Shanghai massacre

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Shanghai massacre
Part of the Chinese Civil War
DateApril 12, 1927
Location
Result Beginning of the Chinese Civil War
Belligerents
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Kuomintang Flag of the Chinese Communist Party (Pre-1996).svg Communist Party of China
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Chiang Kai-shek
(NRA commander-in-chief)
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Bai Chongxi
(NRA commander in Shanghai)
Du Yuesheng
(Green Gang leader)
Chen Duxiu
(CPC general secretary)
Zhou Enlai
Units involved
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg  Republic of China Army; Green Gang and other Shanghai gangs Communist Party of China; Shanghai labor union militias
Strength
Approx. 5,000 soldiers of the 2nd Division of the 26th Army and members of various gangs Thousands from labor union militias
Casualties and losses
Minimal 300–5,000 killed

The Shanghai massacre of April 12, 1927, known commonly in China as the April 12 Purge or April 12 Incident, was the violent suppression of Communist Party of China (CPC) organizations in Shanghai by the military forces of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and conservative factions in the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party, or KMT). Following the incident, conservative KMT elements carried out a full-scale purge of Communists in all areas under their control, and even more violent suppression occurred in Guangzhou and Changsha. [1] The purge led to an open split between left and right wing factions in the KMT, with Chiang Kai-shek establishing himself as the leader of the right wing faction based in Nanjing, in opposition to the original left-wing KMT government based in Wuhan led by Wang Jingwei.

Communist Party of China Political party of the Peoples Republic of China

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.

Shanghai Municipality in Peoples Republic of China

Shanghai is one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of the central government of the People's Republic of China, the most populous urban area in China, and the second most populous city proper in the world, with a population of 26.3 million as of 2019. It is a global financial center and transport hub, with the world's busiest container port. Located in the Yangtze River Delta, it sits on the south edge of the estuary of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Eastern China coast. The municipality borders the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the south, east and west, and is bound to the east by the East China Sea.

Chiang Kai-shek Chinese politician and military leader

Chiang Kai-shek, also known as Generalissimo Chiang or Chiang Chungcheng and romanized as Chiang Chieh-shih or Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese nationalist politician, revolutionary and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and then in Taiwan until his death.

Contents

By 15 July 1927, the Wuhan regime had also expelled the Communists in its ranks, effectively ending the KMT's four-year alliance with the Comintern and the Chinese Communist Party. For the remainder of 1927, the CPC launched several uprisings in an attempt to regain their previous power, marking the beginning of the Chinese Civil War. With the failure of the Guangzhou Uprising however, the Communist Party was largely diminished in their influence, unable to launch another major urban offensive. [2]

First United Front united front

The First United Front, also known as the KMT–CPC Alliance, of the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party of China (CPC), was formed in 1924 as an alliance to end warlordism in China. Together they formed the National Revolutionary Army and set out in 1926 on the Northern Expedition. The CPC joined the KMT as individuals, making use of KMT's superiority in numbers to help spread communism. The KMT, on the other hand, wanted to control the communists from within. Both parties had their own aims and the Front was unsustainable. In 1927, KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek purged the Communists from the Front while the Northern Expedition was still half-complete. This initiated a civil war between the two parties that lasted until the Second United Front was formed in 1936 to prepare for the coming Second Sino-Japanese War.

Chinese Civil War Series of conflicts within China, 1927 – circa 1950

The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China (ROC) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) lasting intermittently between 1927 and 1949. Although particular attention is paid to the four years of fighting from 1945 to 1949, the war actually started in August 1927, after the KMT-CPC Alliance collapsed during the Northern Expedition. The conflict took place in two stages, the first between 1927 and 1937, and the second from 1946 to 1950; the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945 was an interlude in which the two sides were united against the forces of Japan. The Civil War resulted in a major revolution in China, with the Communists gaining control of mainland China and establishing the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, forcing the Republic of China to retreat to Taiwan. A lasting political and military standoff between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait ensued, with the ROC in Taiwan and the PRC in mainland China both officially claiming to be the legitimate government of all China.

Guangzhou Uprising failed Communist uprising in Guangzhou, China

The Guangzhou Uprising, Canton Uprising or Canton Riots of 1927 was a failed communist uprising in the city of Guangzhou (Canton) in southern China.

Names

In KMT historiography, the event is occasionally referred to as "April 12 Purge" (四一二清黨), while the Communist historiography refers to the event in the form of "April 12 Counter-revolutionary Coup" (四一二反革命政變) or "April 12 Massacre" (四一二慘案). [3]

Background

The roots of the April 12 Incident go back to the Kuomintang's alliance with the Soviet Union, formally initiated by KMT founder Sun Yat-sen after discussions with Soviet diplomat Adolph Joffe in January 1923. This alliance included both financial and military aid and a small but important group of Soviet political and military advisors, headed by Mikhail Borodin. [4] The Soviet Union's conditions for alliance and aid included cooperation with the small Communist Party of China. Sun agreed to let the Communists join the KMT as individuals, but ruled out an alliance with them or their participation as an organized bloc; in addition, once in the KMT he demanded that the Communists support KMT's party ideology and observe party discipline. Following their admission, Communist activities within the KMT, often covert, soon attracted opposition to this policy among prominent KMT members. [5] Internal conflicts between left- and right-wing leaders of the KMT with regards to the CPC problem continued right up to the launch of the Northern Expedition.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a Marxist-Leninist sovereign state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Sun Yat-sen Chinese physician, politician and revolutionary

Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese politician, physician and philosopher who provisionally served as the first president of the Republic of China; and the first leader of the Kuomintang. He is referred as the "Father of the Nation" in the Republic of China due to his instrumental role in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty during the Xinhai Revolution. Sun remains a unique figure among 20th-century Chinese leaders for being widely revered in both mainland China and Taiwan.

Adolph Joffe Soviet diplomat

Adolph Abramovich Joffe was a Communist revolutionary, a Bolshevik politician and a Soviet diplomat of Karaite descent.

Plans for a Northern Expedition originated with Sun Yat-sen. After his expulsion from the government in Peking, by 1920 he had made a military comeback, gaining control of some parts of Guangdong province. His goal was to extend his control over all of China, particularly Peking. After Sun's death from cancer in March 1925, KMT leaders continued to push the plan, and—after purging Guangzhou's Communists and Soviet advisors during the "Canton Coup" on 20 May 1926—finally launched the Expedition that June. Initial successes in the first months of the Expedition soon saw the KMT's National Revolutionary Army (NRA) in control of Guangdong and large areas in Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Fujian.

Canton Coup

The Canton Coup of 20 March 1926, also known as the Zhongshan Incident or the March 20th Incident, was a purge of Communist elements of the Nationalist army in Guangzhou undertaken by Chiang Kai-shek. The incident solidified Chiang's power immediately before the successful Northern Expedition, turning him into the paramount leader of the country.

National Revolutionary Army Nationalist Army of the Republic of China

The National Revolutionary Army (NRA), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army (革命軍) before 1928, and as National Army (國軍) after 1928, was the military arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947 in the Republic of China. It also 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.

Guangdong Most populous province of the Peoples Republic of China

Guangdong is a coastal province in South China on the north shore of South China Sea. Its capital of the province is Guangzhou. With a population of 113.46 million across a total area of about 179,800 km2 (69,400 sq mi), Guangdong is the most populous province of China and the 15th-largest by area. Its economy is larger than that of any other province in the nation and the 6th largest sub-national economy in the world with a GDP size of 1.47 trillion US dollars in 2018. The Pearl River Delta Economic Zone, a Chinese megalopolis, is a core for high technology, manufacturing and foreign trade. Located in this zone, are two of the four top Chinese cities, and the top two Chinese prefecture-level cities by GDP; Guangzhou, the capital of the province, and Shenzhen, the first special economic zone in the country. These two are among the most populous and important cities in China, and have now become two of the world's most populous megacities.

With the growth of KMT authority and military strength, the struggle for control of the Party's direction and leadership intensified. In January 1927 the NRA commanded by Chiang Kai-shek captured Wuhan and went on to attack Nanchang, while KMT leader Wang Jingwei and his left-wing allies, along with the Chinese Communists and Soviet agent Borodin, transferred the seat of the Nationalist Government from Guangzhou to Wuhan. On March 1 the Nationalist government reorganized the Military Commission and placed Chiang under its jurisdiction, while secretly plotting to arrest him. Chiang found out about this plot, which most likely led to his determination to purge the CPC from KMT. [6]

Wuhan Prefecture-level & Sub-provincial city in Hubei, Peoples Republic of China

Wuhan is the capital and largest city of the Chinese province of Hubei. It is the most populous city in Central China, with a population of over 10 million, the seventh most populous Chinese city, and one of the nine National Central Cities of China. It lies in the eastern Jianghan Plain, on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River's intersection with the Han river. Arising out of the conglomeration of three cities, Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang, Wuhan is known as "China's Thoroughfare" (九省通衢), and holds sub-provincial status.

Nanchang Prefecture-level city in Jiangxi, Peoples Republic of China

Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi Province in southeastern China. Nanchang is the largest city in Jiangxi Province. Nanchang is located in the central part of Jiangxi Province, with a history of more than 2,200 years. It was called “Yuzhang” during the Han dynasty, and “Hongdu” and “Hongcheng” from the Tang to Song dynasties. It is located in the hinterland of Yuzhang Plain.

Wang Jingwei Chinese politician, leader of Wang Jingwei regime

Wang Jingwei, born as Wang Zhaoming, but widely known by his pen name "Jingwei", was a Chinese politician. He was initially a member of the left wing of the Kuomintang (KMT), leading a government in Wuhan in opposition to the right wing government, but later became increasingly anti-communist after his efforts to collaborate with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ended in political failure. His political orientation veered sharply to the right later in his career after he collaborated with the Japanese.

Chiang Kai-shek at the beginning of the Northern Expedition in 1926. Chiang1926.jpg
Chiang Kai-shek at the beginning of the Northern Expedition in 1926.

In response to the advances of the NRA, Communists in Shanghai began to plan uprisings against the warlord forces controlling the city. On March 21–22 KMT and CPC union workers led by Zhou Enlai and Chen Duxiu launched an armed uprising in Shanghai, defeating the warlord forces of the Zhili clique. The victorious union workers occupied and governed urban Shanghai except for the international settlements prior to the arrival of the NRA's Eastern Route Army led by Gen. Bai Chongxi and Gen. Li Zongren. After the Nanking Incident, in which foreign concessions in Nanjing were attacked and looted, both the right wing of the Kuomintang and western powers became alarmed by the growth of Communist influence, while the CP continued to organize daily mass student protests and labor strikes, demanding the return of Shanghai international settlements to Chinese control. [7] With Bai's army firmly in control of Shanghai, on April 2 the Central Control Commission of KMT, led by former Chancellor of Peking University Cai Yuanpei, determined that the CPC actions were anti-revolutionary and undermined the national interest of China, and voted unanimously to purge the Communists from the KMT. [8]

Purge

KMT troops rounding up Communist prisoners for execution: 1927. Communist purge.jpg
KMT troops rounding up Communist prisoners for execution: 1927.
Public beheading of a communist by the Kuomintang. Public beheading of a communist during Shanghai massacre of 1927.jpg
Public beheading of a communist by the Kuomintang.

On April 5 Wang Jingwei arrived in Shanghai from overseas and met with the CPC leader Chen Duxiu. After their meeting they issued a joint declaration re-affirming the principle of cooperation between the KMT and the CPC, despite urgent pleas from Chiang and other KMT elders to eliminate Communist influence. When Wang left Shanghai for Wuhan the next day, Chiang asked Green Gang leader Du Yuesheng and other gang leaders in Shanghai to form a rival union to oppose the Shanghai labor union controlled by the Communists, and made final preparations for purging CPC members.

On April 9 Chiang declared martial law in Shanghai and the Central Control Commission issued the "Party Protection and National Salvation" proclamation, denouncing the Wuhan Nationalist Government's policy of cooperation with the CPC. On April 11 Chiang issued a secret order to all provinces under the control of his forces to purge Communists from the KMT.

Before dawn on April 12, gang members began to attack district offices controlled by the union workers, including Zhabei, Nanshi and Pudong. Under an emergency decree, Chiang ordered the 26th Army to disarm the workers' militias; that resulted in more than 300 people being killed and wounded. The union workers organized a mass meeting denouncing Chiang Kai-shek on April 13, and thousands of workers and students went to the headquarters of the 2nd Division of the 26th Army to protest. Soldiers opened fire, killing 100 and wounding many more. Chiang dissolved the provisional government of Shanghai, labor unions and all other organizations under Communist control, and reorganized a network of unions with allegiance to the Kuomintang and under the control of Du Yuesheng. Some sources say that over 1000 Communists were arrested, some 300 were executed and more than 5,000 went missing; others claim 5,000-10,000 killed. [9] Western news reports later nicknamed Gen. Bai "The Hewer of Communist Heads". [10] Some National Revolutionary Army commanders with Communist backgrounds who were graduates of Whampoa Military Academy kept their sympathies for the Communists hidden and were not arrested, and many switched their allegiance to the CPC after the start of the Chinese Civil War. [11]

Aftermath and significance

Nanking Nationalist Government was established in 4.18 , head of government was Chiang Kaishek. 1927 Nanking Nationalist Government.jpg
Nanking Nationalist Government was established in 4.18 , head of government was Chiang Kaishek.

For the Kuomintang, 39 members of the Kuomintang Central Committee in Wuhan publicly denounced Chiang Kai-shek as a traitor to Sun Yat-sen, including Sun's widow Soong Ching-ling immediately after the purge. However, Chiang was defiant, forming a new Nationalist Government at Nanjing to rival the Communist-tolerant Nationalist Government in Wuhan controlled by Wang Jingwei on April 18. The purges garnered the Nanjing government the support of much of the NRA, the Chinese merchant class, and foreign businesses, bolstering its economic and military position. [12]

The twin rival KMT governments, known as the Ninghan (Nanjing and Wuhan) Split (Chinese: 宁汉分裂), did not last long. In May 1927 Communists and peasant leaders in the Wuhan area were repeatedly attacked by Nationalist generals. [13] On June 1, Stalin sent a telegram to the Communists in Wuhan, calling for mobilisation of an army of workers and peasants. [14] This alarmed Wang Jingwei, who decided to break with the Communists and come to terms with Chiang Kai-shek.

More than 10,000 communists in Canton, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Ningbo, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Changsha were arrested and executed within 20 days. The Soviet Union officially terminated its cooperation with the KMT while Wang, fearing retribution as a Communist sympathizer, fled to Europe. The Wuhan Nationalist government soon disintegrated, leaving Chiang as the sole legitimate leader of the Kuomintang. In the years after April 1927, 300,000 people were killed across China in three years of warfare against the Communists as many She people and Hakka people had their whole families killed including infants and women sold to prostitution. [15] [16]

On the Communists' side, Chen Duxiu and his Soviet advisers, who had promoted cooperation with the KMT, were discredited and lost their leadership roles in the CPC. Chen was personally blamed, forced to resign and replaced by Qu Qiubai, who did not change Chen's policies in any fundamental way. The CPC planned for worker uprisings and revolutions in the urban areas. [15]

The first battles of the ten-year Chinese Civil War began with armed Communist insurrections in Changsha, Shantou, Nanchang and Guangzhou. During the Nanchang Uprising in August Communist troops under Zhu De were defeated but escaped from Kuomintang forces by withdrawing to the mountains of western Jiangxi. In September Mao Zedong led a small peasant army in what has come to be called the Autumn Harvest Uprising in Hunan province. It was defeated by Kuomintang forces and the survivors retreated to Jiangxi as well, forming the first elements of what would become the People's Liberation Army. By the time the CPC Central Committee was forced to flee Shanghai in 1933, Mao had established peasant-based soviets in Jiangxi and Hunan provinces, transforming the Communist Party's base of support from the urban proletariat to the countryside, where the People's War would be fought.

In June 1928 the National Revolutionary Army captured the Beiyang Government's capital of Beijing, leading to the nominal unification of China and worldwide recognition of the Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek as the legal government of the Republic. [17]

See also

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References

Citations

  1. Wilbur, Nationalist Revolution 114
  2. Wilbur, Nationalist Revolution 170.
  3. Zhao, Suisheng. [2004] (2004). A Nation-State by Construction: Dynamics of Modern Chinese Nationalism. Stanford University Press. ISBN   0-8047-5001-7.
  4. Wilbur 1976, 135–140.
  5. Wilbur 1976, 180-81.
  6. Chang Kuo-t'ao, The rise of the Chinese Communist Party: 1928–1938, p. 581
  7. Elizabeth, J. Perry (April 11, 2003). "The Fate of Revolutionary Militias in China". Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Retrieved November 25, 2006.
  8. Chen Lifu, Columbia interviews, part 1, p. 29.
  9. Ryan, Tom (2016). Purnell, Ingrid; Plozza, Shivaun (eds.). China Rising: The Revolutionary Experience. Collingwood: History Teachers' Association of Victoria. p. 77. ISBN   9781875585083.
  10. "CHINA: Nationalist Notes". TIME. June 25, 1928. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
  11. Chang, Jung; Halliday, Jon (2005). Mao, The Unknown Story. New York: Random House. ISBN   0-224-07126-2. (This book is controversial for its anti-Mao tone and references.)
  12. Jowett 2013, pp. 158–159.
  13. Harrison, James Pinckney (1972). The Long March to Power — a History of the Chinese Communist Party, 1921-72. Macmillan. pp. 108–110. ISBN   0333141547.
  14. Harrison, The Long March to Power, p. 111
  15. 1 2 Barnouin, Barbara and Yu Changgen. Zhou Enlai: A Political Life. Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2006. ISBN   962-996-280-2. Retrieved at <https://books.google.com/books?id=NztlWQeXf2IC&printsec=frontcover&dq=zhou+enlai&hl=en&ei=wBkuTdKyB4H_8AaJucigAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false> on March 12, 2011. p.38
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  • Smith, Stephen A. (2000). A road is made: Communism in Shanghai, 1920–1927. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN   978-0-8248-2314-6.
  • Wilbur, C. Martin (1983). The nationalist revolution in China, 1923–1928. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-0-521-31864-8.
  • Wilbur, C. Martin; Julie Lien-ying How (1989). Missionaries of revolution: Soviet advisers and Nationalist China, 1920–1927. Harvard University Press. ISBN   978-0-674-57652-0.

Further reading