Chiang Kai-shek

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Chiang Kai-shek

Jiang Jieshi (October 31, 1887 – April 5, 1975), commonly referred to in Anglicized format as Chiang Kai-Shek,[1] was the pro-freedom Christian leader of China from 1928 until 1949. In 1949, Chiang's Nationalist Party, or KMT, was defeated by the communists and fled to Taiwan. The U.N. and the non-Communist world recognized "Nationalist China" as China's only legitimate government until 1971. Chiang remained head of the KMT on Taiwan until his death in 1975. He is remembered by diligent history researchers for leading the Nationalist military that fought the Japanese Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War, facing two enemy forces amidst Chinese Communist collaboration with Japanese war criminals.

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek meets Phyllis Schlafly and her husband Fred in 1967, with General Clyde and June Watts in the background.

Chiang served in the Japanese army from 1909 to 1911. He returned to China after receiving news of the 1911 revolution. He joined the KMT, then led by Sun Yat-sen, in 1918. In command of the KMT armies, he unified China (except Manchuria) in 1927-29. Chiang converted to Christianity and married Soong Meiling, a Methodist educated in the U.S. The husband and wife became widely popular in the U.S., and under Chiang's leadership China received very strong American support during World War II in order to fight the Japanese who seized most of China in 1937.

Chiang Kai-shek
Traditional Chinese 蔣介石
Simplified Chinese 蒋介石

Although Chiang was nominally in charge of the "China-Burma-India" theater, actual command was held by American and British generals, especially Joseph Stilwell. Relatively little fighting took place in China. Nevertheless, Chiang gained world stature, and China was given a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council in 1945. Chiang became an ardent opponent of Communism in the late 1920s, but lost to Mao Zedong in the Chinese civil war, fleeing with his government and army to Taiwan in 1949. In Taiwan he built a modern Chinese nation—much smaller than the mainland of course—but proved that rapid, modernization, fast economic growth—and democracy—was possible in a Chinese nation. In 1947 he repressed traditional Taiwanese natives who hated to be overrun and ruled by the elites from the mainland, and to this day his reputation is controversial on Taiwan.

American conservatives greatly admired and supported Chiang and his wife. Long derided by liberals, his reputation has been improving among scholars. For eighty years the Chinese history has unfolded in the rivalry of Chiang and Mao. In recent years Mao's reputation has collapsed, as China has discarded socialism, embraced capitalism, and taken off to economic prosperity—following the model of the much smaller Taiwan. Meanwhile, the Chinese are embracing the vision that Chiang espoused: the vision of a China achieving modernity in its economy, parity in military prowess, and building political stability on a basis of traditional nationalism. Taylor (2009) argues that, far from being incompetent, Chiang was a farsighted, disciplined and canny strategist who repeatedly predicted major geopolitical events and worked effectively for China, given its poverty. Chiang laid the foundation not only for Taiwan's prosperity, but also for its transformation into the only democracy in the Chinese-speaking world, and one of the few in Asia. Even the mainland, where he was the great enemy for a half century, Chiang is now widely regarded as a national patriot who made valuable contributions to the modernization of China. The Communist leaders in Beijing have looked to Taiwan as a model for what a prosperous and free Chinese society might be like. Some mainstream Chinese scholars are suggesting that the country might have been better off had Chiang triumphed in 1949 instead of Mao.[2]

Despite being the foremost leader against Fascist Japan's brutal invasion of China during World War II, Chiang is slandered by liberals and Communists as a "fascist."

Early life

Chiang was born in the port city of Ningbo in 1887, and like many educated and patriotically-minded youths in the dying days of the Qing dynasty chose to follow a military career. He studied at a military academy in Japan between 1908 and 1910, where Chiang joined the Tongmenghui (United League) - which was shortly to merge with other revolutionary groups to become the Kuomintang, usually called the KMT or Nationalist Party. At the time of the 1911 revolution Chiang was based in Shanghai and at that time became involved with the local secret societies and gangs who were to aid him later in his career. During the 'Second Revolution' of 1913 (against the reactionary rule of Yuan Shikai) Chiang led an attack on an arsenal in Shanghai but the bungled operation was a disastrous failure and Chiang was forced to flee. He attached himself to the entourage of the KMT leader Sun Yat-sen and to the ramshackle KMT government which Sun set up in the southern metropolis of Canton. When Sun concluded an alliance with the Comintern in 1923, brokered by the Soviet agent Adolph Joffe (the 'Sun-Joffe Agreement'), Chiang was appointed commandant of the Whampoa Military Academy at Canton, established with Soviet aid and with Soviet and other foreign communist advisers. The purpose of the Academy was to train a Nationalist army capable of uniting China under KMT rule.

Northern Expedition

As commandant of the Whampoa Military Academy, Chiang had to work closely with Soviet advisors and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials (the KMT and the CCP had formed a "united front" as a result of the Sun-Joffe Agreement). Communist leader Chou En-lai was a senior political commissar at the academy. However, Chiang was very suspicious of his Communist allies. Following the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925, Chiang became the most powerful individual KMT leader, and on March 11, 1926 launched a limited purge of communists in Canton (the "Canton Coup"), as a result of which all his Soviet advisors were expelled from China. However, he did not dissolve the united front, and the CCP, under orders from Moscow, also continued to maintain the status quo.

Northern Expedition, 1926-1927

On July 1, 1926, Chiang launched the Northern Expedition. His armies marched north from Canton in a bid to free China from the warring warlord factions which had been the sole fluctuating authority in the country since the death of Yuan Shikai in 1916, and to unify the country under KMT rule. However, Chiang was aided by the 'Guangxi Clique' of nationally minded warlords; and the northern progress of the expedition was aided by carefully-timed popular uprisings planned by the CCP against local warlords.

By September 1926 his KMT armies had captured Wuhan on the middle Yangtse, and a KMT government was established there. Instead of continuing to press north, Chiang turned east and in March 1927 occupied Nanjing, which was to become the Nationalist's capital city, and Shanghai. "Gui clique" (Guangxi warlords) in 1929 depended mainly on his successful military strategy. Before the war broke out he sought to settle the dispute peacefully, insisting on striking only after the enemy had struck first, leaving the impression that he was forced to accept a challenge. This bought him time to prepare for military action and won the support of the people. Just before the outbreak of hostilities he took well-thought-out steps to deploy troops, strengthen discipline, win over friendly forces, and split the enemy forces. After the war broke out he applied flexible strategy and tactics, effectively containing Feng Yuxiang's intended attack on Wuhan and thereby safeguarding the security of the city. These steps created favorable conditions for the armies from Hunan and Canton to eventually occupy the Gui clique's base in Guangxi.

After destroying the Communists' main base of power in Shanghai in April 1927, Chiang was now the undisputed leader of the Kuomintang and the most powerful man in China. In 1928 two northern warlords, Yan Xishan and Feng Yuxiang, pledged their loyalty to him, and Yan's troops drove the last major warlord opponent, Zhang Zuolin, out of Beijing. The Northern Expedition was over, and Chiang was master of China.

President of the Republic of China

The period of the 'Nanjing Republic' (1928–37) was too short and too troubled to enable a full assessment of what established Kuomintang rule might have brought China. Chiang was faced by a series of serious internal and external problems:

Although President of China, his direct rule only extended to the lower Yangtse provinces; the rest of China continued to be ruled by warlords expressing greater or lesser degrees of loyalty to Chiang. In 1929-30 his erstwhile allies Feng Yuxiang and Yan Xishan rebelled against him and his rule was saved by the intervention of Zhang Xueliang, heir of the assassinated north-eastern warlord Zhang Zuolin.

Chiang married into the wealthy Soong family, his wife, Soong Meiling (1897-2003), was the American-educated Methodist sister of Sun Yat-sen's leftist widow, Soong Qingling (1892-1981). One brother in law, T.V. Soong, was to become Chiang's Finance Minister and chief negotiator with the U.S.

Dealing with the Communists

On April 12, 1927 Chiang again turned on the communists in the 'Shanghai Coup'. Chiang's troops and police, assisted by police of the foreign concessions in Shanghai and gunmen of the city's notorious 'Green Gang', rounded up and executed hundreds, probably thousands of communists and trade unionists.

Throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s the KMT was engaged in a Civil War with the Communist Party of China and its Red Army. Chiang Kai-shek used as system of repeated encirclement of the communists to try to eliminate them, only for the communists to out-maneuver and escape the snare each time.

The Communists, defeated in Shanghai April 1927 and in a number of ill-planned urban uprisings later that year, regrouped in the countryside and established a number of "base areas" (most notably that of Mao Zedong in southern Chiangxi province). These bases were expanding, and efforts to eliminate the Chiangxi Soviet in a series of "encirclement campaigns" in the early 1930s had failed. However Chiang's fifth encirclement campaign of 1933-34 succeeded in destroying the Chiangxi base, and the communist Red Army went into retreat on the "Long March"; only a fraction of the Communists survived. Mao Zedong now became the leader of the Communists.

In December 1936, Zhang Xueliang and Yang Hucheng, two KMT generals, kidnapped Chiang Kai-shek in Xi’an. This has since been referred to as the "Xi’an Incident." At the beginning of the incident, the Communist leaders planned to kill Chiang but Stalin intervened and forced the Communists to cooperate with him, in hopes a united China would tie down Japanese forces and thus reduce the threat to the Soviet Union.[3] The Red Army was soon turned into the Eighth Route Army and grew bigger and more powerful than before.

When Japan seized Manchuria in 1931, Chiang gave precedence to defeating the internal threat posed by the Chinese communists over resisting the Japanese invasion. In any case he had no army or base that could challenge Japan, and appealed instead to the League of Nations, which was also powerless. Chiang argued that "communism was a disease of the internal organs, the Japanese a disease of the skin," and that to build a strong China it was necessary to defeat communism first.

In December 1936, Chiang was captured by General Chang Hsüeh-liang in what is now called the Xi'an Incident. The captors tried to force Chiang to stop fighting the Communists and to unite with them in fighting Japan. After lengthy negotiations, Chiang was released. The Second United Front between KMT and Communist leaders was formed soon afterward. This tentative truce between to the two parties was always uneasy and actual cooperation on a united military front was rare.

Rural policies

Chiang took an instrumentalist view of rural cooperatives. He saw these rural institutions as mechanisms of political control on the one hand, and as social engineering instruments for mitigating class conflict in rural society on the other. Rooted in these views, the rural cooperative movement promoted by Chiang and the KMT government, from 1927 onward was aimed at countering the influence of the land reform policies implemented by the Chinese Communists in the areas under their control.

Relations with Japan

After the Mukden Incident of September 18, 1931 and Japan's rapid seizure of Manchuria, Chiang realized that the vast disparity in national strength and military power between China and Japan put China at great risk. Therefore, he rejected advice to fight back by people who called him an appeaser and did his best to avoid all-out war, using "peace" as a way to postpone war. On the other hand, he gathered allies widely, adjusted policies, maintained domestic order, built "national defense strongholds," organized a southwestern base area, and prepared to fight against Japan. However, the Japanese began negotiating with regional Chinese leaders and promoted a "north China autonomy movement" for the five northern provinces that weakened Nationalist control.[4]

Full-scale war — the Second Sino-Japanese War began at the Marco Polo bridge near Peking in July 1937.


Chiang was in full charge of the KMT after 1927, with the title of "generalissimo"; he thus ruled that part of China controlled by the KMT. With the Japanese gaining more Chinese territory, the policy of "trading space for time" (Chinese: 以空間換取時間) was adopted. Chiang moved, not only his government, but much of China's industrial production, several hundred miles west to the interior city of Chunking, in the remote mountains of Sichuan province.

In September 1943, Chiang Kai-shek formally became president of the central executive committee of the KMT, and was recognized as the head of state and head of government of free China. In November 1943 Chiang attended the Cairo Conference, where he, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill drafted the Cairo declaration proclaiming Allied war objectives for the Far East. China was assured a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council when it formed in 1945.[5]

Chiang was elected tsung-tsai (director-general) of the Kuomintang on May 17, 1945. After 1927 he never had a serious contender who might threaten his control of the party.

Support from U.S.

The U.S. was eager to use China to defeat Japan. The idea was that millions of Chinese soldiers, equipped and trained by the U.S. Army and heavily funded by the U.S. Treasury, would eventually overrun the Japanese invaders. The strategy never came close to working. Chiang was far too weak to fight the much stronger Japanese army, and he lacked even basic supplies. Chiang expected the Americans would defeat the Japanese without his help (as in fact they did), while Chiang saved up his resources for the coming showdown with the Communists.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his top advisers, such as Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau and Lend-Lease administrator Harry Hopkins, were strongly committed to support China against Japan. Public opinion was strongly hostile to Japan; isolationism (opposition to war in Europe) played little role. Lend Lease aid in began in 1940 with the goal of building a large powerful Chinese army that would hold down most of the Japanese army, and after the war play a role as a major world power in the United Nations. That goal was highly unrealistic, as Japan controlled the financial, economic and transportation centers in China, and most of the people, leaving the Nationalists in control in poor, remote mountainous regions, with their capital in Chungking. In addition, the Communists controlled their own remote sphere in the northwest. China was unable to feed or clothe its soldiers, who lacked equipment, discipline, and skilled sergeants, junior officers, and senior officers. Nevertheless, cost was no object and dollars poured in. After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. and Britain agreed to set up a China-Burma-India theater, with Chiang as supreme commander, and an American as chief of staff, and in command of American forces in China and Lend Lease supplies. The U.S. sent in General Joseph Stilwell, an energetic fighter who spoke Chinese but lacked diplomatic skills. Stilwell feuded incessantly with Chiang, and with his air commander Air Force Major General Claire Chennault, head of the Flying Tigers operation. Chiang supported Chennault.

Japanese expansion into China, 1931-45

The American strategy was to build up air power in China, but not send significant numbers of American combat troops because they could not be easily supplied. Japan had long since cut off the coastline, and in March 1942 it cut the only overland road into China, the Burma Road. Supplies had to be flown in "over the Hump" (over the Himalayan mountains) from India at fantastic cost until the Ledo Road cutoff could be built and the Burma Road reopened. The British, meanwhile, had a low opinion of China's capabilities and gave minimal cooperation to Chiang and Stilwell. They considered Burma important not because it was a link to China, but because Japanese conquest threatened India. The British therefore conducted numerous large-scale campaigns in Burma, as did Stilwell. Coordination was weak. All were failures before the summer of 1944.

Chiang in 1942 gave Stilwell command of two Chinese divisions, while often overuling Stilwell. The recovery of Burma became an obsession for Stilwell, and he began to think of himself as the one man who could save China. With few American ground troops available Stilwell decided to rebuild the Chinese army and use it to attack the Japanese in Burma. He demanded, with scant success, that airlifted supplies go to these operations, and not to Chennault's Air Force. The Chinese government desperately needed American aid just to survive, and realized that only the Americans could defeat Japan. Indeed, Chiang and his KMT saw that after the Japanese were defeated then the Communists would be their main foe, and they sought to hoard their military resources. In Burma Stilwell was badly defeated by Japanese and barely managed to escape to India. Chiang sent to India new Chinese divisions which were be supplied with American equipment. Stilwell set out to systematically retrain them along American lines, with the long-term goal of eventually recruiting, training, and equipping sixty divisions in China, but they never were an effective army.

Time and again Stilwell was frustrated and vehemently angry with Chiang (whom he ridiculed—calling Chiang "peanut" in messages to Washington) and with the Chinese government. Chiang refused to provide Stilwell any more Chinese soldiers and instead supported Chennault's plans. Chennault indeed obtained long-range B-29 bombers, and they started making raids on Japanese cities. The Japanese response, as Stilwell had long predicted, was an overland campaign (code-named "ICHI-GO") inside China to overrun Chennault's air bases in late summer 1944. Chiang finally forced the U.S. to recall Stilwell, who left in disgust in October, 1944, and was replaced by General Albert Wedemeyer (1897-1989), who got along much better with Chennault and Chiang.

Conclusion of the Chinese Civil War

General George C. Marshall was sent in late 1945 by President Truman to resolve the Chinese civil war, hopefully by creating a new shared power arrangement between the Communists and Chiang's Nationalists. His specific instructions from Secretary of State James Byrnes were to insist on a coalition government as a condition for continued aid to the Nationalists.[6] Communist leader Mao Zedong had already said publicly in April 1945 that a coalition government with the Chinese Nationalists would result in the defeat of "reactionary American imperialism." [7] In the summer of 1946, Truman told Chiang to be more willing to compromise. Chiang replied that first the Communists must abandon "their policy to seize political power through the use of armed force, to overthrow the government and to install a totalitarian regime such as those with which Eastern Europe is now being engulfed." [8]

American policy in China was largely being shaped by the so-called "China Hands" in the U.S. State Department: John Stewart Service, John Paton Davies, John Carter Vincent, and others. Because they knew the Chinese language and had been in China for years, their recommendations carried much weight, and they played a major part in the fall of China.

The U.S. War Department however, had more realistic and clearer view of the situation. In July 1945, a memorandum entitled, The Chinese Communist Movement, gave a depiction of the true nature of the Communist movement. The report stated the Maoists were more rigidly controlled than the KMT, allowed no opposition groups to exist in their areas (in contrast to the KMT), and were part of the international Communist movement.[9]

Without committing U.S. combat troops and without supporting a coalition government, the Truman Doctrine saved Greece from Communism. Greece received weapons and financial support and, most importantly, operational advisers at the battalion level, who ensured that American aid was used effectively. Marshall himself testified that similar aid might have worked in China, but General David Barr's military mission to China was specifically instructed not to supply this kind of assistance.[10] General Albert C. Wedemeyer recommended this approach in his report on his 1947 fact-finding mission, but Marshall personally suppressed the report.[11] Chiang believed that the Truman Doctrine to contain the spread of International Communism directed from Moscow would be extended to China, and ordered an offensive as soon as word of the new policy reached him.[12] Truman however, made no effort to save China from Communism.

Chiang was forced from the Chinese mainland to the island of Taiwan in 1949, where he resumed his position as president, albeit of a massively reduced territory.


Chiang was also known for his poetry. He wrote a poem expressing exultation after his victory over the Communist Party, in 1928:

The yellow crane has long since gone away,
All that here remains is Yellow Crane Tower.
The yellow crane once gone does not return,
White clouds drift slowly for a thousand years.

See also



  • Boorman, Howard L. "Chiang Kai-shek" in Howard L. Boorman, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Republican China (1967) 1: 319-38; excellent starting place.
  • Fenby, Jonathan. Chiang Kai-shek: China's Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost (2004), 592pp excerpt and text search
  • Huang, Grace C. "Chiang Kai-shek's Uses of Shame: An Interpretive Study of Agency in Chinese Leadership." PhD dissertation U. of Chicago 2005. 282 pp. DAI 2005 66(6): 2370-A. DA3181356 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
  • Li, Laura Tyson. Madame Chiang Kai-shek: China's Eternal First Lady (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Taylor, Jay. The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the Struggle for Modern China (2009), 722 pp. highly favorable scholarly biography
  • Taylor, Jay. The Generalissimo's Son: Chiang Ching-kuo and the Revolutions in China and Taiwan. (2000). 496 pp.
  • Weinberg, Gerhard L. Visions of Victory: The Hopes of Eight World War II Leaders. (2005), chapter on Chiang.

National studies

  • Bergere, Marie-Claire. Sun Yat-Sen (1998), 480pp, the standard biography
  • Boorman, Howard L., ed. Biographical Dictionary of Republican China. (Vol. I-IV and Index. 1967-1979). 600 short scholarly biographies excerpt and text search
  • Botjer, George. A Short History of Nationalist China, 1919–1949 (1979). 312pp
  • Chu, Shao-Kang. "On Chiang Kai-shek's Position on Resisting Japan: An Analysis of `Domestic Stability Takes Precedence over Resisting Foreign Invasion' Policy, 1928-1936." PhD dissertation U. of British Columbia (2000). 234 pp. DAI 2000 61(5): 1989-A. DANQ48621 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
  • Coble, Parks. Facing Japan: Chinese Politics and Japanese Imperialism, 1931-1937. (1992) 475pp
  • Dorn Frank. The Sino-Japanese War, 1937-41 (1971). 477pp
  • Dreyer, Edward L. China at War, 1901-1949. (1995). 422 pp.
  • Eastman, Lloyd. The Abortive Revolution: China under Nationalist Rule, 1927-1937 (1974); and Seeds of Destruction: Nationalist China in War and Revolution, 1937- 1945. (1984)
  • Eastman Lloyd et al. The Nationalist Era in China, 1927-1949 (1991) excerpt and text search
  • Fairbank, John K., ed. The Cambridge History of China, Vol. 12, Republican China 1912-1949. Part 1. (1983). 1001 pp. ; Fairbank, John K. and Feuerwerker, Albert, eds. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 13: Republican China, 1912-1949, Part 2. (1986). 1092 pp.
  • Ch'i, Hsi-sheng. Nationalist China at War: Military Defeats and Political Collapse, 1937–1945 (1982), 309pp
  • Hsiung, James C. and Steven I. Levine, eds. China's Bitter Victory: The War with Japan, 1937-1945 (1992), essays by scholars; online from Questia; also excerpt and text search
  • Hsü, Immanuel Chung-yueh. The Rise of Modern China, 6th ed. (1999), detailed coverage excerpt and text search
  • Jordan Donald A. The Northern Expedition: China's National Revolution of 1926-1928. (1976).
  • Liu F. F. A Military History of Modern China, 1924-1949. (1956).
  • Morley, James William, ed. The China Quagmire: Japan's Expansion on the Asian Continent, 1933-1941. (1983).
  • Rubinstein, Murray A., ed. Taiwan: A New History (2006), 560pp
  • Shiroyama, Tomoko. China during the Great Depression: Market, State, and the World Economy, 1929-1937 (2008)
  • Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China (1991), 876pp; well written survey from 1644 to 1980s excerpt and text search; complete edition online at Questia
  • Sun, Youli. China and the Origins of the Pacific War, 1931-1941. (1993).
  • Ven, Hans van de. War and Nationalism in China: 1925-1945 (2003), negative on Stilwell online edition
  • Westad, Odd Arne. Decisive Encounters: The Chinese Civil War, 1946-1950. (2003). 413 pp. the standard history

Relations with U.S.

  • Byrd Martha. Chennault: Giving Wings to the Tiger. (1987).
  • Ch'i, Hsi-sheng. "Chiang Kai-shek and Franklin D Roosevelt," in C. A. van Minnen and J. F. Sears, eds. FDR and his contemporaries (1992)
  • Levine, Steven I. "A New Look at American Mediation in the Chinese Civil War: the Marshall Mission and Manchuria." Diplomatic History 1979 3(4): 349-375. Issn: 0145-2096
  • Liang, Chin-Tun. Gen. Stilwell in China, 1942-1944 (1972), a pro-Chiang view
  • May, Ernest R. "1947-48: When Marshall Kept the U.S. out of War in China." Journal of Military History 2002 66(4): 1001-1010. Issn: 0899-3718 in Jstor
  • Romanus, Charles F. and Riley Sunderland. Stilwell's Mission to China (1953), official U.S. Army history online edition
  • Romanus, Charles F. and Riley Sunderland. Stilwell's Command Problems (1956) online edition
  • Schaller Michael. The U.S. Crusade in China, 1938-1945. (1979). online edition
  • Tsou, Tang America's Failure in China, 1941-50 (1963).
  • Tuchman, Barbara. Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45, (1972), 624pp; Pulitzer prize (The British edition is titled Against the Wind: Stilwell and the American Experience in China 1911-45,) excerpt and text search, very hostile to Chiang
  • Young, Arthur N. China and the Helping Hand, 1937-1945. (1963).
  • Young, Arthur N. China's Wartime Finance and Inflation, 1937-1945. (1965).

Memory and historiography

  • Gordon, David M. The China-Japan War, 1931–1945. The Journal of Military History v70#1 (2006) 137-182; major historiographical overview of all important books and interpretations; in Project Muse
  • Jespersen, T. Christopher. American Images of China, 1931-1949. (1996).
  • Lee, Lloyd, ed. World War II in Asia and the Pacific and the War's aftermath, with General Themes: A Handbook of Literature and Research. (1998) online edition
  • Li, Laura Tyson. Madame Chiang Kai-shek: China's Eternal First Lady (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Taylor, Jeremy E. "The Production of the Chiang Kai-shek Personality Cult, 1929-1975." China Quarterly 2006 (185): 96-110. Issn: 0305-7410
  • Ven, Hans Van De. "Stilwell in the Stocks: the Chinese Nationalists and the Allied Powers in the Second World War." Asian Affairs 2003 34(3): 243-259. Issn: 0306-8374 Fulltext: Ebsco, revisionist argument that Stilwell was incompetent, had no command training or experience, and did not appreciate air power. Ven suggests that Roosevelt's needs in the presidential election of 1944, the strategic decision to defeat the Nazi menace in Europe before giving full attention to Japan, and the unwise yielding to the needs of the Soviet Union during World War II all led to the defeat of the Chinese Nationalists.

Primary sources

  • Chiang Kai-shek. The Collected Wartime Messages of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, 1937-1945, (1946) online edition
  • Chiang Kai-shek. All We Are and All We Have: Speeches and Messages since Pearl Harbor (1948) online edition
  • Marshall, George Catlett. The Papers of George Catlett Marshall. Vol. 5: "The Finest Soldier," January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947. ed. by Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens, (2003). 822 pp. online
  • Stilwell, Joseph Warren. The Stilwell papers edited by Theodore H. White, (1958).
  • United States Department of State. United States Relations with China: With Special Reference to the Period 1944-1949 (1949) online edition

Online resources


  1. His family name is Chiang. Kai-shek is given name. The English-language spelling is irregular and based Cantonese (i.e. Hong Kong) pronunciation.
  2. Jonathan D. Spence, "The Enigma of Chiang Kai-shek," New York review of Books, Volume 56, Number 16 (Oct. 22, 2009) excerpt online
  3. On the Beginnings of the Chinese Communist Party, The Epoch Times, Dec 13, 2004.
  4. Stephen G. Craft, "Opponents of Appeasement: Western-educated Chinese Diplomats and Intellectuals and Sino-Japanese Relations, 1932-37." Modern Asian Studies 2001 35(1): 195-216. Issn: 0026-749x in Jstor
  5. Chiang and his son controlled the seat until 1970, when the UN voted to give it to the Communist regime.
  6. Forrest C. Pogue, George C. Marshall, Statesman, 1945-1959, (1987), p. 61.
  7. "On Coalition Government," address to the April 1945 Seventh National Convention of the Chinese Communist Party, quoted in Anthony Kubek, How the Far East Was Lost, (1963), p. 238.
  8. Tang Tsou, America's Failure in China, 1941-1945, (1964), p. 429.
  9. Anne W. Carroll, Who Lost China, 1996.
  10. Military Situation in the Far East, Hearings before the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, 82nd Congress (Washington, 1951), p. 558.
  11. Tang Tsou, America's Failure in China, 1941-1945, Chicago 1964, pg. 457.
  12. Richard C. Thornton, China: A Political History, 1917-1980, (1982), pg. 208.