The “Save the Country” nationwide movement was a Chinese movement which came into being in the early 20th century. It was a cry aimed at salvaging China from the problems that bedeviled the country at the time. The key individuals and associations during the period include; Yuan Shikai, Guomindang (Nationalist Party), and scholars who studied overseas. The other elements/aspects that took the stage at the time include; the Warlord Era of 1916-28, the May Fourth Movement, the Qingdao Beer, and the Communist Party. This paper seeks to determine what was wrong with China as per those who contended that it needed saving, determines who and what was to be blamed for China’s woes and culminates on thoughts on the issue.
In the early 20th century during 1911-1919, China was weak both economically and in the military. Since the other neighboring communities and nations were expanding, this was a vulnerability that had to be checked. Therefore, there arose a need to request the Qing for military support in order to keep safe and fight the enemies within and outside the kingdom. It was during this period that Yuan Shikai’s contribution came into being. He was the commander of the Qing military and led them with due diligence. His diligence led to the success of the Qing troops. He ensured that the military would fight against the foreigners who entered the country and caused wars.
Sun Yat-sen, who had learned of the imminent fall of Qing Dynasty while traveling in America, came back with a view of saving China from the chaos which was brought about by rival sections which sought to carve out territory from the Qing’s kingdom (Fercility, 2018). The leading revolutionaries included the Wuchang Uprising. By then, Yuan Shikai had created a powerful base in the north owing to his role as the head of the military. Sun Yat-sen tried to request Yuan Shikai for help but they ended up being rivals since Yuan Shikai advocated for imperialism. This was what Sun Yat-sen was against. Yuan Shikai fought against revolutionists.
Yuan Shikai dissolved the beginning of the Republic of China and established a military government, which was a support of the Monarch. His reign was between 1915 and 1916 and he later became the Hongxian emperor. It was at this period that the Nationalist Party called Guomindang was established by Sun Yat-sen. Jiang Jieshi also referred to as Chiang Kai-shek who had trained in military both in China and Japan joined the Republican and revolutionist activities of Sun Yat-sen. He became the leader of the Nationalist Revolutionary Army which was the military wing of the Guomindang (Fercility, 2018). Together with Yuan Shikai, Jiang Jieshi established the Revolutionary Alliance which was coined save the country movement. This was a merger of various political parties and it was coined GMD or KMT with Sun Yat-sen as the president (Tjio, 2017). They contended that dynasties were responsible for the problems that bedeviled China.
Amongst the critics of the existing Chinese rule at the period were scholars who studied outside China. They were opposed to militarism and monarchical style that China was led from and advocated for a democratic state which they had seen was successful in other places where they studied (Waldron & Atwood, n.d.). This was evident in the change of system that Yuan instituted from a parliamentary to a presidential one. The various revolutionists threw China off the table and as the WW1 broke out, Japan’s expansion could not be countered by China. This led to negotiations of a treaty that was accepted by Yuan Shikai which came to be called Twenty-One demands. Amongst the demands included Japan’s aims to increase power and territory in China. They achieved this by conquering Qingdao and Manchuria. Apart from Japan, Europeans also gained increased control in China. Yuan was blamed for singing the treaty which led to the woes of China.
The subsequent result was the emergence of the Warlord Era in 1916-28. They espoused the notion of Qing and sought to bring them back with support from other countries. They gradually accumulated power. Therefore, there began a nationalist revolution coined May Fourth Movement and among the incidents were the Versailles Treaty. China has been asked to take part in WWI and they gave much is the quest to reobtain their territory such as Qingdao. It was opposed and there were protests at the Forbidden City whose theme was to save the country. They advocated for a new culture movement so that people would figure out what to do with knowledge of what the problem was.
They concluded that China had to modernize in order to compete with other nations. The May Fourth Movement led to the formation of the Communist Party by Mao Zedong in Shangai. Among the cultures that were founded include Qingdao Beer by Germans in 1903 during the semi-colonial era. In conclusion, my thoughts are that China needed saving since the rulers at the time did not give China the possibility to expand to its global potential and hindered a lot of ability. China could have been a world power were it not for the problems caused by the monarchical rule which suppressed all the other individuals in sectors of economy, politics, and education.