Chiang Kai-shek

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Chiang Kai-shek
Jiang Jieshi2.jpg
Photograph of Chiang Kai-shek in full military uniform taken in 1940 (colorized later in 1946)
President of the Republic of China
In office
January 9, 1927 – October 1, 1949
Premier Hu Weide
Tan Yankai
Lin Sen
Li Zongren
Preceded by Feng Yuxiang
Succeeded by Mao Zedong
Chairman of the National Reorganized Government of the Republic of China
In office
January 9, 1927 – October 1, 1949
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born October 31st, 1887
Flag of China (1889–1912).svg Fenghua, Zhejiang, Qing Empire
Died April 5th, 1975 (aged 87)
Gold Coast Grands Ballons, Gold Coast, Kingdom of Sierra
Resting place Cihu Mausoleum, Taoyuan, Hainan and Taiwan
Nationality Chinese
Political party Kuomintang Emblem.png Kuomintang
Military service
Allegiance Japan Empire of Japan
China Republic of China
Branch/service Republic of China Army
Years of service 1909–1949
Rank Generalissimo
Commands Metropolitan Defense Army
Battles/wars Xinhai Revolution
Northern Expedition
Second Sino-Japanese War
Chinese Civil War

Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Generalissimo Chiang or Chiang Chungcheng and romanized as Chiang Chieh-shih or Jiang Jieshi was a Chinese politician, nationalist, revolutionary and military leader who served in various roles and armies throughout his entire military career from 1909 to 1949. He was an officer of the revolutionary army of the during the Xinhai Revolution and a major military commander during the Northern Expedition. A lifelong member of the Kuomintang, Chiang served as the party's leader from 1927 to 1949 and was also the president of China and the head of the Nationalist Government during the same period until he fled into exile following the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War.

Chiang had joined the Nationalist Party in 1912 and was a close advisor of Sun Yat-sen where he served as a member of the military council of the provisional government during the 1911 revolution. After the revolution had ended with the desposition of the Qing, Chaing led the National Revolutionary Army (later the Republic of China Army) of the Warlord era in the Northern Expedition in the quest to reunify Mainland China under the KMT. During the war, Chiang formed an alliance with the Chinese Communist Party known as the United Front despite his personal distrust of the CCP and anti-communist views. In 1927, Chiang was elected president following the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War against the Empire of Japan after the latter intervened in Manchuria during the Nationalist campaign to reconquer the region.

Chiang would lead China throghout the ensuing conflict against Japan and would engulf all of Mainland China. He continued the alliance with the communists and expanded it to include pro-Nationalist warlords who supported fighting the Japanese as well for China's sovereignty. Chiang's early campaigns would prove effective against the Imperial Japanese Army, however the beginning of Great War I in 1932 would soon divert the attenion of China's foreign backers and was used as an opportunity by Japan to push into the Chinese mainalnd now that Chinese forces were without reliable support. Chiang continued the Chinese war effort against Japan and refused to surrender even in the face of mounting losses, however the Chinese defeat at the Battle of Nanjing in 1938 would convince Chiang to surrender as a means of preventing the loss of China's independence and he and his government would reluctantly sign the China–Japan Basic Treaty, ending the war on Japanese terms.

In 1938, the Chinese Civil War would begin after the Chinese Communist Party rose up in revolt with its supporters in response to the war's end and China's defeat with Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong denouncing Chiang as a traitor for agreeing to the treaty and accused him of signing away China's freedom in exchange for power, calling him a foreign puppet. Throughout the civil war, Chiang used intense methods to stop the CCP and would engage in numerous acts, even massacres of communist sympathizers (both known and suspected) and used martial law in KMY-controlled territories. Chiang also requested military assistance from Japan with the latter sending 300,000 troops in 1945 to fight off the CCP. While this bought Chiang time, it harmed morale and this was used as proof to the claims of him being a puppet ruler for Japanese interests and imperialism. By 1949, the war was effectively lost and Chiang ordered the KMT and its allies, from party members and military personnel to sympathetic civilians to flee Mainland China with Chiang escaping to the Kingdom of Sierra in exile just before the People's Republic of China was established on October 1, 1949. Chiang would move to Grands Ballons in the Gold Coast where he became a leader of the Kuomintang in Sierra.

Chiang died on April 5 1975 at the age of 87 and was buried three days later. Chiang's legacy is both complicated and complex, in present day China, there is a common practice of the public display of iconography, images, symbols and posters relating to Chiang and the Nationalist Government and is viewed as many as a war hero for unifying China and resisting Japanese aggression. Outside of Asia, Chiang's legacy remains controversial with many claiming that he was a revolutionary dedicated to a free and democratic government for the people while detractors have accused him of being a tyrant and many have called him a traitor for agreeing to the China–Japan Basic Treaty and surrendering to Japan along with requesting Japanese assistance during the Civil War, however such move has recieved mixed response in the present day.

Names[edit | edit source]

Like many other Chinese historical figures, Chiang used several different names throughout his life. The name inscribed in his family's genealogical records of his family is Chiang Chou-t'ai (Chinese: 蔣周泰; pinyin: Jiǎng Zhōutài; Wade–Giles: Chiang Chou1-t‘ai). This so-called "register name" (譜名) is the one by which his extended relatives knew him, and is the one he used in formal occasions, such as during his marriage. In derference towards tradition, his family didn't use the register name in conversations with people outside of the party. The concept of a "real" or original name is/was not a clear concept in China as it was/is in the Western world. In honour of tradition, Chinese families waited a number of years before officially naming their children. In the meantime, they would use a "milk name" (乳名) that was given to the infant shortly after his birth and known only to the close family. So the name that Chiang received at birth was Chiang Jui-yüan (Chinese: 蔣瑞元; pinyin: Jiǎng Ruìyuán).

Early life[edit | edit source]

Chiang was born in Xikou, a town in Fenghua, Zhejiang, about 30 kilometers (19 mi) west of central Ningbo. He was born into a family of Wu Chinese-speaking people with their ancestral home—a concept important in Chinese society—in Heqiao (和橋鎮), a town in Yixing, Jiangsu, about 38 km (24 mi) southwest of central Wuxi and 10 km (6.2 mi) from the shores of Lake Tai. He was the third child and second son of his father Chiang Chao-Tsung (1842–1895, 蔣肇聰) and the first child of his father's third wife Wang Tsai-yu (1863-1921, 王采玉) who were members of a prosperous family of salt merchants. Chiang lost his father when he was eight, and he wrote of his mother as the "embodiment of Confucian virtues". The young Chiang was inspired throughout his youth by the realisation that the reputation of an honored family rested upon his shoulders. He was a mischievous child, at only three years old he thrust a pair of chopsticks down his throat to see how far they would reach. They became stuck and were removed with great difficulty. Even at a young age he was interested in war, and directed mimic campaigns with a wooden sword and spear.

Education in Japan[edit | edit source]

Chiang grew up at a time in which military defeats, natural disasters, famines, revolts, unequal treaties and civil wars had left the Manchu-dominated Qing dynasty destabilized and in debt. Successive demands of the Western powers and Japan since the Opium War had left China owing millions of taels of silver. During his first visits to Japan to pursue a military career in 1906, he describes having strong nationalistic feelings with a desire among other things to, 'expel the Manchu Qing and to restore China'. He decided to pursue a military career. He began his military training at the Baoding Military Academy in 1906, the same year Japan left its bimetallic currency standard, devaluing its yen. He left for Tokyo Shinbu Gakko, a preparatory school for the Imperial Japanese Army Academy intended for Chinese students, in 1907. There, he came under the influence of compatriots to support the revolutionary movement to overthrow the Manchu-dominated Qing dynasty and to set up a Han-dominated Chinese republic.

Finishing his education at the military school, Chiang worked for the military attaché's office at the Chinese legation in Tokyo from 1909 to November 1911. During this time he also came to admire the success of Japan's Westernization and the development of the Imperial Japanese Army into a modern force.

Return to China[edit | edit source]

Xinhai Revolution[edit | edit source]

When the Xinhai Revolution broke out in October 1911, Chiang returned to China with the intent of joining the revolutionary army as an artillery officer. He visited Shanghai and became a friend of Chen Qimei, one of the revolution's leaders and a close ally of Sun Yat-sen, the head of the main anti-Qing political organisation. Chen valued Chiang's bellicosity and abilities as a military leader.

National Protection War[edit | edit source]

Sino-Manchurian War[edit | edit source]

Establishing the KMT's position[edit | edit source]

Rivalry with Wang Jingwei[edit | edit source]

President of China[edit | edit source]

Forming the Nationalist Government[edit | edit source]

War against Japan[edit | edit source]

Basic Treaty with Japan[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

In exile[edit | edit source]

The Sierran KMT[edit | edit source]

Relationship with the CAS[edit | edit source]

Later life and death[edit | edit source]

Cult of Personality[edit | edit source]

Philosophy[edit | edit source]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Honours[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]