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Chiang Kai-Shek was the president of China from 1929 until 1946, and then dictator of Taiwan until his death in 1975. Also known as Jiang Jieshi in Mandarin.
A controversial figure in history, he did both good and bad. For most people, pretty much his only saving grace is that he wasn't Mao Ze Dong.
Tropes Embodied by Chiang
- Bad Boss: He was of an impatient nature and often screamed at his subordinates, supposedly beating one to death.
- Banana Republic: The "Republic" of China was a non-Latin American example.
- Badass Normal: When a group of soldiers led by a clique of his generals stormed his mountain headquarters in 1937 he vaulted over a 3 metre wall, ran several hundred metres over rocky ground barefoot and in his nightshirt and hid in a cave for six hours until his captors found him on the verge of hypothermia.
- Black and Grey Morality: As vicious and authoritarian as he was, Chiang was an angel compared to the Japanese he fought against.
- Chiang valued only one thing: obedience. And he trusted only one man: himself. That is why he at one point personally held 82 official positions in the GMD, most importantly acting as head of all the armed forces (the GMD has also been considered the party front of an army - Chiang's army). He picked his generals for their incompetence, because he suspected that more talented men might turn against him. Yes, this was the Good Guy of the Asian theater.
- Culture Police: China under his reign was a wannabe-authoritarian and reactionary Banana Republic. It was right for the rich to get even richer. It was wrong with all sorts of "immoral" behavior. Divorce and abortion were outlawed, and any provocative art was burned. Even spitting on the street was punishable. Militia bands called "Blueshirts" marched around and terrorized peasants with impunity.
- The Dreaded: He became this in Taiwan.
- Dystopia Is Hard: Probably one of the modern Trope Codifiers.
- Fascist but Inefficient: China was a lethargic Banana Republic under his rule, plagued by corruption and chaos. The Post Office was the most efficient, and also the only universal and apolitical, arm of 'government'. The whole country fell to pieces when the Japanese invaded, and once again during the Chinese Civil War.
- He did learn his lesson (finally!), since he turned Taiwan into a fascist and efficient Police State.
- Credit where credit is due: things did get better under his regime, but his efforts were focused mainly on the army and not the administration. Things got a lot easier on Taiwan as the entire island was basically directly under his control, unlike those vast portions of the mainland which had never truly been governable or paid anything more than lip service to the regime.
- Glorious Leader
- Hoist by His Own Petard: If this guy had done a better job of running his country (harder than it sounds), Mao Ze Dong would never have come to power. China was a corrupt and misruled agricultural country, where the peasants were oppressed and miserable. In other words, ripe for a communist revolution focusing on the peasantry.
- Kavorka Man
- Necessary Evil: He still has many defenders (not surprising, since the alternative is the Dirty Commies), who believe he did more good than bad.
- Professional Killer: It is known that he was a member of more than one Triad gang / society and an associate of others, some political and some outright criminal, and many prominent members would find positions in his new regime. According to writer Martin Booth, in his youth he was not only a gangster but actually carried out hits in Japan and elsewhere, before later moving on to politics and war full time.
- Properly Paranoid: He spent all his days obsessed with purging conspirators and communist sympathisers in his ranks, at the same time taking a page out of Stalin's book and doing his best to make himself indispensable to the Republic's continued existence to ward off any future attempts at coups or assassination. Various foreign advisers and commentators called him paranoid, but he was quite right in thinking that even members of his own inner circle (who shared his views) were looking kill him and replace him with someone more competent.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Chiang was the red to Mao's blue (ironically enough). He was a man of remarkable energy and choleric temper, working long days and living a life of great self-discipline. However long his working hours, he was still left unable to keep up with the sheer volume of paperwork his myriad of official positions entailed.
- Right Hand Versus Left Hand: The biggest issue plaguing Chiang's administration. Virtually every region without a permanent garrison of troops loyal to him was inexplicably unable to provide the lions share or even any its tax revenue to the central government. The situation with the army was even worse, leading to an outright rebellion of the southern provinces and their armies in '37.
- Single-Issue Wonk: His bugbear was communism. During the 1930s, he was obsessed with destroying communists and 'communists' (figures of questionable loyalty), playing the Red Scare card as hard as possible to consolidate a reliable power base along the east coast and right the way up the Yangtze.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Most of Chiang's generals already ran the regions they were 'assigned' to when they were brought into the Nationalist camp; a career politican, Chiang preferred to try and deal with them by guile instead of force. Unfortunately, few of them were gifted commanders. Chiang's own pick of generals basically ran thus: Chinese, Loyal, Competent; pick any two. There were some exceptions, but not enough.
- The Triads and the Tongs: Chiang was a senior member of the triads. Due to the breakdown of authorities and the general corruption of government, these criminal mobs wielded a lot of power. When the KMT moved over to Taiwan, the triads came with them (and were allowed to operate with impunity).
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: His second - political - marriage into the Soong family. They hated each other.
- Vindicated by History: To an extent. It's been noted that modern-day "Communist" China much more closely resembles Chiang's vision than it does Mao's.