The Plight of Chiang Kai-shek’s Taiwan

Paul A. Cohen

in Speaking to History

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780520255791
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942394 | DOI:
The Plight of Chiang Kai-shek’s Taiwan

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For the Communists, successive victories in the Sino-Japanese War and the ensuing civil war (1945–1949) created a fundamentally new historical situation in which the major humiliation of foreign imperialism had become a thing of the past. But for Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists, after their retreat to the island province of Taiwan (which had been restored to China in 1945 after Japan's defeat), the most salient change, arguably, was that the area under direct government control had drastically shrunk. The Guomindang still faced the task of eliminating foreign imperialism (now in the guise of the Soviet Union) and its Chinese accomplices. There remained, in other words, a major humiliation to be eradicated, requiring the same qualities of forbearance, hard work, belt-tightening, and tireless effort — of woxin changdan — that had been staples of the Goujian story as it had been articulated in earlier decades. Predictably, in these circumstances, the story was from the outset widely disseminated among all sectors of Taiwan's population.

Keywords: Chiang Kai-shek; Taiwan; China; Communists; Nationalists; Soviet Union; imperialism; Guomindang; woxin changdan; Goujian

Chapter.  21140 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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