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Chiang Kai-shek

Chinese President

Died when: 87 years 156 days (1049 months)
Star Sign: Scorpio


Chiang Kai-shek

Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Chiang Chung-cheng and Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese Nationalist politician, revolutionary, and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China (ROC) from 1928 to his death in 1975 – until 1949 in mainland China and from then on in Taiwan.

After his rule was confined to Taiwan following his defeat by Mao Zedong in the Chinese Civil War, he continued to head the ROC government in exile.

Born in Chekiang (Zhejiang) Province, Chiang was a member of the Kuomintang (KMT), and a lieutenant of Sun Yat-sen in the revolution to overthrow the Beiyang government and reunify China.

With help from the Soviets and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Chiang organized the military for Sun's Canton Nationalist Government and headed the Whampoa Military Academy.

Commander-in-chief of the National Revolutionary Army (from which he came to be known as a Generalissimo), he led the Northern Expedition from 1926 to 1928, before defeating a coalition of warlords and nominally reunifying China under a new Nationalist government.

Midway through the Northern Expedition, the KMT–CCP alliance broke down and Chiang massacred communists inside the party, triggering a civil war with the CCP, which he eventually lost in 1949.

As the leader of the Republic of China in the Nanjing decade, Chiang sought to strike a difficult balance between modernizing China, while also devoting resources to defending the nation against the CCP, warlords, and the impending Japanese threat.

Trying to avoid a war with Japan while hostilities with the CCP continued, he was kidnapped in the Xi'an Incident, and obliged to form an Anti-Japanese United Front with the CCP.

Following the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937, he mobilized China for the Second Sino-Japanese War.For eight years, he led the war of resistance against a vastly superior enemy, mostly from the wartime capital Chongqing.

As the leader of a major Allied power, Chiang met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S.President Franklin D.

Roosevelt in the Cairo Conference to discuss terms for the Japanese surrender.When the Second World War ended, the Civil War with the communists (by then led by Mao Zedong) resumed.

Chiang's nationalists were mostly defeated in a few decisive battles in 1948.In 1949, Chiang's government and army retreated to Taiwan, where Chiang imposed martial law and persecuted critics during the White Terror.

Presiding over a period of social reforms and economic prosperity, Chiang won five elections to six-year terms as President of the Republic of China, and was Director-General of the Kuomintang until his death in 1975, three years into his fifth term as president, and one year before Mao's death.

One of the longest-serving non-royal heads of state in the 20th century, Chiang was the longest-serving non-royal ruler of China, having held the post for 46 years.

Like Mao, he is regarded as a controversial figure.Supporters credit him with playing a major part in unifying the nation and leading the Chinese resistance against Japan, as well as with countering communist influence and economic development in both Mainland China and Taiwan.

Detractors and critics denounce him as a fascist dictator at the front of a corrupt authoritarian regime that suppressed civilians and political dissents, as well as flooding the Yellow River that subsequently caused the Henan Famine during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Other historians such as Jay Taylor argued that despite his many faults, Chiang's ideology notably differs from other authoritarian dictators of the 20th century and does not espouse the ideology of fascism.

He argued that Chiang made genuine efforts to improve the economic and social conditions of mainland China and Taiwan such as improving women's rights and land reform.

Chiang was also credited with transforming China from a semi-colony of various imperialist powers to an independent country by amending the unequal treaties signed by previous governments, as well as moving various Chinese national treasures and traditional Chinese artworks to the National Palace Museum in Taipei during the 1949 retreat.

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