Chinese Civil War, 1945-1949

Harold Tanner

in Military History

ISBN: 9780199791279
Published online February 2012 | | DOI:
Chinese Civil War, 1945-1949

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For the Allies and for Japan itself, the Japanese surrender in August 1945 signaled the arrival of peace. For China, it marked the resumption of the civil war between Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, or KMT) and Mao Zedong’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The conflict began with deployments and military clashes as each side tried to position itself to control North China and Northeast China (Manchuria). The military struggle took place in the context of an international diplomatic contest in which the Soviet Union and the United States each tried to advance their interests in China while avoiding any military involvement themselves. While the Soviets and the Americans each offered limited military assistance to their Chinese protégés, they also pushed them into negotiations, first at Chongqing from August to October 1945, and then from December 1945 through January 1947, in Chongqing and in Nanjing under the auspices of General George Marshall. Both the Communist and the Nationalist leaders engaged in “talking while fighting,” trying to use the dynamic relationship between negotiations and combat in order to maximize gains both at the negotiating table and on the battlefield. By the summer of 1946, it was evident that the negotiations had failed and that the contest between the two parties would be settled by force. While General Marshall continued his efforts at negotiation until January 1947, full-scale civil war broke out, first in China south of the Great Wall, and then with a resumption of hostilities in the Northeast. The military conflict was accompanied by severe economic problems and by intense internal social and political struggles, both in the rural areas and in the cities. The military situation developed rapidly. In the autumn and winter of 1948–1949, the Communists, no longer simple guerrilla forces, defeated Chiang’s armies in three major campaigns: the Liao-Shen, Ping-Jin, and Huai-Hai campaigns. By the end of 1949, Chiang was forced to withdraw to Taiwan. Because the Chinese Civil War had military, political, and social dimensions, and because it unfolded in the context of the Cold War and with the involvement of both the Soviet Union and the United States, there is a vast array of literature that at least touches on the subject. The aim of this bibliography is to focus on the scholarly literature on the civil war itself, while touching on at least some of the major works dealing with the political, social, and particularly the diplomatic context in which the war took place.

Article.  17869 words. 

Subjects: Military History ; Pre-20th Century Warfare ; First World War ; Second World War ; Post-WW2 Military History

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