Relations Between Chiang Kai-Shek and the United States During WWII

Franlin Roosevelt, Chiang Kai-shek, and Winston Churchill.

Chiang Kai-shek with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in Cairo, Egypt, November 1943. (Image: via Wikimedia Commons)

Chiang Kai-shek led the Kuomintang, otherwise known as the Chinese Nationalist Party, during World War II. The Kuomintang fought on two fronts during the war. They were challenged by both the invading Japanese army and the communist movement led by Mao Zedong, who sought to overthrow Chiang’s Nationalist government in mainland China.

Chiang Kai-shek immediately declared himself and the Republic of China a staunch ally of the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 by Japan. His simple message for the United States after the attack was “to our new common battle we offer all we are and all we have, to stand with you until the Pacific and the world are freed from the curse of brute force and endless perfidy.” 

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Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Communist sympathizers and infiltrators within the State Department, and the Institute of Pacific Relations carefully manipulated foreign policy and public perception in the United States toward favoring and praising Mao Zedong and his Communist uprising in China and against its loyal ally Chiang Kai-shek, whom the press in the U.S. and Secretary of State Dean Acheson vilified as a harsh dictator and an incompetent general.

Chiang Kai-shek during a visit to an air force base in 1945.
Chiang Kai-shek during a visit to an air force base in 1945. (Image: via Wikimedia Commons)

General Albert Wedemeyer, a United States Army commander who served in China during World War II, held a different view of Chiang Kai-shek, stating of him and his cause: “Although the Nationalist Government of China was frequently and derisively described as authoritarian or totalitarian, there was a basic difference between it and its Communist enemies, since the Kuomintang’s ultimate aim was the establishment of a constitutional republic, whereas the Communists want to establish a totalitarian dictatorship on the Soviet pattern. In my two years of close contact with Chiang Kai-shek, I had become convinced that he was personally a straightforward, selfless leader, keenly interested in the welfare of his people, and desirous of establishing a constitutional government.”

The Communist army had been benignly labeled “agrarian reformers” by the Communist infiltrators in the State Department and by The New York Times, who, in an article titled Mao Tse-Tung: Father of Chinese Revolution published in 1976, stated: “With incredible perseverance and consummately conceived strategy, he harnessed the forces of agrarian discontent and nationalism to turn a tiny band of peasants into an army of millions, which he led to victory throughout China in 1949 after 20 years of fighting. Along the way, the army fought battles as big as Stalingrad and suffered through a heroic march as long as Alexander’s.” The article went on to glorify Mao, calling him “A Chinese patriot” and “a moralist.”

General Wedemeyer in Chungking, 1944. (Image: via Wikimedia Commons)

Communists sympathizers within the United States successfully sought to deny military equipment from the U.S. to be shipped to Chiang Kai-shek to fend off the Japanese invaders and Mao’s Red Army during World War II. They had also successfully persuaded the U.S. government to pull out all their military forces in China. Communists sympathizers within the U.S. also forced Chiang to sign humiliating truces with the Mao Zedong in China after he nearly had beaten him and his Red army into submission. John P. Davies, a pro-Communist from the State Department stated his stance clearly: “The Communists are in China to stay. And China’s destiny is not Chiang’s but theirs.”

The actions of the Communists operating within the United States and the policies they pushed against Chiang Kai-Shek led the way for Mao Zedong and his Red Army to occupy China shortly after World War II. China as a result became the totalitarian Communist country we live with today.

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