CHINA was in turmoil during most of Coolidge's's presidency, and many Americans yearned for the United States to intervene to set things right. Coolidge, responsible for protecting the lives of American citizens, had reservations as to how far he should go, for it took almost one soldier or sailor or Marine to protect each American in China. By the end of his presidency the United States had recognized the Nationalist regime of General Chiang Kai-shek.
Events in China ran briefly as follows. By the middle of the 1920's the Nationalists were beginning to move northward from Shanghai toward Nanking, which they reached in 1927. They occupied Peking in 1928. The takeover was not bloody, for Chiang Kai-shek fought only a few of the opposing warlords, and bought or balanced the others. Meanwhile Chinese everywhere, whether under Nationalist or other regimes, acutely desired national unity. The new national sentiment in large part was directed against foreigners; notable outbreaks occurred in Shanghai in 1925 against the British and in Nanking in 1927 against all foreigners resident in the city. During the Nanking incident Western warships in the river threw a protective barrage of shells around the property of the Standard Oil Company on Socony Hill, to enable foreigners concentrated there to escape over the compound wall and down to the ships.
As for relations with the Soviet Union, nothing seems stranger today than the policy of the Coolidge Administration toward that nation. Here was one of the admittedly great peoples of the world whose government -- so far as the State Department was concerned