Hsiao-ting Lin Hsiang-ke Chao Hsien-chun Wang

US-Taiwan Relations during the Cold War. The «Mainland Counteroffensive» Reassessed

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This article reevaluates post-1949 plans for a Nationalist Chinese military recovery of the Communist mainland from the perspective of the US-Taiwan alliance, Taiwan’s domestic politics, and the power struggle within the Taiwan-based Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek. The existence of military schemes, memoranda and proposals do not by themselves provide an accurate perception of Chiang’s views regarding mainland recovery. Nor is «mainland counteroffensive» an innocent term to be taken at face value when one revisits the cross-Strait relations at the height of the Cold War. Whether Chiang viewed military operations against Communist China as a purpose in itself or as a means to an end has never been fully clarified, while just how his «noble ambition» related to US-Taiwan relations and to Kuomintang’s internal power struggle remains unstudied. By deconstructing the myths surrounding Chiang’s mainland policies based on recently declassified Chinese and English historical documents, this article presents the story in such a way as to render a fresh look at the way the history of Cold War US-Taiwan relations has been presented up until now.


  • Chiang Kai-shek
  • Chiang Ching-kuo
  • Kuomintang
  • Mainland Recovery


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