Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Final Triumph of Chiang Kai-shek (Book Review of "The Generalissimo")
WaPo ^ | 4/26/2009 | Laura Tyson Li

Posted on 05/05/2009 4:09:15 PM PDT by mojito

Chiang Kai-shek ranks as one of the most despised leaders of the 20th century. Famously derided as "Peanut" and "General Cash-My-Check," the leader of China's Nationalist government bedeviled the Allied war effort in World War II with his lackluster defense of his country. His corrupt and brutal regime squandered billions of dollars in American aid and drove the Chinese into the arms of the communists. He died in exile a deluded despot, relegated to a footnote in modern Chinese history. Or so the conventional story goes.

Now, however, Jay Taylor's new biography, "The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China," challenges the catechism on which generations of Americans have been weaned. Marshaling archival materials made newly available to researchers, including about four decades' worth of Chiang's daily diaries and documents from the Soviet era, it torpedoes many of that catechism's cherished tenets. This is an important, controversial book.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: chiangkaishek; china; taiwan
Good review of what sounds to be an interesting new biography of Chiang Kai-shek that largely rehabilitates his reputation as a statesman and strategist.
1 posted on 05/05/2009 4:09:16 PM PDT by mojito
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: mojito

Despised by commie Liberals, he means. Most Americans revered him during his war with Mao.


2 posted on 05/05/2009 4:13:57 PM PDT by Sudetenland (Partial-birth abortions are state sanctioned torture.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

His diplomatic corps were capable Chinese patriots who manned embassies with little in resources.


3 posted on 05/05/2009 4:15:45 PM PDT by kenavi (Want a real stimulus? Drill!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sudetenland
From the review:

“...the Chiang-Soong clan and their supporters have long been convinced that they and Chiang’s government were the victims of a demonization campaign orchestrated by the international left starting in the early 1940s. By the 1970s, the American right had also largely abandoned Chiang’s cause in its zeal to win China's support in the U.S. confrontation with the Soviet Union.”

4 posted on 05/05/2009 4:18:49 PM PDT by mojito
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Not this American Right-winger! I was and still am appalled at our virtual abandonment of Formosa/Taiwan in favor of the mass-murdering despots of Red China.


5 posted on 05/05/2009 4:39:54 PM PDT by Sudetenland (Partial-birth abortions are state sanctioned torture.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: mojito
"...in its zeal to win China's support in the U.S. confrontation with the Soviet Union.”
The enemy of my enemy may still be my enemy...as has been proven with Red China over and over again.
6 posted on 05/05/2009 4:42:09 PM PDT by Sudetenland (Partial-birth abortions are state sanctioned torture.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Sudetenland

I think it would be more accurate to replace “American right” in the quote above with “Henry Kissinger.”


7 posted on 05/05/2009 4:46:43 PM PDT by mojito
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Sudetenland; mojito

I am a little ignorant about this subject. Didn’t Chiang Kai-shek have Mao on the ropes when FDR’s commie State Department sent Marshall to China to stop Chiang from finishing Mao off?


8 posted on 05/05/2009 4:48:58 PM PDT by MattinNJ (Sanford/Palin in 2012)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: mojito
This is an important, controversial book.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...

This tells me all I need to know, it's a liberal revision of history.

9 posted on 05/05/2009 4:52:37 PM PDT by RJL
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MattinNJ
He had Mao on the ropes several times. Marshall and Stillwell kept telling Chiang that he needed to do more to fight the Japanese, not the commies.

Uncle Joe managed to send Mao what he could, when he could, to keep his operation in business.

10 posted on 05/05/2009 4:56:36 PM PDT by mojito
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: mojito
Author reveals her bias:

The book does gloss over a few things -- Chiang's tolerance of corruption and his role, in concert with his wife, in the infamous China Lobby, which helped jumpstart the notorious McCarthy witch hunts.

11 posted on 05/05/2009 4:56:37 PM PDT by iowamark (certified by Michael Steele as "ugly and incendiary")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

I thought that Chang Kai-Shek was a pretty good guy, a real patriot. Unfortunately, he was undermined by FDR and his good pal Uncle Joe Stalin, and then by Harry Truman, with Marshall acting as point man.

So, basically, the Commies who infested our government at that time threw China to Mao—and condemned unnumbered millions of Chinese to suffering and death, as well as destroying an ancient Chinese culture that had survived the Mongols and numerous other invaders over the centuries.

Whether China will ever recover from that disastrous betrayal remains a question. But it sure as hell wasn’t Chiang Kai-Shek’s fault.


12 posted on 05/05/2009 4:57:55 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RJL
From what I understand, the book is a refutation of the liberal interpretation of Chiang.
13 posted on 05/05/2009 4:58:05 PM PDT by mojito
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: mojito
The book does gloss over a few things -- Chiang's tolerance of corruption . . . [Maoists and their Western supporters denounced Chiang as] a "bandit" and a "running dog of the American imperialists."

Hmmm, corruption, bandits, and too much American [foreign] influence.. throw in horrendous human suffering from pollution, massive unemployment -- that's growing and growing, little or no social "safety net" (no more an iron rice bowl).. and what do you get?

Today's Red China. Ripe for revolution. Where's Mao when you really need him?

14 posted on 05/05/2009 5:06:07 PM PDT by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sudetenland
"Not this American Right-winger! I was and still am appalled at our virtual abandonment of Formosa/Taiwan in favor of the mass-murdering despots of Red China. "

Ditto!

15 posted on 05/05/2009 5:16:45 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: SuperLuminal
By the 1970s, the American right had also largely abandoned Chiang’s cause in its zeal to win China's support in the U.S. confrontation with the Soviet Union

When Nixon brought two pandas back from Peking after visiting Mao, Rep. John G. Schmitz (R-Calif.) remarked that he didn't think the pandas were a fair exchange for Taiwan.

16 posted on 05/05/2009 5:48:41 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Cicero

FDR’s communist friends in our government lost China. But of course, there WERE no communists in our government under FDR. Not in OUR history books!


17 posted on 05/05/2009 5:52:28 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (GOP - Night of the Moderate Dead)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Mr Rogers
Not buying this. Chiang’s army were looters of their own country. My dad got a belly-full of them in the CBI and often said it was no wonder the Reds were attractive to the common folk.
18 posted on 05/05/2009 6:01:54 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Chiang’s new respectability in China mandates a respectful biography from an American leftist.


19 posted on 05/05/2009 6:02:42 PM PDT by arthurus (ACORN + Amnesty = Venezuelan Democracy in the USSSA)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cicero
I thought that Chang Kai-Shek was a pretty good guy, a real patriot. Unfortunately, he was undermined by FDR and his good pal Uncle Joe Stalin, and then by Harry Truman, with Marshall acting as point man.

During the war Chang Kai-Shek and Claire Chennault (AVG "Flying Tigers" later 14th AF) were closed political allies... it was Vinegar Joe Stilwell always undermining Chang & Chennault to Washington and talking up Mao...

20 posted on 05/05/2009 6:09:37 PM PDT by tophat9000 ( We are "O" so f---ed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: tophat9000

That would certainly be news to those who were there.


21 posted on 05/05/2009 6:13:06 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Fiji Hill
When Nixon brought two pandas back from Peking after visiting Mao, Rep. John G. Schmitz (R-Calif.) remarked that he didn't think the pandas were a fair exchange for Taiwan.

Yep! Nixon began putting the finishing touches on a job started by Johnson & McNamara.

Then the history revisionists began their work in earnest with reenforcement and support from the Dept of Government Schools and the leftist-controlled teachers union.

By the time the 90's rolled around, the job was complete.

22 posted on 05/05/2009 6:14:25 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Old Vinegar Joe Stillwell, was one of the best generals in WWII. He fought bravely against the Japs with hardly any supplies. His job was to beat the Japs. I do not blame Stillwell for this situation, he was just a soldier doing his job. I blame Roosevelt. Roosevelt was blind to the commie threat. Patton saw the writing on the wall, he knew that the war in Europe was not over with the defeat of the Germans. He told us to continue the fight against the commies. He warned us of what was to come and we are in trouble today because we did not heed his advise.

Chiang Kai-shek was caught between two enemies at the same time. Chiang could have defeated Mao, if he had help from the US. Unfortunately, The US did not take the commies seriously until it was to late.


23 posted on 05/05/2009 6:30:22 PM PDT by Do the math (Doug)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks

Chiang’s men were bad. The communists were worse. And Chiang DID have the ability to beat the Communists, except communist sympathizers in our government withheld aid...because Mao ‘cared more’ about the poor.


24 posted on 05/05/2009 6:30:42 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (GOP - Night of the Moderate Dead)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: mojito

For a TRULY great Chinese leader (albeit in the diaspora), may I suggest you look up Lee Kwan Yew sometime. Far superior to anyone associated with the KMTG.


25 posted on 05/05/2009 6:35:05 PM PDT by Clemenza (Remember our Korean War Veterans)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tophat9000; Eric in the Ozarks

I believe that Stillwell was given orders from FDR to favor Mao. FDR was the guy who was doing the will of Stalin and cozying up to Mao.

Finally, FDR went too far, and Chang demanded that Stillwell withdraw from China. But Stillwell was only doing what FDR commanded him to do—the last straw being the demand that Chang should hand over all of his forces to Stillwell.


26 posted on 05/05/2009 6:40:58 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Fiji Hill
Nixon didn't end recognition or abrogate the treaty with Taiwan, Carter did. And the US has not totally abandoned them yet. 30 years later, Taiwan is still free.
27 posted on 05/05/2009 6:50:45 PM PDT by iowamark (certified by Michael Steele as "ugly and incendiary")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Mr Rogers
To understand how awful Chiang was in regard to his fellow Chinese on mainland China, consider the fate of the native Taiwanese after Chiang & his army arrived on the island in 1949. Taiwanese from that era say you could flip a coin as to who was worse, Chiang or the Imperial Japanese Army.
The Nationalists had given up the fight against Japan early on in the war and history records the officer corps' focus was almost completely on what they could steal, dismantle and carry off for their own account. Virtually every reference on the China-Burma-India Campaign makes mention of this. My dad was a Hump pilot and never had a good word to say about Chiang or his wife the Dragon Lady (if anyone remembers who financed her it was the United states congress.) Pointlessly, American money flushed through the Chiang family and made them royalty in Formosa. Very limited benefit came to the US as a result.
28 posted on 05/05/2009 6:56:50 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks

My Dad met Chiang in the 60s. He had nothing good to say about him either - but Chiang didn’t kill millions of Taiwanese!


29 posted on 05/05/2009 7:00:23 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (GOP - Night of the Moderate Dead)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Mr Rogers
That's true. He just took over a country that was not his or even the same race of Asiatics.
30 posted on 05/05/2009 7:05:01 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks

He didn’t have a lot of other options, besides just dying.


31 posted on 05/05/2009 7:07:04 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (GOP - Night of the Moderate Dead)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Mr Rogers
He was an old man, born in 1887. All the dollars from the United States couldn't keep him alive but our money did propel Madame Chiang around for a few more years, if you remember.
32 posted on 05/05/2009 7:12:44 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: mojito

The left destroyed his reputation.


33 posted on 05/05/2009 7:18:26 PM PDT by aculeus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks

“That would certainly be news to those who were there.”

The friction between Stilwell on one side and Chang Kai-Shek and Claire Chennault on the other is pretty well known

Strange Bedfellows: Chiang and Stilwell
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/world_war_2/89860

Antithetic American Experiences in China: Stilwell and Chennault
http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1972/jan-feb/pickler.html


34 posted on 05/05/2009 9:30:17 PM PDT by tophat9000 ( We are "O" so f---ed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: mojito
This book is too fond of Chiang Kai-Shek. In my opinion, Chiang was mostly another terrible dictator in China's history , though much less terrible than his rival Mao. But the fact is both the course of Chiang and Mao's rising to power were manipulated by Soviet Union. Chiang once was just a warlord in south China, with and only with the providings of equipments and fundings from communist, he launched a war and successfully overthrowed the half-democratic government in that time and became the sovereign of China. Somehow later on, Soviet Union decided to abandon Chiang and raise another pet instead, which was the Chinese Communist Party.

Though Chiang made him an allie to US in WWII, but I don't think US like him very much. Because when he was on the edge of defeat in war against Mao, Truman's government refused to give him a hand, they just stood by an watched whole China turned red. Not like the similiar situation in Korean about 3 years later.

35 posted on 05/06/2009 12:24:25 AM PDT by hobbitslikepotatoes
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson