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Chapter 2 spotlights the ways in which fascists intensify nationalism’s Janus-faced historical imaginary. It specifically identifies tensions between the modernizing ideals of Chinese fascists and their professed desires to revive ancient Confucian values. This position constituted a reaction to China’s 1910s New Culture and May Fourth movements and took inspiration from Nationalist Party leader Sun Yat-sen’s affirmation that Confucianism and industrial modernity could be fully compatible. Sun amplified this stance in United Front Canton. In the wake of Sun’s 1925 death, his most militantly anti-Communist followers reinterpreted the late leader as an industrial-era Confucian sage and began to invoke a Confucian national spirit as the glue binding the national revolutionary subject together. Their insistence that Confucianism constituted an ancient yet lapsed spirit served to distance their politics from conservatism and indexed a mythic turn in their nationalism.

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