After gaining victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, China was in dire need of peace, development, and a return to normal life. Both the Kuomintang of China (KMT, 中國國民黨) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP, 中國共產黨) were busy accepting the surrender of the Japanese and its puppet regimes, confiscating equipment and supplies, and liberating occupied areas. Conflicts arose between the two parties over matters related to the terms of surrender and territorial control. However, the Nationalist Government was set to claim the great majority of occupied territory, with various takeover committees of the KMT, the government, and military organs dispatched to the large and medium-sized cities to handle the takeover. These KMT officials, many of whom stayed in the rear area during the war for years, held nothing back in staking a claim to the spoils of war, turning the takeover into an ugly plunder. This kind of “takeover” culminated in a catastrophe in Taiwan (台灣) where the KMT officials tasked with the takeover operation pillaged even more fiercely than they did in Mainland China, throwing the Taiwanese people into deep distress. On 27 February 1947, staff of the Taipei Monopoly Bureau (台北專賣局) carried out a brutal investigation into illegal cigarettes, with casualties caused by beating and shooting that sparked an island-wide protest the day after. The Nationalist Government sent in reinforcement to suppress the outbreak of anger, resulting in tens of thousands of casualties. It was not until mid-May that the unrest, known as the February 28th Incident, gradually subsided.
At that time, the Nationalist Government was beset by internal and external challenges. In February 1945, a conference at Yalta was convened by the Soviet Union, the United States, and Britain. It led to the conclusion of a Soviet-US secret agreement with the unspoken purpose of sacrificing China’s sovereignty in the Northeast and Outer Mongolia in exchange for a Soviet Union commitment to fight against Japan three months after the end of the warfare in Europe. In August 1945, the Nationalist Government was forced by the Soviet Union to sign the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance confirming the terms and conditions of the secret agreement at the Yalta Conference and thereby granting unrestricted power for the Soviets to send troops to Northeast China and agreeing to the independence, secured by the outcome of a referendum, of Outer Mongolia from China. For its part, the United States played an active role in engaging the KMT and the CCP in post-war peace talks, but was eventually unable to avert a civil war. After coming to power, the US Truman Administration showed an indifferent attitude towards the Nationalist Government, with a great impact to the situation in China.