American medical missionary and US congressman Walter Henry Judd (1898-1994) had two defining images of Chiang Kai-shek that were etched into his mind. The first image came from the state funeral for Dr Sun Yat-sen at the Zhongshan Mausoleum on 1 June 1929. Standing by the side wall of the long marble steps on the slope of Purple Mountain, up which Dr Sun’s body would be carried to its final resting place, was Judd, then a young American medical missionary. He had come from the interior of South China – Shaowu, Fujian Province – to pay tribute to Dr Sun. As he recalled in one of his lectures:

More than 100 uniformed bearers were carrying with poles on their shoulders the elaborate casket. Others were in front with long ropes to pull it up the steep ascent. I observed an erect gentleman walking alongside, clad in long blue gown and formal black jacket. I assumed this was Chiang Kai-shek – Dr. Sun’s pupil, devotee, successor. There was a moment when the movement of the procession halted despite the efforts of the bearers. It appeared the steps were too steep. Instantly the young man leaped forward, joined those on one of the ropes, and they all strained together with all their might to get and keep the procession moving again. It was a preview of what Chiang Kai-shek would have to do – and did – so many times and so successfully, in so many emergency situations in the 45 years ahead.1