How Did The Nationalists Gain Control Of China

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Why did it take until 1928 for Nationalist control of China . The most obvious outcome of the 1911 Revolution would have been for a democratic government led by the nationalists to emerge, after all one of the main aims of the Revolution had been to introduce democracy to China. The Nationalists were also the party with the most support, and should have prospered, but they didn’t. Initially it seemed that in the aftermath of the Revolution the Nationalists would gain control when Sun Yat-Sen was installed as president, but the presence of Yuan Shikai complicated matters. The military strength he possessed was far greater than the Nationalists so when he made a bid for the presidency, Sun felt that he had to step aside. Sun stepped aside on Yuan’s promise of democracy, but this was naïve of him because Yuan had no intention of allowing democracy, and it soon became clear that he was establishing a dictatorship. The Nationalists now in the guise of the GMD political party won the election, but in the face of Yuan’s dictatorial policies, these election victories were meaningless. Sun realised this and called for a second revolution, but this was easily crushed by Yuan’s forces and the GMD was banned by Yuan. The Nationalists could not fight an all-powerful military dictator like Yuan, and were now in a very weak position. The death of Yuan should have helped the GMD, but in 1916 they were still too weak to fight the new power in Chinese politics, the warlords. Nationalism was a very wide and somewhat fractured political movement which suffered from a crippling lack of central leadership which limited it’s power. The GMD also suffered from having no army in an era when power was dependent on military strength. Sun attempted to rectify this and set up a Nationalist government and army in Canto, but this was abandoned when sun was turned on by the local
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