This book concentrates on one crucial period of the Chinese revolutionary movement, which spans the years from the founding of the Τ'ung-meng-hui (Revolutionary Alliance) in 1905 to the post-Mao Tse-tung era. It deals with a transitional stage, 1927-1949, when China was at the crossroads of revolution. Thanks partly to the tutelage of Soviet Russia, the Kuomintang had risen to power in the 1920s with the tide of nationalism. As George Sokolsky observed in 1929, "no governmental group in China started under better auspices" than the Nationalists in Nanking. 1 Nevertheless, shortly after its military victories of 1926-1928, the Kuomintang, headed by Chiang Kai-shek, was transformed from a party of revolutionaries to one of "traditionalist bureaucrats." In spite of the revolutionary fervor generated by the nationalist movement of the 1920s, the Nanking government was characterized by "ineffective administration, corruption, political repression, and factionalism." Its leaders were seemingly insensitive to the many social and economic problems of the people. The rule of the Nationalists was, in short, a classic example of revolutionary failure. 2