During the Chinese revolution of 1911, army officers, intellectuals, and students educated abroad combined to overthrow the Qing imperial household and found the Republic of China. In 1928, Chiang Kai-shek, having completed the Northern Expedition, unified a hitherto politically anarchic China dominated largely by regional warlords. Chiang and his Nationalist government ruled China between 1928 and 1949, at which time the Nationalists retreated to Taiwan after the Chinese Communist Party had taken over China.
The China collection contains rich historical materials pertaining to both the Nationalist government (including the post-1949 Taiwan era) and the Chinese Communist Party after 1949. Among the unique and rare holdings are the personal diaries of Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo (diaries of the latter are closed), the two presidents of the Republic of China; the Chen Cheng (former vice president of the Republic of China) collection (microfilms) relating to his early military campaigns against the Chinese Communists; and newspapers, posters, and handbills put out during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Hoover also possesses a rich body of English-language collections that reflect Westerners' unique personal experiences in China. Prominent holdings of this kind include the personal papers of Nym Wales, a close friend of Mao Zedong and his communist comrades, and those of Paul M. W. Linebarger, Sun Yat-sen's legal adviser.
Given the East Asian collection's quantity (more than eight hundred archival collections) and variety, its complementarities (having both Kuomintang and Chinese Communist records and the Chiangs' diaries and papers of their political rivals), and its significance (holding the papers of the four great families in modern China), the Hoover Archives has become one of the world's most influential hubs for modern and contemporary Chinese studies.