Birth of the Chinese Civil War

China's Nanjing Decade

East Asia 1927.0714

Birth of the Chinese Civil War

The Northern Expedition, early Chinese Civil War, and Japanese incursions into China (14 July 1927)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

The Kuomintang had received most of its foreign support from the Soviet Union, which strengthened the Chinese Communist elements in the party. However, Chiang Kaishek distrusted the Communists and, in April 1927, turned on them. The resulting massacres split the Kuomintang, alienated the Soviet Union, and marked the beginning of the quarter century struggle between the Nationalists and Communists for control of China.


Warlord China

From the Zhili-Anhui War (1920) to the Nationalist recapture of Beijing (1928), control over China fluctuated as various warlords fought for power. The foreign powers handled this situation by regarding whichever warlords controlled Beijing as the legitimate government of China, even though these warlords often had no influence outside the city.

To depict this situation, this atlas shows the recognized government of China as warlord-controlled rather than as an independent entity, with its size changing depending on how much authority the government had outside of Beijing. However the actual recognized borders of China itself did not change during this period.

Main Events

Forces of Chiang Kaishek violently suppress Chinese Communist organizations in Shanghai

Wang Jingwei sets up rival Nationalist government in Wuhan in alliance with the Chinese Communist Party

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