How Successful Was Chiang Kaishek As Ruler of China From 1927-37?

Essay by Essayss November 2014

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Alan Steward

How Successful Was Chiang Kaishek As Ruler of China From 1927-37?

Chiang Kaishek was a leader who had high hopes for China. He is believed to have genuinely wanted to make a difference; with his main aim being to end warlordism and unite China. He was unfortunately unsuccessful in the majority of his efforts to fully accomplish such goals, which ultimately leads me to the conclusion that despite the efforts made, he was not the leader that China needed.

Chiang Kaishek knew that if there was any hope of him creating a unified China, he had to rid the country from its disparate state, and in order to do this, he had to curb the power of the warlords. In 1926 he launched the Northern Expedition for the unification of China. This military expedition against the local warlords who ruled most of China began in the Guomindang's power base in Guandong Province (in the south) and pushed into central China in early 1927.

The next year Chiang advanced to north China, and in June his forces took Beijing. Later that year the major Manchurian warlord pledged allegiance to the government in Nanjing, thus bringing about the formal unification of the country after a long period of warlord rule. The Northern Expedition is seen as successful; a belief in which I agree partly with, yet in the time that followed very little real change was made. Yes, the GMD was now the official power of China, and yes he had established a stable nucleus in Nanjing in which it would supposedly rule, but despite all this Chiang still only had limited control of a small percentage of the country. Although in formal terms Chiang had accomplished unification by the end of 1928, in fact he only really controlled the...