NO other nation will cross the threshold of the postwar world in quite the same mood as China. For China is a new nation, with a new attitude. That is the cardinal fact to be borne in mind by everyone who seeks to understand her or to appraise her future course.
The Chinese have had more than two centuries of unbroken contact with Western nations and Western civilization. But it was not until the time of the Russo-Japanese War that the Chinese people, the Court and the literati saw what the West meant for them. They saw that a rapid process of westernization had transformed Japan and had made her mighty. They perceived the concept of nationhood, and saw that the political entities called Great Britain, France and Germany were nations but that the Chinese Empire was not a nation. In the sixties and seventies they had realized that the firearms, fire boats and fire wagons of the Westerners were better instruments for killing than any which they possessed. Now they saw that Western civilization had many other elements of strength and even refinement lacking in the traditional Chinese civilization. Prior to the Russo-Japanese War, Dr. Sun Yat-sen's call for the overthrow of the Manchu régime and an advance toward nationhood fell on deaf ears. But when that war thoroughly shook up Chinese complacency Dr. Sun began to recruit followers from among the literati and elsewhere in great numbers.
This belated dawning of national consciousness cost China dearly. The delay gave her immensely greater difficulties in attaining freedom and unity than Japan had faced. It brought her more suffering. She finally had to pay the price of a long and devastating war before her own people and other states admitted that she was a nation. The National Government which the Kuomintang set up has had to devote virtually all its energies to the single purpose of achieving that nationhood, neglecting almost all the other goals that were equally precious to
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