Thursday, October 16, 2008

Liu Xiang (warlord)

Liu Xiang or Liu Hsiang was one of the warlords controlling Sichuan province during the Warlord era of 20th century China.

During the period from 1927-1938, Sichuan was in the hands of five warlords: Liu Xiang, , Liu Wenhui, Deng Xihou, and Tian Songyao. No one warlord had enough power to take on all the others at once, so many small battles occurred, pitting one warlord against another. Large conflicts seldom developed, plotting and skirmishing characterized the Sichuanese political scene, and ephemeral coalitions and counter-coalitions emerged and vanished with equal rapidity.

However Liu Xiang was the most influential of the Sichuan warlords. He controlled Chongqing and its surrounding areas. This region, sitting on the banks of the Yangtze River, was rich because of trade with provinces down river and therefore controlled much of the economic activity in Sichuan.

From this position of strength, between 1930 and 1932 General Liu Wenhui and Liu Xiang improved their forces, organizing a small airforce at Chengdu, of two Fairchild KR-34CA aeroplanes and an unknown number of Junkers K53. In 1932 Liu began putting together the " and Tank Corps of Chungking". Armored cars were built in Shanghai based on the 1931 truck with a 37 mm gun and 2 MGs in a crude turret.

In 1935, Liu ousted his uncle and rival warlord, Liu Wenhui, becoming Chairman of the Government of Sichuan Province. A family-brokered peace was arranged which mollified Liu Wenhui with control of the neighbouring Xikang province, a sparsely populated but opium-rich territory on the periphery of Han China and Tibet.

At the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War Liu Xiang lead the Sichuan 15th Army at the Battle of Shanghai and 23rd Army Group in the Battle of Nanking, and was made Commander in Chief of the River Defence Forces for the Yangtze River. Liu Xiang died in 1938; some suspected he was poisoned by Chiang Kai-shek. Liu's death and the arrival of the central government in Chongqing in 1938 brought reforms that eventually put an end to the major warlord garrisons. The Sichuan faction broke up and a lot of Sichuan units turned their loyalties over to Chiang Kai-shek and became essentially Central army units.


*1921 - 1922 Governor of Sichuan Province
*1921 - 1922 Military-Governor of Sichuan Province
*1923 - 1924 Military-Governor of Sichuan Province
*1923 - 1924 Governor of Sichuan Province
*1924 Governor of Sichuan Province
*1925 - 1926 Military-Governor of Sichuan Province
*1935 - 1938 Chairman of the Government of Sichuan Province
*1937 General Officer Commanding 15th Army
*1937 Commander in Chief 23rd Army Group
*1937 - 1938 Commander in Chief River Defence Forces

No comments: