After civil wars in both Russia and China broke out in 1919, the Chinese decided to dissolve Mongolian autonomy. Mongolian resistance groups were formed, including the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP). With the support of the Bogd Khan Jibzundamba, this organisation sent representatives to Russia in July 1920. D.Sukhbaatar, a member of the MPP, carried a petition bearing the Bogd Khan Jibzundamba’s stamp hidden inside his riding crop. The Bolsheviks agreed to support Mongolia and the MPP organized a government and armed forces. S.Danzan was the Party leader and Damdinii Sukhbaatar was the head of the military.
The 20th century saw many upheavals and struggles for the independence of the Mongolian people. At the turn of the 20th century Mongolia was a part of the Manchu Dynasty. It became an autonomous state in 1915 and after renewed occupation by the Chinese, finally a sovereign state in 1921. Soviet political influence continued up to the 1990s, when Mongolia became a democratic state and started its transition to a free-market economy.
Destruction, War and the Cult of One Person
(late 1920s – mid 1950s)
Foreign relations in north east Asia became increasingly fraught with tension after Japan occupied the northern Chinese territories and took over the Manchu state. From 1934 skirmishes and border provocations on the eastern border of Mongolia put Mongolia on high alert with regards to Japanese military intentions. The atmosphere of fear and uncertainty – actively encouraged by Moscow – was politically put to use to arrest and execute any internal opposition.
On the night of the 10th September 1937 mass arrests were carried out; a date that is annually observed in Mongolia to remember the victims of the persecution. The purge targeted all levels of society, including intellectuals, writers, scientists and lamas. Around 36,000 people lost their lives in the persecutions.
After Japan had annexed large parts of China, it finally attacked Mongolia in 1934 at its eastern border in the Khalkh river area. The joint Russian-Mongolian army defeated the Japanese.
The country had moved from feudalism to communism; then in the 1990s the move to democracy and a market economy. However the road ahead was to be a difficult one. As well as reorganising government, Mongolia had to deal with the shock of the withdrawal of Russian aid, which made up about 1/3 of GDP. As factories halted, necessities became scarce and rationing was introduced for items, including vodka, mutton and bread. Rationing was in place in Mongolia from 1991 to 1993.
D.Sukhbaatar’s garment, vest
Silk, velvet, brass
After liberating Altanbulag, the leaders of the People’s Party wore similar garments when they arrived at Niislel (present day Ulaanbaatar). Sukhbaatar’s vest is made of silk and decorated with the ulzii - a traditional eternal knot pattern. The museum staff collected the del from Suhkbaatar’s widow Yanjmaa in 1927.
Seal box of
This square wooden box was decorated with patterns made of silver, with the top of the box inlaid with coral and turquoise. It was locked with a Mongolian traditional lock.
13.5 x 31.5 x 29.5 cm
Made in Germany
This typewriter with the old Mongolian script was used in Mongolia after 1928. This script was officially used until the 1950s and again after the 1990s, when it began to be studied in secondary schools and state organisations. Education Minister Erdenebatkhaan ordered this typewriter to be made when he visited Germany in 1925.