Reconstruction and its Problems

  • Richard T. Phillips


In 1928 after its victories in the Northern Expedition, the Nationalist government at Nanjing could fairly claim to be the strongest force within China, but the subsequent years of the so-called Nanjing Decade revealed that this strength was inadequate to overcome internal enemies and to defend against Japanese aggression at the same time. Problems unresolved by the Nanjing government were compounded by the deterioration of the Nationalist Party, which failed to provide the political leadership necessary for Sun Yixian’s theory of political tutelage to work. Nevertheless, although it is easy to point to Nanjing’s failures and possible to seek to excuse them because of the difficult circumstances, some attention must be paid to what was achieved, particularly in the economic and diplomatic sphere, otherwise the effectiveness of the government’s call for resistance against Japan and the popularity of Jiang Jieshi in 1937 and 1938 become incomprehensible. The Nanjing Decade also provided a vital opportunity for the CCP to practise rural mobilisation in the restricted enclaves available to it, thus laying the basis for rural conquest of the cities in the 1940s.


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© Richard T. Phillips 1996

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  • Richard T. Phillips

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