Debunking the Myths of Chiang Kai-shek: Myth # 1, Chiang Kai-shek Saved Taiwan


Tuesday January 01, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

There are many myths that surround Chiang Kai-shek. Most are perpetuated by those who still profit from his one party state dictatorship on Taiwan; these people use the myths to justify their gains and cover what really happened. A series of posts will follow debunking those myths.

Myth Number One: Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) saved Taiwan. Answer: CKS did not save Taiwan. What is true is that CKS did lose China. He lost it because of the corruption of his party, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the hypocritical difference between their words and actions.

Taiwan on the other hand actually saved Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT. On the run from Mao Tse-tung's forces, they had no place to hide but Taiwan. Taiwan took CKS and the KMT in and it was repaid by the denuding of the island and over 40 years of one-party state dictatorial rule and martial law.

After World War II, the USA had long determined not to waste any more money supporting the corrupt KMT. Mao would have eventually pursued CKS across the Taiwan Strait once he built up sufficient naval and air power, but then the Korean War happened. As the lesser of two evils, the USA chose to put its Seventh Fleet in the Taiwan Strait to contain the spread of Communism. Mao's entry into the war on the side of North Korea made this a permanent fixture. Short-term, the difficulty of crossing the Taiwan Strait kept Mao from Taiwan; long-term, the US Seventh Fleet sealed this fact.

CKS and the KMT were lucky; Taiwan was not. If any reality should be examined it is how and why the KMT despite its professed ideals, its superior available resources and its inside track and rule of China from the 1930s on never won the hearts and minds of the Chinese people. This is the reality of CKS's leadership that myth number one covers up.