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n 1928, The GMD took control of China. However, Chiang’s reign over this vast country was extremely unsuccessful; they rapidly lost support during the war with Japan, and so eventually lost power to the CCP after a three-year war. The turning point in the change of popular support came about when CCP finished the Long March; they got stronger every day from then on. Also, the Japanese war was a turning point; the population saw how weak the GMD army was to the mighty Red Army. This is why the Civil War occurred, and why the CCP took power of China in 1949.
After the massacres in Shanghai, the CCP were had almost been crushed. Mao managed to set up the first communist soviet in Kiangsi. Gradually, over six years, the number of communists in this soviet rapidly increased; this was where the CCP could rebuild ready to strike back on the GMD. However, after a few poor attempts, Chiang and his army surrounded these villages, using the ‘ring of steel’, and so forced them on the Long March on 2 October 1934. In the next twelve months Mao and his followers would undertake one of the toughest adventures in history.
The communists crossed eighteen mountain ranges, including the Great Snow Mountains, twenty-four rivers and a huge amount of swamps and rivers. They past through eleven provinces, and ended up about 1000 miles north of Kiangsi, in Yenan. They travelled for 386 days, of which they rested for 100, fought for 15, and had skirmishes every day. They covered 6000 miles, with an average of twenty-four each day. However, the managed to fight off all GMD threat, and although the lost many thousands of men, the CCP were described as victorious for a number of reasons.
Firstly, all of the CCP members were amazingly devoted, and would go through whatever it took to see their hero, Mao, in power. They did not need huge budgets for clothing and rations, but were thankful for what they got, and never complained. This is the complete opposite to what the GMD army was like. The morale in the camps was very poor because of lack of rations and clothing; the whole GMD party’s moral was made even worse when the CCP came out on top after the Long March. The lack of determination from the GMD was clear to everyone.
Most of the GMD money for rations and clothes Chiang spent on his wife and his palace. All Mao owned in the world at the time was a sun helmet, a torn umbrella, two uniforms, a cotton sheet, two blankets, a water jug and a rice bowl. This was why the population looked up to him; he did not back out of all the hardships that his comrades had to go through, unlike Chiang Kai-Shek. These hardships could also be used in huge propaganda posters, claiming that now the Red Army is invincible, and the GMD army is weak and poorly. This opened the eyes of many Chinese people, who now saw the CCP was the right party for China.
There were many other advantages for the CCP after the Long March. The fact that communism survived is a great feat in itself, and now they could see that Mao was the best leader for the job, because he seemed to care for each and every communist around him. He became Chairman Mao in January 1935, but complete control for him came in ’42.
Also, now the CCP had spread the word of communism all around China; Mao described the Long March as a ‘seeding machine’. It planted the CCP seeds, which then bloomed in a flurry of communist support. Wounded members of the party were often left in local villages; once they had recovered they could teach the villages about communism, thus gaining more support for the party. The Long March was a huge turning point in the fight for control in China; the CCP were coming right back at the now failing GMD.
Although CCP had to gain a lot of support to gain control, the GMD also lost a lot of support, mainly because of Chiang’s inability to run the Nanking Government at all well. A main problem was that not enough money reached the treasury, so the government could not take China forward. Of this small income, 33% was spent on paying off foreign debts, and a massive 40% was spent on Chiang’s army.
This left a tiny 27% for the government to spend on the 600 million population, most of which were very unhappy peasants. No Land Reforms took place, and so unfair landlords could easily prosper. Also, the conditions actually deteriorated through the years, because of lack of money and the fact that now the landlords were increasing the taxes charged on peasants rather than decreasing it, which was what the GMD promised in the first place.
The government itself was in shambles as well; bribery and favouritsim were both very common. Chiang also was devoted to a military China, and a military government, meaning there was no democracy, or socialism; two of the three ‘principles of the people’. Chiang became ‘supreme leader’ which did not help matters, and also set up a secret police known as the ‘Blue Shirts’, who could be compared to the Bolshevik ‘Cheka’. This gave the GMD an extremely unpopular fascist side, whereas the CCP were kind and polite, and always tried to be helpful for the villagers wherever they could.
Another problem the GMD had was Sun Yat-Sen’s ‘Three Principles of the People’. By excluding foreigners from the Chinese society, Chiang managed to accomplish one principle, which was nationalism, or patriotism. However, he was no where near setting up a democratic state, or being socialist in any sense.
The main reason why the GMD could not set up democracy was because after the Long March, they did not have much support anyway, so anything Chiang suggested would be turned down by the population; Chiang did not want this. Also, the GMD did not believe in socialism; equal amounts of land for the peasants. During their reign, the rich landlords and bourgeois prospered, and the peasants’ and workers’ conditions got worse. The GMD lost a great many followers from its inefficient government.
The troubles in China during the Long March left a great opportunity for Japan to come in from Manchuria, and in July 1937, they launched a general invasion of China. As the threat got worse, both the CCP and the GMD created a United Front to try and stop ‘Japanese devils’. This United Front was only loose at first, and the two Chinese forces split up halfway through the eight-year war. This war showed how much stronger and braver the Red Army, compared to the corrupt GMD forces.
Chiang advanced in the first weeks fiercely, but lost many of his best officers. However, this army was no match for the Japanese army, and in three months had taken Shanghai and Nanking. Chiang kept on retreating, and so soon the industrial area of Wuhan had fallen too.
However, he never surrendered, ‘buying time for space’. This tactic meant that he retreated way back into the mountains, and so it gave his army time to get ready for the big attack that never actually happened. However, after the bombing of Pearl Harbour by the Japanese, the GMD had the Americans on their side. The Americans would soon see through Chiang’s poor army, and see how much better Mao and his troops were. This was another massive turning point in the now rising support of the CCP.
This war was a golden opportunity for Mao to spread the word of communism around China. The retreats of the GMD opened huge amounts of towns and villages for the CCP to influence, and so to get more supporters from. Using their famous guerrilla tactics, the Red soldiers defended these villages well, destroying bridges and trains to stop Japanese devils coming near. The villagers looked up to them as heroes. After they had secured the villages, the set about doing their Land Reform policy; for once in ten years under the GMD, the peasants were not ignored, and got what they wanted. During this war, the CCP gained the support of around 100 million peasants, a sixth of the population.
The decline and demise of the GMD mirrored this success of the CCP during the war. Before this war, Chiang was always boasting about how great his army was, and how it could defeat any nation. During the war, he lost his best officers during the first weeks, and hid in the mountains using his pointless tactic of ‘buying time for space’ with his army for the next five years. However, the true demise came when the Americans came to help after Pearl Harbour in 1941.
The Americans were happy to ship supplies over very dangerously into the mountains by airdrop, but the generals were infuriated when Chiang kept the weaponry and rations for the fight against the communists. He claimed that ‘the Japanese are a disease of the skin, the communists are a disease of the heart’. Also, all the money shipped over was spent on himself, or his wife who was known to have a ridiculous amount of jewelry and money.
This made the Americans even angrier, and so they eventually stopped helping the GMD, and saw how effective the CCP was at destroying the Japanese, and making the population happy. Eventually, the Japanese surrendered after the atom bomb in Hiroshima, but the GMD government was in tatters after the war, and it was only a few months before the CCP see the Civil War fall in their direction.Right from the start of the GMD in power, from 1928, there had been a lot of fighting between the two parties.