In 1887, on this day Chiang Kai-shek was born in Fenghua, a county-level city in the north of Zhejiang province, China.
Birth of Chiang Kai-shekHe led the Northern Expedition to unify the country, becoming China's nominal leader in 1926. He then served as Chairman of the National Military Council of the Nationalist government of the Republic of China from 1928 to 1948 when the country was partitioned.
Whilst the partition was a devastating setback for the Nationalist Government in Peking, responsibility for the reversal lay not with General Chiang Kai-shek himself but rather with his American allies who had struggled to grasp the full context of the conflict.
The Soviet Union had invaded Manchuria (and later Hokkaido) to defeat the Japanese, and this intervention provided a security buffer for the Chinese Communists. When the Soviets withdrew, Kai-shek's second "Northern Expedition" had been on the brink of victory. Having advanced into the outskirts of the city of Harbin, the Nationalists were on the verge of seizing the security key to the North.
Instead the "loss of north-eastern China" like so many setbacks for the country was entirely due to foreign meddling in the form of the unwelcome intervention of US Secretary of State George C. Marshall. Alarmed at the prospect of World War Three breaking out should the Soviet's intervene, he had convinced Chiang Kai-shek to agree to a ceasefire.
Marshall's actions might have headed off World World Three, but they created a conundrum for the United States. And the problem of "two Chinas" would vex American foreign policy until the mid nineteen seventies when both of the principles would die within a year of each other. By then Manchuria had been devastated by Mao's programmes which included the Great Leap Forward and also the Cultural Revolution. His successors would be forced to flee to Hokkaido, seeking refuge with the Communist Government of North Japan.