chapter  3
26 Pages

From Educator to Politician: Huang Yanpei and the Third Force

WithThomas D. Curran

Huang Yanpei was a professional educator who spent the first twenty years of the Republican Period working hard to promote vocationalism within China's modern school system. This chapter suggests that a study of his political career will shed light on the fate of the Third Force (TF). Like him, the TF sprang from a crisis environment, which mobilized into political activity many who might under normal circumstances have lived out their lives peacefully as teachers, journalists, and businessmen. Upon the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in July 1937, Huang became fully engaged in the effort to mobilize the population of Shanghai on behalf of the city's defense. Under the circumstances, Huang's decision to leave politics, temporary though it may have been, was as rational as it was sincere. He was responding, however, to the constraints he had voluntarily imposed upon himself from the very beginning of his political career.