The Second Historical Archives of China, primarily the Records Management Office of Nanjing, preserving the original records of previous central government and their subordinate organs during 1912--1949 period, was founded in February, 1951 and is located at 309 Zhongshan East Road, Nanjing. It was previously under the administration of the Research Institute of Modern History of Chinese Academy of Sciences, then the State Archives Bureau. The work of the Archives is carried out by the Conservation Department, the Public Service Department, the Archive Processing and Cataloguing Department, the Compilation Department, the Research Department, the Technical Department, the Information Center, and The National Center for Cataloguing Republican Archives are also housed at the Archives. The mission of the SHAC is to collect, preserve, arrange, catalogue, compile, and facilitate the use of the holdings of the Archives. The SHAC is equipped with photography, photocopying, and computer equipment. Various types of finding aids are available.
The amount of original records of previous central governments and their subordinate organs during the 1912-1949 period held at the SHAC is vast. By the end of 2008, they consisted of approximately 1,800,000 files in more than 948 classes. They occupy more than 50,000 meters of shelving. More than 200,000 books and periodicals of the Republican period are held at SHAC. The holdings are divided into five parts:
1.Records of the Nanjing Provisional Government and the Southern Revolutionary Government:
The Provisional Government of the Republic of China (the Nanjing Provisional Government) was established on 1 January 1912 in Nanjing. Dr. Sun Yatsen was elected Provisional President. Although the number of records it created currently preserved number only 100 files as it existed for no longer than three months, they are extremely valuable. Among them are a few documents written or signed by Dr. Sun Yatsen himself. In 1917, Dr. Sun created the Military Government to Protect the Constitution in Guangzhou. On 2 March 1923 this was succeeded by the Generalissimo’s Headquarters of the Army and Navy. Sun Yatsen died on 12 March 1925. Once the National Government of the Republic of China was formed on July 1--referred to by historians as the Guangzhou National Government---the HQ of the Generalissimo was dissolved. The National Revolutionary Army launched the Northern Expedition in July 1926. After it took Wuhan, the Guangzhou Government moved there. Historians call this new government the Wuhan National Government. A great many records were created by the southern governments from the Military Government to Protect the Constitution to the Wuhan Government, including authorizations, letters, and documents drafted by Sun Yatsen, documents of the first and second National Conferences of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), as well as documents concerning the Northern Expedition and the United Front between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the KMT.
2.Records of the Beijing National Government:
On 1 April 1912, following negotiations, Sun Yatsen offered the presidency to Yuan Shikai in Beijing. For the next 16 years Beijing was controlled by warlords. After Yuan Shikai, Li Yuanhong, Duan Qirui, Xu Shichang, Feng Guozhang, and Cao Kun claimed the presidency . With Zhang Zuolin’s withdrawal from Beijing in June 1928 the Beiyang Government Period came to an end. The SHAC contains a significant quantity of records--55 classes, 130,000 files--that reflect the civil wars between the warlords and the great suffering of the people.
3.Records of the Nanjing National Government:
The National Government of the KMT, formed by Chiang Kai-Shek in Nanjing, ruled China for 22 years from April 1927 until Liberation by the CCP in 1949. It created a huge number of records and materials. Except for the part transferred to Taiwan before 1949, the great majority of materials stayed on the mainland. These documents are extremely rich, coming to 1,400,000 files ,in 600 classes and reflect fully the KMT’s political, military, economic, diplomatic, and cultural affairs.
4.Records of Puppet Regimes:
After the outbreak of the September 18th Incident in 1931, the Japanese military seized the Northeast (Manchuria). Afterwards the Japanese established and supported several puppet regimes in the areas they occupied. Japanese puppet governments such as the Wang Jingwei Government created a number of records, totaling 100,000 files in 92 classes. These were taken over by the KMT National Government after Japan surrendered in August 1945. These materials reflect the cruelty of Japanese imperialist aggression and the atrocities they perpetrated.
5.Records of Famous Persons:
Records of some famous persons are held in SHAC, including of Chiang Kai-Shek, Feng Yuxiang, Cai Yuanpei, Zhang Jingjiang, Ding Wenjiang, and Gu Weijun, totaling 6000 files in 47 classes .
The greatest part of the SHAC’s holdings is made up of official documents. In addition there are photos, medals, seals, currencies, postal stamps, trade marks, geographical handbooks, paintings, and calligraphy. They are not only useful for historical research and reference, but also for the verification of historical artifacts and art appreciation.
After the SHAC opened its holdings to the public in 1980, nearly 350,000 users both from home and abroad, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, and Germany have used its facilities and consulted files. To make records easily accessible to the public, the SHAC has compiled and published more than 70 different compilations of primary sources. It also issues the journal Republican Archives to publish historical sources held at the archives. In these ways, the SHAC has contributed effectively and consistently to government activities, economic development, scholarly research, historical writing, international exchange, and patriotic education.