1 October 1949
China Proclaimed a “People’s Republic”
Ever since the resumption of the civil war in China things had not gone well for the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek. The Nationalists had superior numbers, better weapons, and support from the United States, but were exhausted from the war against Japan. As a result, they lost battle after battle to the communist forces of Mao Zedong, who were far better disciplined and enjoyed higher morale. In January 1949 the communists entered the city of Peiping unopposed. They changed the name back to Beijing and made it their capital. In the ensuing months most of China’s other major cities fell to Mao’s forces as well; the countryside, meanwhile, had come under communist influence long before.

On October 1, with virtually all of China in communist hands, Mao announced that “the Chinese people have stood up,” and declared that the country would henceforth be known as the “People’s Republic of China.”