Qing dynasty warlord era

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Manchu Dynasty

  • 1644: Manchus (from Manchuria) invaded + conquered China  established Manchu Dynasty (aka Qing Dynasty)

  • Manchus discriminated against Chinese (who hated them)

  • Throughout centuries, many attempts to overthrow Manchus  unsuccessful

  • 1911 Revolution  Manchu Dynasty came to end in 1912

  • Manchus ruled China in strictly traditional manner

    • failed to modernize China

  • China unable to meet challenges Western powers posed when they came searching for trade + territory in 19th century

    • Anglo-Chinese / Opium War, 1839

      • China forced to sign unequal treaties  forced it to open up its ports for trade with West

        • Great Britain esp interested in trading for silk and tea

        • but had nothing easy to import to China in return except for opium

        • many became addicted to opium

          • land previously used for food began to be used to produce opium

          • large amount of Chinese money left country in payment for opium

          • 1839: opium trade abolished  war with Great Britain (Opium Wars)

            • 1842: forced to sign treaty  Great Britain received HK, and ports were open to European trade

              • although the terms of this treaty were not fully carried out by either side  1847 fighting once again broke out

                • British won  China forced to grant more privileges to British that virtually turned China in to a British colony

      • had to grant them land concessions

    • China faced with humiliation

      • too weak, no way to stop Europeans from making demands

        • forced to sign unequal treaties which forced it to open up its ports for trade with the West

  • China further weakened by internal rebellions

    • T'ai P'ing rebellion is one of the most famous

      • believed in communal property + equality of men and women  supported by marginalized peasants

    • Japan’s westernization

Sun Yat Sen

  • blamed Manchus for all the ills in China

  • felt that glory of China could only be restored with the end of the Manchu Dynasty

  • believed that China needed modern administration

    • wanted to modernize the country and end all unequal treaties that Westerners enjoyed in China

  • revolutionary  organised many revolutions aimed at overthrowing the Manchus  all failed

    • but brought him prestige and recognition

  • “Three People’s Principles”

    • Nationalism: freeing people from European control

    • Democracy: meant allowing the more educated people to have say in how country to be governed  turning China into a republic

    • People’s Livelihood: instituting social reforms which would improve the people’s way of life

1911 Revolution

  • unplanned revolution

  • a group of revolutionaries in Wuhan had planned for revolution at end of October 1911

  • 9 October: a bomb accidentally went off in headquarters

    • Manchu authorities investigated the matter

      • obtained a list of revolutionaries’ names

  • Revolutionaries hence launched their revolution the very next day 10 Oct 1911

    • defeated authorities

  • revolutionaries declared Wuhan’s independence from Manchus

  • end of November, 1911: 2/3 of China seceded from Manchu Rule

  • Sun Yat Sen rushed back to China from USA

    • 29 Dec: unanimously declared Provisional President of the Republic of China

    • Capital: Nanjing

    • 2 tasks:

      • formally end Manchu Dynasty

      • reunify China

Yuan Shih Kai

  • leading Manchu official

  • Manchu dynasty crumbled  set task of saving the dynasty

  • given full control of Beiyang army

    • strong, modernized

    • most technologically advanced army in China

  • decided to confer with revolutionaries to secure his own future

    • Manchus in futile position

  • Sun and other revolutionaries thought that only Yuan was powerful enough to end Manchu Dynasty and prevent China from sinking into civil ar

    • Sun therefore willing to step down as Provisional President

      • acknowledge Yuan as President if he ended Manchu rule and established China as republic

    • Yuan agreed --> convinced Manchus to abdicate

      • Manchus’ reign ended 12 February 1912


    • Yuan had no intention of honouring his commitment to Sun in establishing Chinese republic

      • 2nd revolution launched against Yuan in 1913 after revolutionaries realised

      • however Yuan = powerful  crushed revolution easily

    • Sun fled to Japan

      • reorganized party

      • 1914 July: initiated Kuomintang (KMT) / Chinese Revolutionary Party

      • resolved to fight Yuan

        • Yuan had betrayed the Republic + dream of democracy

  • October 1913: Yuan elected perfomanent President of China

    • slowly manipulated Constitution + Parliament

    • became virtual dictator

    • strengthened position further  planned to establish new dynasty in China

      • Yuan Dynasty, with himself as emperor

  • Trouble broke out in many provinces

    • opposition even from Yuan’s supporters

    • Yuan postponed formation of his new dynasty  died suddenly of urea

1916: Warlord Era

  • Yuan’s death plunged China into chaos  no strong central power to hold country together

  • former army officers who had own private armies took control of certain area  became virtual rulers/warlords there

  • period of warlordism  China now ruled by a number of these warlords

    • Warlords concerned only with promoting own interests

      • ruthlessly exploited + oppressed them  ordinary Chinese suffered greatly

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