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What was the difference between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang?

The main difference between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang is that they came to occupy different ends of the political spectrum. Initially, both parties shared the same nationalist roots and sought to save China from the humiliations of life under the Qing dynasty. However, they eventually diverged, with the Kuomintang representing the wealthier classes and the Communists representing poor peasants and industrial workers.

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Though the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) came to occupy different ends of the political spectrum, they both hailed from the same nationalist tradition. Under the Qing dynasty, China was subject to humiliating treatment at the hands of Western powers. Chinese nationalists responded to these humiliations by arguing that China was economically, politically, and militarily backward and needed to undergo radical change before it could stand up and finally assert itself against the West. Members of the KMT, no less than their Communist counterparts, were proud to call themselves revolutionaries.

Over time, however, the paths of the two parties began to diverge sharply. Under Chiang Kai-shek, the KMT began to break away from Western influence, a radical departure from the movement’s posture under Sun-Yat-sen. This meant that the KMT became more insular, more self-consciously right wing. The CPC, however, remained a recognizably left-wing party, which took...

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