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The Republican Period, 1911-1949.docx

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Paul Thompson

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HIS280 The Republican Period, 1911-1949 March 22nd 2012
- Summarizing the end of the Qing dynasty
- The early Republic, 1912-1916
- The Warlord Era, 1916-1927 or 1937
o Reasons for the collapse of the Republic
o The creation of the Communist Party of China
o The First United Front, 1924-1927
- The “Nationalist Decade,” 1927-1937
- The Anti-Japanese War and the Second United Front
- The civil war, and Communist victory in 1949
Summarizing Last week
- Fiscal and military decentralization after the Taiping Rebellion and its ramifications
o Less and less of the money of the Empire was being channelled to the central state
- The emergence of new networks of power linking the coastal cities to the global economy and
global society
o As a result of the rebellions and stuff it made sense for those who could afford it to
move to the coastal cities, taking their money with them
- “Provincialization” of elite networks in the interior
o Those who remained in the countryside organize their power around the Provincial
level, and the provincial assemblies that are created by Cixi formalize this process
o So, less and less power is being organized around the centre as it instead organizes
around these provincial and coastal elites
- New core-periphery relations: drain of capital and resources away from rural areas to support
the cities, without the equalizing and redistributive practices of the Qing state
o Emergence of a new predatory set of relations between the cities and the country sie,
which emerge at the same time that the Qing state is less able to combat these
predatory relations, because it needs to extract as much revenue as possible to pay the
o The state now increasingly focuses on those areas that can generate revenue and largely
abandon those areas that can’t contribute to these needs
- The end of the civil examination system and the emergence of the press
o It became clear in the late 19th and early 20th century that the kind of knowledge you
learned from the examination system wasn’t the kind of information you needed to
operate a modern capitalist system
o In its place emerge new style schools and the press
- The imperial level of overall organization disintegrates, and the nation emerges as the best
candidate to replace it
o This is why 1911 marked the end of the imperial period

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HIS280 The Republican Period, 1911-1949 March 22nd 2012
The Early Republic, 1912-1916
- Sun Yat-sen becomes the provisional president of the Republic, and then he and his agents
negotiate with Yuan Shikai, who says he will support them if he is made the first president
- Now, many of the provinces see this is a viable solution, so they decide to provisionally get on
board with the new Republic of China
- The provisional alliance between northern and southern China is tenuous at best
- The Revolution is triggered by members of the Revolutionary alliance
- But once it breaks out, all kinds of power converge on the problem of setting up a new
- It’s a really unstable kind of coalition
- In 1915, an American advised Yuan Shikai that the Chinese are naturally submissive and not
culturally equipped for a Republic, and what they really need is an emperor
- On December 1915, Yuan Shikai proclaims that on January 1 1916 he will be enthroned as the
new emperor of the Empire of China
- As soon as he does this he loses tons of support and many provinces re-secede and he keeps
having to defer his enthronement
- Eventually he gives up and on June 5 1916 he dies
- Then, there is another attempt by Conservative forces to restore the Qing dynasty in 1917, but
this fails as well
- At this point, China falls apart again
- All the old ways of understanding how social life works and organizations of social power had
fallen apart and people are trying to work out a way to negotiate their way through this weird
situation they find themselves in
- China falls apart and we enter the warlord period
- Western powers decided to continue to recognize and support the central government in
Beijing, even though it was constantly changing hands between different warlord factions, and
was never really controlling taxes from more than 4 or 5 provinces
- They made sure that as long as the reparation and loan payments were coming in they’d
support whoever was in power
The Warlord Era, 1916-1927 or 1937
- North/South divide
- The revolution had broken out in South China and had gotten the support of the major military
figure sin North China
- When Yuan Shiaki died, the military leaders under him split and fight it out
- And southern factions fight it out amongst themselves as well
- In 1919, WWI ends and the Treaty of Versailles is signed
- The Beijing government had thrown its lot in with Britain, France, and their allies on condition
that when the war was won, China would regain control of territories leased or conceded to
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