Stanford—Scholars examining acquisitions in the Modern China Archives, held by the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, are reassessing important events and leaders of twentieth-century China. “The newly available historical materials open up a window to understanding China,” said Hoover research fellow Tai-chun Kuo, who is a workshop coordinator, along with Steve Tsang, of Oxford University.
The scholars’ research is part of a joint, two-week workshop that began on September 20 between Hoover Institution and Oxford University to bring leading China experts together to study and discuss information from the collections.
One key matter under discussion at the workshop is what can be learned from the failures and successes of the Kuomintang (KMT) Party. The KMT was the dominant political party in China before 1949, when it moved to Taiwan and became that country’s leading political party. The reforms effected by Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT in Taiwan during the 1950s proved more successful than did their efforts during the 1930s in Nanking, China.
By drawing on recent additions to existing collections the workshop participants are reconsidering how the party was able to re-create not only itself but also the state. Among other things, the scholars are discovering how changes in the party’s belief systems led to the changes in it and other organizations that enabled it to succeed. The findings will be covered in a forthcoming book, Rising from the Ashes: Chiang Kai-shek’s State and Party Re-creation in Taiwan, 1949-1960.
Among materials in the collection, from both the Nationalist government (including the post-1949 Taiwan era) and the Chinese Communist Party after 1949, are the diaries of Chiang Kai-shek, China’s Nationalist leader during World War II and the first president of the Republic of China; KMT party archives; the private papers of T. V. Soong, a leading official in the Chinese Nationalist government from the late 1920s to 1949; and papers of other important political leaders, including H. H. K’ung, Lei Chen, and Tseng Chi.
Finding aids for the China collections, detailing their contents, can be found on the Online Archive of California. For further information about the collection, please visit our China collection or contact us.
Participants in the workshop include Emily Hill, Queen’s University; Tai-chun Kuo, Hoover Institution; Hsiao-ting Lin, Hoover Institution; Ramon H. Myers, Hoover Institution; Paul H. Tai, University of Detroit-Mercy; and Steve Tsang, Oxford University.
Roundtable Discussion Featuring Chiang Kai-shek Collection September 27
The diaries of Chiang Kai-shek, part of the Hoover Institution’s Modern China Archives, continue to fascinate the public and scholars alike. One of the most viewed collections in the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, the diaries and other related materials in the collection were the subject of a roundtable discussion on Monday, September 27, titled “Chiang Kai-shek: A Reassessment in the Light of New Sources.” During the discussion, the scholars presented their findings about Chiang Kai-shek and his reforms in Taiwan in the 1950s. The roundtable discussion, open to scholars and media, took place in the Lou Henry Hoover Building, Room 238, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.