Northern Expedition

Northern Expedition

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Encyclopedia
The Northern Expedition , was a military campaign led by the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (KMT) from 1926 to 1928. Its main objective was to unify China
Republic of China (1912–1949)
In 1911, after over two thousand years of imperial rule, a republic was established in China and the monarchy overthrown by a group of revolutionaries. The Qing Dynasty, having just experienced a century of instability, suffered from both internal rebellion and foreign imperialism...

 under the Kuomintang banner by ending the rule of local warlord
Warlord
A warlord is a person with power who has both military and civil control over a subnational area due to armed forces loyal to the warlord and not to a central authority. The term can also mean one who espouses the ideal that war is necessary, and has the means and authority to engage in war...

s. It led to the demise of the Beiyang government
Beiyang Government
The Beiyang government or warlord government collectively refers to a series of military regimes that ruled from Beijing from 1912 to 1928 at Zhongnanhai. It was internationally recognized as the legitimate Government of the Republic of China. The name comes from the Beiyang Army which dominated...

 and the Chinese reunification of 1928.

Preparation



The Northern Expedition also known as Northern March began from the KMT's power base in Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 province. In 1925 the May 30th Movement
May 30 Movement
The May Thirtieth Movement was a labor and anti-imperalist movement during the middle-period of the Republic of China era. It began when Shanghai Municipal Police officers opened fire on Chinese protesters in Shanghai's International Settlement...

 announced plans for strike and protest against western imperialism and its warlord agents in China. At the same time, the First United Front between KMT and Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 (CPC) was questioned after the Zhongshan Warship Incident
Zhongshan Warship Incident
The Zhongshan Warship Incident , or "March 20th Incident", on March 20, 1926, involved a suspected plot by Captain Li Zhilong of the warship Chung Shan to kidnap Chiang Kai-shek. It triggered a political struggle between the Communist Party of China and Kuomintang...

 in March 1926, and the following events in effect made Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

 the paramount military leader of the KMT. Although Chiang doubted Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

's policy of alliance with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and CPC, he still needed aid from the Soviet Union, so he could not break up the alliance at that time.

Notable military leaders and well trained soldiers stemmed from the Whampoa Military Academy
Whampoa Military Academy
The Nationalist Party of China Army Officer Academy , commonly known as the Whampoa Military Academy , was a military academy in the Republic of China that produced many prestigious commanders who fought in many of China's conflicts in the 20th century, notably the Northern Expedition, the Second...

, which was set up by Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

 in 1924. The Academy accepted all persons regardless of their party alignment. The success of The Northern Expedition can largely be attributed to both the KMT and CPC working together militarily. This unison, at the time, was strongly encouraged by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 who wanted to see a unified China.

The main targets of this expedition were three notorious and powerful warlords: Zhang Zuolin
Zhang Zuolin
Zhang Zuolin was the warlord of Manchuria from 1916 to 1928 . He successfully invaded China proper in October 1924 in the Second Zhili-Fengtian War. He gained control of Peking, including China's internationally recognized government, in April 1926...

 who governed Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

, Wu Peifu
Wu Peifu
Wu Peifu or Wu P'ei-fu , was a major figure in the struggles between the warlords who dominated Republican China from 1916 to 1927.- Early career :...

 in the Central Plain
Central Plain (China)
Zhongyuan or the Central Plain of China refers to the area on the lower reaches of the Yellow River which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization. It forms part of the North China Plain....

 region and Sun Chuanfang
Sun Chuanfang
Sun Chuanfang aka the "Nanking Warlord" or leader of the "League of Five Provinces" was a Zhili clique warlord and protege of the "Jade Marshal" Wu Peifu .- Biography :Sun Chuanfang was born in Lichen, Shandong...

 in east coast. Advised by the famous Russian general Vasily Blyukher
Vasily Blyukher
Vasily Konstantinovich Blyukher Vasily Konstantinovich Blyukher Vasily Konstantinovich Blyukher (also spelled Bliukher, Blücher, etc., , Soviet military commander, was among the prominent victims of Joseph Stalin's Great Purge of the late 1930s....

 under the pseudonym Galen, the HQ of the expedition decided to use all its power to defeat these warlords one by one: first Wu, then Sun, and finally Zhang.

First expedition


On July 9, 1926, Chiang gave his lecture to 100,000 soldiers of the National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
The National Revolutionary Army , pre-1928 sometimes shortened to 革命軍 or Revolutionary Army and between 1928-1947 as 國軍 or National Army was the Military Arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947, as well as the national army of the Republic of China during the KMT's period of party rule...

 (NRA), which was set up by the students trained in the Whampoa Military Academy
Whampoa Military Academy
The Nationalist Party of China Army Officer Academy , commonly known as the Whampoa Military Academy , was a military academy in the Republic of China that produced many prestigious commanders who fought in many of China's conflicts in the 20th century, notably the Northern Expedition, the Second...

 and equipped with Russian and German weapons in the opening ceremony, which was the official commencement of Northern Expedition. NRA soldiers were far better organized than the warlord armies which they faced due to their military advisers. In addition, the NRA was regarded as a progressive force on behalf of ordinary people persecuted by warlords, for which it received warm welcome and strong support from peasants and workers.。 It was no surprise the NRA could march from Zhu River area to Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

 in less than half a year and annihilate the main force of Wu and Sun, and strengthen its force from 100,000 to 250,000.

The purge


Following the defeat of the Zhili clique, Chiang decided to purge all Communists from the Kuomintang. In the Shanghai massacre of April 12
Shanghai massacre of 1927
The April 12 Incident of 1927 refers to the violent suppression of Chinese Communist Party organizations in Shanghai by the military forces of Chiang Kai-shek and conservative factions in the Kuomintang...

, thousands of Communists were executed or went missing, while others were arrested and imprisoned. The purge caused a split between the KMT's left and right wings. The leftists, led by Wang Jingwei
Wang Jingwei
Wang Jingwei , alternate name Wang Zhaoming, was a Chinese politician. He was initially known as a member of the left wing of the Kuomintang , but later became increasingly anti-Communist after his efforts to collaborate with the CCP ended in political failure...

 in the KMT capital at Wuhan
Wuhan
Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, and is the most populous city in Central China. It lies at the east of the Jianghan Plain, and the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers...

, condemned Chiang's purge. Chiang, however, subsequently established his own capital in Nanjing. As a result, the Nationalist party and its military forces were in a state of disarray during the summer of 1927.

Warlord counteroffensive


The purge gave the warlords an opportunity to rebuild their armies and counter the now weakened Kuomintang. Sun Chuanfang
Sun Chuanfang
Sun Chuanfang aka the "Nanking Warlord" or leader of the "League of Five Provinces" was a Zhili clique warlord and protege of the "Jade Marshal" Wu Peifu .- Biography :Sun Chuanfang was born in Lichen, Shandong...

 began to marshal his forces with his ally Xu Kun, one of China's best generals. At the same time, Sun was communicating with Zhang Zuolin
Zhang Zuolin
Zhang Zuolin was the warlord of Manchuria from 1916 to 1928 . He successfully invaded China proper in October 1924 in the Second Zhili-Fengtian War. He gained control of Peking, including China's internationally recognized government, in April 1926...

 of Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

, requesting assistance of any kind in the hopes of regaining his lost territory, including Nanking. He brought up an army of one hundred thousand men and arranged them around the Lower Yangtze River. His plan was to begin an all-out attack upon the Nationalist forces of Chiang, Li Zongren
Li Zongren
Li Zongren or Li Tsung-jen , courtesy name Delin , was a prominent Guangxi warlord and Kuomintang military commander during the Northern Expedition, Second Sino-Japanese War and Chinese Civil War...

 and Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi , , also spelled Pai Chung-hsi, was a Chinese general in the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China and a prominent Chinese Nationalist Muslim leader. He was of Hui ethnicity and of the Muslim faith...

, drive them away from the Yangtze and Nanking and pursue them southward back into Guangzhou, where the expedition had started.

Opposing the rejuvenated warlord armies were three Kuomintang Armies, referred to as the "Route Armies". The First Route Army, north of Nanking in Jiangsu
Jiangsu
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...

 Province; the Second Route, to the west of the First and centered around the city of Xuzhou
Xuzhou
Xuzhou , otherwise known as Pengcheng in ancient times, is a major city in and the fourth largest prefecture-level city of Jiangsu province, People's Republic of China...

, and the Third on the west of Xuzhou closer to Wuhan in the South, protecting against any intervention by the Leftist Wuhan forces. The Nationalists could afford to muster the same amount of manpower but was very divided by political tensions and leadership conflicts. Yet, it was the element of surprise that gave Sun and Xu Kun the advantage for their attack was not fully expected by Chiang or his military commanders. Finally, the Nationalists had stationed many of their troops on the northern side of the Yangtze in order to hold Xuzhou, leaving them exposed to the warlord armies and their impending counteroffensive. Thus, Chiang had sent a large number of troops into positions in which they could neither defend properly, without the combined support of the army, nor defend with any real purpose, setting the stage for the last great struggle of the Warlord Era
Warlord era
The Chinese Warlord Era was the period in the history of the Republic of China, from 1916 to 1928, when the country was divided among military cliques, a division that continued until the fall of the Nationalist government in the mainland China regions of Sichuan, Shanxi, Qinghai, Ningxia,...

.

Sun Chuanfang, on July 24, ordered the counterattack to begin. His army, including Xu Kun's forces, tore through the surprised Nationalist forces, resulting in the loss of Xuzhou in northern Jiangsu province. The Second Route Army, stationed in the area, was forced to withdraw south, using the Long-Hai railway as an escape route. The other Route Armies also began to retreat south toward the Yangtze as the warlord armies routed any remaining troops in their path. Chiang, who was astounded to hear that Xuzhou had fallen, sacked the army's commander, Wang Tianpei, and ordered that Xuzhou be retaken. Against the advice of Li Zongren, who thought it was better to withdraw south, Chiang, having exclaimed, "I will not return to Nanking until Xuzhou is back in our possession". He launched his attack with the Second Route Army in August, resulting in a terrible defeat for the Nationalists. This defeat led to Chiang's immediate resignation on Aug. 6th as head of the Nanking Government, prompting him to move to Shanghai, where his loyal supporters followed. Following this, Li Zongren and other military leaders evacuated the whole army to the Yangtze with the principal goal of defending Nanking.

Nationalist rapprochement


Li Zongren, the de facto leader of the Nanking Government, set out to negotiate the possible reconciliation between the Wuhan and Nanking Governments. The talks, however, were interrupted on Aug. 24th when Sun's troops, supported by Wuhan dissenters, attacked the Yangtze warship that Li was staying on. Yet, the talks had succeeeded in getting Wuhan to cooperate with the Nanking Government. Wang Jingwei, upon the end of negotiations, order the purging of all Communists with Wuhan. This resulted in a military coup by Communist troops in Nanchang of Jiangxi Province, leaving eight thousand Nationalists dead while many others fled. As a result, chaos broke out in Wuhan, contributing to its destabilization and the strengthening of the Nanking Government.

Battle of Longtan


On August 25, Sun Chuanfang's army, now close to the Yangtze, launched an all-out attack upon the Nationalist Forces. The worst hit was the First Route Army, defending the strategically placed city of Longtan
Longtan
-Mainland China:*Longtan Dam , dam in Guangxi*Longtan District , in Jilin, Jilin*Longtan Park , in BeijingSubdistricts *Longtan Subdistrict, Beijing, in Dongcheng District, Beijing...

, vital to the supply of Nanking via Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

. The battle raged around Longtan, especially on Mt. Wulongshan, where Nationalist troops stubbornly held out far longer than any expected, assuring that Sun could not continue his advance to Nanking. Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi , , also spelled Pai Chung-hsi, was a Chinese general in the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China and a prominent Chinese Nationalist Muslim leader. He was of Hui ethnicity and of the Muslim faith...

, recognizing the importance of Longtan, ordered reinforcements to be brought up as quickly as possible. Units of the Seventh and Nineteenth Corps arrived on the scene on August 28 and pushed Sun's battered army back to Longtan, relieving Mt. Wulongshan's defenders and buying time for further troops to arrive. On August 30, the full might of the Second Route Army attacked Longtan and, by late afternoon, recaptured the city. Sun's army, with losses equal to two-thirds of their original strength, fled across the Yangtze in defeat.

Second expedition


The period between September and November were calm periods of time in which the Nationalists, once more led by the reinstated Chiang Kai-shek, reorganized themselves, though it was not until January 2 that it was formally announced. The Wuhan government, finally bowing to pressure, reconciled itself with Chiang and formally merged with the Nanking Government. On December 12, the Nationalist forces, after reoccupying most of the territory lost that summer, recaptured Xuzhou. In response, Zhang Zuolin
Zhang Zuolin
Zhang Zuolin was the warlord of Manchuria from 1916 to 1928 . He successfully invaded China proper in October 1924 in the Second Zhili-Fengtian War. He gained control of Peking, including China's internationally recognized government, in April 1926...

 ordered that all loyal troops join his Anguo-jun Army, which had formed in response to the losses incurred by Sun Chuanfang's counteroffensive. Yet, it was not until April 2, following the conclusion of the Fourth Meeting of the Congress of the Kuomintang that Chiang ordered the beginning of the Second Expedition.

The Nationalists swept across the remains of Sun Chuanfang's and Xu Kun's Zhili Clique forces and reached the Yellow River in mid-April, 1928. When Yan Xishan
Yan Xishan
Yan Xishan, was a Chinese warlord who served in the government of the Republic of China. Yan effectively controlled the province of Shanxi from the 1911 Xinhai Revolution to the 1949 Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War...

 declared his intention to take Beijing, Zhang decided it was best to evacuate. On June 4, Zhang, who was heading north from Beijing by train, was assassinated by Japanese conspirators, operating from Japan's Kwantung Army. Yan's forces occupied Beijing and the city was renamed "Beiping" or "Northern Peace". Zhang's son, Zhang Xueliang
Zhang Xueliang
Zhang Xueliang or Chang Hsüeh-liang , occasionally called Peter Hsueh Liang Chang in English, nicknamed the Young Marshal , was the effective ruler of Manchuria and much of North China after the assassination of his father, Zhang Zuolin, by the Japanese on 4 June 1928...

, took over control of Manchuria and decided to cooperate with Chiang and the Kuomintang by replacing all banners of the Beiyang Government in Manchuria to the flag of the Nationalist Government, thus nominally uniting China
Chinese reunification (1928)
Chinese reunification , better known in Chinese history as the Northeast Flag Replacement , is a historical term that refers to Zhang Xueliang's announcement on December 29, 1928 on replacing all banners of the Beiyang Government in Manchuria to the flag of the Nationalist Government, thus...

 under one state, due to his desire to drive out Japanese influence over Manchuria.

Anti-Imperialism


During the Nanjing Incident
Nanjing Incident
The Nanjing Incident, or Nanking Incident, , occurred in March of 1927 during the capture of the city by Communistforces from the Nationalists. Warships bombarded Nanjing in defense of the foreign citizens within the city. Several ships were involved in the engagement, including vessels from Great...

, the Kuomintang took on the western Imperialist powers in China, launching an all out attack against the Imperialist concessions in multiple Chinese cities. The Chinese forces stormed the consulates of America, Britain, and Japan, looting nearly every foreign property and almost assasinating the Japanese consul. An American, two British, one French, an Italian, and a Japanese were killed by Chinese Nationalist forces. Chinese snipers targeted the American consul and marines who were guarding him, Chinese bullets flew into Socony Hall where American citizens were hiding out, one Chinese soldier declared- "We don't want money, anyway, we want to kill." The Chinese Kuomintang forces also stormed and seized millions of dollars worth of British concessions in Hankou
Hankou
Hankou was one of the three cities whose merging formed modern-day Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province, China. It stands north of the Han and Yangtze Rivers where the Han falls into the Yangtze...

, refusing to hand them back to Britain. Britain then decided to give them up.

Manchuria


In 1928, Chinese Muslim
Hui people
The Hui people are an ethnic group in China, defined as Chinese speaking people descended from foreign Muslims. They are typically distinguished by their practice of Islam, however some also practice other religions, and many are direct descendants of Silk Road travelers.In modern People's...

 General Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi , , also spelled Pai Chung-hsi, was a Chinese general in the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China and a prominent Chinese Nationalist Muslim leader. He was of Hui ethnicity and of the Muslim faith...

 led Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 forces to destroy and defeat the Fengtian Clique
Fengtian clique
The Fengtian Clique was one of several mutually hostile cliques or factions that split from the Beiyang Clique in the Republic of China's warlord era. It was named for Fengtian Province and led by Zhang Zuolin...

 General Zhang Zongchang
Zhang Zongchang
Zhang Zongchang , nicknamed the "Dogmeat General" and "72-Cannon Chang" , was a Chinese warlord in Shandong in the early 20th century...

, capturing 20,000 of his 50,000 troops, almost capturing Zhang himself, who escaped to Manchuria.

Bai personally had around 2,000 Muslims under his control during his stay in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 in 1928 after the Northern Expedition was completed, it was reported by TIME magazine that they "swaggered riotiously" in the aftermath In Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, June, 1928, Bai Chongxi announced that the forces of the Kuomintang would seize control of Manchuria, and the enemies of the Kuomintang would "scatter like dead leaves before the rising wind". General Bai was nicknamed "The Hewer of Communist Heads".

Outcome


The Northern Expedition is viewed positively in China today because it ended a period of disorder and started the formation of an effective central government. However it did not fully solve the warlord problem, as many warlords still had large armies that served their needs, not those of China. The left wing at the time criticized Stalin for relying on Chiang, a "bourgeois" figure who betrayed the "proletariat." This view was presented in an influential narrative by Harold Isaacs
Harold Isaacs
Harold Robert Isaacs was a historian and one-time Trotskyist historian of the Chinese Revolution of 1925-27. Isaacs went to China in 1930 and became involved with left wing politics in Shanghai...

 in his book, The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution, whose 1938 edition included a preface by Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

.

The only faction destroyed during the expedition was the Zhili clique. Local provincial warlords who seized or enhanced their power included Li Zongren
Li Zongren
Li Zongren or Li Tsung-jen , courtesy name Delin , was a prominent Guangxi warlord and Kuomintang military commander during the Northern Expedition, Second Sino-Japanese War and Chinese Civil War...

 of the New Guangxi Clique
New Guangxi clique
After the founding of the Republic of China, Guangxi served as the base for one of the most powerful warlord cliques of China: the Old Guangxi clique. Led by Lu Rongting and others, the clique was able to take control of neighbouring Hunan and Guangdong provinces as well...

, Yan Xishan
Yan Xishan
Yan Xishan, was a Chinese warlord who served in the government of the Republic of China. Yan effectively controlled the province of Shanxi from the 1911 Xinhai Revolution to the 1949 Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War...

 of the Shanxi clique
Shanxi clique
The Shanxi clique was one of several military factions that split off from the Beiyang Army during China's warlord era.Though a close associate of Duan Qirui, Shanxi's military governor, Yan Xishan, did not join Duan's Anhui clique. He kept his province neutral from the various civil wars the...

, Feng Yuxiang
Feng Yuxiang
Feng Yuxiang was a warlord and leader in Republican China. He was also known as the Christian General for his zeal to convert his troops and the Betrayal General for his penchant to break with the establishment. In 1911, he was an officer in the ranks of Yuan Shikai's Beiyang Army but joined...

 and his Northwestern or Guominjun
Guominjun
The Guominjun , a.k.a Nationalist Army, KMC, or Northwest Army , refers to the military faction founded by Feng Yuxiang, Hu Jingyi and Sun Yue during China's Warlord Era. It was formed when Feng betrayed the Zhili clique during the Second Zhili-Fengtian War with the Fengtian clique in 1924...

 Clique, Tang Shengzhi
Tang Shengzhi
Tang Shengzhi was a Chinese warlord during the Warlord Era, a military commander during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and a politician after World War II....

 in Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

, Chiang Kuang-Nai in Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

, Sheng Shicai
Sheng Shicai
Sheng Shicai was a Chinese warlord who "ruled" Xinjiang province from April 12, 1933 to August 29, 1944....

 of Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

, Long Yun
Long Yun
Long Yun was governor and warlord of the Chinese province of Yunnan from 1927 to near the end of the Chinese Civil War, when he was overthrown in a coup by Du Yuming under the order of Chiang Kai-shek in October, 1945.-Life:Long Yun was an sinicized ethnic Yi , a non Han Chinese people native to...

 of Yunnan
Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

, Wang Jialie
Wang Jialie
Wang Jialie Chairmen of the Guizhou government Nov 1931 - May 1935, and he continuously resisted Chiang Kai-shek's attempt to unify China under his central government....

 of Guizhou
Guizhou
' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the southwestern part of the country. Its provincial capital city is Guiyang.- History :...

, Liu Xiang
Liu Xiang (warlord)
Liu Xiang or Liu Hsiang, 劉湘 was one of the warlords controlling Sichuan province during the Warlord era of 20th century China....

 and Liu Wenhui
Liu Wenhui
Liu Wenhui was one of the warlords of Sichuan province during China's Warlord era. Liu who rose to prominence in Sichuan in the 1920s and 1930s, came from a peasant family. At the beginning of his career, he was aligned with the Kuomintang , commanding the Sichuan-Xikang Defence Force from 1927 to...

 of the Sichuan
Sichuan
' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

 Clique, Han Fuqu of Shandong
Shandong
' is a Province located on the eastern coast of the People's Republic of China. Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history from the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River and served as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese...

, Bie Tingfang
Bie Tingfang
Bie Tingfang was a Lieutenant-General in the National Revolutionary Army of China.-Biography:...

 (别廷芳) of Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

, the Ma Clique
Ma clique
The Ma clique or Ma family warlords is a collective name for a group of Muslim warlords in Northwestern China who ruled the Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Ningxia from the 1910s until 1949. There were 3 families in the Ma clique , each of them respectively controlled 3 areas, Gansu,...

 of Ma Bufang
Ma Bufang
Ma Bufang was a prominent Muslim Ma clique warlord in China during the Republic of China era, ruling the northwestern province of Qinghai. His rank was Lieutenant-general...

 and his family in Qinghai
Qinghai
Qinghai ; Oirat Mongolian: ; ; Salar:) is a province of the People's Republic of China, named after Qinghai Lake...

, Ma Hongkui
Ma Hongkui
Ma Hongkui , was a prominent warlord in China during the Republic of China era, ruling the northwestern province of Ningxia. His rank was Lieutenant-general. His courtesy name was Shao-yun .- Life :...

 in Ningxia
Ningxia
Ningxia, formerly transliterated as Ningsia, is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. Located in Northwest China, on the Loess Plateau, the Yellow River flows through this vast area of land. The Great Wall of China runs along its northeastern boundary...

, and Ma Zhongyin in Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

, Chen Jitang
Chen Jitang
Chen Jitang , also spelled Chen Chi-tang, was born into a Hakka family in Fangcheng, Guangxi, China. He joined the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance in 1908 and began serving in the Guangdong Army in 1920, rising from battalion to brigade commander...

 and his Cantonese
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 Clique, Lu Diping
Lu Diping
Lu Diping was a Chinese general and politician. Born in Ningxiang, Hunan, China, he was a graduate of Hunan Military College and a participant of the Wuchang Uprising. He commanded the 2nd Army and of the 18th Division. Lu was allied with Wang Jingwei and the left wing faction of the KMT...

 (鲁涤平) of Jiangxi
Jiangxi
' is a southern province in the People's Republic of China. Spanning from the banks of the Yangtze River in the north into hillier areas in the south, it shares a border with Anhui to the north, Zhejiang to the northeast, Fujian to the east, Guangdong to the south, Hunan to the west, and Hubei to...

 and Jing Yuexiu
Jing Yuexiu
Jing Yuexiu, 井岳秀, September 6, 1878–February 1, 1936) was a warlord from Shaanxi during the Warlord Era. He was born in what is now Tongchuan, Shaanxi on September 6, 1878. His whole life was spent in the army, and ruled Shaanxi from the city of Yulin for 23 years...

 (井岳秀) of Shaanxi
Shaanxi
' is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province...

.

This is because of their alliance with the Kuomintang. They acted as franchisees of the party, wore NRA uniforms, and espoused the party doctrine. With the exception of the Xinjiang and Fengtian clique
Fengtian clique
The Fengtian Clique was one of several mutually hostile cliques or factions that split from the Beiyang Clique in the Republic of China's warlord era. It was named for Fengtian Province and led by Zhang Zuolin...

s, the warlords that survived 1928 tended to have some background in revolutionary circles, some going back to the Tongmenghui
Tongmenghui
The Tongmenghui, also known as the Chinese United League, United League, Chinese Revolutionary Alliance, Chinese Alliance and United Allegiance Society, was a secret society and underground resistance movement formed when merging many Chinese revolutionary groups together by Sun Yat-sen, Song...

 era.

The wars between these new warlords claimed more lives than ever in the 1930s. This would prove to be a major problem for the KMT all the way through World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the following civil war
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

.

Chiang gained the greatest benefit from the expedition, however, for the victory achieved his personal goal of becoming paramount leader. Furthermore, Chiang made the military command superior to KMT party leadership, which resulted in his dictatorship later.

It is worth noting that the Northern Expedition was one of only two times in Chinese history when China was united by a conquest from south to north. The other time was when the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 succeeded in expelling the Mongol-Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 from China.

The Northern Expedition opened the way for another war between the Kuomintang and Guominjun during the Kuomintang Jihad in Gansu (1927-1930).

Trotsky and Stalin


The Northern Expedition became a point of contention over foreign policy by Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 and Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

. Stalin followed an opportunist policy, ignoring communist ideology. He told the CCP to stop complaining about the lower classes and follow the KMT's orders. Stalin believed that the KMT bourgeoisie would defeat the western imperialists in China and complete the revolution. Trotsky wanted the Communist party to complete an orthodox proletarian revolution and opposed the KMT. Stalin funded the KMT during the expedition. Stalin countered Trotskyist criticism by making a secret speech in which he said that Chiang's right wing Kuomintang were the only ones capable of defeating the imperialists, that Chiang Kai-shek had funding from the rich merchants, and that his forces were to be utilized until squeezed for all usefulness like a lemon before being discarded. However, Chiang quickly reversed the tables in the Shanghai massacre of 1927
Shanghai massacre of 1927
The April 12 Incident of 1927 refers to the violent suppression of Chinese Communist Party organizations in Shanghai by the military forces of Chiang Kai-shek and conservative factions in the Kuomintang...

 by massacring the Communist party in Shanghai midway in the Northern Expedition.

See also



  • National Revolutionary Army
    National Revolutionary Army
    The National Revolutionary Army , pre-1928 sometimes shortened to 革命軍 or Revolutionary Army and between 1928-1947 as 國軍 or National Army was the Military Arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947, as well as the national army of the Republic of China during the KMT's period of party rule...

  • Whampoa Military Academy
    Whampoa Military Academy
    The Nationalist Party of China Army Officer Academy , commonly known as the Whampoa Military Academy , was a military academy in the Republic of China that produced many prestigious commanders who fought in many of China's conflicts in the 20th century, notably the Northern Expedition, the Second...

  • Chiang Kai-shek
    Chiang Kai-shek
    Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

  • Military of the Republic of China
    Military of the Republic of China
    The Republic of China Armed Forces encompass the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Military Police Force of the Republic of China . It is a military establishment, which accounted for 16.8% of the central budget in the fiscal year of 2003...

  • History of the Republic of China
    History of the Republic of China
    The History of the Republic of China begins after the Qing Dynasty in 1912, when the formation of the Republic of China put an end to over two thousand years of Imperial rule. The Qing Dynasty, also known as the Manchu Dynasty, ruled from 1644 to 1912...

  • Sino-German cooperation
  • Central Plains War
    Central Plains War
    Central Plains War was a civil war within the factionalised Kuomintang that broke out in 1930. It was fought between the forces of Chiang Kai-shek and the coalition of three military commanders who had previously allied with Chiang: Yan Xishan, Feng Yuxiang, and Li Zongren...

  • Kuomintang
    Kuomintang
    The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

  • Jinan Incident
    Jinan Incident
    The Jinan Incident or May 3rd Tragedy , was an armed conflict between the Japanese Army allied with Northern Chinese warlords against the Kuomintang's southern army in Jinan, the capital of Shandong in 1928 during the Kuomintang's Northern Expedition.-Background:During the Northern Expedition,...


External links