Chiang Kai-shek Reappraised: Unlocking Modern China History

Tai-chun Kuo, Research Fellow,Hoover Institution, Stanford University


Outline of The Talk:

The awakening of China in the last two decades has sent shock waves throughout the world and has been followed by a gradual reconfiguring of the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region. It is the history of China in the last century which has shaped those forces of change and a history little understood by outsiders. The diaries of Chiang Kai-shek have been opened for researchers at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. As a longtime leader of the Republic of China in the Chinese mainland (before 1949) and in Taiwan (1949-1975) the availability of Chiang diaries has opened a window for new interpretations to understand China and to re-evaluate important events and individuals in the 20th century. In this talk, Dr. Tai-chu Kuo reappraises Chiang Kai-shek, his leadership, political thinking, and policies with a focus on the following issues:

* How was Chiang able to seize so much power after Dr. Sun Yat-sen's death?
* Why did Chiang oppose Communism and was determined to eliminate the Chinese Communists?
* What was Chiang's reaction to Japan's invasion in 1931 and his strategy to confront Imperial Japan's aggression?
* What was the real basis for the famous Chiang-Stilwell dispute during 1942-44 and its influence on Sino-American relations?
* Chiang Kai-shek and the 228 uprising of 1947.
* Why was the Kuomintang party led by Chiang Kai-shek defeated by the Chinese Communists in 1949? How did Chiang view the civil war?
* Chiang's self-examination and Kuomintang's reforms in Taiwan after 1949.

Bio of The Speaker:

Tai-chun Kuo is Research Fellow at Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Prior to this position, she was a Visiting Lecturer at Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University (2003) and Associate Professor at the Graduate Institute of American Studies, Tamkang University (Taiwan, 1997-2000). She served as Press Secretary to the ROC President (1990-1995), Deputy Director-General of the First Bureau of the Presidential Office (1989-1997), Director of the ROC Government Information Office in Boston (1987-1988).

In addition to researches, since 2003, she has assisted the Hoover Institution Archives to develop its Modern China Archives and Special Collections which includes the archives of the Kuomintang (Nationalist) party, diaries of Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo, personal papers of T. V. Soong, H. H. K'ung, and other leading Chinese individuals.

Her major publications include T.V. Soong and His Time, T. V. Soong in Modern Chinese History, China's Quest for Unification, National Security, and Modernization, Breaking with the Past: China's First Market Economy, Watching Communist China, 1949-79: A Methodological Review of China Studies in the United States of America and Taiwan, The Power and Personality of Mao Tse-tung.

Expertise: Political Economy, Chinese politics, Chinese economic reforms, U.S.-China relations, modern Chinese historical document researches.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010 | 7:30 pm — 9:00 pm
Meyer Library - Room 147, 560 Escondido Mall

Stanford ChinaRains