In 1913 the newly formed Chinese government was faced with the assassination of the newly elected president.  The KMT was banned and Sun Yat-sen fled to Japan.  his time is referred to as the Warlord Period (1916-28).  After World War I, the Chinese government and their people were opposing each other, it was revealed during WW I that the government of China promised the Japanese German colonies.  This secret deal was brought Chinese students and also Sun Yat-sen in opposition with the government.

The newly formed Soviet Union was willing to help Sun with the re-establishment of the KMT.  The key figure from the Soviet Union was a man named Mikhail Borodin.  The KMT and CCP are in this together as of January 1924.  Chiang Kai-shek was the protege of Sun Yat-sen.  Married Sun’s wife’s sister to become family, and he was sent to USSR to study for 2 years.  The goal was to learn how the Soviet's were able to transition from revolution to a stable government. 

The death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925 changed the course of Chinese history.  Suspecting sabotage from within, Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT turned against the communists.  This began a civil war between Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT fought the CCP led by Mao Zedong.  Chiang Kai-shek devoted the years between 1927-37 merging warlords and consolidating power against the communists.The emergence of the Japanese in 1931 derailed his efforts against the communists. 


Mao Zedong was born to a land owning family, but still a peasant.  While at school, Mao became known as a political intellectual.  Created his own army after the attack of Chiang Kai-shek in 1927.  Sent to China by Vladimir Lenin.  Mao worked closely with Sun Yat-sen to reorganize the KMT.  The organization of a military academy with Chiang Kai-shek as the leader started the plan to removed Chinese Warlords.  After the death of Sun Yat-sen, many Chinese wish to eliminate the KMT.  Later in the 1920’s it was learned by the Chinese that the USSR was trying to manipulate the events in China to their benefit.  A faction of the KMT led by Chiang Kai-shek attempted to remove communists from the KMT by any means (death).


Between the years of 1927-34, Mao’s Red Army fought the KMT using guerrilla tactics.  Mao’s military brilliance was legendary, but the CCP needed medical supplies and weapons.  The year long trek was monumental to the Chinese.   Mao became the leader of the communists.  Mao was elected the chairman of the CCP Politburo.  The men elected at this time stayed as the highest officials of Chinese government until the 1980’s.


The Long March took:
1.  4,000 miles
2.  1 year
3.  Crossed 24 rivers
4.  18 Mountain Ranges
5.  12 Provinces


Sino-Japanese War (1937-45)

Emperor Hirohito and the Japanese military wished to expand their Pacific Empire.  Japan’s goal was to take Chinese land and to install a puppet government in China.  The start of the Japanese pressure in China started in 1931 when the Japanese annexed the territory of Manchuria.  Chiang Kai-shek was torn on what to do against the Japanese.  The people wanted war against Japan, but Chiang Kai-shek still saw the Communists as the larger threat.  His choice to avoid the Japanese, along with the corruption of the Chinese government, and the suffering of the Chinese people was the beginning of the end for the Chinese nationals.


Chiang Kai-shek was kidnapped by the communists to put away their differences in 1936.  Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek were united against the Japanese.  The Japanese were too much for the Chinese, and both Mao and Chiang saw this as differently.  The combination of the CCP and KMT along with the warlords was still not enough against the Japanese.  The Chinese caught a break in 1941 when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, thus bring the Japanese into WW II.


World War II

Besides Japan’s desire to become an empire in the Pacific, the events in China indirectly brought the United States and Great Britain into war with Japan.  In 1940, Japan forced Britain to close the Burma Road, thus cutting China from the rest of the world.  In response to Japan’s aggressive stance and cruelty in China, the United States froze Japanese assets.  With the Chinese moving to the interior, Chiang Kai-shek still held back.  He still saw his opportunity to defeat the Communists.  Mao saw this as an opportunity to improve his position with the Chinese.  Mao used the Japanese occupation as a way to unite the peasants against the Japanese while bringing them to the Communist Party.

During WW II, the united Chinese Army fought the Japanese, but they also took shots at each other too.  The Chinese did not help end WW II, but like other places in the world Stalin and the United States saw the China was too big and too valuable to have it fall to the other side.  During WW II, Mao was able to garner more support than Chiang Kai-shek. Mao believed that the peasants were the key to victory.  Between 1945 and 1949 these two forces fought each other with support and aid coming from the USA and USSR, but Truman in the end saw that the communists had won.


On Oct. 1, 1949 Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  Mao was able to win in China because of the following results:

Mao won support of women
Mao’s army used guerilla war tactics
Many saw the Nationalist government as corrupt
Many Chinese felt that for too long foreigners dominated China
Peasants received land, and never forgave Chiang Kai-shek for decisions during Japanese Invasion
Communism in the Far East
Vietnam has been property of two major countries.  The Chinese Dynasties of the Ch’in, Han, Tang, Yuan, Ming, and Qing all showed military dominance over Vietnam for over 2,000 years.  Once the Qing Dynasty was depleted of its power and ability to rule by the west, Vietnam became the property of the French.  The French first invaded Vietnam in 1858.  By 1881, the French pushed their interests into the areas that are now considered Laos and Cambodia along with Vietnam.  China fought the French to the best of their ability, but they were no match for the French naval fleet. The French were brutal and oppressive towards the Vietnamese.  The French forced the people of Vietnam to learn the western alphabet.  Over the years, the French changed the Vietnamese economy from a system that was self-supportive, to a country that worked just to pay taxes to the French.  Vietnam stayed a French colony through the end of World War I and the interwar years.  In 1930, groups of revolutionary cells revolted against the French government.
Tactically the uprising was a failure, but in terms of spirit and determination to a free Vietnam, it was a start.


Ho Chi Minh, real name:  Nguyen That Thanh.  Leader of the North Vietnamese, known as the Viet Minh, known to the USA as Viet Cong.  His home province was known as a hotbed of resistance to the French, Nghe An.  Ho Chi Minh lived in France during 1919 and tried to approach Woodrow Wilson and his 14 points, Ho Chi Minh wished to talk to him about colonialism.  Ho Chi Minh held many jobs during his lifetime.  He was also arrested many times too. He lived in the USSR during the 1924 because of the inspiration of Lenin and the Communist Manifesto.  Ho Chi Minh’s work for during the 1930’s and 1940’s was to try to organize Vietnamese exiles towards independence in their homeland.

As noted earlier, Yen Bai Uprising was the first organized revolt against the French.  He later escaped back to China and met with Mao Zedong.  Ho Chi Minh’s distrust of the Japanese came to fruition during WW II.  During WW II, two major events occurred for Vietnam.  The Vietnam Independence League was created and Ho Chi Minh officially changed his name to ‘Ho Chi Minh.’  During WW II Ho Chi Minh was cut off from his Chinese and Soviet help.  In 1942, Ho Chi Minh was arrested by Chiang Kai-shek’s forces.  Ho Chi Minh was release the next year, and by 1944 he was back in Vietnam.  Ho Chi Minh realized that the Allies were going to win.  It was then that he knew his ultimate plan was going to start unfolding. 

France had no intentions of giving Vietnam independence.  As a compromise, the Allies had Vietnam split in two.  Ho Chi Minh had to deal with:

Chinese Invasions
French Influence
Controlling not only the north, but south
Vietnam