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What if the Nationalists won the Chinese Civil War?

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Kuominwave
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What if the Nationalists won the Chinese Civil War?

Postby Kuominwave » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:25 pm

I was reading a couple articles and documents about the Chinese Civil War, and some pointed out that the Kuomintang nationalists had several opportunities to defeat Mao's forces, one of which was in 1946, when the commies were cornered in their stronghold in Manchuria. Chiang lost that opportunity to win in part due to him agreeing to George C. Marshall's ceasefire during the Marshall Mission.

Anyways, in an alternate universe somewhere, Chiang ignores Marshall's ceasefire request, and deals a crushing blow to the communists. In this universe, I'd like to ask: what do you think would have happened had the Nationalists won the civil war? Would it be better or worse than today's China in what areas and to what extent?


Edit: My own opinion is that China would have seen an economic miracle similar to Taiwan, or at least would not be held back by Mao’s cultural revolution. As for political freedoms... not much different from today’s China, though I’d expect a slow attempt at transitioning to democracy.
Last edited by Kuominwave on Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Neanderthaland » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:35 pm

I think they really lost any chance at winning when they opened the dyke at the Yellow River.

Between this and other instances of betrayal, and rampant corruption, it was hard for the Kuomintang to keep the Chinese people on their side. Not that they necessarily loved the communists either, mind you. It's just difficult to operate a government that has lost all legitimacy in so many people's eyes.
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New Bremerton
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Postby New Bremerton » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:39 pm

China would have made the transition to democracy eventually, similar to S. Korea and Taiwan in the '80s. Its culture, traditions and institutions would have remained intact, and people would actually care about so much more than just money and power. Communism dismantled all of that from 1949-1978. Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of the Republic of China would be an actual democracy with actual autonomy.
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Postby Nakena » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:42 pm

New Bremerton wrote:China would have made the transition to democracy eventually, similar to S. Korea and Taiwan in the '80s. Its culture, traditions and institutions would have remained intact, and people would actually care about so much more than just money and power. Communism dismantled all of that from 1949-1978. Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of the Republic of China would be an actual democracy with actual autonomy.


I believe this sums it pretty much up. Also this RoC would be incredibly more and plentiful contribute to Mankind.

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Khataiy
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Postby Khataiy » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:42 pm

Neanderthaland wrote:I think they really lost any chance at winning when they opened the dyke at the Yellow River.

Between this and other instances of betrayal, and rampant corruption, it was hard for the Kuomintang to keep the Chinese people on their side. Not that they necessarily loved the communists either, mind you. It's just difficult to operate a government that has lost all legitimacy in so many people's eyes.

Didn't really answer the question, he asked what if the nationalists won, not "if they had a chance".

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Homeco
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Postby Homeco » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:57 am

Modern China would probably be more like India -- a vast, chaotic democracy. People would have more political rights and freedoms than in the PRC, but there would probably be even more economic inequality.

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Postby Stormwrath » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:27 am

Kuominwave wrote:I was reading a couple articles and documents about the Chinese Civil War, and some pointed out that the Kuomintang nationalists had several opportunities to defeat Mao's forces, one of which was in 1946, when the commies were cornered in their stronghold in Manchuria. Chiang lost that opportunity to win in part due to him agreeing to George C. Marshall's ceasefire during the Marshall Mission.

Anyways, in an alternate universe somewhere, Chiang ignores Marshall's ceasefire request, and deals a crushing blow to the communists. In this universe, I'd like to ask: what do you think would have happened had the Nationalists won the civil war? Would it be better or worse than today's China in what areas and to what extent?

Pls add your own opinion, the Mods are going to lock this thread if you don't.

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Postby Aureumterra » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:35 am

Neanderthaland wrote:I think they really lost any chance at winning when they opened the dyke at the Yellow River.

Between this and other instances of betrayal, and rampant corruption, it was hard for the Kuomintang to keep the Chinese people on their side. Not that they necessarily loved the communists either, mind you. It's just difficult to operate a government that has lost all legitimacy in so many people's eyes.

If commies never took the long march, nationalists would’ve surrounded and won

New Bremerton wrote:China would have made the transition to democracy eventually, similar to S. Korea and Taiwan in the '80s. Its culture, traditions and institutions would have remained intact, and people would actually care about so much more than just money and power. Communism dismantled all of that from 1949-1978. Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of the Republic of China would be an actual democracy with actual autonomy.

No, like someone else said, unlike SoKo and Taiwan, China would be a very chaotic democracy comparable to India. This is mainly driven by the vast ethnic differences between numerous people groups in the country.
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Unstoppable Empire of Doom
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Postby Unstoppable Empire of Doom » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:42 am

For the record Chiang kai shek did ignore George c marshal. The ceasefires he brokered were only ever observed by the side which saw them as advantageous in the moment. He squandered military aid causing it to cease. He was an idiot who was recognized by both the Soviets and the US as the legitimate leader of China. He lost due to his own foolishness. He was practically a war criminal.
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Postby Chan Island » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:59 am

Weaker, freer and probably smaller. I can see the nationalists giving some of the warlords full independence in exchange for aid in wiping out the commies. It would also have been an enemy of the Soviet Union, and Manchuria would have been heavily militarised. Korea would probably be unified though. Also not sure if the conditions that allowed South Korea and Taiwan to industrialise as they did would have necessarily come to China too.
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New Bremerton
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Postby New Bremerton » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:02 am

Aureumterra wrote:
New Bremerton wrote:China would have made the transition to democracy eventually, similar to S. Korea and Taiwan in the '80s. Its culture, traditions and institutions would have remained intact, and people would actually care about so much more than just money and power. Communism dismantled all of that from 1949-1978. Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of the Republic of China would be an actual democracy with actual autonomy.

No, like someone else said, unlike SoKo and Taiwan, China would be a very chaotic democracy comparable to India. This is mainly driven by the vast ethnic differences between numerous people groups in the country.


China would still be a developing country due to its sheer size and population, and poverty and corruption would still be rampant as it is in India, but a Third World democracy is still a huge improvement over a Third World totalitarian state. At least its economy would still continue to develop and grow at a reasonably rapid pace. At least Tibetans and Uighurs would have more rights than they do now, even if they are still occasionally trampled on by corrupt local officials along with the rights of poor people more generally, and Hong Kong would be totally free and genuinely democratic and autonomous.

Add to that the fact that relations between Western countries and China would be far more cordial as they are between the West and India. A Western-style democratic superpower in the East would be far more palatable than a corrupt, totalitarian superpower, not to mention far more peaceful and less imperialistic.
Last edited by New Bremerton on Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:08 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Chan Island
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Postby Chan Island » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:17 am

Actually heres's a curiosity= would a nationalist china have had nuclear weapons? Because I'd imagine a nuclear nationalist china bordering the Soviet Union would have caused the russians to freak out.
Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.

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Yuyencia
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Postby Yuyencia » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:40 am

Are possibolity become equal bad country today kuomintang are soviet leninism structure, similar to communist as criminal syndicate
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Nakena
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Postby Nakena » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:46 am

Chan Island wrote:Actually heres's a curiosity= would a nationalist china have had nuclear weapons? Because I'd imagine a nuclear nationalist china bordering the Soviet Union would have caused the russians to freak out.


Likely they would have gotten them in the 1970s around the same time as India.

Also Maoist China and Soviet Union had some very, very serious tensions and almost started WW3 at several points.
Last edited by Nakena on Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby The New California Republic » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:49 am

The Soviets may have tried to intervene, but it's something we'll never know for sure.
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Nea Byzantia
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Postby Nea Byzantia » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:49 am

New Bremerton wrote:China would have made the transition to democracy eventually, similar to S. Korea and Taiwan in the '80s. Its culture, traditions and institutions would have remained intact, and people would actually care about so much more than just money and power. Communism dismantled all of that from 1949-1978. Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of the Republic of China would be an actual democracy with actual autonomy.

That, or Hong Kong would want to join Democratic China...

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Postby Bear Stearns » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:22 am

China would still be a threat, but it'd be an economic threat in the way Japan or West Germany were. It would also be a more transparent society, but still plagued by the usual Chinese problems like corruption and pollution.

I'd say it'd be better because I can't imagine the KMT doing anything like a social credit system or Soviet-style suppression of the press/internet.
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Postby Bear Stearns » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:23 am

Nea Byzantia wrote:
New Bremerton wrote:China would have made the transition to democracy eventually, similar to S. Korea and Taiwan in the '80s. Its culture, traditions and institutions would have remained intact, and people would actually care about so much more than just money and power. Communism dismantled all of that from 1949-1978. Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of the Republic of China would be an actual democracy with actual autonomy.

That, or Hong Kong would want to join Democratic China...


Hong Kong would probably be the financial center of China and Shenzhen would just be a suburb.
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Postby Bear Stearns » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:23 am

Chan Island wrote:Actually heres's a curiosity= would a nationalist china have had nuclear weapons? Because I'd imagine a nuclear nationalist china bordering the Soviet Union would have caused the russians to freak out.


The US would probably give them nukes.
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Nea Byzantia
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Postby Nea Byzantia » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:23 am

Bear Stearns wrote:China would still be a threat, but it'd be an economic threat in the way Japan or West Germany were. It would also be a more transparent society, but still plagued by the usual Chinese problems like corruption and pollution.

I'd say it'd be better because I can't imagine the KMT doing anything like a social credit system or Soviet-style suppression of the press/internet.

Or maybe it would go authoritarian Fascist, under Chiang Kai-Shek....

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Postby Bear Stearns » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:25 am

Nea Byzantia wrote:
Bear Stearns wrote:China would still be a threat, but it'd be an economic threat in the way Japan or West Germany were. It would also be a more transparent society, but still plagued by the usual Chinese problems like corruption and pollution.

I'd say it'd be better because I can't imagine the KMT doing anything like a social credit system or Soviet-style suppression of the press/internet.

Or maybe it would go authoritarian Fascist, under Chiang Kai-Shek....


Chiang Kai-Shek would be more like Pinochet, not Hitler.
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Nea Byzantia
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Postby Nea Byzantia » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:26 am

Bear Stearns wrote:
Nea Byzantia wrote:Or maybe it would go authoritarian Fascist, under Chiang Kai-Shek....


Chiang Kai-Shek would be more like Pinochet, not Hitler.

Fine. So Right-Wing Authoritarian...Which would be pretty cool...Chiang Dynasty here we go...

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New Bremerton
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Postby New Bremerton » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:10 am

Bear Stearns wrote:China would still be a threat, but it'd be an economic threat in the way Japan or West Germany were. It would also be a more transparent society, but still plagued by the usual Chinese problems like corruption and pollution.

I'd say it'd be better because I can't imagine the KMT doing anything like a social credit system or Soviet-style suppression of the press/internet.


Modern, Western-style fascist regimes such as Francoist Spain tend not to last and either collapse or peacefully transition to democracy after a while, whereas communist regimes are more likely to either peacefully transition to fascism as China has done, or if the communist regime does collapse, there may be a brief democratic spell before fascism, or at the very least, authoritarianism, begins to rear its ugly head, as in Russia's case. That's been my observation anyway. As dangerous as fascism may be in the short term, it's actually preferable to communism in the longer term given its much shorter average lifespan. This does not apply to post-communist fascist regimes where a cultural revolution has permanently and irreversibly dismantled longstanding traditions and institutions and left a gaping void in its wake, whereas fascism tends to leave such traditions and institutions intact and is much easier to recover from than communism. Spain still has its king. Japan its emperor. China has nothing left but superficial greed, corruption and self-interest, as does Russia.

Back to alternate China, the KMT would almost certainly play the role of a right-wing to center-right conservative party much as it does in Taiwan.
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Postby Nova Cyberia » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:11 am

Well, the Chinese people would be substantially better off.

It doesn't really take a whole lot to be a better government than the PRC.
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Postby Cynereth » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:29 am

Kuominwave wrote:I was reading a couple articles and documents about the Chinese Civil War, and some pointed out that the Kuomintang nationalists had several opportunities to defeat Mao's forces, one of which was in 1946, when the commies were cornered in their stronghold in Manchuria. Chiang lost that opportunity to win in part due to him agreeing to George C. Marshall's ceasefire during the Marshall Mission.

Anyways, in an alternate universe somewhere, Chiang ignores Marshall's ceasefire request, and deals a crushing blow to the communists. In this universe, I'd like to ask: what do you think would have happened had the Nationalists won the civil war? Would it be better or worse than today's China in what areas and to what extent?


This is an interesting topic, because I don't think there's a universal positive or negative scenario to come out of such an alternate history. In terms of the average life of the Chinese, I would imagine that it would be somewhat-improved over current circumstances: China as the preeminent "Asian Tiger" economy would have almost certainly liberalized and afforded its citizens more civil and political freedoms similar to the liberalization of nations like South Korea. Also, the political relationship between China and Japan would have been far more peaceful than in our reality with a Democratic China being a much stronger ally much sooner to the United States and its sphere of influence. North Korea would no longer be a thing, to be sure: without Chinese intervention, the war ends when U.N. forces reach the Yalu River in October 1950. A democratic China also removes a lot of political cover that Communists in Indochina used to seize power, so it's likely that Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam never turn to Communism as they did in reality, though the regional conflicts between China and its southern neighbors likely remain.

On the downside, a democratic China removes a very important bulwark in the Cold War and dramatically reshapes the global balance of power. Despite being ostensibly Communist, the Sino-Soviet Split became a very important moderating factor in Central/East Asia. China as something of a neutral broker between both Moscow and Washington allowed for some modicum of stability in Asia, while political intrigue in Africa, Europe and Latin America ratcheted up. With a democratic and strongly pro-American China on the table, and the concurrent collapse of North Korea, the Soviet Union is completely bottled up in the Far East. This would assuredly make them more proactive (i.e. aggressive) elsewhere, fomenting Communist movements in Southern Europe most likely. They'd be far more invested in supporting Communist revolutionaries in Africa and Latin America than they were in our time in an attempt to rectify the imbalance in geopolitical capital. A more aggressive Soviet Union in Africa, Europe and Latin America could be the 'nudge' needed to take real-life crises like the Cuban Missile Crisis or Able Archer '83 and push them into full-blown nuclear conflicts.

So really, it's kind of a mixed bag where both risk and reward increases.
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