Significance of 4 May 1919 in Chinese History

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Geoffrey Lee
6.16 Macedonia

History Essay

To what extent do you agree with the assertion that May 4th 1919 was one of the most significant dates in Chinese history. The May 4th movement in 1919 was a significant date in Chinese history to a very large extent. This essay will attempt to justify this claim by explaining the short-term effects of the M4M and more importantly the long-term effects. The year 1919 is a significant year as it was the year right after World War 1 (WW1) had ended; hence many war-settlement treaties were signed. One of these would be the Treaty of Versailles (TOV) which involved China. The M4M was a movement that had begun from the rise of sentiments of democracy and nationalism. Previously, China had been ruled by a single ruler where traditional culture and Confucianism dominated the nation. However after WW1 and the influx of western ideas and ideologies, thus many youth in China begin to call for a demolition of the previous culture and Confucianism, and to replace it with a new culture and direction. This movement was headed by large forms of mass advertising through the use of the New Youth and many other magazines. This increase of national sentiments led to the Chinese demanding that their government to oppose the Japanese 21 demands on Yuan Shikai’s government and it also saw the emergence of the new merchants and labour class. With all these demonstrations and national sentiments, China was in a period of disorder and lawlessness, which was similar to that during the warlord era in the 1800s. In the short-term, the M4M was a significant date in Chinese history to a small extent as it resulted in many strikes and demonstrations throughout China to occur. Students demonstrated in the capital of Beijing while many other occupants such as shopkeepers, industrial workers and other urban employees joined in the strikes and demonstrated in other key cities in China such as in Shanghai. The demonstration also saw a nationwide...
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