Yuan Shikai (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Yuan, a warlord, built China’s first modern army.
Yuan Shikai was a protégé of Li Hongzhang, who put down the Nian Rebellion (1853-1868). Yuan first drew notice during the suppression of the 1882 Korean Soldiers’ Riot and the Korean Progressives’ Coup (1884). After China was defeated in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), Yuan was authorized by the Qing court to start training a new Western-style army. In 1898, during the Hundred Days’ Reform, he refused to support the reform-minded emperor and betrayed him to the reactionary forces. In 1911, Yuan became the prime minister of the Manchu court, controlling the imperial government, including the Imperial Guards. At the same time, he also secretly dealt with the revolutionaries headed by Sun Yat-sen. The next year, Yuan “persuaded” the Qing emperor to step down, thus ending China’s imperial rule. Yuan became the president of the new republic in 1913. In December, 1915, he declared himself the new emperor. However, faced with strong opposition across the country, Yuan had to end his imperial rule in March, 1916, and died soon after. After his death, a power struggle ensued among his generals.
Chen, Jerome. Yuan Shih-k’ai. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1972.
Chen, Jerome. Yuan Shih-k’ai, 1859-1916: Brutus Assumes the Purple. London: George...
(The entire section is 271 words.)
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