Sun Yatsen and formation of the Guomindang
- Formed in Tokyo by Sun Yatsen in 1905
- There were approximately 10,000 Chinese emigrants living in Japan
- Sun was a fierce campaigner against China's imperial system of government
- He believed that china could not modernise until it became a republic (i.e. a form of government in which there is no monarch and power is excersised by elected representatives)
- He was in exile for most of the period between 1895 (when he had led an abortive rising in Guangzhou) and 1911.
- He frequently returned to Japan in this period in the belief that 'there, nearer to China' they could plan and carry out their revolutionary plans.
- His revolutionary plans derived from his foreign experience and education, which convinced him that modernisation was a possible aspiration for China. However it was only a possibility if it adopted progressive Western political and economic concepts.
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The 1911 Revolution
- The decline in support for the Manchu Dynasty between 1908 and 1911 appeared to be a revolution waiting to happen.
- 10th of October 1911, troops at Wuhan, a city on the River Yangzi in Hubei province refused to obey an order to supress a group of dissidents.
- It was not a momentous even in itself, however it sparked a rash of similar mutinies in neighbouring provinces.
- Local political revolutionaries then joined with the military in defiance of Beijing and by late November, all but 3 of China's provinces south of Beijing had declared themselves independant of central government control.
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The role of Yuan Shikai in the 1911 revolution
- The Manchu Dynasty was in crisis and needed to call on loyal commanders in the provinces to help with Beijingm however there were very few remaining.
- The Manchu government lost control of the localities and so the only option was to dispatch the Beijing army southwards to reimpose the reigime's authority.
- Government then appealed to Yuan Shikai (who was dismissed from court by Regent Chun) to return and lead the Beiking army against the rebels. This was because Yuan obtained the respect and loyalty of the army, and the government knew that they did not have this popularity.
- Yuan agreed to do so on his terms and marched south, easily retaking a number of the rebellios regions.
- However when his army reached Wuhan, the location of the spark of the Double Tenth, he held back from seizing it.
- He decided he wanted to come to terms with the revolutionaries. However it was more to do with his resentment for the court that had humiliated him just a few years prior to this event.
- Yuan pretended to organise resistance for the growing opposition and in the meantime used his new authority to betray his masters by plotting their overthrow.
- Yuan was NOT a revolutionary, however he was otivated as much by a dislike of republicanism as by his vendetta against the Manchu dynasty.
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Role of Yuan Shikai in 1911 revolution 2
- Yuan wanted the dynasty to fall but would not replace it with a permanent republic.
- His ultimate objective was to resurrect the empire with himself as emperor, it was personal ambition.
- In November, delegates from the rebellious provinces gathered in Nanjing to declare the establishment of the Chinese Republic.
- Sun Yatsen, who was in the USA and had thus played no direct part in the events following the 'Double Tenth', was invited to be the Republic's first president.
- He returned to China and was installed as president on 1 January 1912
- Yuan knew at this point that without military backing, the nationalists would be unable to make a genuine republic and offered the quid pro quo: Sun would stand down and acknowledge Yuan as presitent and Yuan would use his military strength and political influence in Beijing to establish a workable republican consitution and persuade the Manchu to abdicate without further resistance
- In early February, Sun handed over the presidency to Yuan and Yuan then presented the ultimatum to the Qing dynasty: to abdicate or to be overthrown by force
- The regent and the Longyu, the Dowager Empress (Pu Yi's mother), refused further bloodshed and on the 12th of February 1912 Longyu issued a formal abdication decree on behalf of Pu Yi.
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