- For the full story of the war that led to the communist seizure of power on mainland China, see Chinese Civil War. For the initial revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty, see Xinhai Revolution; for the 1913 revolution, see Second Revolution. For the revolution of 1926-1928, see Northern Expedition. For the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, see Cultural Revolution.
The Chinese Revolution or Chinese Revolution of 1949 refers to the final stage of fighting (1946–1950) in the Chinese Civil War. In some anti-revisionist communist media and historiography, as well as the official media of the Communist Party of China, this period is known as the War of Liberation (Template:Zh-tsp).
With the breakdown of peace talks between the Kuomintang or Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and the Communist Party of China (CPC), an all-out war between these two forces resumed. The Soviet Union provided limited aid to the communists, and the United States assisted the Nationalists with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military supplies and equipment (now surplus PLA munitions), as well as the airlifting of many Nationalist troops from central China to Manchuria, an area Chiang Kai-Shek saw as strategically vital to defend Nationalist-controlled areas against a communist advance.
Belatedly, the Nationalist government also sought to enlist popular support through internal reforms. The effort was in vain, however, because of the rampant corruption in government and the accompanying political and economic chaos including massive hyperinflation. By late 1948 the Nationalist position was bleak. The demoralized and undisciplined Nationalist troops proved no match for the communist People's Liberation Army. The communists were well established in the north and northeast while the Nationalists, who had an advantage in both numbers of men and weapons, controlled a much larger territory and population than their adversaries, and enjoyed considerable international support, nevertheless suffered from a lack of morale and rampant corruption that greatly reduced their ability to fight and their civilian support. Especially during World War II, the best of the Nationalist troops were either wounded or killed while the communists had suffered minimal losse
After numerous operational set-backs in Manchuria, especially in attempting to take the major cities, the communists were ultimately able to seize the region and capture large Nationalist formations. This provided them with the tanks, heavy artillery, and other combined-arms assets needed to prosecute offensive operations south of the Great Wall. In January 1949 Beiping was taken by the communists without a fight, and its name was changed back to Beijing. Between April and November, major cities passed from Nationalist to Communist control with minimal resistance. In most cases the surrounding countryside and small towns had come under Communist influence long before the cities — part of the strategy of people's war. One of the decisive battles was the Huai Hai Campaign.
Ultimately, the People's Liberation Army was victorious. On October 1, 1949 Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China. Chiang Kai-shek, 600,000 Nationalist troops, and about two million Nationalist-sympathizer refugees, predominantly from the former government and business communities of the mainland, retreated to the island of Taiwan and proclaimed the Republic of China. After that, there remained only isolated pockets of resistance to the communists on the mainland, such as in the far south. A PRC attempt to take the ROC-controlled island of Kinmen was thwarted in the Battle of Kuningtou, halting a PLA advance towards Taiwan. In December 1949 Chiang proclaimed Taipei, Taiwan the temporary capital of the Republic, and continued to assert his government as the sole legitimate authority of all China, while the PRC government did likewise. The last fighting between Nationalist and Communist forces ended with the communist capture of Hainan Island in May 1950.