Thursday, September 15, 2011
The Mad Baron: Savior of Mongolia
To understand that legacy, a little historical review is in order. Prior to 1912 Mongolia had been part of the Great Qing Empire, in fact it had been even before China proper was under the rule of the Manchu Emperor. However, when the last Emperor was obliged to abdicate and the Republic of China was declared, the Bogd Khan (like the Dalai Lama of Tibet) basically said that ‘all bets are off’ and declared independence. However, the Republic of China was not willing to let Mongolia go and in due time Mongolia was occupied by Chinese republican troops who dethroned the Bogd Khan and placed him under house arrest. That situation endured until the arrival of the Baron and his army when he defeated the Chinese, drove them out of Mongolia and restored the Bogd Khan to his throne. One must also keep in mind that, although Mongolia had been an associated state of Imperial China, it had also been in the Russian sphere of influence at a time when all of China outside the region around Peking was part of the sphere of influence of Britain, France, Japan, Germany or Russia. So, the Russians had long had an interest in the region and the Mongol authorities had tried to keep on good terms with both Moscow and Peking.