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Chiang Kai-shek or Jiang Jieshi (in traditional Chinese: 蔣介石, pinyin: Jiǎng Jièshí, Wade-Giles: Chiang Chieh-Shih; alternatives: traditional Chinese: 蔣中正, pinyin: Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng, Wade-Giles: Chiang Chung-cheng; Xikou, October 31, 1887-Taipei, April 5, 1975) was a Chinese soldier and statesman. He succeeded Sun Yat-sen as leader of the Kuomintang Chinese Nationalist Party and was the maximum leader, under various positions, of the Republic of China founded in Nanjing in 1927. After the defeat of the Nationalists in 1949 against the Communists, he took refuge with his government on the island of Taiwan.
Chiang Kai-shek ruled Taiwan authoritatively from 1949 until his death in 1975, when he was succeeded by his son Chiang Ching-kuo. During his time in Taiwan he never resigned himself to the fact that the exile was definitive. He kept hoping that communism would end up falling and that the Republic of China, under his leadership, would reconquer mainland China.
After the Japanese invasion of China, the government led by Chiang Kai-shek retreated into the interior of the country, establishing the provisional capital in Chongqing, since Nanking had fallen into the hands of the Japanese, who established a puppet government there chaired by Wang Jingwei.
During the Japanese invasion, the KMT interrupted the fight against the Communist Party of China, forming a united front against the invaders. At the end of World War II, the Japanese withdraw from China, which also recovers the island of Taiwan. At that moment, the confrontation with the Communists, led by Mao Zedong, resumes.
On January 1, 1947, a new Constitution was approved for the Republic of China. Throughout that year, members of the different chambers of the national parliament were elected, and in April 1948, Chiang Kai-shek assumed the office of President of the Republic. The KMT government seemed to be strengthening its control over the territory, despite all the difficulties, but already in 1946 the struggle with the communists intensified. Against all odds, the communist forces of the so-called People’s Liberation Army, from their bases of power in the countryside, finally managed to win this civil war. Throughout 1949, communist victories followed one another. Chiang Kai-shek began to send personnel to the south to prepare from there the offensive against the Communists. The KMT government was forced to leave Nanking. On February 5, the capital was moved to Guangzhou. On May 26, Chiang moved to Taiwan.
Before the communist advance (on October 1 Mao Zedong had proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China), the Republican government moved the provisional capital from Canton to Chongqing on October 15 and finally to Chengdu on November 29. Chiang had returned to the mainland from Taiwan on November 14 and was in Chonqqing and Chengdu trying to resist the communist victory. Finally, on December 8, Chiang gave up the loss of mainland China and ordered his troops and the highest government officials to leave Chengdu. On December 10, 1949, Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo flew to Taiwan, from where they hoped to reorganize to defeat the communists. Chiang Kai-shek never stepped on the mainland again.
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