Chiang Kai-shek

Chiang Kai-shek

Was head of the Nationalist government in China from 1928 to 1949
Date of Birth: 13.10.1887
Country: China

  1. Biography of Jiang Kai-shek
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Rise in Power
  4. Leadership and Legacy

Biography of Jiang Kai-shek

Jiang Kai-shek, also known as Chiang Kai-shek, was a military and political leader in China who headed the Nationalist government from 1928 to 1949. He was born in Sikou, Fenghua County, in the Zhejiang province of China, approximately 40 kilometers south of the port city of Ningbo. According to family records, he belonged to the 28th generation of the Jiang clan, which traced its origins back to descendants of Zhou Gong, a wise ruler admired by Confucius.

Early Life and Education

Jiang Kai-shek's family lived in a house that also served as a shop. His father, a typical rural scholar from traditional Chinese society, owned a salt store and was known for being thrifty, strict, and dignified. At the age of 6, Jiang was sent to a private school, where he began his formal education under the guidance of teacher Zheng Jiemai. In 1895, his father passed away, and the family faced serious financial difficulties. In 1899, his mother was forced to send him to live with his maternal grandfather. At the age of 15, upon his mother's insistence, he married Mao Fumei, who was 5 years older than him.

In 1903, at the age of 17, Jiang Kai-shek enrolled in a school in Fenghua that provided education based on the European model. It was there that he became interested in political events and decided to pursue a career in the military. In 1906, he traveled to Japan for the first time, where he met revolutionaries who were gathered around Sun Yat-sen. As a sign of his determination to participate in the anti-monarchist and anti-Manchu revolution, Jiang Kai-shek cut off his traditional queue and sent it back to China while he was in Tokyo. He intended to attend a military academy in Japan, but his plans fell through, and he was forced to return to his homeland in the winter. In the summer of 1907, Jiang Kai-shek arrived in Baoding, where he successfully competed for a spot in the short-term officer training courses of the National Army of the Ministry of Defense. At the end of the year, he passed the Japanese language exams for those wishing to continue their military education in Japan. In 1908-1909, Jiang studied at the Shinbu Infantry School in Japan, and during that time, he joined the Tungmenghui, a revolutionary organization recommended by Chen Qimei, one of Sun Yat-sen's associates.

After completing his studies, Jiang Kai-shek served as a cadet in the 19th Artillery Regiment of the 13th Division of the Japanese Army. On March 18, 1910, he had his first and only son, whom he named Jingguo. In 1911, after the start of the Xinhai Revolution in China, Jiang Kai-shek returned to China and began assisting Chen Qimei in launching armed actions in Shanghai and Hangzhou against the Qing authorities. Leading the vanguard, he paved the way to the capital of his native Zhejiang province, the city of Hangzhou. As a reward for his successes in this operation, he was appointed commander of a regiment. He then helped Chen Qimei gain control over the rebellious province of Jiangxi. In 1912, during the power struggle, Chen Qimei ordered Jiang Kai-shek to organize the secret assassination of Tao Chengzhang, the leader of the revolutionary organization active in Shanghai and its surrounding areas at that time. Due to the ensuing scandal, Jiang Kai-shek was forced to flee to Japan. There, he started publishing the magazine "Jun Shen" ("Voice of the Army") and began studying the German language, contemplating a trip to Germany. However, he returned to Shanghai in the winter and helped Chen Qimei in his struggle against Yuan Shikai before going back to Japan. In 1914, on Sun Yat-sen's order, he attempted to organize uprisings against Yuan Shikai in the Shanghai and Nanjing areas, but they proved unsuccessful. After that, Sun Yat-sen sent Jiang Kai-shek to Manchuria. In Harbin, Jiang sent Sun Yat-sen a memorable note about the inevitability of war in Europe and proposed a plan to overthrow Yuan Shikai. After the outbreak of World War I, he returned to Japan.

Rise in Power

In 1915-1916, Jiang Kai-shek took part in armed uprisings against Yuan Shikai's rule in Shanghai. During these uprisings, he displayed great personal courage, and his name became well-known among Sun Yat-sen's supporters. When Chen Qimei was assassinated in 1916 by a hired killer sent by Yuan Shikai, Jiang Kai-shek effectively replaced him as the leading military figure among Sun Yat-sen's supporters in Shanghai. On September 10, 1916, a boy was born whom Jiang Kai-shek later officially adopted and named Wei-go. There is a version that Jiang Wei-go is the illegitimate son of Jiang Kai-shek and his Japanese girlfriend.

In 1918, Sun Yat-sen summoned Jiang Kai-shek to Guangzhou, where the center of revolutionary forces was located, and appointed him the head of the operational command. In October 1918, he became the commander of the second column of the Guangdong Army and participated in battles against the Fujian forces. In 1919, he had to step down from his command posts. He spent some time traveling between Japan and Shanghai, and then returned to his hometown to take care of his mother. His mother passed away in 1921 at the age of 58. Shortly after, Sun Yat-sen called Jiang Kai-shek and began developing plans for the Northern Expedition, a military campaign aimed at unifying the country, establishing a central government, and ending its fragmentation.

In June 1922, the Guangdong warlord General Chen Jiongming rebelled against Sun Yat-sen in Guangzhou. Sun Yat-sen was forced to take refuge on the gunboat "Yunfan." Jiang Kai-shek hurried to his aid from Shanghai, and on board the gunboat "Yunfan," Sun Yat-sen told Jiang Kai-shek that he hoped he would continue the implementation of the Three Principles of the People after his own death. In February 1923, Sun Yat-sen returned to Guangzhou and appointed Jiang Kai-shek as the chief of his general staff and a member of the military committee of the Kuomintang party. The task of creating the party's own armed forces was set. In connection with this, Sun Yat-sen sent Jiang Kai-shek to Moscow. In Moscow, Jiang Kai-shek presented Sun Yat-sen's plan for military actions in China, which envisaged significant assistance from the Soviet Union. Instead, Moscow offered to help in establishing the Kuomintang's armed forces on its own base in Guangzhou.

In 1924, Sun Yat-sen made the decision to organize the Whampoa Military Academy in Guangzhou on Whampoa Island as a future talent pool for the National Revolutionary Army, which would be under the leadership of the Kuomintang party. Jiang Kai-shek was appointed chairman of the committee for the establishment of this school. In April, he was appointed the head of the Whampoa Military School and simultaneously the chief of the general staff. The opening ceremony took place on June 16. In July, Jiang Kai-shek became the commander of the Chanzhou fortress.

Leadership and Legacy

On December 12, 1925, Jiang Kai-shek became the commander of the Whampoa Military Academy, and in September, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Eastern Expeditionary Forces, which aimed to unify the Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. This made Jiang Kai-shek the most powerful military figure in the Kuomintang party. In November, as a result of a series of successful military operations, the entire Guangdong province came under the control of the Nationalist government. In 1926, at the 2nd Kuomintang party congress, Jiang Kai-shek was elected a member of the Central Executive Committee (CEC), and at the CEC plenum, he became a member of the Standing Committee. At the congress, Jiang Kai-shek delivered a report on the military situation, defending the proposal for the government to launch the Northern Expedition to unify the country.

In the early years of 1926, there were two leaders of the Kuomintang: military leader Jiang Kai-shek and civilian leader Wang Jingwei. However, in May, Wang Jingwei unexpectedly left for France, citing illness. In June, formal power in the hands of Jiang Kai-shek was consolidated, including party, government, military, and financial authority. In July, due to illness, Zhang Jingjiang stepped down as chairman of the Standing Committee of the CEC, and Jiang Kai-shek took his place.

On July 9, Jiang Kai-shek took office as the commander-in-chief of the National Revolutionary Army and immediately began the Northern Expedition. In just six months, he managed to stabilize the situation in Southeast China. By November 1926, Jiang Kai-shek's army had gained the upper hand over two of the three main opponents. In December, the CEC of the Kuomintang party moved from Guangzhou to Wuhan, where a center of power was established. Jiang Kai-shek, in opposition to Wuhan, created his own center of power in Nanchang, where he was joined by the returning Chairman of the CEC Zhang Jingjiang and the acting Chairman of the National Government, Tan Yankai. Thus, a split occurred within the Kuomintang party.

In 1927, Jiang Kai-shek's troops took Nanjing, where a new Nationalist government was established. It was during this time that Jiang Kai-shek openly waged armed struggle against the communists under the campaign name "Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries and Cleanse the Party." In August, due to political intrigues, Jiang Kai-shek announced his resignation and withdrawal from political activities, after which he traveled first to his hometown in Zhejiang province and then to Japan. However, he continued to actively work to dismantle the camp of his political opponents.

On December 4, 1927, Jiang Kai-shek married Soong Mei-ling, the younger sister of Sun Yat-sen's wife. His first wife, Mao Fumei, voluntarily initiated the divorce, which Jiang Kai-shek agreed to.

On January 4, 1928, Jiang Kai-shek returned to his position as the commander-in-chief of the National Revolutionary Army and was appointed commander of the forces in the Northern Expedition, which he successfully completed in July of the same year. On October 10, 1928, Jiang Kai-shek became the Chairman of the Nationalist government of the Republic of China. In 1931, Japan began its open intervention to seize Manchuria. Jiang Kai-shek found himself simultaneously facing three enemies: external Japanese aggression, sporadic uprisings from local centers of power within China, and active armed struggle by the Communist Party of China for power in the country. For several years, he managed to maneuver between these three disasters, but at the end of 1936, as a result of the "Xi'an Incident," he was forced to form a united front with the Communist Party of China to fight against the Japanese invaders.

On July 7, 1937, Japanese troops shelled the Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge) near Beijing, marking the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War. By the decision of the Nationalist government, Jiang Kai-shek was appointed the Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of China. At the end of 1938, Wang Jingwei fled to the Japanese and became the head of a puppet Chinese government, which forced Jiang Kai-shek to fight not only against the Japanese army but also against armies composed of Chinese people who were subordinate to pro-Japanese governments.

After Japan's surrender on September 2, 1945, and unsuccessful negotiations with the Communist Party of China (CPC) for the creation of a coalition government since July 1946, Jiang Kai-shek led the Kuomintang's fight against the CPC in the civil war. Despite anti-Christian sentiments within the Kuomintang, Jiang Kai-shek, wanting to marry Soong Mei-ling, agreed to her mother's condition to convert to Christianity. The wedding took place on December 1, 1927, but Jiang Kai-shek only accepted baptism in a Methodist church almost three years later, on October 23, 1930, after thoroughly studying Christian doctrine. He subsequently regularly delivered sermons and radio broadcasts on Christian topics.

In 1951, Jiang Kai-shek and his wife Soong Mei-ling hosted a missionary conference, which became a regular event. The Kuomintang government cooperated closely with Christian missionaries, using their printing presses, radio stations, and schools for anti-communist propaganda.

To this day, the book "Streams in the Desert," a translation of Lettie Cowman's book with comments by an "anonymous Chinese Christian," written by Jiang Kai-shek, is popular in Taiwan. Jiang Kai-shek led the government and the Kuomintang party in Taiwan after the defeat in 1949. He served as the President (1950) and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of China (officially the name for the state in Taiwan). Until the early 1970s, he enjoyed the support of the United States and many of their allies as the sole legitimate ruler of all of China. For a long time, Jiang Kai-shek's government occupied the seat in the UN Security Council allocated to China. However, on October 25, 1971, a representative of the People's Republic of China was admitted to the Security Council.

Jiang Kai-shek passed away on April 5, 1975, in Taiwan, where he spent the last 26 years of his life. In his political will, Jiang Kai-shek called on his compatriots to continue implementing Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People: striving for the rejuvenation and reunification of mainland China, reviving national culture, and resolutely defending democracy. Before his death, he requested that his remains be transported to Nanjing on the mainland for permanent burial on Mount Zijinshan, where Sun Yat-sen's tomb is located. His son, Jiang Jingguo, became the new leader of the Taiwanese administration.