Qing Dynasty

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The last dynasty in China, the Qing dynasty, ruled from 1644 to 1911, and there is argument to say that their failures, especially those towards the end of their rule, created the underlying tension and ideologies behind the Communist victory in China and the consequential establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). These failures can be subdivided into military failures, weaknesses of the leadership, financial disarray, political troubles, and the Qing dynasty’s failure to implement lasting, effective reforms. It can easily be argued that the Qing dynasty didn’t recognise the importance of the military until it was too late and they suffered for neglecting it. The dismissal of a key general, Yuan Shikai in 1908 can be seen as a turning point for the military in this period. The dismissal wasn’t for valid reasons, but purely a chance for Regent Prince Chun to assert his authority. However, this had disastrous consequences the Qing dynasty, as they had lost their only loyal general, leaving them without military protection, an issue which had already been exacerbated by the Boxer Rising in 1900-1901. The Qing dynasty then made a further mistake in putting too much trust in him when he (reluctantly) returned. This resulted in Yuan Shikai using his unarguable military strength to gain political power. In all, this left the Qing dynasty with little, if any military strength. Their army wasn’t loyal, nor was it organised and there was much internal strife. Therefore the Chinese people were left yearning for a government that was strong enough to command military as well as political power, planting the ideas of revolution in their heads. The Qing dynasty also had a lot of problems with leadership. During the “100 Days” period of attempted reform, obvious internal power struggles arose which further weakened the dynasty. Here there was the struggle between the reactionaries of the government, those that wanted China to remain traditional and to uphold the...
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