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China's Nation-Building Effort, 1927-1937:
China's Nationalists had an impressive record of achievement in the prewar years, although there were serious weaknesses along with the strengths. They brought about a major transformation after the chaotic warlord era of the twenties. They largely overcame separatist revolts; established a functioning government with a radically improved fiscal system and good credit; stabilized exchange and reformed the economy; and started a promising program of economic development.
All this was done despite meagerness of external aid, worldwide depression, subversive efforts of the Communists, and Japan's aggression. The Progress was accomplished mainly by self-help and with readiness to accept advice.
Impressed by the Communist takeover, however, writers and students of Chinese affairs often lump together the years between 1911, the fall of the empire, and 1949 as an interregnum of uninterrupted confusion. This approach ignores the Nationalists' achievements and China's promising outlook in mid-1937, tragically interrupted by Japan, when on many fronts there were signs of progress rather than collapse.
For the period 1927 to 1937 attention has centered largely on political events, notably the confrontation with the Communists and relations with Japan and the other powers. Financial and economic affairs during those years were of utmost importance but have been largely neglected or, when discussed, have often been incorrectly presented. This book thoroughly describes and analyzes these affairs. Internal political and social matters and international relations are also necessarily interwoven in the story.
Mr. Young is in a unique position to shed light on what happened in these years. As Financial Adviser to China, he participated actively at a high level in the critical events of the time. His records on many topics are more complete than any existing elsewhere. He has drawn upon the records of the Department of State, the Morgenthau Diaries, the Roosevelt papers, and the published sources. Both a history and a memoir, this book provides a remarkable inside record of a period of great importance for both the scholar and the general intelligent reader interested in international affairs, especially in East Asia. [via]