THE KUOMINTANG had its origins in the Chinese Revolution of 1912. In that year, the Ching (Manchu) Dynasty had been overthrown, after ruling China since 1644. The revolt had been instigated by those who wished to see the decrepit, Mandarin-governed kingdom replaced by a modern state. This desire had received renewed impetus by the humbling of China by foreign powers, who had divided the once proud land into spheres of influence. Also, the military weakness of the Chings had been shown by their inability to protect China during the 1894–95 war with Japan and the foreign expeditions during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.

Perhaps the most important agent for change in China came from the overseas Chinese, the community that had sought avenues for prosperity closed ...

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