Red China (1949)

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Japanese Occupation (1931-1945) and World War II (1939-1945) had put a temporary moratorium on the power struggle that had existed in China between Mao Tse-Tung's communists and the democratic nationalist Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-Shek. At one time united against the warlords that ruled much of China in the power-vacuum left by Sun Yat-Sen's nationalist revolution of 1911, the two factions had been at odds since 1927 when Chiang had determined to ensure the red tide of communism never washed over China.

However, the defeat of the Japanese and the end of the war meant that the gloves were back on. The difference was that whereas in the 1930s, Mao had been on the run from Chiang, it was Mao's communists that were liberating and winning the popular support of large areas of northern China. Moreover, during the occupation, and contrary to the inept and corrupt Kuomintang, the communists had harassed and stood up to the Japanese, had seized and redistributed land from landlords branded as collaborators, and had generally enhanced their reputation among the people.

Thus, battle-hardened and with the support of a two-million strong agrarian militia, Mao's Red Army easily resisted the first Kuomintang offensive in 1947, resulting in mass nationalist desertion. The following year, Mao launched a counter-offensive and never looked back. By April 1949, his Red Army was advancing across the Yangtse River, and quite literally chased the Kuomintang into the sea, Chiang Kai-Shek fleeing from the mainland to the nearby island of Taiwan.

Then, on 1 October 1949, Mao Tse-Tung, from a platform above the archway at the entrance to Beijing's Forbidden City, declared the inauguration of the People's Republic of China. Mao Tse-Tung's revolution was complete, and Red China, was born.

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