Chiang Kai Shek

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  • I have a name of someone written on the board. Do any of you know who he is?
  • Chiang Kai Shek
  • Welcome, students! Have a seat!
  • Chiang Kai Shek was a Chinese military and political leader who joinedthe Chinese Nationalist Party (known as the Kuomintang, or KMT) in 1918. Heexpelled Chinese communists from the party and led a successful unification ofChina. Chiang’s government concentrated on battling Communism within China aswell as confronting Japanese aggression.
  • Chiang Kai Shek faced many challenges. The Communists were operatingtheir own government from rural strongholds, while war with Japan imminent.Chiang initially focused on the communist threat rather than confront Japandirectly, which angered many of his supporters. Japan invaded China in 1937,sparking the Sino-Japanese War. China fought Japan on its own for more thanfour years, until the Allies declared war on Japan in 1941.
  • Many countries continued to recognize Chiang’sgovernment in exile as the legitimate Chinese government, and it would controlChina’s seat in the United Nations until Chiang’s death.
  • In 1946, a year after Japan’s surrender, civil war broke outin China between KMT and Communist forces. With the Communist victory inmainland China in 1949, Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People’sRepublic of China. Upon Chiang’s defeat, he fled with the remaining people ofhis Nationalist government to Taiwan, which had been handed to the Nationalistgovernment after the defeat of Japan. Backed by American aid, Chiang launchedTaiwan on the path of economic modernization, and in 1955 the United Statessigned an agreement guaranteeing Taiwan’s defense. 
  • However, in 1979, four years after Chiang died, the UnitedStates broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan and established fullrelations with the People’s Republic of China.
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