National Government of the Republic of China

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Northern Expedition

Chiang Kai-shek (1887—1975) Chinese statesman and general, President of China 1928–31

Communist Party

Jiangxi Soviet

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A government established in Nanjing, after the successful Northern Expedition had brought the Guomindang and the National Revolutionary Army into control of substantial parts of China. Led by Chiang Kai‐shek, it did much to encourage improved education facilities, a better infrastructure, and more industries. Yet these policies benefited mainly the cities. One of Chiang's most conspicuous failures was his unwillingness to implement a thorough land reform, which would have greatly increased the acceptance of his government by the peasantry. As it was, the government remained unpopular among large sections of the population. It was further weakened by its inability to impose its authority upon many local leaders and warlords. Under Chiang's authoritarian rule, corruption became widespread. Perhaps even more important was the National Government's failure to extend its control to the rest of China. It took five concerted efforts to overcome the stronghold of the Chinese Communist Party in the Jianxi Soviet. Even then, the National Revolutionary Army was unable to prevent the successful completion of the Long March.

Chiang's fixation with the Communists completely diverted his attention from the aggression of the Japanese, who took Manchuria in 1931 (Manchukuo). Most Chinese disagreed with Chiang's view that it was necessary first to overcome the internal enemy to present a strong front to the foreign aggressor, which lost him further popular support. At Xi'an, Chiang was finally forced by Chang Hsüeh‐liang to cooperate with the Communists. The National Government was followed by the United Front. The significance of the National Government lies in the fact that Chiang failed to take the opportunity to present himself as a positive and capable alternative to his Communist rival, Mao Zedong.Yan'an


Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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