Chiang Kai-shek was Chinese politician and military leader, who ruled over mainland China from 1928 to 1949. Throughout his life he became the dominant political figure in 20th-century Chinese history. At a young age he was trained by Japanese officers who had come to China to help organize its defense against possible foreign aggression. He graduated with knowledge and skills that would prove invaluable in his future career as a military commander and head of state.

Young General Chiang Kai-Shek | 1928 | Source: Wikimedia

In 1918 he joined the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), founded by Sun Yat-sen, whos goal was to unite most factions and groups in China to achieve independence from monarch rule. The KMT party led the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. Chiang Kai-shek became the leader of the KMT after the death of Dr. Sun Yat-sen in 1925. The KMT fought against warlords who controlled different parts of China until 1928 when Chiang Kai-shek took control over Beijing. He became its president in Nanjing. However at the time, he did face problems, the Japanese had seized Manchuria and the Communists were in rural areas recruiting farmers and planning for their turn to seize power.

KMT Members Paying Tribute to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Beijing in 1928 | Source: Wikimedia

There was some division and opposing views within the party because in December of 1936 Chiang was kidnapped and held captive by his own generals who believed that the KMT and Communists should be joining forces to remove the Japanese invaders. Chiang led Nationalist forces loyal to him against the Japanese occupation of China during World War II until Japan’s surrender in 1945. After WWII the fight between nationalists and communists resumed.

Chiang Kai-shek & Mao Zedong | 1945 | Source: Wikimedia

In 1949, after losing mainland China to Mao Zedong’s Communists, he retreated with much of his party to the island of Taiwan; where they established their government under Taipei as the last line of defense against communist expansionism. Chiang continued running things until his death in 1975, he died in Taiwan, where he is remembered as a hero who helped unify a divided China.

Map of Taiwan With Capital Taipei | Source: AS

Although Chiang Kai-shek had many achievements to his name, he also made many mistakes and for this he was also a controversial figure in Chinese history. He was an authoritarian ruler who used violence against his own people. Although his reputation has been tarnished by these accusations, there is still much to be learned from his life story.

Taiwan 200 Yuan | 2002 | Ft. Chiang Kai-shek | Source: Banknote World

Taiwanese banknote pay tribute to Chiang Kai-shek and also Sun Yat-sen. The green Taiwan 200 Dollars banknote features a picture of Chiang Kai-shek sitting. Rice harvesting activity is also portrayed. The banknotes reverse depicts the Presidential Office, orchids, and Taipei. The paper bill bears a solid security thread with a demetalized 200. While the 100 Taiwanese Dollars features a portrait Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the founder of the Republic of China, and a depiction of The Chapter of Great Harmony by Confucius. The reverse features the Chung-San building in Taipei.

Taiwan 100 Yuan | 2001 | Ft. Sun Yat-sen | Source: Banknote World



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