Chaing Kai Essay

This essay has a total of 1308 words and 6 pages.

Chaing Kai

Chiang Kai-shek, also known as Chiang Chung-cheng, was born in 1887 in a remote farm
village in the eastern province of Zhejiang, to a middle-class wine merchant. He began
working at the age of nine after his father died. (Reese 7) When he was fourteen years
old, following the Chinese custom of that time, his mother arranged his marriage. This
would in fact be his first marriage, he married again years later. He dreamed of becoming
a soldier. He saw adventure in a military career and felt comfortable with the demand for
authority, order and strength. Though his family objected and hoped for him to study law,
in 1907 at the age of 18 he left China to train at Tokyo's Military Preparatory Academy
among soldiers whose discipline and sophistication inspired him to believe that China
could one day have a modern army. (Reese 7) There he became a follower of the
revolutionary leader Dr. Sun Yat-sen. With the first tremors of revolution in 1911, Chiang
returned to China and joined the Kuomintang. (Reese 8) He was completely involved in the
revolt that established the Chinese Republic.

In 1917 when Sun established the Guangzhou government, Chiang was his military aide. Sun
sent him to the USSR to study Russia military methods and was more than willing to go. He
got a good response from the people there. Not only did they give him advice but they also
sent thirty or so military men as help. He participated in the establishment of the
Whampoa ( Huangpu in pinyin) Military Academy outside Guangzhou, which was the seat of
government under the Guomindang-CCP alliance. (Internet) Their main goal was to demand and
deserve respect. Once the military academy was opened they received 1,500 applicants,
although it planned to register only 300. Sun began to encourage Chiang’s participation in
the Nationalist party. In 1924 Chiang became head of the academy and began the rise to
prominence that would make him Sun's successor as head of the Guomindang and the unifier
of all China under the right-wing nationalist government. (Internet) When Sun Yat-sen died
of cancer in Beijing in March 1925, Chaing succeeded Sun at its helm in 1926, the Manchus
had been toppled, but China was plagued by factionalism and organized crime. Chiang,
sustained by the Soviet aid Sun had arranged, built the party's first viable army and
crushed the warlords. By the time the Kuomintang marched into Beijing in 1928, the
communists had been purged from its ranks. (Reese 8)

One of Chiang's most significant moves was to link up with the powerful Soong family. In
1927 he married the beautiful U.S.-educated Soong Mei-ling, daughter of a prominent
Shanghai publishing tycoon, and adopted her Christian faith. "To my mind the reason we
should believe in Jesus is that He was the leader of a national revolution," he later
said. Soong's talent was public relations. "The only thing Oriental about me is my face,"
she told rapt Western audiences while conducting U.S. tours to raise support for the
nationalists. Such efforts and a belief that the Kuomintang was a bulwark against Japan's
imperial ambitions ensured Chiang a place among the Big Four powers during World War II.
The monk-like general, dressed in unadorned fatigues, was found in the spotlight alongside
Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. (Reese 8)

The Nationalist movement he had helped to initiate was gaining momentum. During the summer
of 1925, Chiang, as commander-in-chief of the National Revolutionary Army, set out on the
long-delayed Northern Expedition against the northern warlords. Within nine months, half
of China had been conquered. By 1926, however, the Guomindang had divided into left- and
right-wing factions, and the Communist bloc within it was also growing. In March 1926,
after thwarting a kidnapping attempt against him, Chiang abruptly dismissed his Soviet
advisers, imposed restrictions on CCP members' participation in the top leadership, and
emerged as the preeminent Guomindang leader. The Soviet Union, still hoping to prevent a
split between Chiang and the CCP, ordered Communist underground activities to facilitate
the Northern Expedition, which was finally launched by Chiang from Guangzhou in July 1926.
(Internet) In 1928 his army reached Peking and being the chief of the Nationalist party,
he became head of the Republic of China. Chiang initiated the long civil war between the
Nationalist government and the Communists. General Chang Hsueh-liang who hoped to unite in
defense of the approaching Japanese ended this in 1936. Many felt that unity could not be
achieved unless Chiang were removed as commander-in-chief even before the expedition was
completed. High-level Kuomintang officers were growing complacent--and corrupt--with an
Continues for 3 more pages >>