Chiang, Kai-Shek

Chiang, Kai-Shek (1887-1975): Chinese military and political strongman. He received military training and joined Dr. Sun, Yat-Sen's United Revolutionary League (predecessor of nationalist party "KMT") in Japan. He returned to China when the 1911 revolution broke out, which overthrew the Manchu government. He established the Huangpu Military Academy for KMT based on the Soviet Red Army in 1924. This helped him controlling the party forces and taking over the KMT's leadership after the death of Dr. Sun in 1925. His successful "Northern Expedition" (1926-1928) unified China torn by warlords, and established the nationalist government. During the second world war, he was the supreme commander of the Allied forces in the China theater (1942), fighting against the Japanese Imperial Army in China and Burma. Following the defeat of Japan in 1945, however, the KMT and Communists went on an all-out civil war. Chiang and his nationalist government were forced to retreat to Taiwan in 1949. His regime was supported by the United States as an ally against the Communist expansion during the Cold War. He kept on claiming the sovereign legitimacy over the whole mainland China, but gradually lost the international recognition. He held the presidency until his death in 1975.