China in 1949 and why the Communists succeeded

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  • China in 1949 and how the Communists seized control
    • China was extremely backward with thanks to the on-going Chinese Civil War
      • This was a war between the Nationalist group Kuomintang (GMD) led by Chiang Kai-Shek and the Communists led by Mao
        • Despite ongoing recuperation between the two opposing groups due to Japanese invasions, the war between the CCP and the GMD continued from April 1927 on wards after the GMD leader declared a massacre of all the Communist supporters. This became known as the Shanghai Massacre.
          • The CCP was much weaker than their rivals and throughout, the GMD remained victorious. It wasn't until Mao Zedong was placed in charge that the CCP was able to heighten their fight from the north, allowing them to rebuild and regroup to fight another day.
            • More Japanese aggression in 1937 led to another unification of the CCP and the KMT, but soon after Japan surrendered in 1945, ending World War II, hostilities resumed as both parties tried to control vacated Japanese territories. By 1946 the Chinese Civil War was happening in earnest again, but this time the CCP and Mao controlled the scorecard.
              • The U.S. gave the KMT $400 million to help them win against the communists in July of 1948, but in the end it wasn't enough. The CCP took the KMT capital of Nanjing in 1949 after winning many battles throughout 1948. With Nanjing under their control, Mao declared victory in October of 1949 and decreed that communism would rule the new People's Republic of China.
                • The U.S. gave the KMT $400 million to help them win against the communists in July of 1948, but in the end it wasn't enough. The CCP took the KMT capital of Nanjing in 1949 after winning many battles throughout 1948. With Nanjing under their control, Mao declared victory in October of 1949 and decreed that communism would rule the new People's Republic of China.
                  • The KMT relocated to Taiwan, and set up a counterpart Chinese government in exile in December 1949. Until the 1970s, the U.S. and the United Nations only recognized one true China...albeit in Taiwan.
    • Social attitudes remained deeply routed in Confucian traditions.
      • Women were not considered equal to men and they did not have the rihgt to own their own property.
        • Women being treated unfairly fell under the phrase of the 'Three Obediences'. Traditionally, women were regarded as inferior to men. Girls had to be obedient to their fathers, wives to their husbands and old women to their sons (this was until the Marriage Law abolished this in 1950
        • Baby girls were sometimes killed or abandoned due to them being incomparable to male babies and their future abilities and strengths.
        • Lotus feet/ Foot binding; Before the age of 7, many upper-class girls’ toes were broken and their feet bound, to keep their feet small; this was regarded as beautiful, but it also restricted movement and freedoms that girls/women were able to have.The communists banned this however the practice continued in Northern and extremely traditional areas.
        • Child-marriage was still extremely common, and helped ensure that husbands dominated their wives.                  Concubines and prostitutes also meant that young girls could be sold as servants, concubines or prostitutes
          • Concubine = a mistress/a woman who lives with a man but has a lower status than him.
    • GMD weaknesses and 'rotting from within' allowed the CCP to win the Civil War and to gain power over the rest of the country.
      • Over 80% of China's population belonged to the peasantry and so many joined the Communist party against the Nationals as Communism in the West presented a fresh and unique start.
        • Russia sent support advise and key supplies over to the ever growing Communist regime in China, especially in Manchuria where they allowed the CCP to move in as they left.
          • The People's Liberation Army appeared appealing to many. It was highly disciplined, battle motivated and ideologically-motivated.
    • Gate of Heavenly Peace, October 1949                            Mao Zedong proclaimed the PRC to a crowd of 300,000 people in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, saying: ‘China has stood up' and so gave the people what they wanted - a new beginning.

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