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Hi, I'm John Green. This is Crash Course History. Today we're going to return, sadly for the last time on Crash Course, to China. By the way, Stan brought cupcakes. That's good. I wish I could draw some parallel between this and China, but I got nuthin'. It's just delicious. I'll sure miss you, piece of felt Danika cut out in the shape of China using blue because we felt like red would be cliche. Mr. Green! Mr. Green! Mr. Green! You don't get to talk until you shave the mustache me-from-the-past! So the 20th century was pretty big for China because it saw not one, but two revolutions. China's 1911 revolution might be a bigger deal from the world's historical perspective than the more famous communist revolution of 1949, but you wouldn't know it because: 1, China's communism became a really big deal during the Cold War, and 2, Mao Zedong, the Father of Communist China, was really good at self-promotion ... Like you know his famous book of sayings, pretty much everyone in China just had to own it ... and I mean HAD to. (theme music) So as you no doubt recall from past episodes of Crash Course, China lost the Opium Wars in the 19th century resulting in European dominations, years of influence, etcetera, all of which was deeply embarrassing to the Qing Dynasty and led to cause for reform. One strand of reform, they called for China to adopt the European military technology and education systems was called "Self-Strengthening." It probably would have been a great idea considering how well that worked for Japan, but it never happened in China ... Well, at least not until recently. Instead, China experienced the disastrous anti-western Boxer Rebellion of 1900 which helped spur some young liberals, including one named Sun Yat Sen, to plot the overthrow of the Dynasty. Oh, it's already time for the Open Letter? (harp music) An Open Letter to Sun Yat Sen, but first let's see what's in the secret compartment today. Oh, more champagne poppers? Stan, at this point, aren't we sort of belaboring the fact that China invented fireworks? (popping sound) (laughs) Wow! THAT is innovation at work right there! We used to not be able to fire off one of these. Now we can fire off six at a time if you count the two secret ones from behind me. Dear Sun Yat Sen, you were amazing! The Republic of China calls you the father of the nation, the People's Republic of China calls you the forerunner of the democratic revolution? You're the only thing they can agree on! You lived in China, Japan, the United States, you converted to Christianity, you were a doctor, you were the godfather of an important science fiction writer? The infuriating thing is that you never actually got much of a chance to rule China and you would have been GREAT at it! I mean, your three principles of the people; nationalism, democracy and the peoples' livelihood are three really great principles! I mean, a problem aside from you not living long enough, is you just didn't have a face for Warhol portraits. (sigh) It's too bad. Best wishes, John Green. So the 1911 Revolution that led to the end of the Qing Dynasty started when a bomb accidentally exploded at which point the revolutionaries were like, "We're probably going to be outted, so we should just start the uprising now." The uprising probably would have been quelled like many had before, except this time the army joined the rebellion because they wanted to become more modern. The Qing emperor abdicated and the rebels chose a general, Yuan Shikai, as leader while Sun Yat Sen was declared president of a provisional republic on January 1, 1912. A new government was created with a Senate and Lower House and it was supposed to write a new constitution. After the first election, Sun Yat Sen's party, the [Kuomintang], were the largest, but they weren't the majority. Sun Yat Sen deferred to Yuan which turned out to be a huge mistake because he then outlawed the [Kuomintang] party and ruled as Dictator. But then when Yuan Shikai died in 1916, China's first non-dynastic government in over 3,000 years completely fell apart. Localism reasserted itself with large scale landlords and small scale armies ruling all the parts of China that weren't controlled by foreigners. You might remember this phenomenon from earlier in Chinese history; first during the warring states period and then again for 300 years between the end of the Han and the rise of the [Schweets]. So the period in Chinese history between 1912 and 1949 is sometimes called the "Chinese Republic," although that gives the government a bit too much credit. The leading group trying to reform China into a nation state was Kuomintang, but after 1920, the Chinese Communist Party was also in the mix. For the Kuomintang to regain power from those big landlords and reunify China, they needed some help from the CCP. Now with an alliance between communist and nationalists, it seems like a match made in hell ... Well ... yes. It was. With that said, the two did manage to patch things up for a while in the early 1920s, you know ... for the sake of the kids. But then Sun Yat Sen died in 1925 and the alliance fell apart in 1927 when Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-Shek got mad at the communists for trying to [foment] socialist revolution to which the communists were like, "But that's what we do, man. We're communists." Anyway, this turned out to be a bad breakup for a bunch of reasons, but mainly because it started a civil war between the communists and the nationalists. We're not going to get into exhausting detail about the civil war, but spoiler alert ... The Communists won. There are a few things to point out; first, even Mao emerged victorious, he and the communists were almost wiped out in 1934, except that they made a miraculous and harrowing escape trekking from southern China to the mountains in the north in what has become famously known as The Long March, a great example of historians missing an opportunity since it could easily have been called the Long Ass March as it featured donkeys. Second, for much of the time, Kuomintang was trying to crush the CCPs, significant portions of China were being occupied and or invaded by Japan. Thirdly, the communists were just better at fighting the Japanese than the nationalists were in spite of the fact that Chiang Kai-shek had extensive support from the US. Each time the nationalists failed against the Japanese, their prestige among their fellow Chinese diminished. And it wasn't helped by nationalists corruption or the collection of ownerist taxes from peasants, or stories about nationalist troops putting on civilian clothing and abandoning the city of Nanking during its awful destruction by the Japanese army in 1937. Meanwhile, the communists were winning over the peasants in their northwestern enclave by making sure that troops didn't pillage local land and giving peasants a greater say in local governments. Now that isn't to say that everything was rosy under Mao's communist leadership, even at its earliest stages. By the way, this is an actual chalk illustration! Very impressed! In a preview of things to come in 1942, Mao initiated a rectification program which basically meant students and intellectuals were sent down into the countryside to give them a taste of what real China was like in an effort to reeducate them. We try to be politically neutral on Crash Course, but we are always opposed to intellectuals doing hard labor. But anyway, within four years of the end of World War II, the communists routed Chiang Kai-shek's army and sent them off to Taiwan. These military victories paved the way for Mao to declare the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. So once in power, Mao and the PRC were faced with the task of creating a new socialist state. Mao declared early on that the working class in China would be the leaders of a people's democratic dictatorship! Oh, democratic dictatorships, you're the best! It's all the best parts of democracy and all the best parts of dictatorship. You get to vote, but there's only one choice. It takes all the pesky thinking out of it! The PRC promised equal rights for women, rent reduction, land redistribution, new heavy industry and lots of freedoms! Including freedoms of thought, speech, publication, assembly, association, correspondence, person, domicile, moving from one place to another, religious belief and the freedom to hold processions or demonstrations. Yeah ... No. Even putting aside the PRC's failure to protect any of these rights, Mao's China wasn't much fun if you were a landlord, or even if you were a peasant who'd done well. Land redistribution and reform meant destroying the power of landlords, often violently. But centralizing power and checking individual ambition proved difficult for the government and it was made harder by China's involvement in the Korean War which helped spur the first mass campaign of Mao's democratic dictatorship. Designed to encourage support for the war, the campaign was called the "Resist America and Aid Korea Campaign" and it resulted in almost all foreigners leaving China. A second campaign against counter-revolutionaries was much worse. People suspected of sympathizing with the Kuomintang or anyone insufficiently communist, was subject to humiliation and violence. Between October 1950 and August 1951, 28,332 people accused of being spies or counter-revolutionaries were executed in Kuomintang city alone. A third mass campaign, the Three-anti Campaign, was aimed at reforming the communist party itself, and the final mass campaign, the Five-anti Campaign, was an assault on all Bourgeois capitalism which effectively killed private industry in China. Very few of the victims of this last campaign actually died, but capitalism was weakened and state control bolstered. Okay, let's go to the Thought Bubble. Mao and the CCP set out to turn China into an industrial powerhouse by following the Soviet model. We haven't really talked about this, but under the Soviet system, Russia was able to accomplish massive industrialization, not to mention tens of millions of deaths from starvation. Through centralized planning and collectivization of agriculture following what were known as Five-Year-Plans. The Chinese adopted the model of the Five-Year-Plans beginning in 1953 and the first one worked, at least as far as industrialization was concerned. In fact, the plan worked even better than expected with industry increasing 121% more than projected. In order for this to work though, the peasants had to grow lots of grain and sell it at extremely low prices. This kept inflation in check and saving was encouraged by the fact that the Five-Year-Plan didn't have many consumer goods so there was nothing to buy. For urban workers, living standards improved and China's population grew to 646 million. So far Mao's plan seemed to be working, but there was no way that China could keep up that growth, especially without some backsliding into capitalism. So Mao came up with a terrible idea called the Great Leap Forward. Mao essentially decided that the nation could be psyched up into more industrial productivity. Among many other bad ideas, he famously ordered that individuals build small steel furnaces in their back yard to increase steel production. This was not a good idea. First off, it didn't actually increase steel production much. Secondly, it turns out that people making steel in their back yard who know nothing about making steel, make bad steel. But the worst idea was to pay for heavy machinery from the USSR with exported grain. This meant that there was less for peasants to eat, and as a result, between 1959 and 1962, 20 million people died, probably half of whom were under the age of 10. Jeez, Thought Bubble, that was sad. And then in happier news, came the cultural revolution! Just kidding ... it sucked. By the middle of the '60s, Mao was afraid that China's revolution was running out of steam and he didn't want China to end up just a bureaucratized police state like, you know, most of the Soviet block. The cultural revolution was an attempt to capture the glory days of the revolution and fire up the masses ... And what better way to do that than to empower the kids! Frustrated students who were unable to find decent fulfilling jobs jumped at the chance to denounce their teachers, employers and sometimes even their parents and to tear down tradition which often meant demolishing buildings and art. The ranks of these red guards swelled and anyone representing the so-called Four Olds; old culture, old habit, old ideas and old customs, was subject to humiliation and violence. Intellectuals were again sent to the countryside as they were in 1942, millions were persecuted and countless historical and religious artifacts were destroyed, but the real aim of the cultural revolution was to consolidate Mao's revolution. While his image still looms large, it's hard to say that China these days is a socialist state. Many would argue that Mao's revolution was extremely short-lived and that the real change in China happened in 1911. That's when the Chinese Republic ended 3,000 years of dynastic history and forever broke the cyclical pattern the Chinese had used to understand their past. I mean at least in some senses, those nationalist revolutionaries literally put an end to history. That sense of living in a truly new world has made many great and terrible things possible for China. But the legacy of China's two revolutions is mixed at best. China for instance, made most of the camera we're using to film this video and China made most of the computers we use to edit it. But no one in the People's Republic of China will legally be able to watch this video because the government blocks YouTube. Thanks for watching. I'll see you next week.