China in the Twentieth Century Essay
China in the Twentieth Century
The Long March took place from October 1934 – October 1935. It meant that communism was not completely wiped out by the Kuomintang, that the people of China learnt about communism and supported the communists, that the Kuomintang got control of the south of china and most of the communists died from illness, exposure and Kuomintang attacks.
At the time it was significant because otherwise all the communists would have been annihilated. Its effects were not seen immediately but in the short term still it allowed the communist army to gather their strength and troops and meant that when they tried to take back the country the ordinary people of China knew about communism and its benefits and would support them over the Kuomintang. This also meant that when the Japanese invaded in 1936 they were strong enough and had enough support to fight and defeat them.
In the Long term however, after 1949 when China was declared communist the Long March did not really have many effects. It was used in propaganda, as an example of the strength and determination of the communists but other than that it had no direct effects.
The Revolution of the Double Tenth in 1911 was another event in the history of China. As a short-term cause it meant that China was free of imperial rule and became a democracy. It also led to the setting up of the Kuomintang and freedom from the tyranny of the Emperors. However, like the Long March for ordinary people it did not make much difference. Instead of being oppressed by the Emperors they were still living in poverty, oppressed by the Warlords.
In the long term the Revolution of the Double Tenth meant that different political parties could be formed, including the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party. It opened the way for change so that different ruling parties could have the chance to make a difference to China and gave more importance to the ordinary people of China, not just the Aristocracy.
In 1949 Communist China was formed. In the short term this was very significant. Whereas the Long March and the Revolution of the Double Tenth did not really improve the lives of the ordinary people in the short term, this event lead quickly to land being divided between the peasants and the old cruel landlords being persecuted and punished. The communists helped the country recover from the damage the civil war had caused enough that extra food grown could be sold and government controlled factories could produce goods to sell in the first of Mao Zedong’s ‘5 Year Plan’s. However the communists wanted everyone to be equal so everyone was paid the same, whether they worked or not. This meant everyone did as little work as possible and were all equally poor instead of equally rich.
Also, unlike the Long March and the Revolution of the Double Tenth where different political parties were set up or protected as part of the effects the creation of Communist China meant all other political parties were banned. The remaining Kuomintang members fled to the island of Taiwan.
In the long term the creation of Communist China lead to the Cultural Revolution where schools and universities were shut down and teachers and intellectuals were persecuted. This was because Chairman Mao, the leader of Communist China decided that China was not communist enough, and that people were turning back to the old capitalist ways. It also meant that after Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 there was a struggle between different political leaders in the Chinese Communist Party to decide who would be the next leader of China. Deng Xiaoping won and became the next leader of China.
Deng’s reforms from 1979-1980 had a lot of short-term effects like the formation of Communist China and were very significant in the short term. Deng restored the capitalist economy system, opened up China to foreign trade and allowed farmers to sell their food for private profit. He set up Special Economic Zones and developed them to improve industry, which lead to the growth of Chinese exports by 500% and introduced wage incentives to encourage workers to work hard. He also brought back universities so that young people could study again and overall modernised the whole of China.
Nevertheless Deng kept many of the communist ideas, including the anti-democracy stand that lead to the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and the massacre of the protesters by the army at Deng’s orders.
In the long term China continues to modernise and expand economically in the capitalist way that Deng introduced. However it is still not that long since Deng’s reforms took place so we cannot be sure what other long-term effects they may have.
I do believe that the Long March was significant in the history of China in the Twentieth Century because it meant the communists survived to defend the country against the Japanese and win back the country from the Kuomintang as well as gaining the support of the people to be able to do this. However I think that the most significant event in the history of China in the Twentieth Century was the formation of Communist China. This is because it affected everyone in the country, unlike the Long March and the Revolution of the Double Tenth which did not really effect the ordinary people in China or change their lives that much. Also it brought an end to the Civil war that led to a period of peace that meant modernisation and social and economic changes could occur, unlike the Long March and the Revolution of the Double Tenth, which lead to more Civil war and rebellions. It also had many short-term and long-term effects, more so than any of the other events I have covered here and lead to political, social and economic change, whereas Deng’s reforms only really lead to economic change and modernisation.