Wang Jingwei Doesn't Defect

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Agra, Jun 11, 2019 at 10:35 PM.

  1. Agra Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2018
    As a high ranking member and at times potential leader of the Kuomintang, a close follower of Sun Yat-sen, and one of the three most prominent political figures in China, Wang Jingwei's defection certainly gave his collaborationist government more legitimacy than other attempts by the Japanese. What would be the impact on the War and the future of China if he stayed in Chongqing and remained loyal to Chiang Kai-shek?
     
  2. Gukpard hominem populist

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Location:
    São Paulo, Brazil.
    Well, the first thing is that the collaborationist government in Nanjing would be even more disfunctional. I think that the main changes would be not on china per se, but in Jingwei career. He could be a quite succesfull politician on Taiwan in the post war.
     
    Remitonov and Hrvatskiwi like this.
  3. 297* Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2014
    Perhaps instead of him remaining loyal to Chiang Kai-Shek (whom he did not like), you could have him form his proposed left-wing coalition with Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party. The coalition, however, might be doomed to fail, due to Wang Jingwei being the junior partner. Another possibility is to have a foreign nation support him as a third faction in the Chinese Civil War. Perhaps if you butterfly away the Japanese invasions of Manchuria and China, Japan could support him.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019 at 12:37 AM
    Hrvatskiwi likes this.
  4. David T Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Wasn't one reason Wang defected precisely because he was already pretty washed up in GMD politics?
     
    297* likes this.
  5. 297* Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2014
    That's precisely the reason why he failed to form a left-wing coalition with the CCP.
     
  6. Hrvatskiwi Chakravatin Qayan of the Great Ulus

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Wang Jingwei had been the primary figure in the Wuhan government of 1926/27, a rival to the Guangzhou-based GMD govt that was lead by Chiang.

    The Wuhan govt was run by the left-wing of the GMD, which opposed Chiang, who was the most notable of the GMD right-wing.

    If Wang doesn't defect, I see it as relatively likely that he gets marginalised in GMD politics, although retaining a significant rank-and-file following. During an alternate Suiyuan Peace, I can see him joining a "United anti-Fascist Front" with the CCP.

    Given the GMD presence in the United Front, Stalin would probably be less wary about full support for the CCP. In OTL he stopped short of supporting them until the Communist victory was all but assured, preferring either to have a GMD victory, maintaining the concessions Chiang had earlier made to the USSR, or a North-South division, so that "Beizhongguo" would be dependent on the USSR and controllable.
     
  7. Agra Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2018
    I mean he dies in 44, though I guess his health might be better if he's not running the collaborationist government. On the other hand I doubt he'd have better healthcare in Chongqing than the Japanese were able to give him.
     
  8. Workable Goblin Chronicler of the Pony Wars

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Location:
    Canterlot
    However, he died due to wounds from an assassination attempt by KMD agents after he had started his defection process (running off to Indochina and declaring his support for a peace treaty), which presumably wouldn't happen if he stayed loyal. On the other hand, there had been previous assassination attempts, too...

    The main issue I see with this is that Wang had a very long-standing tendency, dating back to the early 1930s, towards the viewpoint that China needed to accommodate itself almost completely to Japan in order to avoid conflict and build itself up economically and militarily until it could at some point in the distant future defeat the Japanese or at least overwhelm them economically, which was probably related to his aversion towards allying with the other major powers in the fear that they would themselves subjugate China if the country tried to use them against Japan. It wasn't just a spontaneous decision in 1938 that resulted in him running off to Japan, but rather the culmination of these beliefs, and that makes it a bit more difficult to avert than something like a plane crash or car accident.

    So what you really need a PoD that can avert this feeling and make him have attitudes more similar to Chiang, who instead thought that China would be able to win against Japan soon and that the Soviet Union, France, Britain, and the United States could be useful partners against Japan, hence it would make sense for China to hold out. I can see several possibilities for this. The first, perhaps most obvious, would be Chiang's army proving much more successful against the Japanese and quickly stalling them before they could capture much of the country instead of mostly failing or being destroyed. This would obviously validate Chiang's views and probably convince Wang to stick with the RoC instead of defecting, even if it becomes apparent that Chiang's army can't really win the war either. Of course, this would probably require a 1920s or earlier PoD to allow the RoC to have a much more effective army, Hearts of Iron notwithstanding.

    The second, a bit less obvious, would be to change Wang himself. If you can arrange for him to be more of a partner with Chiang than a rival, or for him to come out on top in the struggle for power after Sun Yat-Sen's death, then he might tend more towards Chiang's viewpoints, if for no other reason than sheer practicality. But this is a bit more elusive than the other; it might make the "defection" irrelevant because he starts running the RoC like a Japanese client state to avoid a war, for example, which would technically be fulfilling the OP but not the way the post wants (though perhaps in an interesting way; if the Japanese win without fighting, what do they do next?)
     
    Gukpard likes this.
  9. Agra Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2018
    Not really, the guy had total cold feet. Yes the defection was a result of years of conflict with Chiang and disagreements about the future of China, but the man himself was completely indecisive when the time for defection came. He canceled his first attempt to leave Free China due to fear of Chiang and ended up defecting after changing his mind again.