Did you know … ?

April 18th, 2009

The Anglo American strategy in the Second World War of “Europe First” meant that China would receive only $1.5 billion or 3 percent of the total U.S. Lend lease (military) aid to all its allies of  about $50 billion. Little U..S equipment got into the hands of the Chinese Army fighting the Japanese inside China. The great majority went to the Chinese forces under Stilwell either fighting in Burma or being trained in India and Yunnan province for the Burma campaign. convert2mp3

Did you know … ?

April 15th, 2009

In 1954 President Eisenhower told Chiang Kai-shek that if he withdrew from Quemoy and the other the offshore islands, the United States would join him in 400-mile naval interdiction of the east China Coast  from Swatow to Wenzhou. The joint action would in effect be “a blockade of China’s coast” that would be difficult for Peking not to challenge. To the surprise of the Americans , Chiang immediately turned down the proposal, saying he believed that the United States, facing severe domestic and world opposition, would back down from such a blockade or if conflict with mainland China erupted as result the American people would soon compel the U.S. Government to cease and desist. If, as many observers have thought, Chiang wanted to involve America in a war with China, this was his chance. But he turned down the opportunity when the President of the United States himself gave it to him.

Click here to read the full excerpt.

Recent and Scheduled Appearances

April 15th, 2009

Far Eastern Luncheon Group, Washington, DC - April 1.

New England China Seminar, Cambridge, Mass. - April 2.

The Academia Sinica and the Elite Book Store, Taipei, Taiwan - April 10-13.

Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired Club (DACOR) - Washington, DC April 24.

Politics and Prose Book Store, Washington, DC - May 9, 2009.

International conference on “Re-assessing Chiang Kai-shek: An international dialogue,” Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada - August 7-10.

International conference on China and the Second World War, Chongqing, China - September 6-9.

Did you know … ?

April 8th, 2009

The US effort in the China-Burma Theater was focused on the two campaigns fought in Burma, whose goal was to reopen the Burma Road to China, but from India rather than Rangoon. The Burma Road was reopened in July 1945, a month before the end of the war. Thus it served no purpose in the defeat of the Japanese except for the diversion of resources that it had caused the Japanese Army to make.

Did you know … ?

April 4th, 2009

According to a report from Zhou Enlai to the Comintern, from the start of the war to September 1939, the Chinese side had lost about one million soldiers of whom 97 percent were from the Nationalist side. In the first 18 months of the war Japan lost approximately 400,000 men dead (including from disease) or wounded and they adopted a strategy of holding the one quarter of China they occupied at that time and conducting punitive raids when necessary. In another message at the  end of 1944, the CCP reported losses on its side since 1937 that were less than ten percent of total Chinese casualties.

Did you know … ?

March 18th, 2009

In 1938, to slow down the advance of the Japanese Army, Chiang blew up the dikes of the Yellow River, killing hundreds of thousands of Chinese. In 1948, in irrational pursuit of a lost cause in Manchuria and to gain time for his retreat to Taiwan, he sacrificed 300,000 troops, and twice in Taiwan he approved white terror campaigns that took the lives of thousands of Taiwanese. But Chiang was not a cruel or cynical man. As Mao Zedong believed, he was in fact a conscientious, naively earnest man, confident of his own sincerity and moral virtue.

Did you know … ?

February 23rd, 2009

In 1953 Chiang Kai-shek predicted the French with or without U.S. support could not win in Indochina, and after the Geneva Conference of May 1954, he told the Americans that whatever was decided the final result would be the taking over of the entire area by the Communists? Moreover, in 1964 in a long letter to President Lyndon Johnson, Chiang urged that the Americans not send US combat troops to Vietnam. He told the same thing to Secretary of State Dean Rusk in 1965 a few months before the first U.S. combat units began to arrive in South Vietnam.

Sources

February 19th, 2009

The Generalissimo draws heavily on the work of distinguished Chinese, Taiwan, and American historians, writers, and political science scholars. Of special significance are those secondary sources that drew upon new Chinese Communist Party and Peoples Liberation Army archival material. I have tried to give these critical contributions full credit in the book’s more than 2,000 end notes. But this biography’s reappraisal of Chiang’s leadership and the major historical events in which he was involved for more than 50 years spring most importantly from new sources in Taiwan, China, Russia, and the United States. This fresh material includes:

  • Chiang’s original diaries which began in 1918 and ended in 1972. As of February 2009, the diaries released by the Chiang family to the Hoover Institution Library Archives ran through through 1955. There are more than 400 citations of the diaries in The Generalissimo.
  • A 12 volume collection of diary quotes, letters, memoranda, speeches, and Chinese Government records of conversations and meetings through 1958 edited by Mr. Qin Xiaoyi and published by the Chungcheng Culture and Education Foundation in Taipei.
  • Key communications found in archives in Moscow between the Comintern and CCP leaders, including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, as well as Comintern agents in China.
  • Hundreds of interviews in Taiwan, China, and the United States, including with close relatives of Chiang, his doctors, his Christian minister, KMT officials, Nationalist Army officers, and other persons who knew and worked with him, as well as local researchers and distant relatives in his home town of Xikou in Jejiang Province.
  • Numerous interviews on Taiwan and the mainland with emminent scholars of the period.
  • The papers, diaries, and taped interviews of “The Young Marshal” from Manchuria, Zhang Xueliang, released in 2002 by the Columbia University Chinese Oral History Project.
  • Key papers of T.V. Soong released in 2003 by the Hoover Institution Library Archives.
  • New memoirs published in recent years, including those of: Chiang Kai-shek’s secretaries and assistants; the Kuangxi war lord Bai Chongxi, KMT generals captured in Manchuria during the Civil War; American OSS and CIA officers involved in China affairs, and others.
  • Extensive interviews now available on CDs of numerous US diplomats involved with Chinese and Taiwan affairs from the late 1940s to 1975.
  • Separate Chinese-language documentaries about a former Green Gang leader in Shanghai, Madam Chiang, and General Li Sunjen.
  • A new valuable collection of the papers of George C. Marshall and the extensive interview notes of a Marshall biographer.
  • Classified documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests to the CIA and the State Department. pregnancy at 37 weeks
    Classified documents found at the U.S. National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
  • Fascinating, not long published US Government documents in the Department of State’s Foreign Relations of the United States series on US/China/Taiwan relations from the late 1960s through the Nixon visit to China in 1972.
  • Unique papers on the War of Resistance against Japan from two recent Harvard University conferences of scholars from China, Taiwan, Japan, and the United States.

{More to come}

REVIEWS

February 10th, 2009

The story of Chiang Kai-shek is so big, so interwoven with the story of modern China, and so complex, that it has defied a good biographical treatment. Now, Jay Taylor has provided us witha strong, vivid, and eminently readable biography of this major twentieth-century leader that captures his ‘life and times’ better than any previous work in English.
–William C. Kirby, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University)

This splendid biography far surpasses previous scholarship on Chiang Kai-shek, providing new insights into the savage international and civil wars in China that raged for almost thirty years as well as Chiang’s quarter century on Taiwan where he laid the predicate for democratic governance on the besieged island.
–David Lampton, Hyman Professor and Director of China Studies, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Following his masterful account The Generalissimo’s Son, Taylor has fully tapped Chiang Kai-shek’s personal diaries and a comprehensive range of sources to provide the most authoritative assessment of this towering figure in the Chinese revolution and global politics of the 20th century.
–Robert Sutter, Visiting Professor of Asian Studies, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

Chiang Kai-shek rivaled Mao as a dominant figure in the history of modern China. Taylor has taken a fresh look at his long, eventful life based on new sources, and suggests a controversial but persuasive new reading of Chiang’s motives and actions. This vividly realized account will be the authoritative work for a long time to come.
–Andrew J. Nathan, author of China’s Transition

[a starred review] American historians tend to portray Chiang Kai-Shek (1887–1975) as an inept dictator who mismanaged China until Mao Zedong expelled him in 1945 and he finished his life ruling Taiwan under the protection of the U.S. military. But this thick, heavily researched but lucid biography by Taylor, a research associate at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, describes an impressive figure who left China a greater legacy than he has been given credit for.
Publishers Weekly, February 2, 2009