The May 4th Movement

      MayFourthMovement_PosterThe May 4th Movement

        The failure of diplomacy triggered the May 4th movement directly. The weakness and inability of the governance of the Northern/Beiyang Warlord is the primary cause of the May 4th movement. As one of the triumphant countries in WWI, although China’s military strength was trivial compared to that of the European belligerents or of the United States, China didn’t receive any corresponding respects and benefits from its contribution to the war. “The Versailles agreements granted the Japanese the right to station police and to establish military garrisons in Jinan and Qingdao, and also mortgaged to Japan the total income from two new Shandong railroads the Japanese planned to develop” (Spence, 278). The agreements were humiliating. Once the news arrived in China, it triggered mass protests in Peking. The students representatives drew up five resolutions: “one protested the Shandong settlement reached at the Versailles conference; a second sought to awaken “the masses all over the country” to an awareness of China’s plight; a third proposed holding a mass meeting of the people of Peking; a fourth urged the formation of a Peking student union; and fifth called for a demonstration that afternoon in protest of the Versailles treaty terms” (Spence, 386). The May 4th movement was triggered the failure of Chinese diplomacy in the Versailles conference. However, it was not a simple event or protest. It was a result of the spreading and accepting of Marxism. It was an advanced trial of searching an effective way to develop and strengthen the New China in 1900s.

It is true that the unity was very advanced and organized. To some point, the Versailles treaty without China’s acceptance was inevitable. “The Chinese president did at last telegraph an instruction not to sign, but the telegram was sent too late to reach Versailles before the June 28 deadline” (Spence, 278). The students and demonstrators’ prevention finally stopped China’s acceptance. From all these nuances, we could see that the truth was the government protected and supported the students’ patriotic activities tacitly, although the governance of Beiyang warlord was weak and unable. It was patriotism that brings people together.

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