The victory of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over the Nationalist faction in the Chinese Civil War was a direct result of numerous influences, both internal and external. However, three important reasons for the CCP’s victory can be attributed to the Japanese attack and occupation of China during World War II, the CCP’s treatment of the Chinese people, and the political failures of the nationalist forces. The combination of these historical events provided a situation that allowed the CCP to defy the odds and take over China.
The Japanese invasion of China in 1937 was the setup for the eventual success of the CCP. Although it cost the CCP manpower and resources, the Japanese attack allowed for the formation of a political environment that favored the spread of the communist party. The Japanese help legitimize the CCP by singling it out as a special enemy and instructing the Japanese supported puppet government in the job of exterminating the communists in their jurisdictions. The phrase, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” applies in this situation. After the mistreatment the Chinese population endured under Japanese occupation, it is easy to comprehend why the Chinese people would gravitate towards a group that was so despised by their main tormenter. The added attention that the CCP received from the Japanese occupiers showed the Chinese people that the CCP was a force to be reckoned with, and a possible threat to Japanese interests in China. This publicity put the CCP’s in the minds of the people as a counter to the Japanese.
The Japanese invasion left a power vacuum for the CCP to fill. As the Japanese forces advanced, “the traditional ruling elite evacuated... and left peasants to defend for themselves during the eight years of occupation.” This allowed for the CCP to move in to the areas without leadership and gave the CCP the opportunity to win over public support. The Japanese military expansion into the region forced...
Cited: Babb, Geoff, “The Chinese Civil War” (presentation, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, October 29, 2012).
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