Warlord China, 1916-1817
It is 1916, and China has devolved into a state of extreme political fragmentation. The government has collapsed with the death of former president Yuan Shikai, smashing all hopes that the 1911 Revolution would replace China’s last imperial dynasty with a strong, unified, and reform-minded republic. To make matters worse, foreign powers continue to exploit the country through economic imperialism, and politicization of the lower classes has caused the number of strikes and protests to spike.
The fate of country is now in the hands of warlords, military strongmen wielding personal armies and significant autonomous political power. Engulfed in civil wars and fighting for control over civil administrations that provide access to financial resources, the country seems locked in an endless state of militarism and conflict involving millions of soldiers and civilians alike. But the high tide of warlord power lasted only from the death of Yuan Shikai in 1916 to the nominal “reunification” of the country by the Nationalist Party’s Northern Expedition in 1926–1928. This begs the question: will the various regional factions be able to overcome their differences and form stable alliances, or will Nationalist forces and mobilization of the masses bring the era of warlordism to an end…? The decision is yours to make.