A Day in July: An Early 20th Century Timeline

This is certainly a very welcome sight, good to see we're checking in on East Asia again. I've wanted to educate myself on the Warlord Period for a while now, could you please tell us what sources you used for these sections?
 
This is certainly a very welcome sight, good to see we're checking in on East Asia again. I've wanted to educate myself on the Warlord Period for a while now, could you please tell us what sources you used for these sections?
Sure. I have watched a number of different Chinese shows about the period to get a bit of a better idea about the ambience of the period and a Chinese perspective on events. Stillwell and the American Experience in China has a decent examination of the period (although Tuchman does have a rather annoying tendency to make some very broad-based comments about Chinese culture on the basis of Chinese behavior at the time) and a couple other more general books. However, the easiest source to work with has actually been wikipedia - I tend to have between 10-15 different related wiki pages open in the background as I write to reference - usually a couple of the major characters, a couple about the relevant political organizations and more general history sections. Wiki has a decent coverage of the Warlord era in that regard. That is how I found figures such as Gao Songling and Chu Yupu, who were too insignificant to receive any real coverage in the various books or shows. I also use wikipedia to get a general idea of how related campaigns or conflicts - for the Jiangning Rebellion I was working in part off of the Central Plains War for the general idea of a cabal of generals breaking against the ruling regime.
 
Sure. I have watched a number of different Chinese shows about the period to get a bit of a better idea about the ambience of the period and a Chinese perspective on events. Stillwell and the American Experience in China has a decent examination of the period (although Tuchman does have a rather annoying tendency to make some very broad-based comments about Chinese culture on the basis of Chinese behavior at the time) and a couple other more general books. However, the easiest source to work with has actually been wikipedia - I tend to have between 10-15 different related wiki pages open in the background as I write to reference - usually a couple of the major characters, a couple about the relevant political organizations and more general history sections. Wiki has a decent coverage of the Warlord era in that regard. That is how I found figures such as Gao Songling and Chu Yupu, who were too insignificant to receive any real coverage in the various books or shows. I also use wikipedia to get a general idea of how related campaigns or conflicts - for the Jiangning Rebellion I was working in part off of the Central Plains War for the general idea of a cabal of generals breaking against the ruling regime.
Thank you, the Warlord Era, like so many other conflicts, could really do with more books written on it.
 
Thank you, the Warlord Era, like so many other conflicts, could really do with more books written on it.
As mentioned, I have been getting a lot more into particularly Chinese and Korean history and have found it endlessly fascinating. The Warlord Era has a lot of incredibly interesting and complex characters trying to deal with a horrifying and complicated situation. There are rogues and heroes, warlords and spies. The main issue is really that of finding out where the sources are - because they are out there - and then getting a firm grip on the chronology of events because China is so massive and there are so many major events going on all over the place that it can be hard to keep track. The Warlord Era in particular has a pretty clear North-South divide with a large assortment of lesser independent sections. The intrigues over rulership in Xinjiang for example would be sufficient material for multiple books while the complicated intrigues of the warlord "class" after CKS officially brought China together can be both deeply entertaining and incredibly frustrating. The thing to understand is that KMT victory was not really based on actually defeating the various warlords, but rather their cooptation of the various lesser warlords, who retained considerable power and control throughout this period. CKS was constantly fearful that he would be set aside by various cliques of warlords subordinate to him to the point that it largely shaped a lot of his handling of the Second Sino-Japanese War. He was more worried about his own followers than he was about either the Communists or the Japanese.

With this section I was trying to highlight the way in which the Fengtian regime is tackling that exact problem with more or less success. While the Fengtian government's control of southern China is loose by any definition of the word, they have a lot of advantages to build off of.
 
I love your timeline and nearly everything about it (I only don’t like some of things you write about Turkey but that is your timeline). I have a lot of question about Turkey. For example, What kind of reforms Ataturk did? Did he do hat reform? Did he do Alphabet reform? Did he enact women suffrage?
As you understand, I have a lot of question.
Note: It would be good see Ottoman Sultan wearing fedora.
 
As mentioned, I have been getting a lot more into particularly Chinese and Korean history and have found it endlessly fascinating. The Warlord Era has a lot of incredibly interesting and complex characters trying to deal with a horrifying and complicated situation. There are rogues and heroes, warlords and spies. The main issue is really that of finding out where the sources are - because they are out there - and then getting a firm grip on the chronology of events because China is so massive and there are so many major events going on all over the place that it can be hard to keep track. The Warlord Era in particular has a pretty clear North-South divide with a large assortment of lesser independent sections. The intrigues over rulership in Xinjiang for example would be sufficient material for multiple books while the complicated intrigues of the warlord "class" after CKS officially brought China together can be both deeply entertaining and incredibly frustrating. The thing to understand is that KMT victory was not really based on actually defeating the various warlords, but rather their cooptation of the various lesser warlords, who retained considerable power and control throughout this period. CKS was constantly fearful that he would be set aside by various cliques of warlords subordinate to him to the point that it largely shaped a lot of his handling of the Second Sino-Japanese War. He was more worried about his own followers than he was about either the Communists or the Japanese.

With this section I was trying to highlight the way in which the Fengtian regime is tackling that exact problem with more or less success. While the Fengtian government's control of southern China is loose by any definition of the word, they have a lot of advantages to build off of.
Were China not so divided, it would've been able to wipe the floor with the much smaller Japanese.
 
I love your timeline and nearly everything about it (I only don’t like some of things you write about Turkey but that is your timeline). I have a lot of question about Turkey. For example, What kind of reforms Ataturk did? Did he do hat reform? Did he do Alphabet reform? Did he enact women suffrage?
As you understand, I have a lot of question.
Note: It would be good see Ottoman Sultan wearing fedora.
I am really happy to hear that you have enjoyed it!

Update 32 deals a great deal with events in the Ottoman Empire and the various reforms undertaken by Kemal Pasha (Ataturk). As to the specific reforms I will say that I am drawing heavily on his Five Pillars and various elements of his OTL rulership for inspiration. I don't want to reveal what specific reforms he enacts but I will say that he does go ahead with a lot of the stuff he did IOTL. If you do want spoilers, you can send me a PM, but I don't want to put it where it might spoil people.

Do you mind explaining what in particular you didn't like about the development of the Ottomans? It is always good to get an extra perspective, particularly if it is a region or period the other person is passionate about.

Were China not so divided, it would've been able to wipe the floor with the much smaller Japanese.
I think each of the powers have their benefits and weaknesses. The Chinese, if they can get everything up and running in a proper and efficient manner, would definitely be the heavyweight of the two - but it would not do to overlook how powerful and influential the Japanese were during this period. Particularly when we look at naval power, the Chinese would have needed decades of investment and changes to their entire military ideological complex for them to have a chance of going toe-to-toe with the Japanese, but I think there are good reasons why China has been able to completely dominate their sphere of the world when they have their shit together.
 
I think each of the powers have their benefits and weaknesses. The Chinese, if they can get everything up and running in a proper and efficient manner, would definitely be the heavyweight of the two - but it would not do to overlook how powerful and influential the Japanese were during this period. Particularly when we look at naval power, the Chinese would have needed decades of investment and changes to their entire military ideological complex for them to have a chance of going toe-to-toe with the Japanese, but I think there are good reasons why China has been able to completely dominate their sphere of the world when they have their shit together.
It is still astonishing how badly matched China was, despite being larger than Japan.
 
It is still astonishing how badly matched China was, despite being larger than Japan.
I would strongly suggest reading Stillwell and the American Experience in China, particularly the sections dealing with events leading up to and during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

The sheer levels of corruption, incompetence, laziness and petty intrigue on the Chinese side is honestly shocking. Not for nothing do I absolutely despise CKS. There are quotes from Chinese leaders during this time in which they talk about their soldiery as little more than chattel to be sent to the butchers field, leaders who speak of how they can just keep retreating into the country, abandoning much of it to Japanese rapine, and just wait for them to tire themselves out.

Hell, CKS's primary military strategy from the start of the war and until WW2 seems to have been trying to get foreign powers to fight the war for him.

The Chinese soldiery when led by talented military leaders were great, as can be seen with much of the Communist forces during the war, but they so rarely got a chance to fight under leaders who weren't absolutely horrifically bad that it honestly depresses me.

I could honestly rant about this for quite a while longer, but I think you would get more out of giving the book a read/listen (if you are into audiobooks - the one on Audible of the book is pretty damn good).
 
I would strongly suggest reading Stillwell and the American Experience in China, particularly the sections dealing with events leading up to and during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

The sheer levels of corruption, incompetence, laziness and petty intrigue on the Chinese side is honestly shocking. Not for nothing do I absolutely despise CKS. There are quotes from Chinese leaders during this time in which they talk about their soldiery as little more than chattel to be sent to the butchers field, leaders who speak of how they can just keep retreating into the country, abandoning much of it to Japanese rapine, and just wait for them to tire themselves out.

Hell, CKS's primary military strategy from the start of the war and until WW2 seems to have been trying to get foreign powers to fight the war for him.

The Chinese soldiery when led by talented military leaders were great, as can be seen with much of the Communist forces during the war, but they so rarely got a chance to fight under leaders who weren't absolutely horrifically bad that it honestly depresses me.

I could honestly rant about this for quite a while longer, but I think you would get more out of giving the book a read/listen (if you are into audiobooks - the one on Audible of the book is pretty damn good).
I've studied the issue too. Stillwell was kind of an unreliable narrator, who was blinded by his own anti-Asian prejudices.

I understand there was corruption, but there were KMT officials who were quite competent.
 
I've studied the issue too. Stillwell was kind of an unreliable narrator, who was blinded by his own anti-Asian prejudices.

I understand there was corruption, but there were KMT officials who were quite competent.
Oh definitely, Stillwell and Tuchman for that matter are rather unreliable actors with their biases and prejudices, and there were KMT officials who were quite competent. The problem is, few of them ever got to exert the sort of influence on government policy which would have benefited China. CKS was so terrified of his own generals that he kept playing them off against each other (although that isn't to say he didn't have plenty of reason to be afraid of them, just that in putting keeping himself on top at all costs he severely worsened Chinese fortunes) and allowed incredibly corrupt cronies and lickspittles to hold an inordinate amount of power and influence.
 
Oh definitely, Stillwell and Tuchman for that matter are rather unreliable actors with their biases and prejudices, and there were KMT officials who were quite competent. The problem is, few of them ever got to exert the sort of influence on government policy which would have benefited China. CKS was so terrified of his own generals that he kept playing them off against each other (although that isn't to say he didn't have plenty of reason to be afraid of them, just that in putting keeping himself on top at all costs he severely worsened Chinese fortunes) and allowed incredibly corrupt cronies and lickspittles to hold an inordinate amount of power and influence.
I can forgive Chiang Kai-Shek more easily than Mao.

Chiang did terrible things, but he was stuck trying to unify a divided China.

Mao was a horrible man who hurt others with his insane ideas.
 
I can forgive Chiang Kai-Shek more easily than Mao.

Chiang did terrible things, but he was stuck trying to unify a divided China.

Mao was a horrible man who hurt others with his insane ideas.
Chiang is the one who decided fighting the communists and purging the left was more important than fixing China in the first place, which is the only reason Mao ended up on top after what remained of them fled to remote parts of the country.
 
It is still astonishing how badly matched China was, despite being larger than Japan.
The 19th and 20th centuries were times of incredibly rapid transformation - technological, social, political. Purely on paper, China had everything it needed to be a hegemon, but the transition from the paper into reality is not trivial. As we deal with the 1920s, then Japan (both OTL and ITTL) has essentially half a century of headstart over China, both in terms of industrial modernisation, and military/governmental professionalism. This is not to say that Japan did this well, or even closely completed the transition, but it gives a framework for how Japan ended up punching far above its nominal weight in East Asian affairs. Now, for most matters, there is of course an element of diminishing returns, and it becomes considerably easier for China to catch up as the immediate impact of modernisation ripples outward - but in some fields, early advantages stay in the system for a long time, and naval matters are one such. "It takes three years to build a ship, but three hundred years to build a tradition" and all that. The IJN was no RN, but for China to match it it would have needed a long period of industrial build up and naval planning, and that's without even considering the prerequisite institutionalisation to make that happen - a prospect that seemed far away from China OTL. ITTL, they look a lot closer thanks to Fengtian dominance and industrialisation... but, for all its potential, running a place as big as China after such a long period of stagnation ain't easy.

I can forgive Chiang Kai-Shek more easily than Mao.
I'm not quite sure where this is coming from, to be completely honest. We can discuss the merits and limitations of CKS in government without also tacking on a "but this other fellow was worse" follow-up. China had plenty of would-be strongmen with ruthless characters and ideals. Mao only became relevant later, after CKS had essentially already made all his mistakes, which absolutely can be judged on their own. And if you really want to frame it that way, then it becomes inescapable that - as Nyvis has said - CKS was directly responsible in propelling Mao to prominence anyway.
 
In a lot of ways, Mao was a reaction to everything else having failed. Marxism shouldn't really find seeds in the peasantry, but everyone else had had their turn at fixing China and bungled it. Meanwhile, the communists had been expelled/massacred out of the only places where it actually made sense to be Marxist, the few urban centers on the coast and Mao was the only one with a vision to bring them back.

None of it would be remotely possible without Chiang closing off all other avenues of improvement and running the country into the ground.
 
The 19th and 20th centuries were times of incredibly rapid transformation - technological, social, political. Purely on paper, China had everything it needed to be a hegemon, but the transition from the paper into reality is not trivial. As we deal with the 1920s, then Japan (both OTL and ITTL) has essentially half a century of headstart over China, both in terms of industrial modernisation, and military/governmental professionalism. This is not to say that Japan did this well, or even closely completed the transition, but it gives a framework for how Japan ended up punching far above its nominal weight in East Asian affairs. Now, for most matters, there is of course an element of diminishing returns, and it becomes considerably easier for China to catch up as the immediate impact of modernisation ripples outward - but in some fields, early advantages stay in the system for a long time, and naval matters are one such. "It takes three years to build a ship, but three hundred years to build a tradition" and all that. The IJN was no RN, but for China to match it it would have needed a long period of industrial build up and naval planning, and that's without even considering the prerequisite institutionalisation to make that happen - a prospect that seemed far away from China OTL. ITTL, they look a lot closer thanks to Fengtian dominance and industrialisation... but, for all its potential, running a place as big as China after such a long period of stagnation ain't easy.
But what China needed the most was unity. And even into 1936, China was politically similar to Afghanistan OTL.
 
With regards to Chiang vs. Mao, if the Chinese population had known what Mao would do to their country in the years after he took over, I wonder if they'd still pick Mao...
 
With regards to Chiang vs. Mao, if the Chinese population had known what Mao would do to their country in the years after he took over, I wonder if they'd still pick Mao...
The sad thing is this: nobody can really predict the future.

Once upon a time, Mao wasn't the criminally incompetent maniac who slept with teenage girls. Mao was the brave guerrilla leader who resisted warlords, Nationalists, and the Japanese.

Once upon a time, Mao was building things like roads and dams.

Once upon a time, Mao was giving more opportunities to women.

The point is, Mao's early years were a time of progress for many Chinese. No one in 1951 could've imagined something like the Great Leap Forward.
 
Question: are J. R. R. Tolkien and Wilfred Owen still alive?
Honestly I could go either way with them and many other OTL figures. If anyone wants to do a literary update or the like down the line I don't want to exclude or include anyone in particular so I don't really want to give a specific and conclusive answer to it.

Given the TTL circumstances it is entirely possible that either or both are alive. I don't really see a reason to cut down Tolkien.
 
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