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Waller, Derek J. (1968) The first and second National Congresses of the Chinese Soviet Republic, 1931 and 1934. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The early 1930's, or "Kiangsi soviet" period in the history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is one of the most obscure in the entire development of the communist movement. The major significance of the two National Congresses of 1931 and 1934 is that using them as a focal-point for analysis provides new information on the inter-related themes of political processes and power-relations during this period. In 1930, the CCP leader Li Li-san attempted to convene the First Congress. The attempt proved abortive when Li fell from power in November 1930. The "Returned Student group", as the new Party leadership, continued to press for a Congress in order to assert their authority over that of Mao Tse-tung in the soviet areas. Many of the new leaders moved to the soviet areas from Shanghai prior to the First Congress of November 1931, but although they were successful in gaining control of the CCP organisation in the soviet areas, the Congress, and the governmental apparatus produced by it, remained under the control of the Maoists. Mao did little during 1931 to provide an efficient governmental administrative apparatus for the soviet areas, preferring to use military organisations, a situation which was rectified by the "Returned Students" after the First Congress. By 1933, they had asserted their dominance over Mao in the military sphere, and by the summer of that year, they had sufficiently eroded his influence in the governmental sphere to permit them to convene the Second Congress of January 1934, which formalised their authority in the government. The "Returned Student group" then controlled all three power structures in the soviet areas - Party, army and government. Mao and his followers, in order to retain some influence, publicly agreed with what they considered to be the incorrect policies of the "Returned Student" leaders. In spite of a lack of success in mobilising the support of the local population, the establishment of a formal government of the Chinese Soviet Republic institutionalised the shift of CCP operations from the cities to the countryside, and in addition, created a potential national government, which was a victory for the communists in their drive to represent an "alternative way" to that of the Kuomintang.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:14

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