5. China/Mongolia (1911-1946)

Crisis Phase (November 18, 1911-September 30, 1919):  A group of Mongolian princes (nobility) declared Mongolia’s independence from the Manchu Dynasty (Chinese Empire) on November 18, 1911.  Mongolians established an autonomous government headed by Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, the 8th Living Buddha (Bogdo Gegen), in Yihe Huree (Urga) on December 28, 1911.  The Russian government provided military assistance (twelve military advisers) to the Mongolian government in Yihe Huree (Urga) beginning in March 1912.  President Yuan Shih-kai of China informally recognized the autonomy of Mongolia on March 25, 1912, but Mongolian nationalists again declared Mongolia’s independence on April 9, 1912.  The Russian government established a protectorate over Mongolia (Outer Mongolia) on November 3, 1912.  The Russian government provided a loan of two million rubles ($1 million) to the Mongolian government in February 1913.  Representatives of the Chinese and Russian governments signed an agreement on November 5, 1913, which provided for Chinese recognition of the autonomy of Outer Mongolia and Russian recognition of Chinese suzerainty over Outer Mongolia.  The Chinese government also agreed to accept the good offices of Russia in negotiations with Mongolian nationalists. Chinese government and Mongolian representatives signed the Russian-facilitated Treaty of Kyakhta on May 25, 1915, which reaffirmed Chinese recognition of the autonomy of Outer Mongolia.

Conflict Phase (October 1, 1919-January 31, 1922):  Some 4,000 Chinese troops commanded by General Xu Shucheng (Hsu Shu-Ch’eng) entered Mongolia in October 1919, and Chinese troops gained complete control over Mongolia in February 1920.  The Chinese government ended Mongolian autonomy, including demobilizing the Mongolian military and seizing the Mongolian arsenals.  Mongolian revolutionaries led by Soliin Danzan and Damdinii Sükhbaatar established the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) on June 25, 1920.  Russian (anti-Bolshevik) troops commanded by Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg entered Mongolia on October 1, 1920, and attacked Yihe Huree (Urga) on October 25, 1920.  Russian (anti-Bolshevik) troops forced Chinese government troops out of Yihe Huree (Urga) on February 4, 1921.  The Japanese government provided financial assistance to the Russian (anti-Bolshevik) government in Yihe Huree (Urga) in 1921.  Some 850 individuals were executed by the Russian (anti-Bolshevik) government in Yihe Huree (Urga).  The First Party Congress of the MPP was held in Kyakhta, Russian Siberia on March 1-3, 1921, and Soliin Danzan was elected as Chairman (General-Secretary) of the Central Committee of the MPP on March 3, 1921.  The Central Committee of the MPP established the Revolutionary Provisional Government of Mongolia headed by Dogsomyn Bodoo on March 12, 1921.  Mongolian revolutionaries defeated Chinese government troops on March 17-18, 1921.  The provisional government of Mongolia requested Russian (Bolshevik) military intervention on April 10, 1921.  Russian (Bolshevik) troops entered Mongolia on July 3, 1921, and the Russian (Bolshevik) troops captured Yihe Huree (Urga) on July 6, 1921.  Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg was captured near Lake Gusinoe on August 22, 1921, and he was executed by the Russians (Bolsheviks) on September 15, 1921.  The MPP proclaimed the independence of Mongolia on September 14, 1921, and the 60-member National Provisional Khural convened in Yihe Huree (Urga) on October 28, 1921.  The Russian (Bolshevik) government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the Mongolian government on November 5, 1921.  The Russian (Bolshevik) government also agreed to provide financial assistance (1 million ruble loan) to the Mongolian government.  Russian (Bolshevik) troops defeated the Russian (anti-Bolshevik) troops in January 1922.  Prime Minister Dogsomyn Bodoo resigned on January 7, 1922.  Some 1,000 individuals were killed during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (February 1, 1922 – March 31, 1925):  Jalkhanz Damdinbazar was appointed as prime minister on March 3, 1922.  Former prime minister Dogsomyn Bodoo was charged with treason for plotting to overthrow the government, and he was executed on August 31, 1922.  Damdinii Sükhbaatar, one of the leaders of the Mongolian revolution, died of an illness on February 22, 1923.  Prime Minister Damdinbazar died on June 23, 1923, and Balingiin Tserendorj was appointed as prime minister on September 18, 1923.  The National Provisional Khural was dissolved in January 1924.  The 8th Living Buddha (Bogdo Gegen) died of an illness on May 20, 1924, and the Mongolian government proclaimed the Mongolian People’s Republic (MPR) in Outer Mongolia on June 7, 1924.  The government of the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw its troops from Mongolia on May 31, 1924.  The MPP was renamed the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) in August 1924.  Soliin Danzan, former General-Secretary of the Central Committee of the MPP, was arrested by the security services on August 27, 1924, and he was executed on August 30, 1924. The first State Grand Khural, which included 90 elected members, convened in Yihe Huree (Urga), renamed Ulan Bator, on November 8, 1924.  The first State Grand Khural ratified the constitution of the Mongolian People’s Republic on November 26, 1924.  Soviet troops completed their withdrawal from Mongolia in March 1925.

Post-Crisis Phase (April 1, 1925-April 9, 1932):  The second State Grand Khural met on November 6-8, 1925.  The third State Grand Khural met on November 1-3, 1926.  The fourth State Grand Khural met on November 1-16, 1927, establishing a Mongolian state bank and gold standard for the Mongolian currency.  Prime Minister Balingiin Tserendorj died on February 13, 1928, and Deputy Prime Minister Anandyn Amar was appointed as prime minister on February 21, 1928. The Fifth State Grand Khural met from December 14, 1928 to January 23, 1929.  Prime Minister Anandyn Amar resigned on April 27, 1930, and Tsengeltiin Jigjidjav was appointed as prime minister.

Crisis Phase (April 10, 1932-January 5, 1946):  A Buddhist rebellion broke out against the communist government in northwest Mongolia on April 10-11, 1932.  Prime Minister Tsengeltiin Jigjidjav resigned on July 2, 1932, and Peljidiin Genden was appointed as prime minister.  Mongolian government troops, supported by Soviet troops, suppressed the Buddhist rebellion in northwest Mongolia in October 1932.  More than 1,500 individuals, including several hundred rebels who were executed by the government, were killed during the rebellion.  The Japanese government claimed that Outer Mongolia was part of Manchukua (Manchuria) on December 27, 1933.  Former General-Secretary of the Central Committee of the MPRP, Jambyn Lkhümbe, was found guilty of treason on June 25, 1934, and he was executed on June 30, 1934.  The government of the Soviet Union agreed to provide military assistance to the Mongolian government on November 27, 1934.  Soviet Union troops re-entered Mongolia in January 1935.  Mongolian and Soviet Union troops clashed with Japanese troops on December 19, 1935.  Representatives of the Soviet Union and Mongolian government signed a mutual assistance agreement on March 12, 1936, and the Chinese government protested the agreement on April 7, 1936.  Prime Minister Peljidiin Genden was dismissed by the Central Committee of the MPRP on March 22, 1936, and Anandyn Amar was appointed as prime minister.  More than 25,000 individuals – including high-ranking MPRP officials, government officials, military officers, and Buddhist clergy – were arrested and executed in communist purges beginning on September 10, 1937.  Former prime minister Peljidiin Genden was executed in the Soviet Union on November 26, 1937.  Prime Minister Anandyn Amar was dismissed by the Central Committee of the MPRP on March 7, 1939, and Khorloogiin Choibalsan was appointed as prime minister on March 24, 1939.  Mongolian and Japanese troops clashed along the Manchurian border beginning on May 11, 1939.  Soviet government troops commanded by General Georgi Zhukov resisted an invasion by Japanese troops.  The parties ceased military hostilities on September 16, 1939.  Some 28,000 individuals, including 5,000 Soviet soldiers, 3,000 Mongolians, and 20,000 Japanese soldiers, were killed during the military hostilities.  On April 13, 1941, the Japanese government agreed to respect the territorial integrity of Mongolia.  Former prime minister Anandyn Amar was executed in the Soviet Union on July 10, 1941.  On August 14, 1945, the Chinese government agreed to recognize the independence of Mongolia if Mongolians approved of independence from China in a referendum.  Mongolians voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum held on October 20, 1945.  The government of the Republic of China formally recognized the independence of Mongolia on January 5, 1946.

[Sources: Butterworth, 1976, 39-40; Clodfelter, 1992, 652-653; Survey of International Affairs (SIA), 1925 (supplement), 49.]


Selected Bibliography

Friters, Gerard M. 1974. Outer Mongolia and its International Position. New York: Octagon Books.

Murphy, George G. S. 1966. Soviet Mongolia: A Study of the Oldest Political Satellite. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA:
University of California Press.

Sanders, A. J. K. 1968. The People’s Republic of Mongolia. London and New York: Oxford University Press.

Scalapino, Robert A. and George T. Yu. 1985. Modern China and its Revolutionary Process: Recurrent Challenges to the
Traditional Order, 1850-1920. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.