Depends on local sensibilities to joining the RoC before they get forcibly annexed by them at a guess.
So what's the shelf life of an independent Yan'an?
That's about right. Yan'an will be TTL's rough analogue to North Korea, but will not make it to the 21st century. It will be remembered as one of the worst regimes in human history (on a par with Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany) for its blatant human rights violations and appalling standards of living.Depends on local sensibilities to joining the RoC before they get forcibly annexed by them at a guess.
This theory will certainly exist OTL, and will rank alongside all of the other JFK assassination conspiracy theories- namely, fodder for a documentary, investigation, or National Enquirer cover or two.Given the China-India war, how long before theories start (if they haven't already) that the ROC killed President Kennedy to prevent him from interfering in the India war?
In 1964, we were at the point where humanity could survive WWIII without getting bombed into the Stone Age, but Europe and Russia would be absolute wastelands unfit for human habitation.Were we at ending civilization levels in the nuclear weapon area in 1964? I heard somewhere that the the Soviets are screwed in a Nuclear war but that they couldn't even reach America with theirs before we bombed back into the stone age. It's why the Cuban missile crisis was such a big deal; at the time there was no other way to strike America on the Soviet end.
You only have to right of all of asia and europe if this war goes Nuclear.Were we at ending civilization levels in the nuclear weapon area in 1964? I heard somewhere that the the Soviets are screwed in a Nuclear war but that they couldn't even reach America with theirs before we bombed back into the stone age. It's why the Cuban missile crisis was such a big deal; at the time there was no other way to strike America on the Soviet end.
Oh shit.World War III-- Part One
"The Japanese lost the war because, although they could take Peking, Nanking, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, they could not hold those areas against the will of the inhabitants and dig us out of our mountains. Now... now, the Russians will learn this too."- Chiang Kai-shek, in a journal entry on September 10, 1964
"For the third time, communism will be brought to the Chinese people from the north."- Mao Zedong, in an address to the Yan'an Politburo
Well, everyone- I'm not dead, and neither is this TL. After a long hiatus, I've decided to pick the KMT up again and see where it goes. Thanks to everyone who decided to give this update a chance- I hope that you won't be disappointed.
In 1964, the Republic of China was in a precarious strategic position. The colossus of the Soviet Union stood to the north and west, ready to penetrate the RoC's borders and invade its homeland. Meanwhile, hostile India created a second front, and furthermore was doing all it could to undermine the Chinese position in Tibet. Only on the southern flank- with the pro-Western regimes in Indochina- could the Chinese afford to rest easy. The United States was an ocean away and was, to Chiang's chagrin, adopting a stance of neutrality, preferring to concentrate on potentially fighting the Soviets in Western Europe. Although China possessed the atom bomb, the airfields from which bombers could take off to destroy Moscow or New Delhi would soon be gone- plus, using the ultimate weapon would come at the cost of whatever American goodwill Chiang still possessed. Realistically, China had only one advantage in the ensuing fight: population.
Along the Manchurian border alone, the ROC Army- commanded by the ageing Li Zongren- disposed of a million and a half troops, while in Beijing and the surrounding area, three-quarters of a million were utilised. The North Chinese Front of the USSR, under the command of General Kuzma Galitsky, consisted of over 350,000 men and the most modern, up-to-date armour and Red Air Force detachments, while the Soviet Republic of Manchuria had approximately 650,000 men, virtually all of which were made available to the Russians. Furthermore, although precise numbers are hard to come by, very approximately 200,000 Mongolian troops were ready to pour into China , themselves accompanied by two Soviet armies. In the far west of China, Alexander Altunin's Turkestan Front was roughly 200,000 strong, and accompanied by East Turkestani soldiers, was ready to pour into the vast western hinterland of China. Meanwhile, India brought approximately 800,000 soldiers to the Himalayan front, although small Pakistan, fighting on the Chinese side, offered a distraction which kept Indian troops tied down. (1)
Chinese strategy, then, was designed to make maximum use of the country's massive numerical superiority. Namely, the goal was to tie the Soviets down in an attritional battle- the further north, the better. Although it was clear that Beijing was untenable, if the Soviets could be brought to heel north of the Yellow River, that would put the Chinese in a good position to wear their foe out while not having their valuable east coast subject to another long-term foreign occupation like in 1937-1945. In the Himalayan front, the plan was simply to use the fact that the Indians would be advancing in some of the worst terrain possible to stand on the defence, while the vast expanses of Xinjiang were to be traded for time, allowing the Russians to stretch their supply columns to the breaking point. Of course, the nuclear option remained on the table, while Chiang's main hope- namely, that the USA would get into the war- remained...
September 11, 1964: With war well and truly declared, the invasion of China commences on an almost six-thousand-kilometre front. In the vast western reaches, Chinese troops fall back, trading space for time. However, in the eastern extremity of the front, where the density of forces is much higher, the Soviet advance is much slower. The invaders lack the element of surprise and suffer heavy casualties as they push the Chinese back. The town of Qinhuangdao, located a mere twenty-three kilometres from the Manchurian border, surrenders in forty-eight hours after a devastating artillery bombardment, but at the cost of 80,000 Soviet casualties, the majority of which are Manchurians. Chinese casualty figures are similar.
September 15, 1964: Chengde and Tangshan are both occupied by the Soviets, along with Kashgar in the far west.
September 17, 1964: Indian troops, advancing through the Khyber Pass, invade Pakistan. A smaller force also moves into Kashmir. In spite of being heavily outnumbered, the Pakistanis are able to put up a strong defence, entrenching in the high mountains. Many international observers compare the fighting to the Isonzo front of the First World War.
That same day, hundreds of miles away, the Russian and Chinese armies clash just to the northeast of Beijing. In spite of suffering heavy casualties, the Soviets win the day, thanks in large part to the superiority of their armour. However, their own losses, to go alongside those of their Mongol and Manchu allies, were not inconsiderable...
In spite of the casualty figures, the Stavka is confident that it can now wheel south and prepare for an assault on Beijing.
September 19, 1964: In a macrocosm of the fighting in Kashmir and Khyber, the Liberation Offensive is launched against Chinese positions in the Himalayas. This front will prove an absolute logistical nightmare for both sides, with rations and supplies seldom reaching the troops. As such, this will be dubbed the "forgotten front", as for months nothing will be accomplished here save the tying down of Indian and Chinese troops.
September 20, 1964: The "Lhasa Massacre". After continued riots and sedition in the Tibetan capital, Chiang gives the go-ahead to bomb the city to quell it into submission. Although the death toll is horrifically high- with some giving an estimate of 5,500- this only furthers the determination of the Tibetans to seek their freedom from Chinese tyranny.
September 23, 1964: The Yan'an Annihilation Drive is launched, a concentric attack on Mao Zedong's remnant regime. The people are more than happy to cast off the Maoist yoke after thirty years, and Chiang's troops are welcomed as liberators. Although organised resistance is relatively weak, a small guerilla campaign will last even past the end of the war. Mao himself is killed in the initial assault by a KMT sniper. The death of Chiang's oldest enemy is a morale-booster to the Chinese public, who have precious few things to cheer about. Nonetheless, its actual strategic value is minimal.
September 25, 1964: Taking advantage of the chaos in the region, North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung decides to finally fulfil the dream which he has harboured for fourteen years- namely, to invade and conquer his southern, pro-Western neighbour. Nine Korean People's Army divisions, equipped with Soviet tanks of varying age, accompanied by tactical bombers, cross the 38th parallel at 3:30 AM, catching the South Koreans off-guard. Within hours, the Southerners are being pushed back. Seoul will fall the next day, with President Park Chung-hee fleeing to Busan.
October 1, 1964: After a brief pause, the Soviets commence the "Beijing Encirclement Strategic Operation". This consists of a heavy armoured thrust to take the town of Tianjin from the west, thus encircling and isolating the Chinese capital. Chiang is more than willing to let this occur, as it fits in nicely with his goal of bringing the Soviets to battle in an environment where Chinese manpower superiority can make itself felt, wiping out as much of the Russian heavy armour as possible.
The KMT commander in Beijing is Fu Zuoyi, a former warlord soldier who distinguished himself considerably in the Sino-Japanese War and brief Manchurian epilogue. (2). He has approximately a million soldiers at his command, which gives him a very slight numerical superiority over the Soviets and their allies.
October 5, 1964: Russo-Mongolian troops capture Jiquan, site of the Chinese nuclear tests and rocket programme. Although all nuclear weapons have been evacuated from the site, several classified documents are captured by the Soviets and sent back to Moscow.
October 12, 1964: The Indians launch a new offensive through Arunachal Pradesh, aimed at taking Lhasa. It quickly becomes reminiscent of Ypres or Passchendaele- namely, a pointless slaughter that gets nowhere, and the Chinese, although suffering heavy casualties, cede almost no land.
October 16, 1964: After almost two weeks of street-fighting, the city of Langfang on the outskirts of Beijing falls to the Soviets. By this point, both sides have suffered almost half a million casualties each, and the war is only a month old. Brezhnev visits the Warsaw Pact capitals, demanding that each satellite provide troops for the war. Brezhnev does not want to pull Russian troops out of Eastern Europe for fear of losing political control, and sees the forces of his allies as more "expendable".
October 21-24, 1964: The Xianghe Skirmish. Over the course of three days, this small Beijing suburb is reduced to rubble as Chinese and Soviet troops clash. Horrified by the losses, and aware that if this kind of attritional fighting is extrapolated to the rest of the Chinese seaboard then the war will be lost, Brezhnev decides to take the ultimate step...
On October 25, 1964, the defenders of Beijing awoke to the ominous whistling sound of a rocket, followed a moment later by a blinding flash of light and a great mushroom cloud. Li Zongren was killed instantly in the attack, along with millions of Chinese, both soldiers and civilians. Suddenly, the Red Army's task had just become a whole lot easier...
Who's Mao's chosen successor going to be? The usual suspects are all dead or have rebelled. Interesting.The September 1963 Coup and the Division of Communist China
When Mao Zedong began his Cultural Revolution in the summer of 1963, he intended for it to be a means of consolidating his own power. By viciously eradicating any other potential source of political or cultural strength, the people of the PRNC would have only one thing in their lives to look up to or admire- him- and have no distractions- such as books or music- from their lives spent as Mao worshippers. It was an absolutely horrifying image, but it would elevate Mao's own personality cult and power within the CCP, and to him, that was all that mattered
For four months, the People's Republic of North China lived in a state of anarchy and fear. Nothing was safe or sacred, except for Mao's portrait and Little Red Book. All aspects of Chinese culture were viciously purged. Anyone found with books or music in their homes was tortured and most likely executed, such was the level of depravity. People learned to live in fear. But that was not all. Any of Mao's opponents- that is, anyone who did not sufficiently worship him- was purged. State president Liu Shaoqi was toppled in August, and at the time of the coup, he was awaiting imprisonment in a state of de facto house arrest, having been branded "the biggest capitalist-roader". The second-biggest "capitalist-roader" was Deng Xiaoping, who was subject to house arrest and occasional denunciations and lived in fear of being exiled or imprisoned. Mao's inner circle at this point consisted of Zhou Enlai, Lin Biao, Kang Sheng, and his wife Jiang Qing. They all had the power to ruin anyone’s life. Of course, they all knew that currying favour with the Chairman was essential to their own survival. This meant that they stomached the Great Leap Forward, and were willing to throw their comrades under the bus during the Cultural Revolution.
However, the People’s Republic of North China was moving in a direction which its Soviet patron refused to stomach. In the eyes of Moscow, it was one thing for a satellite nation to conduct a purge, or even to implement agricultural reform reminiscent of the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s. However, when that nation loses five percent of its population to a famine, and then not ten years later attacks the rest of the Communist bloc as revisionists, that was something else again.
Three days after the downfall of Liu Shaoqi, Wang Ming, a former CCP member who had fled to Moscow during World War II, received a knock on his door. He opened it, to find five KGB men standing there, armed to the teeth. Wang assumed that he was to be taken to prison or the gulag, and nearly cried with joy when they reassured him that that was not what they wanted him for. Wang was driven to KGB headquarters in Moscow, where he was met by none other than Vladimir Semichastny, chairman of the KGB. Semichastny poured Wang a drink, and reassured him that he was not in any trouble. Then, acting on behalf of Khruschev, he explained the situation and informed Wang that he was to become the next chairman of communist China. Realising that if he said no, his life would end very shortly, Wang agreed. On August 22, 1963, a Soviet train from Irkutsk arrived in Harbin. Two dozen KGB men were aboard, disguised as Russian migrant labourers. Wang Ming was present too, disguised as a People’s Liberation Army captain, complete with dog tags and uniform faked by the Russians. It seemed like nothing out of the ordinary…
Ten days later, at five minutes to 1 AM on September 2, the plotters struck. Bombs planted by the plotters over the past ten days were remotely detonated in Mao’s compound in an attempt to kill the leadership. In the midst of the confusion, the KGB men slipped in and went hunting for the leaders. Mao and Lin Biao managed to flee in separate planes, Mao in a (ironically enough) Soviet-built plane, Lin in his personal plane, the Trident. Both had the same destination: Yan’an. The Nationalists, whose airspace the two vessels crossed, were too surprised to do much, and in any case, Nanjing was not yet aware of the situation. As such, Mao was able to land in Yan’an unmolested. Lin Biao, however, was not so fortunate. His car had been pursued by KGB men, and his plane had had to take off in a hurry, there not being enough fuel in the tank. As such, at approximately 4:30 AM, his plane crashed into Nationalist territory, somewhere between Xinzhou and Taiyuan. Aboard was Lin, his wife, their daughter Lin Dodo, and their son Lin Liguo, along with the Lin family’s butler. (1) Mao did not learn of the circumstances of Lin’s death for over a month.
Back in Harbin, the plotters quickly assumed control over the government. Liu Shaoqi was released from prison at nine AM. Zhou Enlai, meanwhile, was caught and executed along with Jiang Qing and Kang Sheng. Deng Xiaoping, however, managed to keep his head down, and was able to safely remain in Harbin. Twenty-four hours after the coup began, the Manchurian part of the PRNC was solidly under Wang Ming’s control. On September 4, the front page of People’s Daily was dominated by two articles. One formally announced the takeover by Wang, and the other was the text of a speech by Liu Shaoqi formally condemning Maoism. The next day, Wang gave a speech in which he proclaimed the establishment of the Soviet Republic of Manchuria. “We renounce the errors and over-pursuit of the revolution by Mao Zedong, and will stand by our Soviet comrades for 10,000 years.” he said. Wang also pledged to undo the Cultural Revolution, and to help recover from the Great Leap Forward. The Little Red Book, Mao’s portrait, and the hymn “The East is Red” were all banned. The new Manchurian government consisted of the following: Wang Ming as CCP Chairman, Liu Shaoqi as state president, Deng Xiaoping as vice-president and interior minister, and Zhu De as defence minister, along with plenty of others. The Communist world, acting on Moscow’s orders, granted Manchuria diplomatic recognition.
Meanwhile, in Yan’an, Mao was reeling from the loss of his country. Virtually all of his hierarchy had either chosen to throw in with Wang Ming (Liu, Deng, and Zhu), or been killed (Lin, Zhou, Kang Sheng, and Mme Mao). He decided, then, that there was only one thing to do- to abandon the PRNC and create a new Communist regime in Yan’an, even more totalitarian than his old country. The People’s Commune of Yan’an was formally inaugurated, ironically enough, on October 1, 1963, seventeen years to the day after the founding of the People’s Republic of North China. However, it received no support or recognition from any Communist countries, and was from its birth an international pariah. Conditions within the country were appalling from the get-go: Yan’an was already a very poor part of China, and Mao was determined to show no mercy towards it. A personality cult dwarfing that of Stalin was rapidly put in place (2), with Mao's personality cult elevated to heights that, had they not had such horrible consequences for those forced to live under them, would've been comic. Myths were created that the Chairman had personally fought in 100,000 battles during the Sino-Japanese War and the civil war, and that the only reason that Yan'an was the sole part of China under his rule was because of the Americans and their nuclear weapons. It was the duty of every subject of his, Mao claimed, to "strive aggressively, and to be prepared for our next conflict with counter-revolutionary elements in China and elsewhere." Khruschev was also condemned as a "counter-revolutionary revisionist", and a "lackey of the imperialists", while Wang Ming was "the biggest counter-revolutionary bastard and the biggest capitalist-roader, along with Liu Shaoqi." The Cultural Revolution continued in Yan'an. Prison camps- dubbed laogai- were constructed to hold enemies of the regime (read, those who had displeased Mao in any way, shape, or form) or anyone who attempted to flee to the ROC.
Thus, Communist China was divided in two.
(1) Analogous to one account of Lin's OTL death.
(2) Hey, I had to put the North Korean personality cult in somewhere!