History, Nationalist Refuge
Taiwan government, Kuomintang, punitive action, Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong
With the defeat of Japan in 1945, Taiwan and the P’enghu Islands were returned to China, but corrupt Chinese government authorities caused widespread resentment on the island. The unrest resulted in an uprising in February 1947. It was quickly suppressed with serious loss of life, and two months later Taiwan was proclaimed a province of China.
Meanwhile, China was enmeshed in a civil war between Communist forces led by Mao Zedong and the Kuomintang (KMT) led by Chiang Kai-shek, who had assumed leadership of the party in the mid-1920s after the death of KMT founder Sun Yat-sen. With mainland China falling to the Communists, Chiang moved the KMT government from Nanjing to Taipei on December 8, 1949. Communist plans to invade Taiwan were subsequently frustrated by the United States, which in 1950 sent naval forces to defend the island.
For the remainder of the 1950s, despite sporadic hostilities between Taiwan and the mainland, the United States Seventh Fleet shielded the KMT government from a Communist invasion. In March 1954 Chiang Kai-shek was reelected president of the Republic of China (as his Taiwan government continued to call itself). Later that year the KMT and the United States signed a mutual-defense treaty, by which the United States agreed conditionally to take punitive action against the Chinese mainland if the Communist regime attacked Taiwan.
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