Cores, Peripheries and Peaceful Rising
Chapter 2: China in the early twentieth century: collapse, recovery and war
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a mix of external pressures from foreign traders and empire builders coupled to domestic structural change, including economic and social change along with an insurrectionary opposition, brought down the governing Qing regime. This ushered in a lengthy period of turmoil within China. The newly formed Republic of China was not a success, and those people with ideals, seeking progressive change, were sorely disappointed. Warlord violence followed, and it was not until the late 1920s that a semblance of order was secured in the period of the Nanjing Decade. That period too was suffused with the violence of civil war and, a little later, outright inter-state war with Imperial Japan, an exchange later subsumed within the Second World War. As matters unfolded the end of the international wars ushered in a period of renewed civil war, finally resolved only in 1949 with the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. This route to the modern world has shaped contemporary China, and in various ways these events have fed into collective memories, in turn, shaping, in part, the ways in which the elite and mass conceive their futures.
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