What Was the Chinese Communist Revolution?

The Communist Revolution in China was a civil war between the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Nationalist Party that occurred in 1949 and 1950. On Oct. 1, 1949, Communist leader Mao Zedong declared the country was now the People’s Republic of China, and the two sides began open warfare. The Communists quickly gained the upper hand, taking over the country while the Nationalists retreated to Taiwan.

The Communist and Nationalist forces had been in conflict for decades, but the two sides entered into a truce in order to concentrate their efforts against Japan before and during World War II. After the surrender of Japan, the United States attempted to broker a coalition government, but the effort soon collapsed and the civil war began.

The civil war in China was one of the first proxy conflicts of the Cold War. The Soviet Union did not trust Mao Zedong and his party apparatus fully, but they supported the Chinese Communists in their revolution. The United States supported the Nationalist side, mostly with financial aid and military equipment. However, the Nationalists made a number of political missteps which eroded their support, such as a crackdown on dissent that alienated the liberals in the country. Hyperinflation in the economy also destroyed the middle class, which had been a traditional supporter of the Nationalist side.