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Anglo-American Rivalry for Military Aviation in Southern China in the 1930s

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image of Journal of American-East Asian Relations

In the 1930s, the Nationalist government in Nanking faced two major problems: warlord rebellions and Japan’s invasion. Established in 1928, the Nationalist government led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek exerted power in North China after suppressing the rebellions in that area in 1930, but the local governments in South China maintained their own armies and bases largely directed against this central government. Political divisions and tensions persisted. In May 1931, the Canton authorities rebelled against the Nationalist government, and a new full-scale civil war seemed imminent. The Manchurian Incident and subsequent invasion and occupation of Manchuria by the Japanese Army served to bolster national patriotism against Japan and, in response to public pressure, the Nanking and Canton governments held a series of peace conferences. The Canton government was forced to abolish its “Nationalist Government,” yet Kwangtung and Kwangsi Provinces remained functionally independent of Nanking until 1936.


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