Chiang Kai-shek (also known as Jiang Jieshi) was born on October 31, 1887. His family was from the upper class and was wine merchants. At 18, he attended a military college in Japan. Chiang had four wives during his life. His first wife died in the Second Sino-Japanese War. His second wife contracted gonorrhea from Chiang (a known womanizer) soon after they married. His most famous wife lived to 106 and died in 2003. Before one marriage, he converted to Christianity as a condition to marry.
After training in Japan, he went to Russia to study the Soviet government and decided he did not care for the Communists. Returning to China, Sun Yat-sin appointed Chiang to command a military academy
Under Sun Yat-sen the Communists and the Nationalists worked together to rule China, and Soviet advisers provided the help needed to increase their power since most of China was ruled by warlords.
However, when Sun died in 1925, Chiang led the Kuomintang army north to defeat the warlords and destroy the Communists.
Meanwhile, in Shanghai, the Communist Party had organized labor unions to improve working conditions in the low paying sweat-shop factories. During Communist organized labor strikes, these factories were shut down.
When Chiang Kai-shek army reached Shanghai, he joined forces with gangsters then went on a killing spree known as the White Terror. Tens of thousands of workers, who belonged to the labor unions organized by the Communists, were hunted down and killed along with their Communist leaders. One of the few to escape was Mao Zedong.
For the next few years, Chiang would rule China unchallenged until 1931, when Japan invaded. During the early months of the war, Chiang ignored Japan and continued hunting for the Communist survivors, who had fled into the countryside.
In 1949, when Mao won the civil war, Chiang Kai-shek took the survivors of his nationalist army to Taiwan where, protected by the US military, he declared brutal martial law and ruled as a dictator until he died on April 5, 1975 at the age of eighty-seven.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline