Who else could have won the Warlord Era and the Chinese Civil War?

Besides the KMT and the CCP, what other factions or figures had a shot at unifying China? I'm partly hoping the growing success of Kaiserreich, and its recent China rework, will have minted more scholars of the Warlord period and the eras that were to follow. The Beiyang ROC idea is neat. Not only which of the cliques had the most capable warlord and powerful military, but who had the best potential governance and ideology to win control of the country? How about Chen Jiongming, popularized by KR as a federalist? How about Liang Qichao and the constitutionalist-monarchists of the Progressive Party?

Alternatively, could any of these warlord cliques exist after WWII? It seems like at that point the KMT and the CCP were the only remaining viable groups.
 
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Zhang Zuolin and his Fengtian clique had the strongest economy in China, the most stable succession setup, and prior to the Northern Expedition had achieved world recognition as the legitimate government of the RoC. If the first united front never materializes I don't see the KMT or Communists being able to wrench Beijing from the Old Marshal's grasp, and if the Zhilis are subordinated for good then I can see the Fengtian clique winning in the mid-long term.
 
What would a post-WWII Fengtian or Zhili China even look like? They all seem like vaguely interchangeable authoritarians. East Asian caudilloism or Burma writ large.
 
What would a post-WWII Fengtian or Zhili China even look like? They all seem like vaguely interchangeable authoritarians. East Asian caudilloism or Burma writ large.
Zhang Zuolin had pretty decent monetary policy and a plan for the gradual elimination of the unequal treaties. Additionally with his son (who also proved to be a charismatic and talented administrator) being his clear successor (in spite of the kwantung army's efforts) an eventual formalization of monarchy seems quite likely.

As for "post-WWII", the Fengtian Clique's power base was Manchuria, so surviving to "post-WWII" means either avoiding the Second Sino-Japanese War (given the Fengtian Clique's peculiar relations with the Japanese, that may well be possible) or halting the Japanese advance very early on. In either case China is vastly better off than OTL.
 
Sounds like a China under Zhang would've been a modernizing autocratic state very friendly to business. It's got a real Latin American feel. I wonder if they'd be dealing with KMT and CPC plots all the time.

The Progressive Party, now that I think about it, would not end up anywhere near power; the monarchy is on its way out, Yuan Shikai's antics did not endear the concept to the public, anti-Manchu sentiment was rampant, and so like the Feuillants and Monarchiens of the French Revolution they were defending an unpopular institution.

Really do wonder if Chen could've gotten people to support a federal China as in that KR path, though.
 
How about a China balkanized like so:

Beiyang ROC in the Northeast under the Young Marshal
KMT ROC in the Southern coast
CPC Soviet in the interior West under Mao and co.
Federalist "China" government-in-exile in Hong Kong, with party branches in Taiwan and the diaspora under Chen Jiongming

I almost want to put a buffer state constitutional monarchist Manchurian Empire under Puyi and Liang Qichao- maybe a compromise between Fengtian and the Japanese.

Anyone else? Or is this too far-fetched?
 
How about a China balkanized like so:

Beiyang ROC in the Northeast under the Young Marshal
KMT ROC in the Southern coast
CPC Soviet in the interior West under Mao and co.
Federalist "China" government-in-exile in Hong Kong, with party branches in Taiwan and the diaspora under Chen Jiongming

I almost want to put a buffer state constitutional monarchist Manchurian Empire under Puyi and Liang Qichao- maybe a compromise between Fengtian and the Japanese. ...
A fragmented China like this might appear to be a poor enough threat Japan does not stumble into a 'China Incident' or at least a long war. That butterflies away a Pacific war with the US & UK. Economics would favor Japan in a lucrative arms supplier position for the UK and USSR in their fight with the Axis in Europe.
 
I'm still uncertain about what to do about Japan. I don't want to come up with a map and the retroactively rewrite history to justify it, but on the other hand I don't know how to get a rival Beiyang ROC, at least a Fengtian Clique-based one, without changing the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

What if the war is less Sino-Japanese and more KMT-Japanese? Like would the Imperialists been okay with establishing some sort of condominium over a puppet Manchuria with Beiyang? And in exchange, the Japanese help them stave off the Northern Expedition, and don't make the boneheaded move of killing Zhang Zuolin.
 
Tang later became vice premier of Chen Jiongming's China Public Interest Party. He died of illness in May 1927 in Kunming, one month after he was ousted by Hu Ruoyu and Long Yun in a military coup and lost all of his power in Yunnan.
Chen Jiongming died of typhus on September 22, 1933
Man, half the notables of the Warlord Era died of disease or assassination, which all seem fairly preventable in an AH context. Though perhaps Sun Yat-Sen should always die, as his illness was cancer, and he's sort of the equivalent to Kaiserreich Kerensky, the one man keeping it all together.
 
Maybe have them control Yunnan considering Tang Jiyao was historically the co-founder of the China Public Interest Party?
According to somebody on Reddit, Chen Jiongming was more willing to negotiate with Zhili, and historically the latter did recognize him. So it'd be most interesting if he became the political head of the Zhili remnants, who seem to be weaker than both Fengtian and the ROC by the time of the Northern Expedition. Geographically it makes less sense though, given that his powerbase is in Guangdong. What if Wu Peifu, and/or Feng Yuxiang, had replaced Cao Kun with Chen, given that the latter was far less power-hungry or corrupt than the former?

Also, speaking of reddit, and my original "Chinese federalism lives on in the diaspora idea", here's a profile of a timeline when he ends up in Borneo:

At the same time as the Kongsi-led National Alliance party in British Malaya slowly gained influence, Chen Jiongming retired from his governorship of Guangdong province, arriving in West Kalimantan in the Dutch East Indies in 1928. [...]

Chen began the creation of a secretive militia in 1928, establishing training and base camps deep in the jungles of West Kalimantan. [...] In 1930, Sultan Muhammad Al-Kadrie, with the military backing of Chen’s forces, unilaterally declared independence from the Dutch East Indies, establishing military control of the cities of Pontianak, Ketapang, and much of the western coast of Kalimantan. Numbering in the thousands, Chen’s militia force easily overwhelmed the small Dutch garrison stationed in West Kalimantan, capturing many European and mixed-race intellectuals residing in the province as hostages. [...]

In 1931, Chen proclaimed himself president of the Second Lanfang Republic, establishing a capital at Pontianak. However, in order to appease the Malay inhabitants of Kalimantan, Sultan Muhammad Al-Kadrie remained in power as ruler of the existing Sultanate. As the sultanates of Southeast Asia claimed authority only over their subjects and not the land on which they resided, the Second Lanfang Republic established sovereign control of land while the Sultanate of Pontianak remained intact, with the Chinese inhabitants of Kalimantan provided citizenship to the Republic and Malay inhabitants provided the citizenship of the Sultanate, but with the option of obtaining the additional citizenship of the Republic.

In this unique dual-government system of rule, Chen Jiongming was able to secure both the role of president of the Second Lanfang Republic and Speaker of the Legislative Council of Pontianak. [...] Appealing to many conservative voices within the Kuomintang, Chen proclaimed the Second Lanfang Republic a tributary to the Republic of China, invoking its former status as the “Celestial Empire” and imperial tributary system during its nearly three millennia-long legacy of imperial rule. [...] Under the rule of his successor Tang Shaoyi, the mining, logging, and rubber-tapping operations Chen had established in Borneo’s interior expanded in scale, allowing the Second Lanfang Republic to become one of the wealthiest countries in Southeast Asia. The establishment of a protectorate under the Republic of China had also represented, to many, the potential first steps toward the reestablishment of the old tributary system under Imperial rule.
Okay that's a great idea I hope the author joins this forum.
 
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