On this day: Government sends troops to China
In order to stop a civil war from threatening their valuable trade contracts, the British government decided to dispatch troops to ensure order in China’s main coastal ports on this day in 1927.
China had suffered crippling instability for the previous two decades, culminating in the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1912. The new republic endured chronic conflict and warring factions for over two decades. On 3 January 1927 protesters attacked two British possessions in China — Hankou and Jiujiang, forcing the British to relinquish control.
However, in the UK the government of Stanley Baldwin decided the stability of Shanghai was too valuable to risk losing, hence the decision to dispatch troops to ensure its security. They arrived on 12 February, alongside forces from other nations including the USA, Japan, France and Italy, where they were met with a general strike.
Unrest gradually ebbed in China as the Nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-shek, gained hold of the sources of power. He would remain leader until the civil war of the post World War Two years that brought today’s Communist government to power.