Why GMD failed in the Chinese Civil War

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Why GMD failed in the Chinese Civil War


The Chinese Civil War was responsible for creating a revolution within the country and was contested between Communist Party of China and a government-led Kuomintang. The war began in 1927 following a Northern Expedition that was characterized by the ceasefire from the white terror. Two stages in the history showed the conflict’s propagation with the Japanese war being able to separate the distinct periods. The results from the struggle helped China ascend into Communism, which was translated from the ideological split between the two sides. GuoMingDang (GMD) was responsible for the national revolutionary army and had been tipped to win the war given its military advantage. The backing from American-trained and equipped regimen along with its positioning was expected to hand GMD the victory to no avail. On the other hand, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with limited resources and organization managed to wrestle control and emerge victorious from the civil strife. GMD failed to win the Chinese due to the employed tactics, government affairs, strategic mistakes, and morals.


One of the main mistakes from GMD in its battle with CCP was the focus on cities as opposed to the strategic placing of majority support. GMD had been based within the cities and industrialized centers. At the helm of GMD’s support, the railway lines and transportation network was of fundamental support to its cause. It was expected that with the available infrastructure, the side would be equipped and at an advantage against the CCP. Instead, the latter was centralized at the countryside with the majority of support from the population. They could marshal willing members of society who were ready to help them defend their cause (Lew 67). Therefore, gaining ascendancy from the urban regions did not provide enough coverage to change the communist impact. The larger population gave the CCP enough momentum and support in its cause leading to the defeat of GMD.

The peasant factor was instrumental in GMD’s failure of the Chinese Civil War. As earlier indicated, the larger proportion of the population along the countryside characterized the coverage of CCP’s strongholds. The main inhabitants of these regions were the peasants who provided the much needed support and moral support to defend communism against any form of liberation or intended revolution. GMD only targeted the peasants to provide any information of CCP’s whereabouts not kneeing of the consequences from alienating the peasants. Apart from providing the thought of information, they were the main undoing to its cause (Lynch 72). They in turn gave CCP more strategic information and preparation strategies all along. The consequence was that GMD was ill prepared for the aftermath. They were ambushed by the communist loyalist with the support of the peasants leading to the loss in the civil war.

GMD was faced with a complex issue of property management, which caused a major setback in the civil war momentum. At the time of the civil war, there had been issues surrounding the transmissions of property within the country especially with the administration of the people’s rights. According to Chen (71), there had been inequitable property realization and the transmission was seen as an opportunity to provide equality among the people irrespective of their positions or ideological backing. Thus, gaining control of the property issue would provide whichever side contested the civil war an already established support base and functionality. GMD did not take charge of the transmission issue as required and instead created more animosity among the people. In return, the division widened in the country thus making communism a source of hope to the people and therefore providing CCP the onus to win the civil war.

GMD was guilty of being unprepared in the civil war, leading to its downfall in the process. For example, at the start of the conflicts the side based its operations within the major urbanized regions as was expected. One of the main access points and strategic location was that of Manchuria. It provided the side with adequate transport network and improved the communication and reliability among the group members (Schoppa 112). Acquiring the feedback and relaying of consensus on the war’s operations could provide GMD with effective control in the conflict. However, the advantage was short lived as GMD proposed to expand from Manchuria in an unprecedented manner. It was too fast and GMD did not manage to strengthen the base as was needed. The motive of increasing the base outreach to the rest of China weakened the grip and possible launch location for the side leading to the loss.

Another strategic undoing by the expansion from Manchuria was reliability by the leadership. Increasing the base to the rest of China could facilitate a speedy influence and control of facilities to help GMD in the civil war. It would also increase the transfer of weaponry and personnel when called upon to face the resistance from CCP. However, a disjointed effort from the leadership did not consolidate the mandate from Manchuria to improve the organization effort. Instead, it increased the levels of unpreparedness by the side all along (Lum 22). Communication from the base was already established and CCP gained an upper hand as they obtained a better means of countering the efforts from GMD. It was thus easier to deal with the threats from Manchuria and surrounding cities as the interception was streamlined and organized in equal measure.

The Soviet Union’s influence in the Chinese Civil War cannot be understated. GMD was on one hand using available ideologies to get the people support its cause against CCP. In reality, the main push was from backing that the side had from American presence. At the time, Soviet Union had stake in the occurrences and had taken note of the facilities that Manchuria had in the wake of the conflict. By increasing the communism agenda through CCP, the Soviet Union could gain an upper hand in the struggle between it and the US for supremacy (Zhai 517). The two sides had to distinguish the support and facilitation of military power for the civil war to be won. GMD did not realize the extent that the Soviet Union had managed to gain over time (). The underestimated gesture led to the defeat especially at the latter stages.

Another leading factor on the communist hand in the GMD defeat was the uprising effect especially to the nationalist administration. At the time of GMD perpetration, there was a void created at the government’s stranglehold of political power. Force was required to change the establishment especially if the communism cause was to succeed. The civil war had to take shape through the formation of a Red Army through such influence. In Wuhan, an uprising was responsible for the establishment as reoccupation was realized in the Nanchang region (Lum 21). The objective was to make sure that CPC would go into hiding and create a suppressing mentality and outlook. Instead, the communist efforts and interests established control that GMD could not wrestle at the time. In due time, the increased animosity worked to CCP’s favor as numerous rebellions took place.

CPC enhanced its guerrilla tactics and contributed to GMD’s failure in the Chinese Civil War. At the time of the conflict, GMD had been able to acquire best weapons as well as training and support from the US. They were prepared for any onslaught when the conflict erupted. The side was also expected to have a schedule that could outwit the CCP at any given time, given the positioning within the communication and transportation lines in the country. Instead, the CCP was quick and effective through the guerilla tactics especially with the support from the peasants and common people. According to Zhai (519), they could ambush the nationalists at will and retreat into hiding making it difficult for GMD to capture them. The casualties in most cases attributed to the extent of guerilla preparation and outcomes of the civil war.

CCP relied on mobility and adaptation, which increased the downfall of GMD in the civil war. Through guerilla tactics, the cohorts of Mao and CCP gained an advantage when it came to the conflict. They were hard to find and establish their exact locations at the exchanges. They could only be traced when the proliferation of warfare was in full view. Their main attribute was to strike when GMD and its troop least expected (Schoppa 131). They could carry out an ambush that could surprise the enemy at will and then change tact by shifting to a different location to await any retaliation before striking back. In most cases, the strategy was effective as movement of the troops and machinery was labored. On the other hand, CCP could rely on quick turnaround to carry out any insurgency and achieve small targets of elimination and supply points.

The ideologies behind GMD’s cause did not auger well with the people, leading to its loss in the armed conflict. The administration at the time was responsible for running of affairs that affected the people on a daily basis. However, it was marked by financial problems, increased food prices, and mismanagement of the resources. The main ideology by GMD at the juncture was to consolidate a meaningful support to strengthen the administration’s support and mandate despite the negative basis (Chen 74). The people could not support such measures that could even affect their land system and resource allocation. They therefore were willing to embrace to the communism agenda as means of opposing the establishment. It therefore made it easy for CCP to defeat GMD in the civil war as more people were willing to facilitate the victory when armed conflict took place.

GMD failed in cooperating on a full-time basis with the US during the civil conflict and thus limited its chances of winning in the process. At the time, US had the most sophisticated regimen in its abilities to deal with conflicts and armed struggle. It could use both land and air support to marshal means of resistance and outwitting the opponent. Since GMD did not want to to appear a US-led agenda in gaining control, the leadership sought to obtain weapons and training facilitation without detailed regimen in the process. It also relied on local dispensation of personnel to deal with the insurgency (Zhai 520). However, GMD was limited as was evidenced by the continuous guerilla tactic that outwitted its establishment. Several key battles were won by CCP and its simple approach as opposed to the disjointed effort by GMD.

The Soviet Union’s impact in the Chinese Civil War cannot be forgotten. GMD was on one hand utilizing accessible philosophies to get the general population bolstering its motivation against CCP. In all actuality, the principle push was from help that the side had from American nearness. At the time, Soviet Union had stake in the events and had observed the offices that Manchuria had in the wake of the contention. By expanding the socialism plan through CCP, the Soviet Union could pick up a high ground in the battle amongst it and the US for matchless quality. The two sides needed to recognize the help and assistance of military power for the common war to be won (Lum 21). GMD did not understand the degree that the Soviet Union had figured out how to increase after some time. The belittled motion prompted the thrashing particularly at the last stages.

GMD was assessed with an intricate issue of property administration, which caused a noteworthy rejection in the common war. At the season of the civil war, there had been issues encompassing the transmissions of administration and overall resource allocation inside the nation particularly with the organization of the general population’s rights. There had been unjust acknowledgment and the transmission was viewed as a chance to give uniformity among the general population regardless of their positions or ideological support (Schoppa 83). In this manner, picking up control of the people power even by Mao would give whichever side challenged the common war an effectively settled help and usefulness. GMD did not assume responsibility of the translated issue as required and rather made greater enmity among the citizens. Consequently, the division extended in the nation in this way making socialism a wellspring of would like to the general population and subsequently giving CCP the onus to win the common war.

The acts of revenge against communists did not help GMD’s cause. Attacking the latter was just as the same way announcing that GMD had sought to forget the support that the diverse populations provided during the armed conflict. The strategy provided a favor to CCP as it conquered the hearts and minds of civilians especially at the countryside. The surrounding cities in return would improve on the feeder basis of information and communication when the conflict began (Chen 67). The test was established in Manchuria as the formation of dynasties in a later setting proved of value to CCP.


The Chinese Civil War was an important of China history despite the armed conflict that took place causing division and loss of lives in the country. GMD and CCP wrestled control of the country under the communism struggle following a need for revolution. In the end, GMD failed to win the Chinese due to the employed tactics, government affairs, strategic mistakes, and morals that crippled its abilities despite the support it had from US. Just as other notable mentions of war debts and loss of military personnel, the non-utilization of effective weapons cache and strategy was responsible for the loss. However, no peace treaty was signed to this day and it has been responsible for China’s unresolved issues over time.


Works Cited

Lew, Christopher R. The Third Chinese Revolutionary Civil War, 1945-49: An Analysis of Communist Strategy and Leadership. Routledge, 2009.

Lynch, Michael J. The Chinese Civil War 1945-49. Osprey Pub, 2010.

Chen, Janet Y. The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2014. Print.

Schoppa, R K. Twentieth Century China: A History in Documents. Oxford UP, 2011.

Lum, Kalfred D. “Chinese Civil War and Foreign Relations”. News Bulletin (Institute of Pacific Relations), 1927, pp. 19-22.

Zhai, Qiang. “Great Power Conflict and the Chinese Civil War.” Reviews in American History, vol. 23, no. 3, 1995, pp. 516-520.




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