History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 1985: Q.5 (d)

History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 1985: Q.5 (d)

Q.5 (d)  “The turn of the tide against the Kuomintang, consequently, was due as much to its weakness as to Communist strength.” Comment.


When the Japanese were defeated in 1945, the Kuomintang (KMT) under leadership of Chiang and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under the leadership of Mao became locked in the final struggle for power in China. Many observers, especially in the USA, hoped and expected that Chiang would be victorious. The Americans helped the KMT to take over all areas previ­ously occupied by the Japanese, except Manchuria, which had been captured  by  the Russians a few days before the war ended. Here the Russians obstructed the KMT and allowed CCP guerrillas to move in.

In  January  1949  the  communists took  Beijing,  and  later  in  the  year,  Chiang  and  what remained of  his forces fled to the island of Taiwan, leaving Mao Zedong in command of mainland China. In October  1949, Mao proclaimed the new People’s Republic of China with himself  as  both Chairman of the  CCP and president of the republic.

Reasons for the  CCP  triumph over the KMT was due as much to KMT’s weakness as well as Communist strength:

KMT’s weakness

  1. The KMT administration was inefficient and corrupt, much of its American aid finding its way into the pockets of officials.
  2. KMT had to bear the main burnt of the Japanese invasion and strain of long resistance to the enemy weakened and impoverished the KMT army.
  3. Its policy of  paying for the wars by printing extra money resulted in galloping  inflation, which caused hardship for the masses and  ruined many of  the middle class.
  4. KMT distrusted the masses and depended on the support of landlords and propertied classes. Hence it lot touch with the people and failed to win over their sympathy.
  5. Its armies were poorly paid and were allowed to loot the countryside which alienated people from KMT.
  6. Subjected to communist propaganda, the troops gradually became disillusioned with Chiang and began to desert to  the communists.
  7. The  KMT tried to  terror­ize the  local  populations  into  submission,  but  this  only  alienated more areas.
  8. Chiang  also made some tactical  blunders:  like  Hitler, he could not bear  to  order  retreats  and  conse­quently  his  scattered  armies  were  surrounded,  and  often,  as  happened at Beijing and Shanghai, surrendered without resistance, totally  disillusioned.

Communist strength

  1. The communists continued to win popular support by their restrained land policy,  which varied according to the needs of particular areas: some or all of a landlord’s  estate might be confiscated and redistributed among the peasants, or there might simply be rent restric­tion.
  2. Communist armies were well  disciplined and  communist  administration  was honest and fair.
  3. The apparent strength of the KMT was decep­tive: in 1948 the ever-growing communist armies were large enough to abandon their guerilla campaign and challenge Chiang’s armies directly.  As soon as they came under direct  pressure, the  KMT  armies began to disintegrate.
  4. The  CCP leaders, Mao Zedong and Zhou En-lai, were shrewd enough to take advantage of KMT weaknesses and were completely dedicated. The communist generals, Lin  Biao,  Chu  Teh  and  Ch-en  Yi,  had  prepared  their  armies  carefully  and  were  more competent tactically  than their  KMT counterparts.

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