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Title: China's last Warlord : Gao Gang and the Northeast People's Government (1948-1954)
Author: Sautin, Yevgen
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 7893
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2020
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This dissertation examines how Manchuria, a vast and strategic border region existing outside the political realm of China proper since the end of the Qing Dynasty, was quickly absorbed and transformed by the Chinese Communists. This process was spearheaded by Gao Gang, the leader of the Northeast People’s Government (1948-1954) and who by the Korean War reached his pinnacle of personal power and prestige. Both the Chinese Civil War and the subsequent Korean War turned Manchuria into a vital home front, where counterrevolutionaries had to be dealt with, a functioning war economy stood up, and outside influence attenuated. Gao Gang’s and Manchuria’s place under the sun did not last long. The 1954 purge of Gao Gang effectively ended Manchuria’s special status making political distinctions between the region and intramural China nonexistent. Second, the dissertation charts the important contribution the Northeast Government made in setting the tenor and limits for Sino-Soviet relations by maintaining firm control over Soviet involvement in Manchuria. Broadly, the dissertation explores the initial limits of centralization of authority by Beijing, and the center’s eventual triumph which ended Manchurian localism. Thus, the dissertation engages both with literature on contemporary Chinese history and international Cold War historiography. Chronologically, the dissertation covers the period from 1948 to 1954. The dissertation is an empirical work that relies heavily on Russian, Taiwanese, and where available Chinese archival sources. The chapters are organized by issue and examine the most significant policy decisions faced by Gao Gang and the Northeast Government: relations with the Soviets, industrial policy, land reform, political suppression campaigns, and the Korean War. An epilogue deals with the purge of Gao Gang and the elimination of the Northeast People’s Government.
Supervisor: Van de Ven, Hans Sponsor: Gates Cambridge Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: CCP ; Manchuria ; Gao Gang ; Northeast China ; Korean War ; Zhang Wentian ; Sino-Soviet Relations ; Chinese Civil War ; Dalian ; Land Reform ; Soviet Advisors