He led no Chinese armies in combat; but, as chief military advisor to the first President of the Republic of China, this young, hunchbacked Caucasian—seen above as a 26-year-old lieutenant general—helped to topple the ancient, corrupt Manchu dynasty.
In China, by the end of the 19th century, revolution was inevitable. Indeed, in many respects it had already begun; the foreign intruders had knocked the props from under the Manchus. Defeats by the British in the Opium Wars, by the French in Indochina in 1885, and by the Japanese in the north in 1894 forced Chinese intellectuals to re-examine their ancient mandarin system and Confucian traditions against the requirements of national power in the industrial age. To survive, China must change.