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Kai-shek Chiang Edit Profile
In 1905 Chiang went to Ningpo to study and decided on a military career. In 1906 he went to Tokyo but failed to qualify for military training. Returning to China, he studied at the Paoting Military Academy, continuing his military education in Tokyo at the Shikan Gakko Military Academy.
When the 1911 uprising broke out in China, Jiang returned to Shanghai and became involved in the overthrow of the imperial government and the establishment of the Republic of China (ROC) (1912). He also participated in the subsequent Second Revolution (1913) and the campaign against President Yuan Shikai in 1915-1916. In 1923, at the request of Sun, Jiang went to the Soviet Union as a result of the GMD's new policy of alliance with the Communists. After a brief stay, Jiang returned to become the superintendent of the newly founded Huangpu (Whampoa) Military Academy.
Internal struggles soon troubled the GMD after Sun's death in 1925. Military power, however, remained in the hands of Jiang, who by then emerged as a powerful GMD leader and commander-in-chief of the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) whose goal was to unify China by eliminating the warlords in the north. In 1927, while on his Northern Expedition, Jiang ordered the liquidation of the Communists. This marked his first total break with the Chinese Communists.
By 1928, with the successful completion of the Northern Expedition, China was temporarily unified under the GMD headed by Jiang. In the early 1930s, however, Jiang launched a series of military campaigns against the Communists, despite the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. The Chinese Communists were thus forced to leave their base in Jiangxi in 1934 to embark on their historic Long March to Yan'an. Jiang ordered the reluctant General Zhang Xueliang’s Manchurian army to fight the Communists instead of the Japanese. This resulted in Zhang’s kidnapping of Jiang in Xi’an in 1936, known as the Xi'an Incident. Through the mediation of a Communist delegation headed by Zhou Enlai, however, Jiang was later released. After his release, a national united front (also known as the Second GMD-CCP United Front) against Japan began to emerge.
One year after the Xi'an Incident, an all-out war with Japan broke out. The war years with Japan (1937-1945) witnessed the emergence of Jiang as a national and world leader. While continuing his effort to contain the Communists, he mobilized China’s national resources in an effort to resist the Japanese invasion. In 1942, he became the supreme commander of the allied forces in the China theater and later participated in the Cairo Conference. After the war ended in 1945, he was immediately confronted with the Communist challenge for supremacy and the civil war erupted again. A meeting in Chongqing between Jiang and Communist leader Mao Zedong arranged through U.S. Ambassador Patrick Hurley, failed to bring peace to China. The United States offered to mediate by sending General George C. Marshall to China. Both Jiang and Mao considered Marshall an obstacle to their victory, and the American mission eventually failed.
Jiang opted to resolve the Communist problem by military means, since the GMD enjoyed a significant military superiority. From July to December 1946, the Nationalist army under Jiang captured 165 towns and 174,000 square kilometers of territories from the Chinese Communists. In early when the Communist capital of Yan’an was seized Jiang confidently predicted that the Chinese Communists would be totally defeated or driven to the hinterland by the end of the year. But the Chinese Communists had been expanding steadily, reaching 1.95 million in June 1947, as compared with GMD's 3.73 million. In the second half of 1947, the Communist army conducted a general offensive scoring victories in Henan and northern Hebei. The severest blow to Jiang came in late 1948 in Manchuria, where he lost almost half a million troops. The battle of Huai-Hai (1948-1949) was another disaster for Jiang as he lost another 200,000 men. But the Nationalist forces did not actually collapse until General Fu Zuoyi, the commander of the Beijing-Tianjin region, surrendered to the Communists in early 1949.
In 1946, Jiang's position was further weakened by China's rapidly deteriorating economic situation. He was thus forced by the peace faction within the GMD to resign the presidency in January 1949, and Vice President Li Zongren took over the government as acting president. In April, the Communist forces occupied Nanjing, driving the Nationalist government to seek asylum in Guangzhou, and eventually, in late 1949, in Taiwan by way of Chongqing and Chengdu.
During his exile on Taiwan, Jiang adopted some reforms needed to strengthen his rule and to resist the Communist attempt to take the island by force. The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 led to the American decision to protect Taiwan against Communist invasion. Jiang was thus able to stabilize the situation on the island and carry out an ambitious economic development program. He broadened his political base by injecting some native Taiwanese talent into his regime. Under his leadership and with American aid, Taiwan began to modernize its agriculture and industry and became highly competitive in foreign trade. In 1954, he signed a mutual defense treaty with the United States, which provided American protection against Communist action. In the late 1960s, he began to groom his son Jiang Jingguo (Chiang Ching-kuo) to be his successor. Even though he never abandoned his dream of an eventual return to the mainland, he made no serious effort to achieve his objective. Jiang's dream was not totally shattered, however, until 1972, when U.S. President Richard Nixon began an effort to normalize relations with the Communist government on the mainland. Abandoned by the United States, Jiang died embittered on April 5, 1975, after a prolonged illness.
The Kuomintang used traditional Chinese religious ceremonies, and promoted Martyrdom in Chinese culture. Kuomintang ideology promoted the view that the souls of Party martyrs who died fighting for the Kuomintang, the revolution, and the party founder Dr. Sun Yat-sen were sent to heaven. Chiang Kai-shek believed that these martyrs witnessed events on earth from heaven.
Chiang Kai-shek considered both the Han Chinese and all the minority peoples of China, the Five Races Under One Union, as descendants of Yellow Emperor, the Yellow Emperor and semi mythical founder of the Chinese nation, and belonging to the Chinese Nation Zhonghua Minzu and he introduced this into Kuomintang ideology, which was propagated into the educational system of the Republic of China.
"We live in the present, we dream of the future and we learn eternal truths from the past."
"If when I die, I am still a dictator, I will certainly go down into the oblivion of all dictators. If, on the other hand, I succeed in establishing a truly stable foundation for a democratic government, I will live forever in every home in China."
"Mao is a sometime Yin sometime Yang strange man, he has a soft-as-cotton outer layer, but at the same time has sharp needles hiding inside... I do not think he could achieve anything, at the end he will be crushed inside my palm."
"Democracy is liberty - a liberty which does not infringe on the liberty nor encroach on the rights of others; a liberty which maintains strict discipline, and makes law its guarantee and the basis of its exercise. This alone is true liberty; this alone can produce true democracy."
"We are working for a revolution. If we do not start it by improving the life of the soldiers, all slogans of reforming and improving society are but empty words."
"China is the largest and most ancient of Asiatic countries, but it is not for us boastfully to talk of her right to a position of 'leadership' among those countries."
"Character cannot be counterfeited, nor can it be put on and cast off as if it were a garment to fit the whim of the moment. Day by day we become what we do. This is the supreme law and logic of life."
"I go walking, and the hills loom above me, range upon range, one against the other. I cannot tell where one begins and another leaves off. But when I talk with God He lifts me up where I can see clearly, where everything has a distinct contour."
"China not only fights for her own independence, but also for the liberation of every oppressed nation. For us, the Atlantic Charter and President Roosevelts proclamation of the Four Freedoms for all peoples are corner-stones of our fighting faith."
Chiang Kai-shek was married four times. His first marriage was to Mao Fumei who died in the Second Sino-Japanese War during a bombardment. This marriage produced one son, Chiang Ching-kuo. His second and third wives were Yao Yecheng and Chen Jieru respectively. His fourth and best known wife was Soong May-ling who played a prominent role in the politics of the Republic of China.
October 10, 1928 - December 15, 1931
December 7, 1935 - January 1, 1938
May 20, 1948 - April 5, 1975