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Chinese military and political leader Chiang Kai-shek joined the Chinese Nationalist Party (known as the Kuomintang, or KMT) in 1918.Succeeding party founder Sun Yat-sen as KMT leader in 1925, he expelled Chinese communists from the party and led a successful unification of China.
He then participated in the struggles of China’s republican and other revolutionaries in 1913–16 against China’s new .
Chiang oversaw a modest programme of reform in China but the government's resources were focused on fighting internal opponents, including the Communists.
From 1931, Chiang also had to contend with a Japanese invasion in Manchuria, in the north-east of China.
He became the Commandant of the Kuomintang's Whampoa Military Academy and took Sun's place as leader of the KMT, following the Canton Coup in early 1926.
Having neutralized the party's left wing, Chiang then led Sun's long-postponed Northern Expedition, conquering or reaching accommodations with China's many warlords.He spearheaded the Northern Expedition which reunified most of China under a National Government based in Nanjing.