The Chinese Civil War (内战) was fought between the Kuomintang (KMT or Chinese Nationalist Party) and the Communist Party of China (CPC). It started as early as 1927. The war was fought off and on during the eight-year Japanese Invasion of China. After the war, this civil war started to heat up. The CPC was able to capture a large number of weapons abandoned by the Japanese in the Manchu area, including some tanks. But it was not until large numbers of well trained KMT troops surrendered, and joined the communist forces, that the CPC was finally able to master the hardware. However, despite the disadvantage in military hardware, the CPC's ultimate trump card was its land reform policy. This policy helped the CPC establish a stronghold in Manchuria (the northeast corner of China), which eventually overwhelmed the KMT and forced them to retreat to Taiwan.
We (Dean and I) were in heaven in those years after the war, as we attended our first few years of school in a very "normal" setting. We had candies after school, boiled eggs at lunch time, and chicken for dinner. And we played games and had some toys. Certainly we had a lot of fireworks during holidays. I was very good at lighting the fireworks, I remember. Once my Father's younger sister came to visit us from Hubei for a few days. She (Gu-gu, 姑姑) gave me some change every morning, and it all went to fireworks! The civil war was certainly not on our minds.
At the beginning, only once in a while, one or two people would come to our door asking for food. Then gradually in 1948, we saw a whole family, with children our age, come to knock on the door every evening for our left-over's. Mom told us to leave something in the pots every night at dinner for the beggars. She also asked me not to touch them when I poured the food into their containers, as they might transfer some disease to me. We started to recognize the children in these families. That was the evidence of the seriousness of the civil war. That was certainly the reason why the KMT eventually failed. The society was just not fair to the poor people. And there were just too many poor people!! That was the first time that I recognized those facts.