Example research essay topic: Chinas Way To Communism Since European Imperialism – 1,874 words

… inyin, 1866-1925), a republican and anti-Qing
activist who became increasingly popular among the
overseas Chinese and Chinese students abroad,
especially in Japan. In 1905 Sun founded the
Tongmeng Hui ( or United League) in Tokyo with
Huang Xing ( 1874-1916), a popular leader of the
Chinese revolutionary movement in Japan, as his
deputy. This movement, generously supported by
overseas Chinese funds, also gained political
support with regional military officers and some
of the reformers who had fled China after the
Hundred Days’ Reform. Sun’s political philosophy
was conceptualized in 1897, first enunciated in
Tokyo in 1905, and modified through the early
1920s. It centred on the Three Principles of the
People ( or san min zhuyi): “nationalism,
democracy, and people’s livelihood.” The principle
of nationalism called for overthrowing the Manchus
and ending foreign hegemony over China.

The second
principle, democracy, was used to describe Sun’s
goal of a popularly elected republican form of
government. People’s livelihood, often referred to
as socialism, was aimed at helping the common
people through regulation of the ownership of the
means of production and land. The republican
revolution broke out on October 10, 1911, in
Wuchang (), the capital of Hubei () Province,
among discontented modernized army units whose
anti-Qing plot had been uncovered. It had been
preceded by numerous abortive uprisings and
organized protests inside China. The revolt
quickly spread to neighboring cities, and Tongmeng
Hui members throughout the country rose in
immediate support of the Wuchang revolutionary
forces. By late November, fifteen of the
twenty-four provinces had declared their
independence of the Qing empire.

A month later,
Sun Yat-sen returned to China from the United
States, where he had been raising funds among
overseas Chinese and American sympathizers. On
January 1, 1912, Sun was inaugurated in Nanjing as
the provisional president of the new Chinese
republic. But power in Beijing already had passed
to the commander-in-chief of the imperial army,
Yuan Shikai, the strongest regional military
leader at the time. To prevent civil war and
possible foreign intervention from undermining the
infant republic, Sun agreed to Yuan’s demand that
China be united under a Beijing government headed
by Yuan. On February 12, 1912, the last Manchu
emperor, the child Puyi (), abdicated. On March
10, in Beijing, Yuan Shikai was sworn in as
provisional president of the Republic of China.
Nationalism and Communism After Yuan Shikai’s
death, alliances of regional warlords fought for
control of the Beijing government.

The nation also
was threatened from the outside by the Japanese.
When World War I broke out in 1914, Japan fought
on the Allied side and seized German holdings in
Shandong Province. In 1915 the Japanese set before
the warlord government in Beijing the so-called
Twenty-One Demands, which would have made China a
Japanese protectorate. The Beijing government
rejected some of these demands but yielded to the
Japanese insistence on keeping the Shandong
territory already in its possession. Beijing also
recognized Tokyo’s authority over southern
Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia. In 1917, in
secret communiques, Britain, France, and Italy
assented to the Japanese claim in exchange for the
Japan’s naval action against Germany. In 1917
China declared war on Germany in the hope of
recovering its lost province, then under Japanese

But in 1918 the Beijing government signed
a secret deal with Japan accepting the latter’s
claim to Shandong. When the Paris peace conference
of 1919 confirmed the Japanese claim to Shandong
and Beijing’s sellout became public, internal
reaction was shattering. On May 4, 1919, there
were massive student demonstrations against the
Beijing government and Japan. The political
fervor, student activism, and iconoclastic and
reformist intellectual currents set in motion by
the patriotic student protest developed into a
national awakening known as the May Fourth
Movement (). The intellectual milieu in which the
May Fourth Movement developed was known as the New
Culture Movement and occupied the period from 1917
to 1923. The student demonstrations of May 4, 1919
were the high point of the New Culture Movement,
and the terms are often used synonymously.
Students returned from abroad advocating social
and political theories ranging from complete
Westernization of China to the socialism that one
day would be adopted by China’s communist rulers.
Anti-Japanese War Few Chinese had any illusions
about Japanese designs on China.

Hungry for raw
materials and pressed by a growing population,
Japan initiated the seizure of Manchuria in
September 1931 and established ex-Qing emperor
Puyi () as head of the puppet regime of Manchukuo
() in 1932. The loss of Manchuria, and its vast
potential for industrial development and war
industries, was a blow to the Nationalist economy.
The League of Nations, established at the end of
World War I, was unable to act in the face of the
Japanese defiance. The Japanese began to push from
south of the Great Wall into northern China and
into the coastal provinces. Chinese fury against
Japan was predictable, but anger was also directed
against the Guomindang government, which at the
time was more preoccupied with anti-Communist
extermination campaigns than with resisting the
Japanese invaders. The importance of “internal
unity before external danger” was forcefully
brought home in December 1936, when Nationalist
troops (who had been ousted from Manchuria by the
Japanese) mutinied at Xi’an ( ). The mutineers
forcibly detained Chiang Kai-shek for several days
until he agreed to cease hostilities against the
Communist forces in northwest China and to assign
Communist units combat duties in designated
anti-Japanese front areas.

The Chinese resistance
stiffened after July 7, 1937, when a clash
occurred between Chinese and Japanese troops
outside Beijing (then renamed Beiping ) near the
Marco Polo Bridge. This skirmish not only marked
the beginning of open, though undeclared, war
between China and Japan but also hastened the
formal announcement of the second Guomindang-CCP
united front against Japan. The collaboration took
place with salutary effects for the beleaguered
CCP. The distrust between the two parties,
however, was scarcely veiled. The uneasy alliance
began to break down after late 1938, despite
Japan’s steady territorial gains in northern
China, the coastal regions, and the rich Chang
Jiang ( ) Valley in central China. After 1940,
conflicts between the Nationalists and Communists
became more frequent in the areas not under
Japanese control.

The Communists expanded their
influence wherever opportunities presented
themselves through mass organizations,
administrative reforms, and the land- and
tax-reform measures favoring the peasants–while
the Nationalists attempted to neutralize the
spread of Communist influence. At Yan’an () and
elsewhere in the “liberated areas,” Mao was able
to adapt Marxism-Leninism to Chinese conditions.
He taught party cadres to lead the masses by
living and working with them, eating their food,
and thinking their thoughts. The Red Army fostered
an image of conducting guerrilla warfare in
defense of the people. Communist troops adapted to
changing wartime conditions and became a seasoned
fighting force. Mao also began preparing for the
establishment of a new China. In 1940 he outlined
the program of the Chinese Communists for an
eventual seizure of power.

His teachings became
the central tenets of the CCP doctrine that came
to be formalized as Mao Zedong Thought. With
skillful organizational and propaganda work, the
Communists increased party membership from 100,000
in 1937 to 1.2 million by 1945. In 1945 China
emerged from the war nominally a great military
power but actually a nation economically prostrate
and on the verge of all-out civil war. The economy
deteriorated, sapped by the military demands of
foreign war and internal strife, by spiraling
inflation, and by Nationalist profiteering,
speculation, and hoarding. Starvation came in the
wake of the war, and millions were rendered
homeless by floods and the unsettled conditions in
many parts of the country. The situation was
further complicated by an Allied agreement at the
Yalta Conference in February 1945 that brought
Soviet troops into Manchuria to hasten the
termination of war against Japan.

Although the
Chinese had not been present at Yalta, they had
been consulted; they had agreed to have the
Soviets enter the war in the belief that the
Soviet Union would deal only with the Nationalist
government. After the war, the Soviet Union, as
part of the Yalta agreement’s allowing a Soviet
sphere of influence in Manchuria, dismantled and
removed more than half the industrial equipment
left there by the Japanese. The Soviet presence in
northeast China enabled the Communists to move in
long enough to arm themselves with the equipment
surrendered by the withdrawing Japanese army. The
problems of rehabilitating the formerly
Japanese-occupied areas and of reconstructing the
nation from the ravages of a protracted war were
staggering, to say the least Return to Civil War
During World War II, the United States emerged as
a major actor in Chinese affairs. As an ally it
embarked in late 1941 on a program of massive
military and financial aid to the hard-pressed
Nationalist government. In January 1943 the United
States and Britain led the way in revising their
treaties with China, bringing to an end a century
of unequal treaty relations.

Within a few months,
a new agreement was signed between the United
States and China for the stationing of American
troops in China for the common war effort against
Japan. In December 1943 the Chinese exclusion acts
of the 1880s and subsequent laws enacted by the
United States Congress to restrict Chinese
immigration into the United States were repealed.
The wartime policy of the United States was
initially to help China become a strong ally and a
stabilizing force in postwar East Asia. As the
conflict between the Nationalists and the
Communists intensified, however, the United States
sought unsuccessfully to reconcile the rival
forces for a more effective anti-Japanese war
effort. Toward the end of the war, United States
Marines were used to hold Beiping and Tianjin
against a possible Soviet incursion, and logistic
support was given to Nationalist forces in north
and Northeast China. Through the mediatory
influence of the United States a military truce
was arranged in January 1946, but battles between
Nationalists and Communists soon resumed.
Realising that American efforts short of
large-scale armed intervention could not stop the
war, the United States withdrew the American
mission, headed by General George C. Marshall, in
early 1947.

The civil war, in which the United
States aided the Nationalists with massive
economic loans but no military support, became
more widespread. Battles raged not only for
territories but also for the allegiance of cross
sections of the population. Belatedly, the
Nationalist government sought to enlist popular
support through internal reforms. The effort was
in vain, however, because of the rampant
corruption in government and the accompanying
political and economic chaos. By late 1948 the
Nationalist position was bleak. The demoralised
and undisciplined Nationalist troops proved no
match for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Communists were well established in the north and
Northeast. Although the Nationalists had an
advantage in numbers of men and weapons,
controlled a much larger territory and population
than their adversaries, and enjoyed considerable
international support, they were exhausted by the
long war with Japan and the attendant internal
responsibilities. In January 1949 Beiping was
taken by the Communists without a fight, and its
name changed back to Beijing. Between April and
November, major cities passed from Guomindang to
Communist control with minimal resistance. In most
cases the surrounding countryside and small towns
had come under Communist influence long before the
cities. After Chiang Kai-shek and a few hundred
thousand Nationalist troops fled from the mainland
to the island of Taiwan, there remained only
isolated pockets of resistance.

In December 1949
Chiang proclaimed Taipei (), Taiwan (), the
temporary capital of China..

Research essay sample on Chinas Way To Communism Since European Imperialism