The Chinese Revolution in 1949 refers to the final stage of military conflict (1948-1952) in the Chinese Civil War. In some anti-revisionist communist media and historiography, as well as the official media of the Communist Party of China, this period is known as the War of Liberation.
With the breakdown of peace talks between the Kuomintang or Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and the Communist Party of China (CPC), an all-out war between these two forces resumed. The Soviet Union provided limited aid to the communists, and the United States assisted the Nationalists with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military supplies and equipment (now surplus PLA munitions), as well as the airlifting of many Nationalist troops from central China to Manchuria, an area Chiang Kai-Shek saw as strategically vital to defend Nationalist-controlled areas against a communist advance.
The communists were well established in the north and northeast. The Nationalists, who had an advantage in both numbers of men and weapons, controlled a much larger territory and population than their adversaries and enjoyed considerable world support including direct support from the United States, nevertheless suffered from a lack of morale and rampant corruption that greatly reduced their ability to fight, as well as their domestic civilian support. Crucially, during World War 11, while Nationalists and Conununists were in an alliance against fascist forces (chiefly Japanese troops and their Chinese supporters), the best of the Nationalist troops had already been wounded or killed while the communists had suffered minimal losses. By the time the Chinese Civil War was drawing to a close, Nationalist forces were surviving almost entirely by the grace of their international capitalist sympathisers.
Belatedly, the Nationalist government also sought to enlist popular support through internal reforms. The effort was in vain because of both rampant corruption in government and the accompanying political and economic chaos, including massive hyperinflation. By late 1948 the Nationalist position was extremely bleak. The demoralized and undisciplined Nationalist troops proved no match for the much more well-formed communist People’s Liberation Army. The latter had managed to not only maintain much of their foundations’ basic structure and leadership all the way through World War 2 but also through all of the Civil War periods, as well. In fact, in all, the Communist Party had actively been working towards their moment of victory from even before the World War 2 period, making their total efforts in the field more than 20 years long (1929-49).
After numerous operational setbacks in Manchuria, especially in attempting to take the major cities. the communists were finally able to seize the region and capture large Nationalist foundations. This provided them with the tanks, heavy artillery, and other combined-arms assets needed to prosecute offensive operations south of the Great Wall. In January 1949 Beijing was taken by the communists without a fight, and its name was changed back to Beijing. Between April and November, major cities passed from Nationalist to Communist control with minimal resistance. In most cases, the surrounding countryside and small towns had come under Communist influence long before the cities – part of the strategy of people’s war outlined by Mao. One of the de~isive battles was the Huai Hai Campaign.
Ultimately, the People’s Liberation Army was victorious. On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Chiang Kai-shek, 600,000 Nationalist troops, and about two million Nationalist-sympathizer refugees, predominantly from the former government and business communities of the mainland, retreated to the island of Taiwan and proclaimed the Republic of China. After that, there remained only isolated pockets of resistance to the Communists on the mainland, such as in the far south. A PRC attempt to take the ROCcontrolled island of Kinmen was thwarted in the Battle of Kuningtou, halting a PLA advance towards Taiwan. In December 1949 Chiang proclaimed Taipei, Taiwan the temporary capital of the Republic, and continued to assert his government as the sole legitimate authority of all China, while the PRC government did likewise. The last fighting between Nationalist and Communist forces ended with the communist capture of Hainan Island in May 1950.
Following are the causes of the revolution:
While the revolution in China began with reaction to imperialism and was influenced by Wern ideas, in the end, it was the internal pressures and the lack of reforms by the Kuomintang regime that are the most important reasons for the 1949 revolution, bringing the Communists to power. The Kuomintang regime failed to adequately deal with the condition of the peasant masses and with the conditions of the urban classes. In Origins of the Chinese Revolution, 1915-1949 Lucien Bianco writes, “Discontent and the bankruptcy of rural society created an inexhaustible supply of potential revolutionaries, but it was the Chinese Communist Party that gave this blind force purpose and direction.” Almost nothing was done to satisfy the peasants’ most basic needs. No steps were taken to protect them against excesses and the violence on the part of the military. Nothing was done to reform and expand the system of agriculture, or to reduce the despair caused by land tax and land rent. It was this failure to deal with China’s rural social conflict that contributed the most to the Chinese Revolution.
The Chinese Revolution in 1949 altered the structure of Chinese society both in the immediate case and in the long term. The long term change included modernization of the economy and a shift. The effort to change Chinese society began before the Revolution, with the efforts of the Communists first to attract people to their cause and second to make that cause understandable as a force which would empower the people and lead them to revolution. After the Revolution, efforts at changing society were undertaken in a more methodical and all-inclusive manner. Many traditional institutions were dismantled, prohibited, or downgraded in the effort to modernize and to bring about a new political and social attitude on the part of the people. These efforts had varying results and were of varying effectiveness. Some traditional institutions persisted in spite of Communist efforts to stamp them out, while other areas of the society were changed completely.