In the early twentieth century China had many problems and there was a battle between two ideologies which were communism, which is a way of running a country equally this idea, was founded by Karl marks and nationalism this is a society ruled by democracy and capitalism. The communists lead by Mao Zedong won despite having fewer resources.
China at the beginning of the twentieth century was in a very bad state. Its industries were very old fashioned and inadequate which meant the country was becoming very poor. The population was very big even for a huge country and most of the population were peasants living with appalling standard of life. Warlords ruled most of china because the government wasn’t strong enough to govern the whole country this also lead to wide corruption. China was also being split up at this time because many European countries were buying parts of china like ports to get themselves more money for example Britain bought Hong Kong.
The government of china was changing has well from a feudal system to a democracy which is a very hard thing to do. Soon china was nearly going to be split up by foreign influences this was highly unpopular with most Chinese people. Sun Yatsen was in power at the time starting to work on these problems but he died of cancer and Chiang Kai Shek came to power. The problems that china was facing were making some Chinese lose faith in the government and communism was starting to become an idea. The state of china at this time helped the communists win overall because for a start there were loads of peasants which helped them. Also people didn’t have all the faith in democracy so they were more open to a revolution.
The communists wanted more popularity so the communists went to peasant villages and other places where they could show the peasants respect and teaching them the rules of Marxism. Marxism would appeal to the peasants alone because it was about equal power and the nationalists were not equal they didn’t help the peasants at all. However the communists also offered the peasants land by redistributing areas owned by landlords. The landlords controlled the peasants and treated them very badly by stealing and giving them no respect at all. This land reform gave the communists more man power because most of the population were peasants but they could not reach them all at once because the peasants did not have a good communication. Chiang Kai Shek did not care for the peasants so the nationalists didn’t get their support so this was a great advantage to Mao Zedong and the Communist but a mistake made by the nationalists which lead to the winning of the civil war in 1945-1949 because of the man power gained by the peasants.
Chiang Kai Shek was getting worried about the amount of communists that were gaining land and power. He sent out many extermination campaigns which failed the first four times even though the nationalists had overwhelming numbers. This was because of the communist’s adoption of Guerrilla warfare tactics. This works by using special attacks to avoid a front on battle these included stealth approaches, night raids and timed attacks. The communists were very low in number compared to the nationalists so the adoption of these tactics was crucial in the communist’s stability. The communists also didn’t have much ammo and supplies so the made spears and used the rough country side to their advantage when assaulting enemy camps. These tactics enabled communist’s forces to defeat nationalist forces up to ten times their size so they used them again in the civil war in 1945-1949 which helped them win it.
The fifth extermination campaign was where Chiang Kai Shek got one million troops to surround the communists and slowly move in using the new tactics adopted. These tactics went very well for the nationalists giving the communists not much way out and stopped most supplies getting to them. Meanwhile the communists were using new tactics implemented by Otto Braun which were not very good putting the communists in a bad situation so they made called the long march.
The short term causes of the long march were not very good because the communist had to break though the weakest part of the nationalist’s army which cost many lives. A good thing that happened in doing this was Mao Zedong came to full power and he was a great leader. They had to walk six thousand miles to yann and lost overall forty five thousand men in doing this march so in the short term it was a very bad thing to happen to them.
In the long term the long march let the communists could spread the ideas and tell more people about themselves this lead to more peasants knowing therefore more man power was soon to come. Also after the long march the men got much tougher so they were much harder to fight in battles in the civil war so they could defeat the nationalist easier.
The long march was crucial to the survival of the communists without staying alive through that they would have never won the civil war and it is a great example of Mao Zedong’s leadership skills in that without him leading them on they may have not carried on. Mao Zedong was a very charismatic leader who was very intelligent and could inspire his men to carry on. He was a very strong believer in communism and was adapting Marxism to work in china proving his intelligence. He was also a brilliant tactician both militarily and socially. His leadership skills kept the high morale even though his men were walking forty miles a day. His men also were fighting for a strong believes in communism which gave them an advantage because they were fighting for honour whereas the nationalist’s army were conscripts. The leadership of Mao helped the communists win in 1949.
Also a reason why the nationalists lost was because of Chiang Kai Shek’s leadership skills. Overall he was a good leader, but this was mainly militarily and towards the middles and upper classes so he lost support of the peasants which were the communist’s main source of man power. Also he made a terrible mistake choosing to fight the communists instead of the Japanese when the invaded Manchuria in 1931. The mistakes made by Chiang Kai Shek were another reason why the communists won in 1949.
The invasion by Japan did help the communists in that after the long march they needed time to rebuild strength and numbers and fight the Japanese with out the nationalist attacking them constantly. Mao called a united front while Japan invaded with Chiang but he turned it down making him much more unpopular with the public of china because they saw the Japanese as a much bigger enemy. After being kidnapped and force to unite he started to fight the Japanese. The nationalist got the main force of the Japanese because the communists were in a very good part of china which Japan hadn’t invaded much of because they simply didn’t have the man power to. Also the communists were in a very good position to claim the land after the Japanese left. So the invasion of china helped the communists get ready for the civil war where it made the nationalists much less ready for it so it is a big part in the way the communists won.
Once America and Britain had dropped the bombs on Japan china went into the civil war. By this time Chiang had become increasingly unpopular but still had strong cities and towns. Even though the nationalists had a much better numbered and equipped army the communists went back to guerrilla tactics that helped them greatly. Soon the communists were beginning to get stronger and stronger gaining more peasants and Chiang’s army’s were depleting in that they were starving and there were strikes and terrible morale. Overall I think all the points above helped the communists win in 1949 overall but the most influential factors were the support form the peasants and the adoption of guerrilla tactics that helped in the end the communists come to power.