Qing Dynasty ruled China from 1644-1912. The Opium Wars, also known as the Anglo-Chinese Wars, divided into the First Opium War from 1839 to 1842 and the Second Opium War from 1856 to 1860. These were the climax of disputes over trade and diplomatic relations between China under the Qing Dynasty and the British Empire. The First Sino–Japanese War (1 August 1894 – 17 April 1895) was fought between Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan, primarily over control of Korea.
The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or Yihetuan Movement, was a violent movement by the Righteous Harmony Society in China between 1897 and 1901. It expressed proto-nationalist sentiments and tried to eradicate opposing foreign imperialism and Christian missions. The Great Powers (United Kingdoms, Russia, Japan, France, United States, Italy, Germany, Austria- Hungary) intervened and defeated the government forces, in a humiliation for China.
The “last emperor” of China Puyi abdicated on Feb 12, 1912. The Republic of China was founded in 1912. The revolution leading to the establishment of the ROC was led by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Dr. Sun Yat-sen became the 1 st provisional president of ROC, January 1-March 10, 1912.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen 孫逸仙 Provisional President of the Republic of China, Jan 1 – March 10, 1912
Yuan Shikai succeeded Sun Yat-Sen as the provisional president. Yuan Shikai was elected as the 1 st president of the ROC on Oct 10, 1913. Yuan Shikai decided to restore monarchism, Empire of China, and declared himself emperor of China, Jan 1 – March 22, 1916. He dies of kidney failure on June 5, 1916. After Yuan’s death, his lieutenants split into regional warlords, fighting each other. The Warlord Era lasted from 1916-1928.
Yuan Shikai sworn in as Provisional President of the Republic of China, in Beijing, 10 March 1912.
During the Warlord Era China had become divided between different military leaders without a proper central government. In 1921 Sun Yat-sen started a self-proclaimed military government in Guangzhou and was elected Grand Marshal. By this time Sun had become convinced that the only hope for a unified China lay in a military conquest from his base in the south, followed by a period of political tutelage that would culminate in the transition to democracy ( 军政、训政、宪 政）。 Meanwhile, the Communist Party of China (CPC), also known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), was Founded in July 1921 in Shanghai with help from the Communist International.
The First United Front between the KMT and the CCP In order to hasten the conquest of China, he began a policy of active cooperation with the Communist Party of China (CPC). Sun and the Soviet Union's Adolph Joffe signed the Sun-Joffe Manifesto in January 1923. Sun received help from the Comintern for his acceptance of communist members into his KMT. Revolutionary and socialist leader Vladimir Lenin praised Sun and the KMT for their ideology and principles. Lenin praised Sun and his attempts at social reformation, and also congratulated him for fighting foreign Imperialism. Sun also returned the praise, calling him a "great man", and sent his congratulations on the revolution in Russia.
With the Soviet's help, Sun was able to develop the military power needed for the Northern Expedition against the military at the north. He established the Whampoa Military Academy near Guangzhou with Chiang Kai-shek as the commandant of the National Revolutionary Army (NRA). Other Whampoa leaders include Zhou Enlai, Wang Jingwei and Hu Hanmin as political instructors. This full collaboration was called the First United Front.
Sun Yat-sen died of liver cancer on March 12, 1925. Northern Expedition, 1926-28 Chiang Kai-shek set out the Northern Expedition in the summer of 1926. NRA forces easily defeated the Zhili armies of Wu Peifu and Sun Chuanfang in central and east China.
Northern Expedition, National Revolutionary Army, July 1926 － 1928
In 1927, the KMT-CCP alliance ruptured with the communists being brutally purged, which initiated the Chinese Civil War. In 1928, after defeating the warlord armies in the Northern Expedition, Chiang Kai-shek became the leader of China.
A Nation within A Nation – Two Chinas CCP established a new nation, the Chinese Soviet Republic, 1931-1937 Retreated in 1934, settled in Yanan in 1936
The Second Sino-Japanese War (July 7, 1937 – September 2, 1945) The Second United Front was the brief alliance starting in December 1936 between the Chinese Nationalists Party (Kuomintang, or KMT) and Communist Party of China (CPC) to resist the Japanese invasion during the Second Sino-Japanese War, which temporarily suspended the Chinese Civil War. The Second United Front started to break down by late 1938 because both sides were vying for territorial advantage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_United_Front
The communists under the leadership of Mao Zedong began to focus most of their energy on building up their sphere of influence wherever opportunities were presented, mainly through rural mass organizations, administrative, land and tax reform measures favoring poor peasants; while the KMT allocated many divisions of its regular army to carry out military blockade of the CPC areas in an attempt to neutralize the spread of Communist influence until the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War
Mao Zedong (second from left in a dark uniform) and Communist Party of China (CPC) officials meeting with United States Ambassador to China, Patrick Hurley (at center - in bow tie), at CPC headquarters in Yan'an, 1945.
After a lengthy civil war, the CPC defeated its primary rival, the Kuomintang (KMT), and assumed full control of mainland China by 1949. The Kuomintang retreated to the island of Taiwan, where it still remains to this day.