I tried really really hard to find something good to say about Chiang Kai Shek


So I want to focus on one thing:  CKS may in the lens of history be looked upon as an incompetent fool, but truth be told, he was more competent and capable than anyone else within China willing to step up at that time.   If the Chinese thought he was that “bad” there is really no record of anyone within the Kuomintang trying to assassinate him after he’d taken over power and his true trajectory as such was already known.   

At least the Germans tried to kill Hitler.

The Russians were so in awe of Stalin and his ability to defeat Hitler, and so brainwashed by his Cult of Personality, Stalin could have ruled for generations as long as he was healthy.

CKS was a true patriot. This must be truly said of him.  It is ironic that despite his xenophobia, that he actually lived abroad.   CKS hated the Russians.   But honestly there is no knowledge of his hating the Japanese.   It is in Japan, where he lived for about two years, that he learned what it was truly like to be a soldier.   Without question he gained perspective of Japan, just as Yamamoto did living in Washington D.C. during the twenties, about America.  Yamamoto therefore understood Japan could not possibly defeat America. 

I believe CKS believed the same thing about China and Japan.  That over time China was simply too big. In retrospect he was smarter than the Japanese; he didn’t try to bite off more than he could chew.  As the Japanese took America head on, he simply danced and dawdled on a bed of shifting sand. 

I found a clear vein running through his Being;  in the darkest reaches of CKS’s soul, he had a clear disdain for the Chinese People.   I do not know why.  But I do know Sun Yat Sen did not share this view.   Again, there is no question that SYS’s inability to see through CKS denotes perhaps either he was a poor judge of character, and of Men in general, or they just didn’t speak much.  And we know the latter was not true.   They were in close contact. 

CKS’s patriotism however meant killing a lot of people.  Every Patriot must have a foil.  For CKS, it was the Communists.  Zhou En Lai, if you remember, was within a hair’s breadth of being killed in Shanghai.  Indeed some of his comrades were actually hunted down. 

We need context though to understand China during the Time of CKS.  China was not united.  It was a highly fractured Country.  One could actually argue China was not even a country. It was rather broken up into several areas, each with its own leader.  Those leaders were called Warlords and were independent of one another.  There was no unified Chinese government, truly representative of The People.  None of these warlords were beholden to anyone in Beijing.  Some of these warlords though had intimate relations with Japan.

CKS originally had his base in South China.  One could argue rather convincingly he himself was a warlord.  When Sun Yat Sen died, while CKS was his notable and recognized second in command, there was still a brief struggle for power, which CKS won.



It is here I want to focus on “the one good thing”, Chiang Kai Shek accomplished in China;  He initiated what was then called the Northern Expedition.  The stated aim of this was to unify China.  That is, to defeat the warlords.  This was perhaps China at its most chaotic.  The Japanese, the warlords, the Russians, and of course all the others players had their fingers in the Chinese Pot, stirring it randomly and as they saw fit, to their own needs.

Within a few years however, CKS succeeded in actually “unifying” China.  I put “unifying” in quotations because during this entire period Japan was basically occupying northeast China.  One must remember the city of Dalian, for instance, was not Chinese controlled at one period for over 55 years.  

As such, CKS did not really “unify” China at all, but by eliminating the warlords finally did bring about a proper and unified Chinese government which quickly gained universal recognition.   His defeat of the warlords, thought it took awhile, was impressive in itself.   However in retrospect it led in my view to the much easier domination of China by the Communists later on.

 It would have been nearly impossible for Mao to conquer China if he had to fight one warlord at a time.  All of them were brutal, and in my view more competent than CKS.  So why did they lose to CKS?  Actually, many of them joined him.  At the time the Communists were not a known threat.  No one had heard of Mao, or Zhou En Lai.  But everyone had heard of the Japanese, and the Japanese controlled more territory than the Communists.   Actually, the Communists never controlled more of China than the Japanese did.  Not until the Americans defeated Japan did the Communists actually began to take and hold territory.

The warlords were simply out for themselves, and felt by working with CKS they themselves could avoid being taken over by the Japanese.  Ironically if CKS had not existed, the warlords would have still been in place, the Communists would never had become strong, and it is quite possible China indeed would had been broken up into several smaller independent territories.   CKS avoided all of this.

CKS uniting China did two things:  it eliminated all his rivals, but also left the countryside wide open for the Communists.   CKS was weak in the countryside.   While he correctly understood the CCP as the real threat to his control in China he did nothing to reform the landlord system, aside from simply trying to kill the Communists themselves.

I had said earlier I tried really, really hard to find something positive to say about CKS.  And there you are.

Unfortunately, the negatives really outweigh the positives.  I’m sure the warlords along with the Communists were simply appalled at what they saw in CKS later on.    In 1938 he may have singlehandedly given Mao China. 

In my view, CKS really allowed his insensitivity towards the Chinese People to show through.   I know I’ve already spoken above about his belief that Japan could never swallow China, and this his belief Mao was the real threat.  I stand by that.  However, when convenient he did try and slow the Japanese Army down.

In 1938 he deliberately flooded the Yellow River Plain, in hopes of slowing down the Japanese.  This act was cruel to the extreme and not only destroyed harvests, villages and towns, but killed roughly one million of his own people.  CKS simply did not care.  In a time when we rightfully speak of Trump’s enablers, we should also speak of CKS’s.  First among them his wife. 

Make no mistake she was just as bad as him.  Their marriage rivalled Bill and Hillary Clinton’s in that it soon became a political partnership more than a lovefest.   CKS and Song Meiling both had as many lovers as they could get away with.  In my view, she is just as guilty for the misery of the Chinese People as he is.

The 1938 Changsha Fire was another episode of pure indifference to the Chinese People.  It was an example of yet another Scorched Earth tactic used by so many dictators through history.  The city of Changsha was literally burnt to the ground, in again to halt the Japanese Army.  CKS in his infinite cruelty, when unable to defeat Japan on the battleground, simply employed inhumane tactics Stalin would have been proud of to defeat an incoming foe.  

CKS probably killed more Chinese than Japan ever did.

The great irony is that for all their incompetence, dictators live for a long time, often outliving their enablers.  However, they never outlive historians. 






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