warfare was to be used in a shift from the emphasis on regular warfare. In addition, criteria for party membership were relaxed and "left closed-doorism" was cited as a greater danger than "right opportunism." The need to respond flexibly to changing circumstances was stressed, probably in a veiled criticism of Bo Gu, Wang Ming and their supporters.
Despite this new approach, it would take another two years before the CCP accepted Chiang Kai-shek as a partner in a new united front and then only after his arrest by his own officers in what is commonly referred to as the Xi’an Incident. The CCP reached a secret agreement with the Northeast Army under the command of Zhang Xueliang that was threatening them in the Northwest base area that was now home to Mao and his supporters. With this cooperation secured, the CCP toned down its criticism of Chiang Kai-shek and on 17 September 1936, the Politburo passed a resolution that suggested an agreement be reached with him. This was clearly a delicate business and the resolution was carefully framed. Criticism of the GMD was not to be stopped nor was the ultimate goal of socialism to be abandoned but it noted that the rising tide of anti-Japanese sentiment would force the GMD to join the struggle. The CCP proposed the formation of a democratic republic, a form of government that would have a more universal form of democracy than that practised in the soviets and more progressive than that under the GMD.
For Zhang Xueliang such conciliation must have contrasted strongly with Chiang Kai- shek’s insistence on dealing with the communists first. Thus, in December 1936 while Chiang was on a visit to pursue the campaign to eradicate the communists, he was kidnapped by Zhang and held for one week before being released. It is worth pointing out that it seems that the Comintern applied what pressure it could to persuade that the incident be resolved peacefully and that Chiang be released to head the national resistance to Japan.
The incident did provide the link between the phases of Civil War and the National War of Resistance. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident in Beijing on 7 July 1937 and the Hongqiao Airport Incident in Shanghai on 9 August clearly revealed Japan’s aggressive intentions towards China. The subsequent invasion and communist concessions finally pushed Chiang to collaboration and in August 1937, the GMD accepted communist troops as part of the nationalist army. The Red Army was renamed the Eighth Route Army of the National Revolutionary Army. In November, the remaining guerrilla forces in central China were renamed the New Fourth Army.
C) 1937-1943: The Politics of Collaboration and the Reinforcement of the Base Areas.
The formation of the second united front brought a much needed respite to the communist troops scattered across a number of base areas. It enabled them to operate openly, develop administrative structures, and most importantly receive revenues from the GMD. However, tensions within this new alliance arose very quickly as the mistrust on both sides was too difficult to wish away.