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China in the 20th century

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  1. Introduction
  2. The UN works for peace
  3. Pacific battle and destabilization of Europe
  4. USSR and the US
  5. Conclusion

At the beginning of the century, China was considered as a 'semi-colony' under the influence of foreign powers. There have been exorbitant privileges granted under the 'unequal treaties' (territorial concessions, divided into spheres of influence). Domestically, the country was in anarchy. Unable to react to the dismemberment of China, the imperial regime was overthrown by the revolution of 1911 which established a republic headed by Sun Yat-Sen. After a period of military dictatorship, the country was experiencing a real territorial and political disintegration in 1916. Two governments (one in Beijing and one in Canton), then claimed to represent China, but the real power was in the hands of the 'warlords'. This anarchy plunged the country into poverty but an embryo of modern economic sector was expanding, creating a middle class and working masses which wanted to be heard. The Mandarins were attached to the Confucian tradition; a new intelligentsia very sensitive to national sentiment also aspired to change. On the occasion of a great patriotic demonstration in Beijing, the 'May 4th Movement' was born, in 1919, relayed by the bourgeoisie and the workers. This national revival movement rejected the Versailles Treaty and proposed a radical transformation of the social order. It revolved around two teams: the Guomindang, nationalist and reformer, who claimed the sovereignty of the people and recruits among the elite and the bourgeoisie, and the Chinese Communist Party, founded in 1921 by Marxist intellectuals, whose numbers were skeletal.

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