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Chiang Kai-shek was the Nationalist leader of China during the early 20th century. He succeeded Sun Yat Sen as the leader of the Kuomintang. His reign was largely characterised by conflict, both internally against the growing Chinese Communist movement and externally against Japanese expansionism.

Chiang launched a number of operations that succeeded in driving the Communists into north and central China, near the border of Mongolia. However, the conflict soon degenerated into a stalemate that lasted deep into the 1930s as the Nationalists failed to further dislodge the Communists from the region. Embarrassingly for Chiang, his wife's family were communist sympathisers.

Chiang also led China during World War II after Japan attacked in July 1937. Seeking allies in the struggle, Chiang allowed the Western nations with trade concessions in Shanghai to police their own areas of influence. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)

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