- Chiang was born in Xikou on 31 October 1887, Zhejiang. He was the third child and second son of his father Chiang Chao-Tsung (1842–1895) and the first child of his father’s third wife Wang Tsai-yu 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”.
- 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.
- He decided to pursue a military career. He began his military training at the Baoding Military Academy in 1906. He left for Tokyo Shinbu Gakko, a preparatory school for the Imperial Japanese Army Academy intended for Chinese students, in 1907.
- Finishing his military schooling at Tokyo Shinbu Gakko, Chiang served in the Imperial Japanese Army from 1909 to 1911.
- After learning of the Wuchang Uprising, Chiang returned to China in 1911, intending to fight as an artillery officer. He served in the revolutionary forces, leading a regiment in Shanghai.
- Chiang became a founding member of the KMT after the success (February 1912) of the 1911 Revolution. After the takeover of the Republican government by Yuan Shikai and the failed Second Revolution in 1913, Chiang, like his KMT comrades, divided his time between exile in Japan and the havens of the Shanghai International Settlement.
- On 18 May 1916, agents of Yuan Shikai assassinated Chen Qimei. Chiang then succeeded Chen as leader of the Chinese Revolutionary Party in Shanghai. Sun Yatsen’s political career reached its lowest point during this time when most of his old Revolutionary Alliance comrades refused to join him in the exiled Chinese Revolutionary Party.
- In 1917 Sun Yat-sen moved his base of operations to Canton(now known as Guangzhou), and Chiang joined him in 1918.
- Sun regained control of Kwangtung in early 1923, again with the help of mercenaries from Yunnan and of the Comintern.
- Undertaking a reform of the KMT, he established a revolutionary government aimed at unifying China under the KMT.
- Sun Yat-sen died on 12 March 1925, creating a power vacuum in the Kuomintang.
- A contest ensued among Wang Jingwei, Liao Zhongkai, and Hu Hanmin. Wang Jingwei, who had succeeded Sun as chairman of the Kwangtung regime, seemed ascendant but was forced into exile by Chiang following the Canton Coup.
- On 27 July, he finally launched Sun’s long-delayed Northern Expedition, aimed at conquering the northern warlords and bringing China together under the KMT.
- The NRA branched into three divisions: to the west was the returned Wang Jingwei, Chiang himself led in the middle route, planning to take Nanjing before pressing ahead to capture Beijing.
- Now with an established national government in Nanjing, and supported by conservative allies including Hu Hanmin, Chiang’s expulsion of the Communists and their Soviet advisers led to the beginning of the Chinese Civil War.
CIVIL WAR – WHITE TERROR
- On 12 April 1927, Chiang carried out a purge of thousands of suspected Communists and dissidents in Shanghai, and began large-scale massacres across the country collectively known as the “White Terror”.
- During April, more than 12,000 people were killed in Shanghai. The killings drove most Communists from urban cities and into the rural countryside, where the KMT was less powerful.
- In the year after April 1927, over 300,000 people died across China in anti-Communist suppression campaigns, executed by the KMT.
- On 10 October 1928, Chiang was named director of the State Council, the equivalent to President of the country, in addition to his other titles.According to Sun Yat-sen’s plans, the Kuomintang (KMT) was to rebuild China in three steps: military rule, political tutelage, and constitutional rule.
- The ultimate goal of the KMT revolution was democracy, which was not considered to be feasible in China’s fragmented state.
- The government acted to modernize the legal and penal systems, attempted to stabilize prices, amortize debts, reform the banking and currency systems, build railroads and highways, improve public health facilities.
SINO JAPANESE WAR(1937 – 45)
- Chiang viewed Japan, the United States, the Soviet Union, France and Britain as all being imperialists.
- After the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, Chiang resigned as Chairman of the National Government.
- The Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in July 1937, and in August of that year Chiang sent 600,000 of his best-trained and equipped soldiers to defend Shanghai.
- By December, the capital city of Nanjing had fallen to the Japanese resulting in the Nanking Massacre.
- After heavy fighting, the Japanese occupied Wuhan in the fall of 1938 and the Nationalists retreated farther inland, to Chongqing. With the attack on Pearl Harbor and the opening of the Pacific War, China became one of the Allied Powers.
CHINESE CIVIL WAR
- The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China (ROC) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) lasting intermittently between 1927 and 1949. • The war is generally divided into two phases with an interlude: from August 1927 to 1937, the KMT-CPC Alliance collapsed during the Northern Expedition, and the Nationalists controlled most of China.
- The civil war resumed with the Japanese defeat, and the CPC gained the upper hand in the final phase of the war from 1945– 1949, generally referred to as the Chinese Communist Revolution.
- The Communists gained control of mainland China and established the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, forcing the leadership of the Republic of China to retreat to the island of Taiwan
ONE CHINA POLICY
- Chiang moved the government to Taipei, Taiwan, where he resumed his duties as President of the Republic of China on 1 March 1950.
- Chiang was reelected by the National Assembly to be the President of the Republic of China (ROC) on 20 May 1954, and again in 1960, 1966, and 1972.
- In the context of the Cold War, most of the Western world recognized this position and the ROC represented China in the United Nations and other international organizations until the 1970s.
- In 1975, 26 years after Chiang came to Taiwan, he died in Taipei at the age of 87.
- He had suffered a heart attack and pneumonia in the foregoing months and died from renal failure aggravated with advanced cardiac failure on 5 April.