The Ming dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China – known as the Great Ming Empire – for 276 years following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng, regimes loyal to the Ming throne – collectively called the Southern Ming – survived until 1683; the Hongwu Emperor attempted to create a society of self-sufficient rural communities ordered in a rigid, immobile system that would guarantee and support a permanent class of soldiers for his dynasty: the empire's standing army exceeded one million troops and the navy's dockyards in Nanjing were the largest in the world. He took great care breaking the power of the court eunuchs and unrelated magnates, enfeoffing his many sons throughout China and attempting to guide these princes through the Huang-Ming Zuxun, a set of published dynastic instructions; this failed when his teenage successor, the Jianwen Emperor, attempted to curtail his uncles' power, prompting the Jingnan Campaign, an uprising that placed the Prince of Yan upon the throne as the Yongle Emperor in 1402.
The Yongle Emperor established Yan as a secondary capital and renamed it Beijing, constructed the Forbidden City, restored the Grand Canal and the primacy of the imperial examinations in official appointments. He rewarded his eunuch supporters and employed them as a counterweight against the Confucian scholar-bureaucrats. One, Zheng He, led seven enormous voyages of exploration into the Indian Ocean as far as Arabia and the eastern coasts of Africa; the rise of new emperors and new factions diminished such extravagances. The imperial navy was allowed to fall into disrepair while forced labor constructed the Liaodong palisade and connected and fortified the Great Wall of China into its modern form. Wide-ranging censuses of the entire empire were conducted decennially, but the desire to avoid labor and taxes and the difficulty of storing and reviewing the enormous archives at Nanjing hampered accurate figures. Estimates for the late-Ming population vary from 160 to 200 million, but necessary revenues were squeezed out of smaller and smaller numbers of farmers as more disappeared from the official records or "donated" their lands to tax-exempt eunuchs or temples.
Haijin laws intended to protect the coasts from "Japanese" pirates instead turned many into smugglers and pirates themselves. By the 16th century, the expansion of European trade – albeit restricted to islands near Guangzhou like Macau – spread the Columbian Exchange of crops and animals into China, introducing chili peppers to Sichuan cuisine and productive corn and potatoes, which diminished famines and spurred population growth; the growth of Portuguese and Dutch trade created new demand for Chinese products and produced a massive influx of Japanese and American silver. This abundance of specie remonetized the Ming economy, whose paper money had suffered repeated hyperinflation and was no longer trusted. While traditional Confucians opposed such a prominent role for commerce and the newly rich it created, the heterodoxy introduced by Wang Yangming permitted a more accommodating attitude. Zhang Juzheng's successful reforms proved devastating when a slowdown in agriculture produced by the Little Ice Age joined changes in Japanese and Spanish policy that cut off the supply of silver now necessary for farmers to be able to pay their taxes.
Combined with crop failure and epidemic, the dynasty collapsed before the rebel leader Li Zicheng, defeated by the Manchu-led Eight Banner armies who founded the Qing dynasty. The Mongol-led Yuan dynasty ruled before the establishment of the Ming dynasty. Explanations for the demise of the Yuan include institutionalized ethnic discrimination against Han Chinese that stirred resentment and rebellion, overtaxation of areas hard-hit by inflation, massive flooding of the Yellow River as a result of the abandonment of irrigation projects. Agriculture and the economy were in shambles, rebellion broke out among the hundreds of thousands of peasants called upon to work on repairing the dykes of the Yellow River. A number of Han Chinese groups revolted, including the Red Turbans in 1351; the Red Turbans were affiliated with a Buddhist secret society. Zhu Yuanzhang was a penniless peasant and Buddhist monk who joined the Red Turbans in 1352. In 1356, Zhu's rebel force captured the city of Nanjing, which he would establish as the capital of the Ming dynasty.
With the Yuan dynasty crumbling, competing rebel groups began fighting for control of the country and thus the right to establish a new dynasty. In 1363, Zhu Yuanzhang eliminated his archrival and leader of the rebel Han faction, Chen Youliang, in the Battle of Lake Poyang, arguably the largest naval battle in history. Known for its ambitious use of fire ships, Zhu's force of 200,000 Ming sailors were able to defeat a Han rebel force over triple their size, claimed to be 650,000-strong; the victory destroyed the last opposing rebel faction, leaving Zhu Yuanzhang in uncontested control of the bountiful Yangtze River Valley and cementing his power in the south. After the dynastic head of the Red Turbans suspiciously died in 1367 while a guest of Zhu, there was no one left, remotely capable of contesting his march to the throne, he made his imperial ambitions known by sending an army toward the Yuan capital Dadu in 1368; the las
Chiang Kai-shek known as Generalissimo Chiang or Chiang Chungcheng and romanized as Chiang Chieh-shih or Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese politician and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and in Taiwan until his death. He was recognized by much of the world as the head of the legitimate government of China until 1971, during which the United Nations passed Resolution 2758. Chiang was an influential member of the Kuomintang, the Chinese Nationalist Party, as well as a close ally of Sun Yat-sen. Chiang became the commandant of the Kuomintang's Whampoa Military Academy and took Sun's place as leader of the KMT following the Canton Coup in early 1926. Having neutralized the party's left wing, Chiang led Sun's long-postponed Northern Expedition, conquering or reaching accommodations with China's many warlords. From 1928 to 1948, Chiang served as the chairman and generalissimo of the National Government of the Republic of China.
Chiang was a nationalist. Unable to maintain Sun's good relations with the Chinese Communist Party, Chiang tried to purge them in the 1927 Shanghai Massacre and repressed uprisings at Kwangtung and elsewhere. At the onset of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which became the Chinese theater of World War II, Marshal Zhang Xueliang kidnapped Chiang and obliged him to establish a Second United Front with the CCP. After the defeat of the Japanese, the American-sponsored Marshall Mission, an attempt to negotiate a coalition government, failed in 1946; the Chinese Civil War resumed, with the CCP led by Mao Zedong defeating the KMT and declaring the People's Republic of China in 1949. Chiang's government and army retreated to Taiwan, where Chiang imposed martial law and persecuted critics in a period known as the "White Terror". After evacuating to Taiwan, Chiang's government continued to declare its intention to retake mainland China. Chiang ruled Taiwan securely as President of the Republic of China and Director-General of the Kuomintang until his death in 1975, just one year before Mao's death.
Like Mao, Chiang is regarded as a controversial figure. Supporters credit him with playing a major part in the Allied victory of World War II and unifying the nation and a national figure of the Chinese resistance against Japan as well as his staunch anti-Soviet and anti-communist stance. Detractors and critics denounce him as a dictator at the front of an authoritarian autocracy who suppressed and purged opponents and critics and arbitrarily incarcerated those he deemed as opposing to the Kuomintang among others. Like many other Chinese historical figures, Chiang used several names throughout his life; that inscribed in the genealogical records of his family is Jiang Zhoutai. This so-called "register name" is the one under which his extended relatives knew him, the one he used in formal occasions, such as when he got married. In deference to tradition, family members did not use the register name in conversation with people outside of the family; the concept of a "real" or original name is not as clear-cut in China.
In honor of tradition, Chinese families waited a number of years before naming their children. In the meantime, they used a "milk name", given to the infant shortly after his birth and known only to the close family, thus the actual name that Chiang received at birth was Jiang Ruiyuan. In 1903, the 16-year-old Chiang went to Ningbo to be a student, he chose a "school name"; this was the formal name of a person, used by older people to address him, the one he would use the most in the first decades of his life. Colloquially, the school name is called "big name", whereas the "milk name" is known as the "small name"; the school name. For the next fifteen years or so, Chiang was known as Jiang Zhiqing; this is the name under which Sun Yat-sen knew him when Chiang joined the republicans in Kwangtung in the 1910s. In 1912, when Jiang Zhiqing was in Japan, he started to use the name Chiang Kai-shek as a pen name for the articles that he published in a Chinese magazine he founded: Voice of the Army. Jieshi is the Pinyin romanization of this name, based on Mandarin, but the most recognized romanized rendering is Kai-shek, in Cantonese romanization.
As the republicans were based in Canton, Chiang became known by Westerners under the Cantonese romanization of his courtesy name, while the family name as known in English seems to be the Mandarin pronunciation of his Chinese family name, transliterated in Wade-Giles. "Kai-shek"/"Jieshi" soon became Chiang's courtesy name. Some think. Others note that the first character of his courtesy name is the first character of the courtesy name of his brother and other male relatives on the same generation line, while the second character of his courtesy name shi suggests the second character of his "register name" tai. Courtesy names in China bore a connection with the personal name of the person; as the
Wang Jingwei, born as Wang Zhaoming, but known by his pen name "Jingwei", was a Chinese politician. He was a member of the left wing of the Kuomintang, leading a government in Wuhan in opposition to the right wing government, but became anti-communist after his efforts to collaborate with the Chinese Communist Party ended in political failure, his political orientation veered to the right in his career after he collaborated with the Japanese. Wang was a close associate of Sun Yat-sen for the last twenty years of Sun's life. After Sun's death Wang engaged in a political struggle with Chiang Kai-shek for control over the Kuomintang, but lost. Wang remained inside the Kuomintang, but continued to have disagreements with Chiang until the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, after which he accepted an invitation from the Japanese Empire to form a Japanese-supported collaborationist government in Nanjing. Wang served as the head of state for this Japanese puppet government until he died, shortly before the end of World War II.
Although he is still regarded as an important contributor in the Xinhai Revolution, his collaboration with Imperial Japan is a subject of academic debate, the typical narratives regard him as a traitor in the War of Resistance. Born in Sanshui, but of Zhejiang origin, Wang went to Japan as an international student sponsored by the Qing Dynasty government in 1903, joined the Tongmenghui in 1905; as a young man, Wang came to blame the Qing dynasty for holding China back, making it too weak to fight off exploitation by Western imperialist powers. While in Japan, Wang became a close confidant of Sun Yat-sen, would go on to become one of the most important members of the early Kuomintang, he was among the Chinese nationalists in Japan who were influenced by Russian anarchism, published a number of articles in journals edited by Zhang Renjie, Wu Zhihui, the group of Chinese anarchists in Paris. In the years leading up to the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, Wang was active in opposing the Qing government.
Wang gained prominence during this period as an excellent public speaker and a staunch advocate of Chinese nationalism. He was jailed for plotting an assassination of the regent, Prince Chun, admitted his guilt at trial, he remained in jail from 1910 until the Wuchang Uprising the next year, became something of a national hero upon his release. During and after the Xinhai Revolution, Wang's political life was defined by his opposition to Western imperialism. In the early 1920s, he held several posts in Sun Yat-sen's Revolutionary Government in Guangzhou, was the only member of Sun's inner circle to accompany him on trips outside of Kuomintang -held territory in the months preceding Sun's death, he is believed by many to have drafted Sun's will during the short period before Sun's death, in the winter of 1925. He was considered one of the main contenders to replace Sun as leader of the KMT, but lost control of the party and army to Chiang Kai-shek. Wang had lost control of the KMT by 1926, following the Zhongshan Warship Incident, Chiang sent Wang and his family to vacation in Europe.
It was important for Chiang to have Wang away from Guangdong while Chiang was in the process of expelling communists from the KMT because Wang was the leader of the left wing of the KMT, notably sympathetic to communists and communism, may have opposed Chiang if he had remained in China. During the Northern Expedition, Wang was the leading figure in the left-leaning faction of the KMT that called for continued cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party. Although Wang collaborated with Chinese communists in Wuhan, he was philosophically opposed to communism and regarded the KMT's Comintern advisors with suspicion, he did not believe that Communists could be true Chinese nationalists. In early 1927, shortly before Chiang captured Shanghai and moved the capital to Nanjing, Wang's faction declared the capital of the Republic to be Wuhan. While attempting to direct the government from Wuhan, Wang was notable for his close collaboration with leading communist figures, including Mao Zedong, Chen Duxiu, Borodin, for his faction's provocative land reform policies.
Wang blamed the failure of his Wuhan government on its excessive adoption of communist agendas. Wang's regime was opposed by Chiang Kai-shek, in the midst of a bloody purge of communists in Shanghai and was calling for a push farther north; the separation between the governments of Wang and Chiang are known as the "Ninghan Separation". Chiang Kai-shek occupied Shanghai in April 1927, began a bloody suppression of suspected communists known as the "White Terror". Within several weeks of Chiang's suppression of communists in Shanghai, Wang's leftist government was attacked by a KMT-aligned warlord and disintegrated, leaving Chiang as the sole legitimate leader of the Republic. KMT troops occupying territories controlled by Wang conducted massacres of suspected Communists in those areas: around Changsha alone, over ten thousand people were killed in a single twenty-day period. Fearing retribution as a communist sympathiser, Wang publicly claimed allegiance to Chiang and fled to Europe. Between 1929 and 1930, Wang collaborated with Feng Yuxiang and Yan Xishan to form a central government in opposition to the one headed by Chiang.
Wang took part in a conference hosted by Yan to draft a new constitution, was to serve as the Prime Minister under Yan, who would be President. Wang's attempts to aid Yan's government ended when Chiang defeated the alliance
Yan Xishan IPA:. He controlled the province of Shanxi from the 1911 Xinhai Revolution to the 1949 Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War; as the leader of a small, remote province, he survived the machinations of Yuan Shikai, the Warlord Era, the Nationalist Era, the Japanese invasion of China and the subsequent civil war, being forced from office only when the Nationalist armies with which he was aligned had lost control of the Chinese mainland, isolating Shanxi from any source of economic or military supply. He has been viewed by Western biographers as a transitional figure who advocated using Western technology to protect Chinese traditions, while at the same time reforming older political and economic conditions in a way that paved the way for the radical changes that would occur after his rule, he was born in the late Qing Dynasty in Wutai County, Shanxi, to a family, bankers and merchants for generations. As a young man he worked for several years at his father's bank while pursuing a traditional Confucian education at a local village school.
After his father was ruined by a late 19th-century depression that ravaged the Chinese economy, Yan enrolled in a free military school, run and financed by the Manchu government in Taiyuan. While studying at this school he was first introduced to mathematics and various other subjects imported directly from the West. In 1904 he was sent to Japan to study at the Tokyo Shimbu Gakko, a military preparatory academy, after which he entered the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, from which he graduated in 1909. Over the five years that Yan studied in Japan, he became impressed by the country's efforts to modernize, he observed the progress made by the Japanese and began to worry about the consequences if China were to fall behind the rest of the world. This formative experience was cited as a period of great inspiration for his efforts to modernize Shanxi. Yan concluded that the Japanese had modernized due to the government's abilities to mobilize its populace in support of its policies and to the close, respectful relationship that existed between the military and civilian populations.
He attributed the surprising Japanese victory in the 1905 Russo-Japanese War to the enthusiastic mobilization of the Japanese public in support of the military. After returning to China in 1910 he wrote a pamphlet warning China that it was in danger of being overtaken by Japan unless it developed a local form of bushido. Before studying in Japan, Yan had become disgusted with the open and widespread corruption of Qing officials in Shanxi, had become convinced that China's relative helplessness in the 19th century was the result of the dynasty's hostile attitude towards modernization and industrial development, a grossly inept foreign policy. While he was in Japan he met Sun Yat-sen and joined his Tongmenghui, a semi-secret society dedicated to overthrowing the Qing dynasty, he attempted to popularize Sun's ideology by organizing an affiliated "Blood and Iron Society" within the ranks of Chinese students at the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. The goal of this student group was to organize a revolution that would lead to the creation of a strong and united China, similar to how Otto von Bismarck had created a strong and united Germany.
Yan joined an more militant organization of Chinese revolutionaries, the "Dare-to-Die Corps". When he returned to China in 1909 he was assigned as a division commander of the New Army in Shanxi, but secretly worked to overthrow the Qing. During the 1911 Xinhai Revolution Yan led local revolutionary forces in driving Manchu troops from the province, proclaiming it independent of the Qing government, he justified his actions by attacking the Qing's failure to repel foreign aggression, promised a wide range of social and political reforms. In 1911 Yan hoped to join forces with another prominent Shanxi revolutionary, Wu Luzhen, in order to undermine Yuan Shikai's control of north China, but these plans were aborted after Wu was assassinated. Yan was elected military governor by his comrades but was unable to prevent a subsequent invasion by the troops of Yuan Shikai, who occupied most parts of Shanxi in 1913. During the period of Yuan's invasion, Yan was only able to survive by withdrawing northward and aligning himself with a friendly insurgent group in neighboring Shaanxi province.
By avoiding a decisive military confrontation with Yuan, Yan was able to preserve his own base of power. Though he was friends with Sun Yat-sen, Yan withheld support for him in the 1913 "Second Revolution", instead ingratiated himself with Yuan, who allowed him to return as military governor of Shanxi, commanding a military, staffed by Yuan's own henchmen. In 1917, shortly after Yuan Shikai's death, Yan solidified his control over Shanxi, ruling there uncontested. After Yuan's death in 1916, China descended into a period of warlordism; the determination of Shanxi to resist Manchu rule was a factor leading Yuan to believe that only the abolition of the Qing dynasty could bring peace to China and end the civil war. Yan's inability to resist Yuan's military domination of northern China was a factor contributing to Sun Yat-sen's decision not to pursue the presidency of the Republic of China, established after the end of the Qing dynasty; the demonstrated futility of opposing Yuan's military domination can only have made it seem more important to Sun to br
The Northern Expedition was a military campaign launched by the National Revolutionary Army of the Kuomintang known as the "Chinese Nationalist Party", against the Beiyang government and other regional warlords in 1926. The purpose of the campaign was to reunify China, which had become fragmented in the aftermath of the Revolution of 1911; the expedition was led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, was divided into two phases. The first phase ended in a 1927 political split between two factions of the KMT: the right-leaning Nanjing faction, led by Chiang, the left-leaning faction in Wuhan, led by Wang Jingwei; the split was motivated by Chiang's purging of communists within the KMT, which marked the end of the First United Front. In an effort to mend this schism, Chiang Kai-shek stepped down as the commander of the NRA in August 1927, went into exile in Japan; the second phase of the Expedition began in January 1928. By April 1928, the nationalist forces had advanced to the Yellow River. With the assistance of allied warlords including Yan Xishan and Feng Yuxiang, nationalist forces secured a series of decisive victories against the Beiyang Army.
As they approached Beijing, Zhang Zuolin, leader of the Manchuria-based Fengtian clique, was forced to flee, was assassinated shortly thereafter by the Japanese. His son, Zhang Xueliang, took over as the leader of the Fengtian clique, in December 1928, announced that Manchuria would accept the authority of the nationalist government in Nanjing. With the final piece of China under KMT control, the Northern Expedition concluded and China was reunified, heralding the start of the Nanjing decade. In the 1920s, the Beiyang government based in Beijing was internationally recognised as the legitimate Chinese government. Much of the country, was not under its control, being ruled by a patchwork of warlords; the Kuomintang, based in Guangzhou, aspired to be the party of national liberation. Since the conclusion of the Constitutional Protection Movement in 1922, the KMT had been bolstering its ranks to prepare for an expedition against the northern warlords in Beijing, with the goal of reunifying China.
This preparation involved improving both the political and military strength of the KMT. Before his death in March 1925, Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China and co-founder of the KMT, was supportive of Sino-Soviet co-operation, which had involved forming the First United Front with the Communist Party of China; the military arm of the KMT was the National Revolutionary Army. Chiang Kai-shek, who had emerged as Sun's protégé as early as 1922, was appointed commandant of the Whampoa Military Academy in 1924, emerged as a contender for the position of Sun's successor in the aftermath of his death. On 30 May 1925, Chinese students in Shanghai gathered at the International Settlement, held demonstrations in opposition to foreign interference in China. With the support of the KMT, they called for the boycott of foreign goods and an end to the Settlement, governed by the British and Americans; the Shanghai Municipal Police operated by the British, opened fire on the crowd of demonstrators.
This incident sparked outrage throughout China, culminating in the Canton–Hong Kong strike, which began on 18 June, proved a fertile recruiting ground for the CPC. Concerns about the rising power of the leftist faction, the effect of the strike on the Guangzhou government's ability to raise funds, dependent on foreign trade, led to increasing tensions within the United Front. Amidst this backdrop, vying for the position of KMT leader, began to consolidate power in preparation for an expedition against the northern warlords. On 20 March 1926, he launched a bloodless purge of hardline communists who were opposed to the proposed expedition from the Guangzhou administration and its military, known as the Canton Coup. At the same time, Chiang made conciliatory moves toward the Soviet Union, attempted to balance the need for Soviet and CPC assistance in the fight against the warlords with his concerns about growing communist influence within the KMT. In the aftermath of the coup, Chiang negotiated a compromise whereby hardline members of the rightist faction, such as Wu Tieh-cheng, were removed from their posts in compensation for the purged leftists.
By doing so, Chiang was able to prove his usefulness to the CPC and their Soviet sponsor, Joseph Stalin. Soviet aid to the KMT government would continue, as would co-operation with the CPC. A fragile coalition between KMT rightists, centrists led by Chiang, KMT leftists, the CPC managed to hold together, laying the groundwork for the Northern Expedition. In 1926, there were three major coalition of warlords across China that were hostile to the KMT government in Guangzhou; the forces of Wu Peifu occupied northern Hunan and Henan provinces. The coalition of Sun Chuanfang was in control of Fujian, Jiangsu and Jiangxi provinces; the most powerful coalition, led by Zhang Zuolin, head of the Beiyang government and the Fengtian clique, was in control of Manchuria and Zhili. To face the Northern Expedition, Zhang Zuolin assembled the "National Pacification Army", an alliance of the warlords of northern China. Amidst heavy fighting along the border between KMT-held territory and that of the allied forces of the Fengtian and Zhili cliques, the nationalist government appointed Chiang Kai-shek commander-in-chief of the NRA on 5 June 1926.
Chiang would accept this post in a ceremony on 9 July, which marked the formal start of the Northern Expedition, although military clashes had been ongoing
National Revolutionary Army
The National Revolutionary Army, sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army before 1928, as National Army after 1928, was the military arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947 in the Republic of China. It became the regular army of the ROC during the KMT's period of party rule beginning in 1928, it was renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces after the 1947 Constitution, which instituted civilian control of the military. Organized with Soviet aid as a means for the KMT to unify China during the Warlord Era, the National Revolutionary Army fought major engagements in the Northern Expedition against the Chinese Beiyang Army warlords, in the Second Sino-Japanese War against the Imperial Japanese Army and in the Chinese Civil War against the People's Liberation Army. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the armed forces of the Communist Party of China were nominally incorporated into the National Revolutionary Army, but broke away to form the People's Liberation Army shortly after the end of the war.
With the promulgation of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947 and the formal end of the KMT party-state, the National Revolutionary Army was renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces, with the bulk of its forces forming the Republic of China Army, which retreated to the island of Taiwan in 1949. The NRA was founded by the KMT in 1925 as the military force destined to unite China in the Northern Expedition. Organized with the help of the Comintern and guided under the doctrine of the Three Principles of the People, the distinction among party and army was blurred. A large number of the Army's officers passed through the Whampoa Military Academy, the first commandant, Chiang Kai-shek, became commander-in-chief of the Army in 1925 before launching the successful Northern Expedition. Other prominent commanders included Chen Cheng; the end of the Northern Expedition in 1928 is taken as the date when China's Warlord era ended, though smaller-scale warlord activity continued for years afterwards.
In 1927, after the dissolution of the First United Front between the Nationalists and the Communists, the ruling KMT purged its leftist members and eliminated Soviet influence from its ranks. Chiang Kai-shek turned to Germany a great military power, for the reorganization and modernization of the National Revolutionary Army; the Weimar Republic sent advisors to China, but because of the restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles they could not serve in military capacities. Chiang requested famous generals such as Ludendorff and von Mackensen as advisors; when Adolf Hitler became Germany's chancellor in 1933 and disavowed the Treaty, the anti-communist Nazi Party and the anti-communist KMT were soon engaged in close cooperation. With Germany training Chinese troops and expanding Chinese infrastructure, while China opened its markets and natural resources to Germany. Max Bauer was the first advisor to China. In 1934 Gen. Hans von Seeckt, acting as advisor to Chiang, proposed an "80 Division Plan" for reforming the entire Chinese army into 80 divisions of trained, well-equipped troops organised along German lines.
The plan was never realised, as the eternally bickering warlords could not agree upon which divisions were to be merged and disbanded. Furthermore, since embezzlement and fraud were commonplace in understrength divisions, reforming the military structure would threaten divisional commanders' "take". Therefore, by July 1937 only eight infantry divisions had completed training; these were the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 14th, 36th, 87th, 88th, the Training Division. For a time, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Communist forces fought as a nominal part of the National Revolutionary Army, forming the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army units, but this co-operation fell apart. Throughout the Chinese Civil War the National Revolutionary Army experienced major problems with desertion, with many soldiers switching sides to fight for the Communists. Troops in India and Burma during World War II included the Chinese Expeditionary Force, the Chinese Army in India and Y Force. After the drafting and implementation of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947, the National Revolutionary Army was transformed into the ground service branch of the Republic of China Armed Forces – the Republic of China Army.
The NRA throughout its lifespan recruited 4,300,000 regulars, in 370 Standard Divisions, 46 New Divisions, 12 Cavalry Divisions, eight New Cavalry Divisions, 66 Temporary Divisions, 13 Reserve Divisions, for a grand total of 515 divisions. However, many divisions were formed from two or more other divisions, were not active at the same time. At the apex of the NRA was the National Military Council translated as Military Affairs Commission. Chaired by Chiang Kai-Shek, it commands, it included from 1937 the Chief of the General Staff, General He Yingqin, the General Staff, the War Ministry, the military regions and naval forces, air defence and garrison commanders, support services Around 14 Million were conscripted from 1937-1945 Also, New Divisions were created to replace Standard Divisions lost early in the war and were issued the old division's number. Therefore, the number of divisions in active service at any given time is much smaller than this
The Zhili clique was one of several mutually hostile cliques or factions that split from the Beiyang clique during the Republic of China's warlord era. This fragmentation followed the death of Yuan Shikai, the only person capable of keeping the Beiyang Army together, it was named for the general region of the clique's base of power, Zhili Province, now Hebei, during its height controlled Jiangsu and Hubei. Unlike other cliques, this one was formed by officers who felt discriminated against by Premier Duan Qirui in matters of appointment and promotions, they rallied around President Feng Guozhang who had to share power with Duan's dominant Anhui clique in the Beiyang government. Lacking strong bonds, they were more willing to betray one another, they advocated a softer line during the Constitutional Protection War. After Feng's natural death, leadership passed to Cao Kun. Cao was victorious in the Zhili-Anhui War though the credit belongs to his chief lieutenant, Wu Peifu, the greatest strategist in China at the time.
Relations with the Fengtian clique, which gave nominal assistance against Anhui, deteriorated and Wu again brought victory during the First Zhili-Fengtian War. In the next two years, the Zhili clique scored successive victories which led to Cao Kun's ascendency to the presidency via bribery. Cao's ambition created dissension within the clique. Zhili may have won the Second Zhili-Fengtian War and reunite all of China had it not been for Feng Yuxiang's betrayal with the Beijing coup. Cao was imprisoned and leadership passed to Wu who along with Sun Chuanfang managed to hold central China for the next two years. During the Kuomintang's Northern Expedition, they created a desperate alliance with their former Fengtian enemies but were defeated entirely; the Zhili clique was the only warlord faction to be destroyed as a result of the Northern Expedition. They were strongly anti-Japanese. Western powers were sympathetic but provided no support with the exception of foreign private businesses who appreciated their adoption of an anti-communist and anti-union stance in 1923.
Wu Peifu had invited the Communists to end the Communications Clique's stranglehold over the railways but found the Communists to be a greater threat and put them down with violence. Warlord Era List of Warlords History of the Republic of China Nathan, Andrew. Peking Politics 1918-1923: Factionalism and the Failure of Constitutionalism. Center for Chinese Studies. P. 320. ISBN 9780892641314. Wou, Odorik Y. K.. Militarism in modern China; the career of Wu P’ei-Fu, 1916-1939. Australian National University Press. P. 349. ISBN 0708108326. Gao, James. Historical Dictionary of Modern China