Nationalist regime in China. All this also influenced domestic Communist Chinese policies.
15. The Establishment of the People’s Republic of China (Oct.1, 1949)
Twenty years after the Chinese Communists were forced underground by the Nationalists in 1927, a series of events helped the former to regain their balance and augment their influence over China, finally taking over the government in 1949. One explanation for it was the Anti-Japanese War (1937-1945), which constituted part of the Pacific phase of World War II. Because of its small size, the Communists were largely engaged with the Japanese forces through guerrilla warfare, while the Nationalist government troops bore the major burden of the war and suffered heavy attrition. Communist close alliance with the rural population where they fought the guerrilla wars, including policies such as land redistribution, led to warm acceptance of the Communists in the Chinese countryside. Mao Zedong’s theory on alliance with the farmers, raised in 1926, was now tested true and became mainstream Communist policy. By the end of the war in August 1945, the Chinese Communists expanded its force and became very influential in northern China.
Also throughout the war and after, Communists impressed many as the upright and disciplined party that worked for national well-being, while the Nationalist government, although bearing the full brunt of the war, also exposed itself as a very corrupt regime, eventually leading even the Truman administration to doubt if it wanted to supposed the Chiang Kai-shek government. Its development during the war against Japan and the Nationalist regime’s corruption both contributed to the triumph of the Communists in 1949.
After 1949, China became Communist. The Communists, with their vision for a completely new society, sought to achieve their goals more through mass political movements than solid economic changes. They often treated economic policies as bourgeois and identified them with practices of capitalist countries. Conflict within the Communist Party also contributed to the intensity of these political movements, including movements to spread Land Reform policies and to publicize new rules and regulations, such as the Marriage Law; rectification movements of intellectuals; campaigns to weed out corruption, bureaucratism and petty crime; and movements to boost popular support for the new regime, in particular in the cities. All the people were mobilized to help reconstruct the country in whatever manner possible, including (recently) demobilized soldiers. The Anti-Rightist campaign of 1957 labeled many critical of the Chinese Communist Party as Rightists and either demoted them or sent them to labor camps. The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was a large scale campaign to transform the Chinese culture uproot it from both traditional Chinese and bourgeois influences. Communists came from a diverse range of backgrounds, with the leaders often, though not always, coming from a middle-class and more educated background, and the rank-and-file coming from a rural or poverty-stricken background. From the beginning, there was a rift between Communists with bourgeois backgrounds and those with proletariat/peasant backgrounds. This rift was at the root of several major political movements in Communist China, including the Anti-Rightist Movement (1957) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).