Chiang Kai-shek, named Chinese Bonaparte in modern history, was the leader of China during 1927-1949. He had highly ambitious and determined character. Even though Chiang Kai-shek had never been a brilliant militant, he possessed a certain military talent and charisma. At the peak of his career, the Chinese population compared him with Confucius and considered Chiang Kai-shek to be the leader of the Chinese people who scored the crucial victory in the long war against the Japanese aggression. Chiang Kai-shek managed to resist the Communists led by Mao Zedong for more than 20 years. The paper investigates the reasons why Chiang Kai-shek considered Communism more harmful to China than the Japanese intervention.
In 1921, Sun Yat-sen became the President of the Republic of China. In the following years, Chiang Kai-shek helped Sun Yat-sen to suppress vigorously the military rebellions. Having noticed his devotion, the President decided that Chiang Kai-shek would become his successor. In 1923, Sun Yat-sen concluded that it was necessary to create own armed forces in the country. Thus, he sent Chiang Kai-shek to Moscow to establish the military and political cooperation with Russia. While staying there, Chiang Kai-shek was convinced that the Soviet Union was a strong ally who specialized in new types of weapons and arranged effective military affairs. However, that fact did not mean that Chiang Kai-shek was ready to agree with the political views of people in Moscow. He became an anticommunist because he blamed the Communist Party for an innate obsession to limit freedom and its policy of hegemony. When he returned to China, he reported that, in his opinion, communism would certainly harm humanity. Undoubtedly, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was their greatest enemy for the future.
However, Sun Yat-sen carefully analyzed the speech of Chiang Kai-shek and thought that he had presented many questionable statements regarding Russia. As a result, Sun Yat-sen considered that it was necessary at that stage of historical development, to maintain allied relations with the USSR and with the Chinese Communists. In 1924, the President decided to create a school to train military personnel near Guangzhou. At the same time, regarding Chiang Kai-shek as a military expert who was familiar with the armies of Japan and the Soviet Union, he appointed him the head of the military school of Whampoa and the head of the General Staff. In that school, Chiang Kai-shek cooperated with the Soviet military officers and politicians, such as the future Marshal of the Soviet Union Vasily Blucher. Chiang Kai-shek valued Blucher’s ideas and strategies. However, he did not believe in the disinterestedness of the Soviet Union. Chiang Kai-shek assumed that they wanted to make Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet, and other provinces new Soviet republics. Moreover, he was sure that the same fate awaited China.
After the death of Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek became a leader of the Kuomintang of China. Then, he was named the commander of the State Council. First, the new head of the KMT government decided to implement the Northern Expedition, the long-term military campaign against the militarist opposition settled in the North of the country. It means that Chiang Kai-shek was eager to unite the territories of China under the rule of the Kuomintang. During the Northern Expedition, the Soviet Union was funding the National Revolutionary Army forcing KMT to unite with the Chiang Kai-shek army under the pressure of the Comintern. The army of one hundred thousand officers led by Chiang Kai-shek encountered fierce resistance of eight hundred thousand members of the opposition. However, the National Party of China recorded the military victory in the campaign.
According to the official history of China, Chiang Kai-shek betrayed the revolutionary movement encouraging the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to begin an armed uprising. In fact, the CCP cooperated with the KMT to expand its influence and to take advantage of a national revolution. It is pivotal to understand that in the 1920th and even in the 1930th, anyone could be a member of both the KMT and the Communist Party. The dual membership and personal bipartisanship were acceptable in China. To some extent, the CCP benefited from that public controversy trying to destroy the KMT from the inside. With the support of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party of China seized political power of the Nationalist Party of China. For example, Mao Zedong occupied the post of the propaganda minister of the KMT. Obviously, after the KMT faced defeat, many Communists also held important governmental posts.
In July 1937, Japan began the Second World War in Asia by the forceful intervention in Northeast China. In August, the Japanese landed troops near Shanghai. However, due to the strong resistance of the Kuomintang, the troops could take the city by means of the fleet only in two months. In December 1937, the Japanese that were advancing from Shanghai captured the capital city Nanking. In the struggle for the capital, the Chinese army lost nearly all of its tanks, planes, and a major part of the artillery. Chiang Kai-shek moved the capital to the city of Hangzhou. By mid-1939, he was able to restore its military forces, increasing the army up to three million people. After Japanese captured the city of Hangzhou, Chiang Kai-shek once again moved the capital to the west of Chongqing. The Second World War significantly reduced the intensity of the military actions in China. In May and August 1945, the Kuomintang commanders held a successful counter-attack and blocked the army of one hundred thousand Japanese in the area of Canton. During World War II, China proved its great power and became a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Historical events show that the KMT had a bigger impact during the war against Japan invasion than the CCP. In fact, the CCP troops did not make a great contribution to the fight against Japan. At that time, the KMT army engaged in mortal combat alone being in the front line. Such a large-scale violence resulted in the loss of more than two hundred generals. According to the Japanese generals who fought in China during the Second World War, they were mainly fighting against the army of Chiang Kai-shek. Moreover, they believed that he was their only enemy. However, after the final defeat of the Kwantung Army by Soviet troops, the Soviet command transferred all captured weapons to the CCP troops. In fact, the Soviet Union broke off their alliance after World War II provoking the emergence of a new civil war in China.
All facts considered, it is evident that Chiang Kai-shek should be justified in thinking that the Communists were a greater threat to China than the Japanese army was. The Communists managed to destroy the power of China from the inside while the Japanese were only the external threat that the united forces of the country could easily combat. Moreover, the Communists also altered the official history of China and did not mention the achievements of Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT.