilla warfare. Also, the nationalists’ incapability of governing, corruptions not remaining to the original ideology, and the lack of passion, leads to the downfall of the GMD. In addition to the foreign issues, the Japan invasions, the Communists truly won not only by forcing the GMD out of china physically, but winning the people’s hearts and minds. At last, the country with the largest population, China, is finally painted red.
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