Studies on the Chinese Nationalist Party, the Zhongguo Guomindang (GMD), have focused on some fundamental questions. The first has concerned its political and ideological roots. The GMD was built in 1912 when Sun Yat-sen directed the transformation of the Tongmenghui into a centralized, democratic political party. In 1913, however, the ex-Qing minister and general, Yuan Shikai, became the president of the Republic of China and ordered the dissolution of the GMD. In 1919 the GMD was revived by Sun, but only in 1923 did the party reaffirm its role. In the early Republic, the GMD developed in a political culture in which factions and personal connections were fundamental, causing large disagreement about its policy and ideology. In the early 1920s, Comintern representatives helped to reorganize the GMD in a Leninist-style party, setting basic approaches for bilateral cooperation, to include the recently established Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The GMD was restructured and a modern military force was created. The party’s ideology was, on the contrary, rather homegrown: the Three People’s Principles were elaborated into a political platform that targeted warlordism and imperialism. From 1926 on, the Guomindang, with the support of the Soviet advisers and the CCP, brought the warlord era to an end and, to a great extent, unified China; after Sun’s death in 1925, Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi) rose to national power. The second area of investigation has concerned GMD’s performance in state building and governance. In 1928, after the end the Northern Expedition and the GMD-CCP split, Chiang and the GMD established a national government in Nanjing, which lasted about ten years (1928–1937, the so-called Nanjing decade), before the start of China’s war of resistance against Japan. The war years (1937–1945) saw the GMD-CCP United Front, which was largely ineffective; the relocation of the capital to Chongqing; and the birth of a collaborationist government headed by Wang Jingwei. In the late 1940s, a final battle between the GMD and the CCP resulted in the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and in the retreat of the Guomindang to Taiwan. Scholars have debated on the GMD’s capacity, arguing either that the modest but definite successes in unification and a variety of modernization projects would in the long run have produced a stable and prosperous country, had not the Japanese invaded China, or, on the contrary, emphasizing how GMD regime’s authoritarianism, corruption, and incompetence as well as Chiang’s policy produced a demoralizing effect on the party and a growing dissatisfaction within society. For many decades, studies on the GMD have been informed by the Cold War–era divisions and the basic orientations of Chinese historiography during the Maoist period. Recently new trends have emerged offering deeper insights into several questions, which include a more reliable evaluation of Chiang Kai-shek’s role.
General histories of the Guomindang (GMD) are scarce in Western languages since scholars often have preferred to focus on limited periods or problems of the party’s development and historical experience, as in the GMD’s role in Chinese state building (Ch’ien 1950, cited under Guomindang as a Party State and Chinese Modern Political Culture) and in setting a blueprint for the future state developments under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (Bedeski 1981, also cited under Guomindang as a Party State and Chinese Modern Political Culture). The history of the GMD before the 1924 reorganization has been dealt with thoroughly in Yu 1966, which, even several decades after publication, still preserves its validity due to the richness and detailed information. On the contrary, Chinese scholars, both in Taiwan and in mainland China, have been extensively engaged in editing and producing scholarly work on the GMD’s general history. Actually, history of the party (dangshi) usually has been written by the party itself, which organized its Party History Committee (Zhongguo Guomindang zhongyang weiyuanhui dangshi weiyuanhui) in the 1940s. The Committee has been put in charge of the collection and preservation of the documents that have been the basis of standard histories and reference works about the GMD, edited by party historians, such as in Li 1994, which reflects the official chronology and interpretation of events, or illustrated histories (Zhongguo Guomindang zhongyang weiyuanhui dangshi weiyuanhui 1985), which offer rich visual material. In mainland China, historians’ interest for the GMD dates to the late 1980s when the archival resources on the Republican era began to be systematically explored. Ma, et al. 1988 is one of the 1980s works that still retains its validity. A detailed chronology on GMD history is Chen 1993, while information about GMD important figures can be found in Liu and Zhang 1991. The most important recent work on GMD’s history is the result of the cooperation of several People’s Republic of China (PRC) research centers and offers a rich perspective of PRC scholarship on the topic (Yu and Zhu 2001). Outside the sinophone scholarly sphere, Japanese historians have been among the most interested in the topic, thanks also to the huge collection of documents on the Republican era preserved in Japanese archives and libraries. Nozawa 1974 has been a pioneering work with regard to this, though it is mainly focused on the period of the national revolution.
Chen Xingtang 陳興唐, ed. Zhongguo Guomindang da shidian (中國國民黨大事典). Beijing: Zhongguo huaqiao chubanshe, 1993.
A very useful research tool prepared under the supervision of the Second Historical Archives of Nanjing. Provides a rather accurate and detailed chronology of the events related to the GMD and Sun Yat-sen from 1866 to 1989.
Li Yunhan 李雲漢. Zhongguo Guomindang shishu (中國國民黨史述). 5 vols. Taibei: Zhongguo Guomindang zhongyang weiyuanhui dangshi weiyuanhui, 1994.
A fundamental work written by one of the most authoritative scholars in the field. The first three volumes basically cover the birth of the first societies created by Sun Yat-sen in the late Qing period till the 1949 defeat and retreat to Taiwan; the fourth volume concerns the reorganization of the party and the government in Taiwan, while the fifth provides a very useful list of documents.
Liu Jizeng 刘继增, and Zhang Baohua 张葆华, eds. Zhongguo Guomindang mingren lu (中國國民黨名人錄). Wuhan, China: Hubei Renmin chubanshe, 1991.
A useful collection of nearly one thousand short biographies of GMD’s personalities, plus charts of main GMD organizations.
Ma Qibin 馬齊彬, Zhang Tongxin 張同新, and Li Jiaquan 李家泉, eds. Zhongguo Guomindang lishi shijan, renwu, ziliao jilu (中國國民黨歷史事件人物資料輯録). Beijing: Jiefangjun chubanshe, 1988.
It was the first official compilation of information about the Guomindang history published in the People’s Republic of China with the contribution of the main experts from Chinese universities and research centers. It covers also the post-1949 period. Still useful as a research tool.
Nozawa Yutaka 野沢豊, ed. Chūgoku kokumin kakumeishi no kenkyū (中国国民革命史の研究). Tokyo: Aoki Shoten, 1974.
A fundamental work in the field of Japanese studies on the Chinese national revolution, written by one of the pioneers of the studies on modern China in Japan.
Yu, George T. Party Politics in Republican China: The Kuomintang 1912–1924. Berkeley, and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1966.
George Yu’s volume was considered at that time a very pioneeristic and fundamental work; in the early 21st century, it is still largely considered an excellent work.
Yu Keli 余克禮, and Zhu Xianlong 朱顯龍, eds. Zhongguo Guomindang quanshu (中國國民黨全書). 2 vols. Xi’an, China: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe, 2001.
An impressive work, prepared by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, which offers a short history of the party, a long list of key terms and events, a historical chronology regarding the party, and a final list of hundreds of short biographies of leaders and people related to the GMD.
Zhongguo Guomindang zhongyang weiyuanhui dangshi weiyuanhui 中國國民黨中央委員會黨史委員會, ed. Zhongguo Guomindang yu Zhonghua minguo (中國國民黨與中華民國). Taibei: Zhongguo Guomindang zhongyang weiyuanhui dangshi weiyuanhui, 1985.
A volume that contains hundreds of photos related to the history of the GMD from the origins to the mid-1980s.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- 1989 People's Movement
- Agriculture, Origins of
- Ancestor Worship
- Anti-Japanese War
- Architecture, Chinese
- Assertive Nationalism and China's Core Interests
- Buddhist Monasticism
- Central-Local Relations
- Chiang Kai-shek
- Children’s Culture and Social Studies
- China and Africa
- China and Peacekeeping
- China and the World, 1900-1949
- China's Agricultural Regions
- China’s Soft Power
- China’s West
- Chinese Alchemy
- Chinese Communist Party Since 1949, The
- Chinese Communist Party to 1949, The
- Chinese Diaspora, The
- Chinese Nationalism
- Chinese Script, The
- Christianity in China
- Classical Confucianism
- Confucius Institutes
- Consumer Society
- Contemporary Chinese Art Since 1976
- Criticism, Traditional
- Cross-Strait Relations
- Cultural Revolution
- Daoist Canon
- Deng Xiaoping
- Dialect Groups of the Chinese Language
- Disability Studies
- Drama (Xiqu 戏曲) Performance Arts, Traditional Chinese
- Dream of the Red Chamber
- Economic Reforms, 1978-Present
- Economy, 1895-1949
- Emergence of Modern Banks
- Environmental Issues in Contemporary China
- Environmental Issues in Pre-Modern China
- Establishment Intellectuals
- Ethnicity and Minority Nationalities Since 1949
- Ethnicity and the Han
- Examination System, The
- Fall of the Qing, 1840-1912, The
- Falun Gong, The
- Family Relations in Contemporary China
- Fiction and Prose, Modern Chinese
- Film, Chinese Language
- Film in Taiwan
- Financial Sector, The
- Folk Religion in Contemporary China
- Folklore and Popular Culture
- Foreign Direct Investment in China
- Gender and Work in Contemporary China
- Gender Issues in Traditional China
- Great Leap Forward and the Famine, The
- Guomindang (1912-1949)
- Han Expansion to the South
- Health Care System, The
- Heritage Management
- Heterodox Sects in Premodern China
- Historical Archaeology (Qin and Han)
- Hukou (Household Registration) System, The
- Human Origins in China
- Human Rights in China
- Imperialism and China, c. 1800-1949
- Innovation Policy in China
- Intellectual Trends in Late Imperial China
- Islam in China
- Journalism and the Press
- Landscape Painting
- Language, The Ancient Chinese
- Language Variation in China
- Late Imperial Economy, 960-1895
- Law, Traditional Chinese
- Li Bai and Du Fu
- Liang Qichao
- Literati Culture
- Literature Post-Mao, Chinese
- Literature, Pre-Ming Narrative
- Local Elites in Ming-Qing China
- Local Elites in Song-Yuan China
- Management Style in "Chinese Capitalism"
- Mao Zedong
- Marketing System in Pre-Modern China, The
- Marxist Thought in China
- Material Culture
- May Fourth Movement
- Media Representation of Contemporary China, International
- Medicine, Traditional Chinese
- Medieval Economic Revolution
- Middle-Period China
- Migration Under Economic Reform
- Ming Dynasty
- Ming-Qing Fiction
- Modern Chinese Drama
- Modernism and Postmodernism in Chinese Literature
- Music in China
- Needham Question, The
- Neolithic Cultures in China
- New Social Classes, 1895–1949
- One Country, Two Systems
- Opium Trade
- Orientalism, China and
- Poetics, Chinese-Western Comparative
- Poetry, Early Medieval
- Poetry, Traditional Chinese
- Political Art and Posters
- Political Dissent
- Political Thought, Modern Chinese
- Polo, Marco
- Population Dynamics in Pre-Modern China
- Population Structure and Dynamics since 1949
- Poverty and Living Standards since 1949
- Printing and Book Culture
- Prose, Traditional
- Qi Baishi
- Qing Dynasty up to 1840
- Regional and Global Security, China and
- Religion, Ancient Chinese
- Renminbi, The
- Republican China, 1911-1949
- Revolutionary Literature under Mao
- Rural Society in Contemporary China
- School of Names
- Sino-Hellenic Studies, Comparative Studies of Early China ...
- Sino-Japanese Relations Since 1945
- Social Welfare in China
- Sociolinguistic Aspects of the Chinese Language
- Su Shi (Su Dongpo)
- Sun Yat-sen and the 1911 Revolution
- Taiping Civil War
- Taiwanese Democracy
- Technology Transfer in China
- Television, Chinese
- Terracotta Warriors, The
- Tertiary Education in Contemporary China
- Texts in Pre-Modern East and South-East Asia, Chinese
- The Economy, 1949–1978
- Township and Village Enterprises
- Traditional Historiography
- Transnational Chinese Cinemas
- Tribute System, The
- Unequal Treaties and the Treaty Ports, The
- United States-China Relations, 1949-present
- Urban Change and Modernity
- Vernacular Language Movement
- Warlords, The
- Water Management
- Yan'an and the Revolutionary Base Areas
- Yuan Dynasty
- Zhu Xi
- Zongzhou, Liu