Monday, October 13, 2008

Feng Guozhang

Féng Guózhāng, a native of Hejian, Hebei. He was a Beiyang Army general and politician in early . He founded the Zhili clique of warlords.

Feng broke with Yuan Shikai when the latter attempted to . Yuan made Feng a Duke, but Feng declined this title. Yuan then sent an admiral to assassinate Feng but the admiral tipped him off and was himself murdered. Feng then moved to Nanjing where joined the . His name was prominently missing from the list of proposed successors in Yuan's will.

Feng then served as vice president under Li Yuanhong. During the occupation of Beijing by , Feng served as acting president, a position he kept when Li formally resigned. He was sworn president of the Republic of China on August 1 1917 but its constitutionality was challenged as the was not reconvened to recognize it. On August 14, China entered World War I on the side of the Allies after growing evidence of the German Empire's support for Zhang's coup was uncovered as well as intense lobbying by Premier Duan Qirui. He sent about 135,000 in labor battalions to the Western Front, Mesopotamia, and German East Africa. Troops were sent into Russia to assist the . Sun Yat-sen set up a rival government in Guangzhou during September 1917 and also declared war later that month in a failed attempt to get international recognition. Feng wanted to peacefully resolve the which led to Duan resigning in protest. Due to pressure from the Anhui clique, he brought Duan back into the premiership. Feng finished the five-year term started by Yuan in 1913 on October 10, 1918 and died in Beijing of illness.

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