A brief history of how China came into the rule of the Kuomintang, and the rising of the Communist Party of China, is needed in order to understand the event of the Northern Expedition/KMT-CPC split. Most importantly, a history of several of the contributions made by famous commanders and warlords will be discussed. Beginning with the outbreak of revolution on October 10, 1911, also known as the Wuchang Uprising against the Qing Dynasty, the establishment of the Republic of China was developed (Payne 61). Marked by civil unrest and foreign invasion, the Qing Dynasty saw its last days of rule, and the formation of the Republic of China ended over two thousand years of Imperial rule. After about year, Sun Yat-sen became China’s Provisional President, also marking the official establishment of the Republic of China on January 1, 1912 (Fenby 31). Eight months after, in August 1912, the Kuomintang was founded and became China’s Nationalist party (Wertz). Many years later, the KMT would come under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek. After the formation of the KMT, Sun passed off the Provisional Presidency, and Yuan Shikai was officially elected into the Presidency in 1913 as part of an agreement to have the last emperor, Puyi , relinquished (Payne 63). During his rule, Yuan betrayed Sun and had the Kuomintang suspended. He also “ignored the provisional constitute and declared himself Emperor of China in 1915” (“Chinese Civil War”). This caused much dissatisfaction among Yuan’s supporters, who then declared themselves independent and created warlord states (“Chinese Civil War”). After Yuan’s death in 1916, China went into a decade of warlord rule. During the Warlord Era , the formation of the CPC was starting to arise. Beginning with the May Fourth Movement in 1919, this had caused a rapid increase of Chinese nationalism (Poon). “The movement split into leftist and liberal wings, after intellectuals acknowledged the political establishment with China's failure in the modern era” (“Chinese Civil War”). A reappraisal of Chinese cultural customs also created a turn to foreign ideas and ideologies. Leftists like, Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu , created and led the Marxist-Leninist movement in China, and the Communist Party of China was founded in 1921 (Wertz). Sun, who was forced into exile to Japan, after an unsuccessful revolt against Yuan, returned to China and re-established the Kuomintang in October 1919 (Fenby 35). Sun then realized that the Warlords had taken control of much of Northern China, and decided to take efforts into his own hands. After failure of seeking efforts from Western democracies, Sun turned to the Soviet Union in 1921(Fenby 35). Hoping for political convenience and communist consolidation, the Soviets commenced a dual policy of support for both the KMT and the recently established CPC (“Chinese Civil War”). The step for China’s unification was realized by the joining of the CPC with the KMT to form the First United Front in 1923 (“Chinese Civil War”). The aid of organization, equipment, studying material and education of techniques for mass mobilization, from the Soviets to the KMT and CPC, also helped in the combining efforts of the First United Front against the warlord’s military (Zuyin 60). The Chinese Civil war began in 1927, with the Northern Expedition led by Chiang Kai-shek, from the KMT’s power base in Guangdong . Chiang eventually took control of the Kuomintang after Sun’s death in 1925, although the succession of Sun’s power as Chairman of the National Government had gone to another (Fenby 36). The Northern Expedition progressed from the May 30th Movement that caused a protest against the warlords of China, after the Shanghai police shot and killed many Chinese strikers (Fenby 82). After this event, the Northern Expedition became a military campaign led by the KMT and CPC, whose main objective was “to speed up the Chinese revolution against feudalism and imperialism by ending the rule of...
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