The Chinese civil war was the largest military conflict after WWII. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) continued its guerrilla tactics, but also undertook positional battles engaging hundreds of thousands of soldiers. The CCP had a closely unified military leadership, with general policy set by Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Marxist theorist Ren Bishi, and the Central Committee of the Party's Political Bureau (Politburo)
--> The high command of the GMD remained fractured by factional disputes, warlord rivalries, and Jiang Jieshi's instance on micromanaging even distant battles.
The Nationalists had successfully attacked the CCP in Manchuria in spring 1946, breaking Marshall's ceasefire and vindicating Mao's decision not to trust Jiang.
The CCP went on the offensive in summer 1947 and eliminated several GMD armies in North China, killing over 80,000 men. They made their headquarters between Nanjing and Wuhan, placing a powerful CCP army close to Jiang's capital.
--> The PLA had reversed the GMD advantage in Manshuria, isolating GMD garrisons in Shenyang and Changchun.
In the election year of 1948, with anticommunist fear on the rise, Truman could not be seen as abandoning a loyal Christian ally in the fight against international communism --> another external circumstance impinged upon China:
< the hostility between the US and the USSR became apparent in China >
Based on intelligence from well-placed spies, Mao urged an all-out offensive to drive the GMD from Manchuria.
--> the Communists' infiltration of GMD headquarters, successful tactics, and GMD factionalism had given control over North China to the CCP.
--> Eager to end the war and implement the social revolution was Mao's primary goal. However, he agreed to talks [for mediation] in order to prevent American intervention and give the PLA a rest before assaulting the Yangzi river. (the GMD requested last-minute assistance from the West, but they turned them down, claiming "non-interference in China's internal affairs")
--> On April 21, 1949 the CCP armies crossed the Yangzi meeting only sporadic resistance as the GMD river navy defected "en masse".
--> After a flurry of arrests and executions of the GMD's local opponents, Jiang left Shanghai for Taiwan in early May, and the PLA entered the city the following day without a battle
On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the sole legitimate government of China --> "The will of the whole nation"
- The GMD blamed the USSR for backing the CCP, the US for abandoning its anticommunist ally, and the CCP for being an anti-Chinese tool of the Soviets