a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


Third Chinese Warlord War

Also called: Anti-Fengtian War

Years: 1925-1926
Battle deaths: 1,000 [1]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]

Published: 2014-08-03 23:04:51 | Updated: 2014-08-03 23:30:07
The Anti-Fengtian War (Fan Feng Zhan Zheng, 反奉战争) was the last major civil war within the Republic of China’s northern Beiyang government prior to the Northern Expedition. It lasted from November 1925 to April 1926 and was waged by the Guominjun against the Fengtian clique and their Zhili clique allies. The war ended with the defeat of the Guominjun and the end of the provisional executive government. The war is also known as either Guominjun-Fengtian War or the Third Zhili-Fengtian War.

In October 1925, Guo Songling, a division commander of the Fengtian clique, defected to Feng’s Guominjun clique. From November 22 he began to lay siege to Mukden, the capital city of his former Fengtian master. Chiang Kai-shek sought to convince Sun Chuanfang to also defect, though to the Kuomintang. Sun, who was affiliated with Wu Peifu’s Zhili clique, was a popular target to woo; having recently fought against Zhang’s armies, he was openly unhappy about his enforced alliance with the Fengtian clique. Sun, however, refused and executed Chiang’s emissaries. Chiang retaliated in turn by executing Sun’s envoys.

A power struggle was also taking place among the key figures in the KMT. Wang Jingwei, Chiang Kai-shek’s rival for absolute control over the Nationalist Party, proposed sending Chiang to Feng’s Guominjun as an adviser. Chiang saw this as an attempt to detach him from his Whampoa power base and declined.

On December 24, in a stunning reversal of fortune, Guo’s siege of Mukden was lifted and he was killed. The Guominjun began hemorrhaging soldiers, both from fighting and desertion, as it tried to hold off the combined armies of Wu Peifu, Zhang Zuolin, Li Jinglin and Zhang Zongchang. In January, Feng resigned as a warlord and moved to the Soviet Union to study. Japan supported Zhang’s forces, directly providing air and naval support. During an artillery attack on Guominjun forces, civilians were killed, leading to protests in Beiping and the March 18 Massacre. Though Duan expressed his remorse at the brutal suppression of the protests, the Guominjun removed him from office the next month.

In April, and in order to appease the Zhili clique, the Guominjun released the deposed ex-president Cao Kun, who had been put under arrest by Feng in 1923. Wu did not respond. The Young Marshal, Zhang Xueliang, had his army occupy the capital with Wu’s troops arriving a little later. They sacked the capital causing much chaos and leading to the collapse of much of the Beiyang government’s bureaucracy. It would not fully recover until its occupation by the Nationalists in 1928.

Guominjun troops tried to flee through Shanxi, but the Shanxi clique led by Yan Xishan maintained a very strict neutrality policy and attacked any soldiers that encroached their borders. Yan, an ex-Tongmenghui member, was sympathetic with the Guominjun but did not want his province drawn into civil war. He would go on side with Feng during the Northern Expedition and Central Plains War.

Source: Wikipedia, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved 2014-08-03


Notes on fatalities

[1] Battle deaths: Correlates of War, Intra-State War Data v4.1 #698 - fatalities unknown

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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