Communists Take Power in China

Communists Take Power
in China
From Chp 17.2 in TextBook
Communists vs. Nationalists
Background Info:
Remember China was invaded by Japan in
1937. During this time, China was in a Civil
War between the Nationalists and the
The Communists
Mao Zedong -leader of the Chinese Communist
1. Communists had a stronghold in Northwestern
2. They mobilized peasants for guerilla warfare
against the Japanese.
3. Due to the efforts to improve food production, the
Communists won support in NW China by 1945
The Nationalists
Jiang Jieshi –leader of Nationalist China
Dominated southwest China and protected from
the rugged mountain ranges.
With an army of 2.5 million and aided by the U.S.
to fight Japan, they did little WWII.
Instead, the saved up their strength to fight Mao’s
Red Army after WWII ended
The Chinese Civil War
The renewed Civil War lasted from 19461949
Nationalist Army outnumbered the
Communists and they were supported by the
But Nationalists could not win popular support
As China’s economy collapsed as a result of
WWII, thousands of soldiers and civilians
switched to the Communist Party
The Chinese Civil War
By 1949, China’s major cities fell to the Red Army
Jiang’s army and government fled south to Taiwan
Mao’s Promises
Give land back to the peasants
China became the People’s Republic of China
Signed Treaty of Friendship with Russia
Two Chinas
1. Taiwan or Nationalist China
13,000 square miles
Aka Republic of China
Supported by the U.S.
Militarily weak and corrupt
Weak public support
Communist or People’s Republic of China
3.5 million square miles
Supported by the Soviets
Soviet-Chinese Alliance to support each other if
attacked by the West
Experienced motivated guerilla army
Strong Public Support
Communist China Expands
The Chinese Red Army expanded into Tibet,
India, and Mongolia
1950-1951, brutally took control of Tibet
and the Dalai Lama fled to India
India harbored Tibetan refugees which
increased tension between China and India
Communist Transformation in China
1. Set up two political organizations, both
headed by Mao until 1959.
The Communist Party
National Government
2. Agrarian Reform Law of 1950- Mao seized
land of owners and returned it to peasants. He
killed over a million people in the process.
3. Established a 5 Year Economic Plan to boost
industry and business and increased output in
steel, concrete, coal, and electricity
Communist Transformation in China
The Great Leap Forward (1958)- called for
larger collective farms, communes, where
peasants worked, lived, dined, and slept
together and they owned nothing. Was
considered a failure after crop famines killed
20 million people.
China and USSR began to compete to lead
the worldwide Communist Movement by the
late 1950’s.
The Cultural Revolution
Led by the Red Guards, militias of Communist
Goal: To establish a society of peasants and workers in
which all were equal.
Anything intellectual and artistic were considered useless
Red guards shut down colleges and schools.
Intellectuals had to “purify” themselves by doing hard labor
Thousands were executed and imprisoned.
The chaos threatened farm production and industry.
The Communist National Army was told to suppress the
Red Guards and end the revolution