Chiang Kai-shek

Chiang Kai-shek bigraphy, stories - Chinese military and political leader, President of the Republic of China

Chiang Kai-shek : biography

October 31, 1887 – April 5, 1975

Chiang Kai-shek (October 31, 1887 – April 5, 1975) was a 20th-century Chinese political and military leader. He is known as Jiang Jieshi (蔣介石) or Jiang Zhongzheng (蔣中正) in Mandarin Chinese. Chiang was an influential member of the Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist Party, and was a close ally of Sun Yat-sen. He became the Commandant of the Kuomintang’s Whampoa Military Academy, and took Sun’s place as leader of the KMT when Sun died in 1925. In 1926, Chiang led the Northern Expedition to unify the country, becoming China’s nominal leader. He served as Chairman of the National Military Council of the Nationalist government of the Republic of China (ROC) from 1928 to 1948. Chiang led China in the Second Sino-Japanese War, during which the Nationalist government’s power severely weakened, but his prominence grew. Unlike Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek was socially conservative, promoting traditional Chinese culture in the New Life Movement and rejecting western democracy and the nationalist democratic socialism that Sun Yat-sen and some other members of the KMT embraced in favor of a nationalist authoritarian government.

Chiang’s predecessor, Sun Yat-sen, was well-liked and respected by the Communists, but after Sun’s death Chiang was not able to maintain good relations with the Communist Party of China (CPC). A major split between the Nationalists and Communists occurred in 1927; and, under Chiang’s leadership, the Nationalists fought a nation-wide civil war against the Communists. After Japan invaded China in 1937, Chiang agreed to a temporary truce with the CPC. Despite some early cooperative military successes against Japan, by the time that the Japanese surrendered in 1945 neither the CPC nor the KMT trusted each other or were actively cooperating. After American-sponsored attempts to negotiate a coalition government failed in 1946, the Chinese Civil War resumed. The CPC defeated the Nationalists in 1949, forcing Chiang’s government to retreat to Taiwan, where Chiang imposed martial law and persecuted people critical of his rule in a period known as the "White Terror". After evacuating to Taiwan, Chiang’s government continued to declare its intention to retake mainland China. Chiang ruled the island securely as President of the Republic of China and General of the Kuomintang until his death in 1975. He ruled mainland China for 22 years, and Taiwan for 30 years.


File:Mao Fumei.jpg|Mao Fumei (毛福梅, 1882–1939) Died in the Second Sino-Japanese War during a bombardment. Mother to his son and successor Chiang Ching-kuo. File:Yao Zhicheng.jpg|Yao Yecheng (姚冶誠, 1889–1972) Came to Taiwan and died in Taipei. File:Chen Jieru.jpg|Chen Jieru (陳潔如, "Jennie", 1906–1971) Lived in Shanghai. Moved to Hong Kong later and died there. File:Songmayling.jpg|Soong May-ling (宋美齡, 1898–2003) Moved to the United States after Chiang Kai-shek’s death. Arguably his most famous wife. She bore him no children.

In an arranged marriage, Chiang was married to a fellow villager named Mao Fumei. While married to Mao, Chiang adopted two concubines (concubinage was still a common practice for well-to-do, non-Christian males in China): he married Yao Yecheng (姚冶誠, 1889–1972) in 1912 and Chen Jieru (陳潔如, 1906–1971) in December 1921. While he was still living in Shanghai, Chiang and Yao adopted a son, Wei-kuo. Chen adopted a daughter in 1924, named Yaoguang (瑤光), who later adopted her mother’s surname. Chen’s autobiography refuted the idea that she was a concubine. Chen claiming that, by the time she married Chiang, he had already divorced Mao, and that Chen was therefore his wife. Chiang and Mao had a son, Ching-kuo.

According to the memoirs of Chen Jieru, Chiang’s second wife, she contracted gonorrhea from Chiang soon after their marriage. He told her that he acquired this disease after separating from his first wife and living with his concubine Yao Yecheng, as well as with many other women he consorted with. His doctor explained to her that Chiang had sex with her before completing his treatment for the disease. As a result, both Chiang and Ch’en Chieh-ju believed they had become sterile, which would explain why he had only one child, by his first wife; however, a purported miscarriage by Soong May-ling in August 1928 would, if it actually occurred, cast serious doubt on whether this was true.Chiang Kai-shek’s Secret Past. p 83-85.