|Chief Executive of the Republic of China|
24 November 1924 –20 April 1926
|Preceded by||Huang Fu (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Hu Weide (Acting)|
|Premier of the Republic of China|
23 March 1918 –10 October 1918
|Preceded by||Qian Nengxun|
|Succeeded by||Qian Nengxun|
14 July 1917 –22 November 1917
|Preceded by||Li Jingxi|
|Succeeded by||Wang Daxie|
26 June 1916 –23 May 1917
|Preceded by||Xu Shichang|
|Succeeded by||Wu Tingfang|
1 May 1913 –31 July 1913
|Preceded by||Zhao Bingjun|
|Succeeded by||Xiong Xiling|
|Minister of War of the Republic of China|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Zhou Ziqi|
|Born||6 March 1865|
Hefei, Anhui, Qing Dynasty
|Died||2 November 1936 71) (aged|
Shanghai, Republic of China
|Political party||Anhui clique|
|Education||Tianjin Military Academy|
|Occupation||Military officer, statesman|
|Awards|| Order of Rank and Merit |
Order of the Precious Brilliant Golden Grain
Order of Wen-Hu
|Allegiance|| Qing Dynasty |
Republic of China
|Branch/service|| Beiyang Army |
|Battles/wars||Boxer Rebellion, Xinhai Revolution, Second Revolution, Bai Lang Rebellion, Manchu Restoration, Constitutional Protection Movement, Zhili-Anhui War|
Duan Qirui (Chinese:段祺瑞; pinyin:Duàn Qíruì; Wade–Giles:Tuan Ch'i-jui; IPA: [tu̯àn t͡ɕʰíɻu̯èi̯] ) (6 March 1865 – 2 November 1936) was a Chinese warlord and politician, a commander of the Beiyang Army and the acting Chief Executive of the Republic of China (in Beijing) from 1924 to 1926. He was also the Premier of the Republic of China on four occasions between 1913 and 1918. He was arguably the most powerful man in China from 1916 to 1920.
Born in Hefei as Duan Qirui (Chinese :段啟瑞), his courtesy name was Zhiquan (Chinese :芝泉). His grandfather was Duan Pei (Chinese :段佩), an officer in Li Hongzhang's privately raised Huai Army (Huai Jun, Chinese :淮军). His father died early and he was raised by his maternal grandmother.
In 1885 Duan Qirui entered Tianjin Military Academy (天津武備學堂), specializing in artillery, and graduated at the top of his class. After graduation, he was sent to Lüshun to oversee the construction of artillery fortifications and came to the attention of Li Hongzhang, who sent him to study military science in Germany for two years. After returning to China he was first named as a commissioner to the Beiyang Armory (北洋军械局) and then an instructor at Weihai military academy. Soon he was able to gain the sponsorship of Yuan Shikai, who named him an artillery commander in the New Army.
Duan first saw action in the Boxer Rebellion, where he served Yuan in Shandong province and distinguished himself in combat against the Boxers.Yuan then gave him command over a Beiyang army division in 1904. In 1906 he was appointed director of the Baoding Staff College, which allowed him to begin recruiting his own clique of loyal junior officers. Yuan arranged for the marriage of his niece, whom he had adopted, to Duan in an effort to consolidate his power and solidify Duan's loyalty.
After the outbreak of the Wuchang Uprising of 1911 against the Qing dynasty, Duan commanded the loyalist Second Army Corps against the revolutionary army in the Battle of Yangxia and succeeded in taking back Hankou and Hanyang. After Yuan Shikai altered the course of the Xinhai Revolution by forcing the emperor to abdicate, Duan supported him. For his loyalty Yuan appointed him military governor of both Hunan and Hubei provinces. He was further named to Yuan's cabinet as minister of war in 1912, then premier in 1913while also keeping his position was war minister. Because he had publicly supported the Emperor's abdication while serving as an envoy of the central government in 1911, Duan's promotions were supported by the Kuomintang.
Duan rose to power as a close ally of Yuan Shikai, but the two came to increasingly disagree with each other over various issues as time went on. One of the main problems was that Duan began to amass influence over the Beiyang Army as minister of war, thereby undermining Yuan's own control over the soldiers. Realizing his growing power, Duan became more independent and gradually challenged the President over appointments and reforms in the military. As both had volatile tempers, their quarrels became ever more heated, and Yuan eventually started to counter Duan's rise.Using Duan and the Beiyang Army's failure to suppress the Bai Lang Rebellion as reason, he initiated reforms to purge the military of Duan's followers and raise a new army which was supposed to be more capable than the Beiyang Army while also being loyal to Yuan himself. As Duan fell sick in late 1914, he was unable to stop the President's plans, and he was thus dismissed as minister of war in May 1915.
Having expected to eventually succeed Yuan in the presidency, Duan thus came to oppose Yuan's attempt to declare himself Emperor in late 1915. After several provinces declared independence from Yuan's government, Duan tried to play the intermediary between the rebels and Yuan, just as Yuan had done during the Xinhai Revolution. Their friendship never recovered, even after Duan was given the premiership, partially because Yuan had shrewdly stripped that office of its powers. Duan served as premier intermittently from 1913–18, under several governments, as part of a series of shaky coalitions (which often collapsed). Yuan's attempt to establish his own dynasty had destroyed the unity of China, and many provinces had achieved de facto independence from Beijing as early as 1915.
In 1916, when Yuan Shikai was on his deathbed, he called several of the most important political and military figures in his government, including Duan, to hear his last political testament. Yuan was only able to say two words: "the Constitution", which no one was able to interpret. Yuan's 1914 constitution stipulated that, in the event of the impending death of China's president, the president would place the names of three men to potentially succeed him after his death. After his death, the box would be opened and one of the men named would be elected.
Yuan died on June 6, 1916. When the box was opened, Duan Qirui, Li Yuanhong and Xu Shichang were named. None initially wanted to take the presidency. Duan consulted with other senior military leaders of northern China, calculated that Li was the weakest and least popular of the three and then successfully pressured him to take the presidency, possibly under the rationale that a weak, unpopular president would be easier to manipulate. Duan served under Li as premier, but dominated him—and the rest of the government—and ruled for a time as the effective dictator of northern China, challenged mostly by semi-independent warlords. Neither Duan nor Li ever attempted to submit Li's appointment as president to a parliamentary or general election, indicating Duan's general contempt for constitutional reform.
Duan Qirui, in his appointment as Premier, refused to recognize the old 1912 constitution. He was opposed by both President Li Yuanhong and Vice President Feng Guozhang, the second most important Beiyang military commander after Duan himself.On June 15, 1917, the admiral of the Chinese First Fleet, Li Tingxin, along with China's most senior naval commanders issued a statement supporting the 1912 constitution and threatened to ignore orders from Beijing if the constitution was not restored, declaring their solidarity with the "National Protection Army" in the southwest, which also claimed to support the constitution. Eventually Feng was able to persuade Duan to relent and the dissident government in the south agreed to dissolve itself when Parliament was reconvened. Nevertheless, the parliament and the country remained as divided as ever between north and south. Duan and the other Beiyang leaders refused to be dictated to by southern parliamentarians, composed mostly of Sun Yat-sen's Guangdong-based Kuomintang party, backed by southern armies outside Beiyang control. Duan decided to take action against southern military commanders by reassigning them to other posts and thereby breaking their control. In order to do this he decided to oust the pro-Kuomintang military commander of Hunan; however, his cabinet refused to do so. In spite of this, Duan's right-hand man and Cabinet Secretary, Xu Shuzheng, issued orders on his own initiative to launch an attack on Hunan.
In Europe World War I had reached a crucial point by 1916–17. Duan saw an opportunity to ingratiate China with the European powers and the US by declaring on the side of the Allies against Central powers.However, Duan was opposed again by both the president and vice-president, along with most of the parliament. He was impatient to gain parliament's approval through negotiation and resorted to bullying tactics with organized mobs. In response, president Li Yuanhong in May 1917 dismissed Duan as premier after parliament had voted to ask for his resignation.
At this juncture a monarchist general, Zhang Xun, marched his army into Beijing and announced the restoration of the Qing dynasty on July 1, 1917.Outraged, the other Beiyang generals, led by vice-president Feng Guozhang, mobilized their forces and ended the short-lived restoration attempt. Duan was returned to power while Li Yuanhong, having had enough of Beiyang politics, resigned the presidency. A few days later, on August 14, 1917, China entered the First World War on the side of the Allies. Duan declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary Empire and took back Germany's settlement and Austria Hungary's settlement in Tianjin. By entering the war, Duan hoped for some quid pro quo from China's new allies, such as the cancellation of many of the indemnities and concessions that China had been forced to sign in the past. He also hoped that China could gain international prestige by involving itself in "The Great War".
Duan's strategy now was to negotiate financial loans with Japan, in exchange for concessions, to fund a military buildup for the conquest of the south. The political cover for this army was the entry of China into the First World War.With the poor state of the government's credit and European wartime expenses making both Western and domestic financing impossible, he secretly negotiated the first of the Nishihara Loans with Japan on September 29, 1917. In exchange he offered Japan the right to station troops in Shandong province as well as the right to build and run two new Shandong railroads. There would be a high political price to pay when these negotiations came to light later on, but in the meantime Duan got the money for his army. This later became part of the reason for the Shandong Problem.
After Feng Guozhang had restored him as premier, Duan Qirui quickly began preparations to mobilize troops for conquest of the south. The south responded by forming another rival government against the north and organizing the Constitutional Protection Movement.Duan dispatched two former subordinates of Feng Guozhang to the south to conquer Hunan, the linchpin of central China; one of these commanders was Wu Peifu. Wu supported Feng's preference for peaceful reconciliation with the south and refused to fight. Embarrassed by this fiasco, Duan was forced to resign a second time as premier in November 1917.
Nevertheless, Duan still exercised enormous influence in Beijing due to the various military commanders who were still loyal to him. Feng Guozhang was forced to reappoint him to the cabinet as Minister of War, and once again Duan dispatched troops to the south. He also ordered Zhang Zuolin, military ruler of Manchuria, to send troops to Beijing as a ploy to further pressure Feng to restore him to the premiership. However, Wu Peifu once again refused to follow his orders to invade the southern provinces.Faced with the threat from Feng Guozhang, Cao Kun and Wu Peifu's coalescing "Zhili clique," Duan attempted to strengthen his position by forming his own political party called the "Anhui clique." He also used the funds from the Nishihara Loans to build up his military forces, employing Japanese officers to train his troops.
President Feng Guozhang's term expired on October 10, 1918; in an attempt to placate the south, he agreed not to seek re-election provided Duan also vacate the office of premier on the same day. Duan's position was also weakening as rumours of his secret dealings with the Japanese began to surface.When the Nishihara Loans were exposed, along with the secret treaty between the Allies and Japan to transfer Shandong to the Japanese, at the Versailles peace conference, Beijing and the rest of the nation exploded in protest in what came to be known as the "May Fourth Movement" on May 4, 1919. Duan's rivals Cao Kun and Wu Peifu of the Zhili clique moved to corner him by organizing an alliance of military leaders, including Zhang Zuolin, who opposed Duan. They also engineered the dismissal of Duan's key subordinate Xu Shuzheng on July 4, 1919. In retribution, Duan forced the new president to dismiss both Cao and Wu even though there was no possible way to actually remove them from their posts. He also renamed his army the "National Pacification Army" and mobilized them for war with the Zhili clique and its supporters.
Aisin Gioro Puyi was restored to the Emperor's throne at the Forbidden City by the warlord and Qing loyalist Zhang Xun in July of 1917, and ordering his army to keep their queues in loyal service to the Qing emperor.However, there was extensive opposition across China to return to imperial monarchy, and as a show of force, Duan Qirui ordered a Caudron Type D aircraft, piloted by Pan Shizhong (潘世忠) and bombardier Du Yuyuan (杜裕源) from Nanyuan airbase to drop three bombs over the Forbidden City, causing the death of an eunuch, but otherwise minor damage. This is the first recorded instance of aerial bombardment by the early-Republican era Chinese Air Force
The conflict came to be known as the Zhili–Anhui War and lasted from July 14 to July 18, 1920. Although Duan's army had been equipped and trained by Japan, it succumbed easily to Wu Peifu-led Zhili forces and their allies.His military power shattered, Duan fled to a Japanese settlement in Tianjin and became an apartment landlord. The Anhui clique began to lose its coherency, as some of its members became affiliated with either the Zhili clique or Zhang Zuolin's Fengtian faction. Only Zhejiang remained in the hands of the Anhui clique, although it eventually fell in 1924. Shandong was allowed by the Zhili clique to later be taken over by an Anhui warlord under strict conditions of neutrality. Nevertheless, some Anhui clique politicians remained active in government as the Zhili clique and Fengtian faction began to maneuver against each other. Jin Yunpeng, who had been a protege of Duan, was appointed premier in August 1920. Other Anhui members secretly mediated between Zhang Zuolin and Feng Yuxiang, an important leader in the Zhili clique, when the latter decided to revolt against his former allies in the Second Zhili–Fengtian War.
Feng Yuxiang's defection resulted in the defeat of Wu Peifu and the Zhili clique and forced them to withdraw to the south.The victorious Zhang Zuolin unpredictably named Duan Qirui as the new Chief Executive of the nation on November 24, 1924. Duan's new government was grudgingly accepted by the Zhili clique because, without an army of his own, Duan was now considered a neutral choice. In addition, instead of "President" Duan was now called the "Chief Executive," implying that the position was temporary and therefore politically weak. Duan Qirui called on Sun Yat-sen and the Kuomintang in the south to restart negotiations towards national reunification. Sun demanded that the "unequal treaties" with foreign powers be repudiated and that a new national assembly be assembled. Bowing to public pressure, Duan promised a new national assembly in three months; however he could not unilaterally discard the "unequal treaties," since the foreign powers had made official recognition of Duan's regime contingent upon respecting these very treaties. Sun died on March 12, 1925 and the negotiations fell apart.
With his clique's military power in a shambles, Duan's government was hopelessly dependent on Feng Yuxiang and Zhang Zuolin. Knowing that those two did not get along, he secretly tried to play one side against the other. On March 18, 1926, a protest march was held against continued foreign infringement on Chinese sovereignty and a recent incident in Tianjin involving a Japanese warship. Duan dispatched military police to disperse the protesters, and in the resulting melee 47 protesters were killed and over 200 injured, including Li Dazhao, co-founder of the Communist Party. The event came to be known as the March 18 Massacre. The next month Feng Yuxiang again revolted, this time against the Fengtian clique, and deposed Duan, who was forced to flee to Zhang Zuolin for protection. Zhang, tired of his double-dealings, refused to restore him after re-capturing Beijing. Most of the Anhui clique had already sided with Zhang. Duan Qirui exiled himself to Tianjin and later moved to Shanghai where he died on November 2, 1936.
Duan gained a reputation as tough and authoritarian, but without a great love for public office. He was observed to have a "Buddhist inclination", and enjoyed solitude. He delegated great authority to his subordinates, and generally supported their decisions. His chief professional interest was the training of soldiers. In government, he favored a cabinet system, in which decisions were made among a small group of powerful men, rather than either the one-man dictatorship favored by Yuan Shikai or the open, consultative form of government proposed by Sun Yat-sen.
Duan was also well known as a player and patron of weiqi (Go). He usually won because his opponents feared defeating him, with the exception of his son-in-law, who was also a patron of weiqi and was not afraid of defeating his father-in-law. Duan had four daughters. After Duan's retirement from politics he became a devoted Buddhist, built a worship hall within his own home and prayed every morning. Many of his former subordinates frequently came to pray with him. On the first and the 15th days of each month (lunar calendar), Duan would go to temples to participate in various Buddhist events. He supposedly became a vegetarian after the March 18 Massacre to repent for his involvements in the massacre. Douchi was his favorite food and was served at every meal. Duan also kept a hen farm at home to provide him with eggs, but kept no roosters, as he claimed that without fertilization, the eggs remained vegetarian.
General Cao Kun was a Chinese warlord and politician, who served the President of the Republic of China from 1923 to 1924, as well as the military leader of the Zhili clique in the Beiyang Army; he also served as a trustee of the Catholic University of Peking.
The Beiyang Army, named after the Beiyang region, was a powerful, Western-style Imperial Chinese Army established by the Qing Dynasty government in the late 19th century. It was the centerpiece of a general reconstruction of Qing China's military system. The Beiyang Army played a major role in Chinese politics for at least three decades and arguably right up to 1949. It made the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 possible, and, by dividing into warlord factions known as the Beiyang Clique, ushered in a period of regional division.
Wu Peifu or Wu P'ei-fu (simplified Chinese: 吴佩孚; traditional Chinese: 吳佩孚; pinyin: Wú Pèifú; Wade–Giles: Wu2 P'ei4-fu2; IPA: [ú pʰèɪ̯fú]; April 22, 1874 – December 4, 1939) was a major figure in the struggles between the warlords who dominated Republican China from 1916–27.
The Warlord Era was a period in the history of the Republic of China when control of the country was divided among former military cliques of the Beiyang Army and other regional factions from 1916 to 1928.
The Beiyang government, officially the Republic of China, also sometimes spelled Peiyang Government or the First Republic of China, refers to the government of the Republic of China which sat in its capital Peking (Beijing) between 1912 and 1928. It was internationally recognized as the legitimate Chinese government during that time.
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, who was 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, and during its height also controlled Jiangsu, Jiangxi, and Hubei.
The Anhui clique was a military and political organization, one of several mutually hostile cliques or factions that split from the Beiyang clique in the Republic of China's Warlord Era. It was named after Anhui province because several its generals–including its founder, Duan Qirui–were born in Anhui.
The Zhili–Anhui War was a 1920 conflict in the Republic of China between the Zhili and Anhui cliques for control of the Beiyang government.
The First Zhili–Fengtian War was a 1922 conflict in the Republic of China's Warlord Era between the Zhili and Fengtian cliques for control of Beijing. The war led to the defeat of the Fengtian clique and the fall of its leader, Zhang Zuolin, from the coalition Zhili-Fengtian government in Beijing. Wu Peifu was credited as the strategist behind Zhili's victory.
The Second Zhili–Fengtian War of 1924 was a conflict between the Japanese-backed Fengtian clique based in Manchuria, and the more liberal Zhili clique controlling Beijing and backed by Anglo-American business interests. The war is considered the most significant in China's Warlord era, with the Beijing coup by Christian warlord Feng Yuxiang leading to the overall defeat of the Zhili clique. During the war the two cliques fought one large battle near Tianjin in October 1924, as well as a number of smaller skirmishes and sieges. Afterwards, both Feng and Zhang Zuolin, the latter being ruler of the Fengtian clique, appointed Duan Qirui as a figurehead prime minister. In south and central China, more liberal Chinese were dismayed by the Fengtian's advance and by the resulting power vacuum. A wave of protests followed. The war also distracted the northern warlords from the Soviet-backed Nationalists based in the southern province of Guangdong, allowing unhampered preparation for the Northern Expedition (1926–1928), which united China under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek.
The Constitutional Protection Movement was a series of movements led by Sun Yat-sen to resist the Beiyang government between 1917 and 1922, in which Sun established another government in Guangzhou as a result. It was known as the Third Revolution by the Kuomintang. The constitution that it intended to protect was the Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China. The first movement lasted from 1917 to 1920; the second from 1921 to 1922. An attempted third movement, begun in 1923, ultimately became the genesis for the Northern Expedition in 1926.
The Manchu Restoration or Dingsi Restoration, also known as Zhang Xun Restoration, or Xuantong Restoration, was an attempt to restore the Chinese monarchy by General Zhang Xun, whose army seized Beijing and briefly reinstalled the last emperor of the Qing dynasty, Puyi, to the throne. The restoration lasted only a few days, from July 1, 1917 - July 12, 1917, and was quickly reversed by Republican troops. Despite the uprising's popular name, almost all reactionary putschists were ethnic Han Chinese.
The Beijing Coup refers to the October 1924 coup d'état by Feng Yuxiang against Chinese President Cao Kun, leader of the Zhili warlord faction. Feng called it the Capital Revolution. The coup occurred at a crucial moment in the Second Zhili–Fengtian War and allowed the pro-Japanese Fengtian clique to defeat the previously dominant Zhili clique. Followed by a brief period of liberalization under Huang Fu, on November 23 this government was replaced by a conservative, pro-Japanese government led by Duan Qirui. The coup alienated many liberal Chinese from the Beijing government.
The Communications Clique was a powerful interest group of politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats, businessmen, engineers, and labour unionists in China's Beiyang government (1912-1928). It is also known as the Cantonese Clique because many of its leaders hailed from Guangdong. They were named after the Ministry of Posts and Communications which was responsible for railways, postal delivery, shipping, and telephones as well as the Bank of Communications. This ministry earned five times more revenue for the government than all the other ministries combined.
The Anti-Fengtian War was the last major civil war within the Republic of China's northern Beiyang government prior to the Northern Expedition. It lasted from November 1925 to April 1926 and was waged by the Guominjun against the Fengtian clique and their Zhili clique allies. The war ended with the defeat of the Guominjun and the end of the provisional executive government. The war is also known as either Guominjun-Fengtian War, or the Third Zhili–Fengtian War.
Lu Yongxiang, (Chinese: 盧永祥; Chinese: 卢永祥; pinyin: Lú Yǒngxiáng; Wade–Giles: Lu2 Yung3-hsiang2; IPA: [lú i̯ʊ̌ŋɕi̯ɑ́ŋ] October 22, 1867 – May 15, 1933), Anhui clique warlord, military governor of Zhejiang, Zhili, and Jiangsu.
Wu Guangxin, (simplified Chinese: 吴光新; traditional Chinese: 吳光新; pinyin: Wú Guāngxīn; Wade–Giles: Wu2 Kuang1-hsin1; IPA: [ú ku̯ɑ̄ŋɕīn]; 1881–1939) Army general of the Republic of China. Military and Civil governor of Hunan in 1920. Army Minister 1924–1925.
Feng Guozhang, was a Chinese general and politician in early republican China. He held the office of Vice-President and then President of the Republic of China. He is considered the founder of the Zhili Clique of Warlords that vied for control of northern China during the chaotic Warlord era.
Qi Xieyuan, born Qi Ying, with a courtesy name of Qi Fuwan and the art name of Yaoshan, was a general of the military of the Republic of China and a warlord of the Zhili clique. He defected to the Japanese after the creation of the Provisional Government of the Republic of China, later participating in the North China Political Council, its successor.
The Tientsin Conference, beginning 10 November 1924, was a series of conferences between powerful Chinese warlords on the future government of China. It was hoped the result would be the reunification of the Beiyang government with the Kuomintang's rival government led by Sun Yat-sen in Canton and an end to the Warlord Era.
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