Chiang Kai Shek
(1887-1975)

Chinese Generalissimo who trained in the Japanese army before returning to China in 1911 to help Sun Yat Sen overthrow the government of the day. Well connected in the ruling Kuomintang and upon the death of Sun Yat Sen took control of the party and in 1928 the country, breaking the longstanding co-operation agreement with the Communists.

The Imperial Japanese started to encroach more and more into China during Chiang's rule and in 1937 invaded and annexed Manchuria but Chiang still saw the destruction of the Communists as his priority, a view he held throughout World War II. The civil war continued to rage, with the Communists in the ascendent until 1949 when their forces under the command of Mao Zedong (qv) forced the Nationalists to flee to the island of Formosa (Taiwan), albeit with the central government's entire gold reserve.

Despite occasional sabre rattling Chiang stayed on Taiwan until his death in 1975, turning the undeveloped island into one of the great economic sccess stories of the twentieth century. He was dealt a major blow in 1971 when the United Nations recognised Red (mainland) China as the legitimate goverment of the country and thus occupier of the Security Council seat.

Length of Rule - Twenty Six years

Related Links

Biographies & Photographs

Chaing Kai Shek Memorial

Books

The Dark Valley

Piers Brendon

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Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-shek and the China He Lost

Jonathan Fenby

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