How Do modern chinese Historians Regard Chiang kai-Sheck?

Was he:
(a) an opportunistic warlord/
(b) father of his country (Taiwan) and long-time head of the Kuomintang party
© just another warlord
As China moves to absorb taiwan, what is the official line on Chiang? Granted, he was an enemy of the Chinese CP; but, he did fight the japanese.
Of course, to Americans, he was the recipient of huge amounts of money-which did not keep the CP from triumphing in China.
So, do modern historians have much kind words for the man?

Define “Chinese historian”.

Someone working in a university in China will have a rather different view to someone working in a Taiwanese one. Someone of Chinese ethnicity in neither country is likely to have a different view again.

I quite agree…I think that now that Mao has been de-mythologized, a new generation of Chinese historians might want t take a new look at Chiang. I think it takes about 30 years after a historical figure passes on, to get a true measure of what they really were.

But this was ever the case.

Anyway, Mao is still totally mythologised in China. Chiang is still reviled.

Again, what do you mean by “Chinese historians”?

What JJIMM said.

To answer your questions.

  1. opportunistic warlord that became the biggest dog of them all
  2. never considered father of the country by anyone. That honor goes to Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

Lest anyone think I’m spouting mainland propaganda, please go to other sources.
Not sure what the current sentiment is in Taiwan but the native Taiwanese did not like CKS and suffered greatly under his rule. I lived in Taiwan during the last years of Chiang ching-kuo (the son) rule, during the gradual lifting of martial law and thawing of the political stranglehold the KMT held. The opposition DPP came out from underground and started publicizing some of what the KMT did. Search on the 2-28 Incident, which also provides the backdrop for the movie City of Sorrows. The KMT went after the leaders and intelligensia of Taiwan. As a child, my Taiwanese “mother” witnessed her school teachers lined up and shot.

Let’s lay to rest the fiction that Chiang Kai-shek fought the Japanese. (Whether Mao and the communists did is a separate thread). Well documented from the American side that CKS did not. Doing things like blowing up the Yellow River dykes to slow the Japanese advance and causing mass flooding followed by starvation did not endear CKS to the Chinese populous. Read Stillwell and the American Experience in China that covers the experience of General Stillwell. This was well documented at the time, and historic research by the West has not changed the view (unless there has been a major change that I am unaware of).

CKS was known in the US as Generalismo Cash My Check. US funded him serious money (CKS may have amassed the greatest personal fortune of that time from the US war money and looting China). CKS was a master at threatening to make peace with Japan in order to extract more greenbacks. Stearling Seagrave covers much of this in the Song Dynasty.

Missimo aka Wellesly educated Madame Chiang Kai-shek aka Song Mei-ling had enormous influence on President Roosevelt and publisher Henry Luce, and leveraged that to garner support for her husband.

Post 1949 retreat to Taiwan, the KMT were anything but welcome by the native Taiwanese. US viewed Taiwan as a permanent aircraft carrier and base of operations against Red China.

CKS was also pretty lame at global politics. He could have easily done a “two China” strategy and declared Taiwan independence with Western support. Instead, he threw down the gauntlet that if China joins the UN, then Taiwan as rightful government of Mainland China and Mongolia would exit that body. Taiwan has been ruing that decision ever since.

There’s a reason why China had a revolution. Hint: it was NOT because CKS effectively fought the Japanese, fed the general population, prevented hyper inflation, ran a clean non-corrupt government, had mass literacy, provided health care, paid his army, ended endemic prostitution, prevented child slavery, stopped serfdom and led China to a unified golden age. [Whether the communists did better or worse is a separate discussion.]

(Mao by the way is not totally mythologized these days. What’s the official line 80% good and 20% bad? The average person and old line party members openly criticize Mao in non-public settings for boosting up the population and thus mortgaging the future.)

To be fair, I think Chiang and his nationalists may, given enough time have become an effective ruler. For example, Nationalist China from the late 20s to the early 30s was making pretty good progress in economic terms, with GDP growth approaching that experienced by China today*. Shanghai at the time was a world center for trade and finance and the source of many of the celebrated popular culture of today’s China. World events never really gave him a chance.

That and his deep personal hatred of the Communists. The guy never really had any kind of a political platform or direction that he could inspire the country with, besides “Must get them damn Commies!” and simple fascist gangsterism, not unlike many of the other Asian dictators that the US backed during the Cold war (Syngman Rhee, Diem). He was supposedly a personal friend and deep admirer of Adolf Hitler, his son Jing Guo served as a 2nd Lt. in the SS Liebstandard Adolf Hitler division and prior to 1937 Nazi Germany was China’s closest ally. Chiang single handedly launched the Chinese civil war in 1927 by turning on his Communist allies in the Northern Expedition for no apparent reason and plunging the country into a war that consumed most of the ROC’s military resources and making him incapable, even if he were willing, to fight the Japanese. You could say that He was ultimately correct in predicting that the Communists and not the Japanese would be his end, but he mostly brought it on to himself.

I’ve never been to Taiwan, but from what I understand the current KMT generally try to associate themselves with his son, Wei Guo, a somewhat more moderate and pragmatic type, and Dr. Sun Yat Sen than CKS.

*(My source for this? A TV program on Shanghai that I saw on CCTV a few months ago. Since the Communists generally don’t go out of their way to praise the accomplishments of their enemies, I’m going to guess this was too well documented for them to ignore.)

Some choice quotes from PRC state news outlet Xinhua:

The award for the most mythologized person in modern Chinese history goes not to Mao, but to Sun Yat-sen. Trying to scrape off the tinsel that has been glued to his name over the years would require a Herculean effort, not to mention tremendous courage. But the world is long overdue a proper warts-and-all biography of this man.

Need a factual time out. CKS was not a personal friend of Hitler. And would never had a chance to meet the man. Maybe an admirer…but who would know? The only international trip i can think of that CKS went on in the 30’s-40’s would have been the Yalta conference with Roosevelt, Churchill & Stalin. famous photograph of the 4 is around. Reportedly none of the 4 could stand one another.

There were German military advisors helping CKS & Whampoa military academy in the 1920’s. likely these were mercenaries/spies. Germany had colonies in China. I’d want to see some cites that Nazi Germany was CKS’s biggest ally. Rather it was to Russia that China turned.

Sun Yat-sen embraced the russians to help build a force to overthrow Yuan shi-kai. Mikhail Borodin was a political advisor sent by Stalin. The KMT’s platform was anti imperialists - and germany was a colonizer of China. The northern expedition KMT army was accompanied by Russian advisors.

Jiang Jing-guo (Chiang Ching-kuo) was in Russia for about 10 years. Jury is out on exactly why he was there (student, doing deals with the russians, Stalin’s hostage, etc?). He did come back with a Russian wife (caucasian woman that attended official KMT functions until his death.) but he would have been in Russia during the time he was supposedly serving in the german army.

I too would love to see a Sun Yat-sen exposed bio. Just read 3 People’s Principles as an example of a completely bland document void of anything substantial. Of course that’s why Peanut Head selected him as ideological figurehead.

Sorry, brain fart. it was Jiang Wei Guo, the older son, that served in the SS.
Picture of Chiang Wei Kuo in Nazi uniform

It’s a pretty well known fact that Nazi Germany and Nationalist China were very close. the 19th Army that held the Japanese off at Shanghai were equipped completely with German equipment. The principle rifle of the Chinese for both sides during WW2 and the civil war was the Chiang Kai Shek rifle, a licenced copy of the Mauser 98K and virtually all locally produced Chinese weaponary was of German design. CKS expelled his soviet advisors after 1928 and the Soviets/Comintern switched their support to the Communists (of course everything switched back after 1938). Although ironically, the Comintern adivisors to the Jiangxi communists were themselves exiled Germans. The 5th annihilation campaign that finally forced the Jiangxi Soviet to embark on the Long March was largely a a creation of Chiang’s German Advisors.

Sino German co-operation.

Au contraire. Roosevelt and Churchill were best buddies, most of the time. But it’s true, there were some collossal egos gathered around Allied conference tables c. 1939-45.

A Chinese in Himmler’s ultra-racially-pure SS?! Cite?!

He wasn’t in the SS. He was in the Wehrmacht, and was a lieutenant commanding a panzer during the Anschluss.

Still surprising.

Maybe, but the Kriegsakademie still had the reputation as one of the best military acadamies in the world. Besides, at that point, the German Millitary Mission to China was still going on, and the Nationalists were trying to redesign their army along German lines. (German troops had, for example, served as advisors to the Chinese during the 1937 Battle of Shanghai)

Here’s an article about the German military mission and German-Nationalist collaboration, before German foreign policy changed and allied itself with Japan.

I’m suprised that you guys didn’t know this. It’s fairly common WW2 trivia. The caption in the book where I saw a picutre of Jiang Wei Guo said his uniform was that of the Adolf Hitler division, but I’m not an expert on Nazi dress uniforms so I could be wrong.

The Germans are still big players in China today, as you probably know.

Battle of Shanghai was in 1932, not 1937.

I’m suprised that you guys didn’t know this. It’s fairly common WW2 trivia. The caption in the book where I saw a picutre of Jiang Wei Guo said his uniform was that of the Adolf Hitler division, but I’m not an expert on Nazi dress uniforms so I could be wrong.

The Germans are still big players in China today, as you probably know.

I’ll have to check on the German connection. I always thought it was German professional mercenaries rather than a big formal German government policy and investment.

Stand corrected. When tapping out on the pda i don’t always complete thoughts.

Still, no one liked Stalin or Peanut Head. Although Mrs. Peanut Head Soong Mei-ling sure had Roosevelt, Henry Luce and congress wooed. IIRC, she adress both houses of congress with impassioned plea for support.

There were two battles of Shanghai, the first in 1932, in the “January 28th” war, and the second in 1937, when the Japanese occupied the city.