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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 considerable inspiration from the Soviet Union.

Even so, there were still some self-proclaimed Marxists within the KMT, although their interpretation of Marxist ideology was completely different from that of the CPC. And successive KMT party programs were packed with radical-sounding measures, such as the more equitable distribution of land. For good measure, the KMT often took firm measures against what they saw as profiteering merchants.

Yet despite such radical, even revolutionary rhetoric, the KMT primarily drew its support from the more privileged sections of Chinese society, in contrast to the CPC, which represented poor peasants and industrial workers. And the KMT’s promotion of traditional Chinese religious practices, such as Confucianism, further distinguished it from the Communists, who were thoroughgoing atheists determined to do away with the old traditions, seeing them as reactionary and counterrevolutionary.

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Both of these Chinese political parties were founded in the early twentieth century. At that time, China's Qing dynasty (1644–1911) was in its death knell and new political groups were emerging.

The most dominant political personality of early twentieth-century China was Sun Yat-sen (1866–1925). Although he led the Kuomintang (KMT), both the KMT and the Communist Party of China (CPC) claim to be his true heirs.

The CPC was Communist—like that of Communist Russia. One tenet of Communism is an emphasis on the importance of workers, and the CPC started its rise by encouraging the creation of labor unions. The KMT was based on the Three Principles of nationalism, democracy, and the peoples' livelihood. Apart from a few years in the 1920s, the CPC and KMT were enemies who fought almost constantly.

The KMT failed to implement its Three Principles and that enabled the better-led CPC to take over all of China in 1949. The Communists proved to be the real nationalists by fighting the Japanese in World War II (1937–1945). Also, the KMT was corrupt, and the CPC was more adept at winning popular support. The remnants of the KMT and its army fled to Taiwan and established a state there. The CPC still rules China, and it claims Taiwan.

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Ideological differences between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) led to the Chinese Civil War. Growing rivalry between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party and suspicion of the Soviet Union involvement in the growing conflict led to a rift between the once friendly factions.

The Kuomintang suspected the Soviet Union of trying to destroy the faction from within by leaning more towards the Communist Party. The suspicions also led to rifts within the Kuomintang, which was the larger group at the time. The Kuomintang split into left and right wings with the left wing seemingly allied to the Communist Party.

The left-wing KMT and the Communist Party moved the KMT government to a more communist-leaning region. However, the leader of KMT wanted a cessation of communist activities, a resolution accepted by other top leaders. A purge of communists within the party was conducted. Soon after the purge, KMT gained control of strategic parts of China and declared its authority over China. An uprising was organized and launched by the Communist Party, starting the Civil War.

  • The Kuomintang was a nationalist party, while the CPC was a communist party.
  • The Communist Party was supported by the Soviet Union, while the nationalist Kuomintang was supported by the United States.
  • The CPC recognized Wuhan as the capital, while the KMT recognized Nanjing.
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The Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party were political parties in China. The Kuomintang formed in 1912. It is another name for the Nationalist Party of China. It was founded by Sun Yat-sen. This party replaced the Qing Dynasty. There were three guiding principles of the Kuomintang. They were known as The Three Principles of the People, which were nationalism, democracy, and economy. This party ruled China for many years. For a period of time, the Chinese Communists were part of the Kuomintang.

Eventually, there was a split between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party. Chiang Kai-shek, who replaced Sun Yat-sen, believed the Chinese Communist Party wanted to overthrow him. Chiang Kai-shek attacked the Chinese Communist Party. This led to a civil war between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang. The Kuomintang had a republic and were noncommunist while the Chinese Communist Party believed in communist ideas and in having a great deal of government control.

While both sides worked together before and during during World War II to defeat the Japanese who had invaded China, both sides began to fight each other again after World War II ended. The Chinese Communist Party won the civil war and took power in 1949. There is a great deal of government control in China today.

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The major difference between these two groups was that the Communist Party was, of course, communist while the Kuomintang wanted a republican form of government.  The two groups did work together for a while.  They were both interested in defeating the warlords and bringing China under a unified national government once more.  The Communists also had orders from the Comintern (international communist organization headed by the Soviet Union) to cooperate with the KMT.

However, they eventually came to disagree over political ideology.  The KMT believed that communism would prevent the consolidation of a united China.  This led to the civil war in China that can be said to have begun in 1928.

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