AS AQA Impact of Chairman Mao - The Civil War 1946-9

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The Impact of Chairman Mao - The Civil War 1946-9
Long-term Causes of the Civil War
-The Civil War began in 1946 between the Nationalist and Communist struggle for power. The
Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek had tried to eradicate the Communist Party and so introduce a
one-party rule on the whole on China.
-Japanese Invasion [1937]-> The Japanese invaded China causing a temporary United Front
between the two. However Chiang Kai-shek was still refusing to accept Communist as partners.
-In 1941, Chiang attacked the Communists in the south, breaching the United Front.
Advantages from attack:
Propaganda ­ Communist pictured Chiang as a leader dividing China and more interested in
attacking fellow Chinese people rather than defending it.
Presented themselves as true Chinese ­ defending China against Japan.
The Second World War in the Far East
For China ­ War began in 1937
For Western Powers ­ War began in 1941 after Pearl Habour
[British bases in Singapore and Hong Kong were attacked and captured soon after.]
Chiang gained USA and Britain as allies after they joined the war. USA began to supple Chiang with
weapons and ammunition and built airbases in China.
Ichigo Offensive [April 1944] ­ Japans response by attacking American bases. This was a major
offensive move and revealed how many in the nationalist forces for unfit, unfed and unpaid and
lacked basic training and so lowered morale among them.
The result was a major blow and defeat for the nationalist.
The End of the War
Chiang's government after the war was still recognised as a legitimate government.
Chiang had the advantage over the Communists, however Communists were impressing many with
their determination.
Short-term Causes of the Civil War
A Divided Country
Not all of China was under Nationalist rule, causing a divided in the country.
The main territorial divisions in China in August 1945 were:
Japanese forces still occupied the north of China, a large amount of coastlines and large
The Nationalist [Guomindang] controlled the south and centre, from the capital, Chongqing.
The Communist [CPC] controlled a lot of countryside and north-eastern China from Yan'an.
The Soviet Union's Red Army had moved into Manchuria on 8 August 1945
-After the Japanese surrender there was a race to occupy the previous occupied land. The
Nationalists had an advantage, it was seen as the legitimate government in China and so America
flew 100,000 nationalist troops to the north, some which was under Communist control.
-The Communists decided to occupy Manchuria where the Red Army welcomed them and supplied
them with weapons and ammunition.
A Legacy of Conflict
Mistrust and suspicion was left in China, civil war seemed unavoidable.
The Civil War, [1946-49]Page 1

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The Impact of Chairman Mao - The Civil War 1946-9
Nationalist -> They favoured business interests and landlords and so wanted to maintain capitalism
and private enterprise.
Communist -> aimed for a revolutionary overthrow of this regime. They wanted to confiscate
estates from landlords and businesses of private owners.
Long-term Aims -> Preparing China for a classless society, where land and business would be shared
by all.…read more

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The Impact of Chairman Mao - The Civil War 1946-9
Phase 1 ­ Early Setbacks, July 1946 to May 1947
In the first months the Guomindang had a larger army and were better equipped, forcing the
Communists into a defensive mode.
The Guomindang captured large cities securing a GMD-controlled `corridor', along with the coast
of Manchuria.
The Communist began to retreat, those in Manchuria retreated across the Sungari River.…read more

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The Impact of Chairman Mao - The Civil War 1946-9
The PLA were divided for the final assault on GMD territory.
One force, led by Peng Dehuai, struck westwards from Wuhan towards Xi'an and Lanzhou
(both taken in August 1949).
Another force, led by Lin Biao, marched south towards Guangzhou (captured in October). Parts
of Baio's forces were direct south-west to clean up remaining GMD resistance.
By late September, most of China was under Communist control.…read more

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The Impact of Chairman Mao - The Civil War 1946-9
They also had an important role in winning over the locals not previously under Communist control.
The Strengths and Weaknesses
of the Guomindang in 1946
GMD had a larger army than Communist in 1945, including air force. They gained experience in
conventional warfare against the Japanese, unlike the Communists.
But nationalist troops were undertrained, lacked discipline, low morale and a rep for brutality.
[terrorising some in submission] Most conscripted men, less motivation.…read more

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The Impact of Chairman Mao - The Civil War 1946-9
Territorial Control
Nationalist controlled more territory than Communists, including large population, large cities and so
most railway networks and waterways. Most was never `complete'.
Warlords were still around, controlling their own area under GMD compromise, weakening the ability
to mobilise as a whole nation in support.
Foreign Support
GMD was recognised as the legitimate government of China by foreign. Americans supplied them
with military equipment and aircraft lifts in August 1945.…read more

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The Impact of Chairman Mao - The Civil War 1946-9
and Land Reforms
The support of peasants was crucial to success. So the CPC concentrated on them. Mao had two main
elements to do this: discipline and land reforms.
Disciplined Behaviour by Communist Troops
Since 1928, Mao had impressed people with his proper discipline and
treating civilians with respect.
These rules were issued to the, now, People's Liberation Army (PLA)
from 1946.
Instructions to enforce, `army and the people are one'.…read more

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The Impact of Chairman Mao - The Civil War 1946-9
Communist victory in 1949 was mainly military victory.
Military Factors
Communist knew how to fight a bigger army through the Japanese war -> Guerrilla warfare.
Successful in Manchuria. It had high terrain and forested areas, perfect for it.
In 1930s, Mao wrote that Communist should use surprise attacks at weakest points of enemy.
`Wear and Tear' ­ picking the Nationalists off one by one, reducing their advantage.…read more

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The Impact of Chairman Mao - The Civil War 1946-9
Economic Mismanagement by the Nationalist Government.
'15 May 1947. Rice prices have more than doubled in the past two weeks and the riots
are spreading even to the countryside. Students and teachers are becoming
increasingly violent.'
'28 September 1947. (Shanghai) Big strikes started here yesterday and the city is half
paralysed.' [J.F.Melby, The Mandate of Heaven] (Melby was present in the Civil War)
Serious mismanagement of the economy by the Nationalists loses them support.…read more

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The Impact of Chairman Mao - The Civil War 1946-9
By 1945, Mao undisputed leader of CPC and directed military operations.
Mao decided on the guerrilla warfare and in 1948 opted for CONVENTIAL warfare.
But did make some mistakes:
Nov 1945, overruled Liu Shaoqi [commander] and sent PLA to defend a pass between China
and Manchuria which they were unequipped and untrained for. Forced to fall back to
northern Manchuria, like Liu said.
Mao lacked experience with foreign powers.…read more


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