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Inventory of the Chiang Kai-shek Diaries
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions of Use
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Custodial History
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Redactions
  • Related Material

  • Title: Chiang Kai-shek diaries
    Date (inclusive): 1917-1972
    Collection Number: 2006C37
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: Chinese
    Physical Description: 76 manuscript boxes (31.6 linear feet)
    Abstract: Photocopies of edited (redacted) and unedited diaries relating to political and military events in China.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Chiang, Kai-shek, 1887-1975

    Conditions of Use

    Before examining the paper copies of the diaries, users must sign an agreement stating that (1) quotations from the diaries may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed in any form, without the written permission of the Chiang family, which retains copyright; (2) the diaries may not be photocopied nor photographed, so only handwritten notes may be taken; (3) cameras, cell phones, computers, scanners, and other image capture devices, as well as tape recorders and other recording devices, are not allowed while using the diaries; and (4) violations of the agreement may result in forfeiture of the privilege to access materials at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives.
    Diaries from 1917 to 1931 (boxes 1-8), 1932 to 1945 (boxes 36-44), 1946-1955 (boxes 45-51) and 1956-1972 (boxes 65-76) are open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Written requests to use quotations from the diaries can be sent to the Hoover Institution Archives. The Archives will forward the requests to the Chiang family. Requests for permission to quote should include the following information : full name, contact information, the exact quotations you wish to use, and the specific publication, broadcast, or other forum where the quotes would appear.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Chiang Kai-shek diaries, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    The original personal diaries of Chiang Kai-shek were deposited at the Hoover Institution in December 2004 by Elizabeth Chiang Fang Chih-yi. The originals are dated from 1917 to 1923 and 1925 to 1972. The diaries will remain in the Archives for fifty years or until a permanent repository is found on the territory of China.

    Custodial History

    After Chiang's death on April 5, 1975, his personal diaries were given directly to his son, Chiang Ching-kuo. They were later obtained by Chiang Ching-kuo's youngest son, Eddie Chiang Hsiao-yung, the late husband of the depositor, Elizabeth Chiang Fang Chih-yi.

    Processing Information

    The diaries suffered water damage, pest damage, mold growth, and displayed other signs of aging and deterioration when received at the Hoover. Although the diaries were previously microfilmed in the 1980s, the microfilm was not produced to archival standards and also exhibited signs of deterioration.
    Hoover preservation staff stabilized the original materials to prevent further loss. The diaries received remedial conservation treatment and were rehoused in archivally safe, acid-free enclosures. They were also microfilmed using high-quality 35mm film following Research Libraries Group (RLG) preservation standards. Targets filmed with the original pages indicate such problems as illegible text, missing pages, water damaged pages, and pages that are stuck together.
    Due to the fragile condition of the diaries, paper printouts ("use copies") made from the microfilm will be provided for researcher use.

    Biographical Note

    Chinese political and military leader; head of state, 1928-1949; president of Taiwan, 1949-1975.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The original personal diaries of Chiang Kai-shek were deposited at the Hoover Institution in December 2004 by Elizabeth Chiang Fang Chih-yi. The originals are dated from 1917 to 1923 and 1925 to 1972. The diaries will remain in the Archives for fifty years or until a permanent repository is found on the territory of China.
    The Hoover Institution did not receive a diary for 1924. For some years, more than one volume per year overlap in time. One theory that would explain this is that Chiang maintained the volumes in separate cities between which he frequently traveled.
    Diaries from 1917 to 1931 were opened on March 31, 2006. In the period covered by these diaries, Chiang Kai-shek rose to the leadership of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party). After training in the Japanese army from 1909 to 1911, Chiang participated in the revolutionary struggles that established the Chinese Republic and began his association with Sun Yat-sen in the Kuomintang. Chiang founded the Whampoa Military Academy, where the Kuomintang army was trained, in 1924. After Sun's death in 1925, Chiang rose to power by leading the Kuomintang army to defeat the northern warlords and unify China. Chiang split with the leftists of his party in 1927 and spent the rest of his life struggling against the Communists.
    Diaries from 1932 to 1945 were opened on April 2, 2007. A few months after the newly open diaries begin in January 1932, Chiang became chief of the General Staff and chairman of the National Military Council. At that time, China was a battleground for warlords, Nationalists, Communists, and Japanese invaders. Chiang focused on eliminating the Chinese Communists, who retreated on the Long March into the remote northwest. On December 12, 1936, Chiang was kidnapped at Xi'an by a Manchurian warlord, the young marshal Zhang Xueliang. After agreeing to work with the Communists to fight the Japanese, Chiang was released. Of course, the diaries also cover the period of the Second Sino-Japanese War, from 1937 to 1945, and Chiang's relationship with such allies as U.S. Army generals Claire Chennault and Joseph Stilwell. This segment of diaries ends in 1945, when U.S. ambassador Patrick Hurley, followed by General George C. Marshall, tried unsuccessfully to bridge differences between Chiang's government and the Communists.
    Diaries from 1946 to 1955 were opened on July 18, 2008. In 1946, control of China teetered between Nationalists and Communists as civil war resumed. Chiang led the Nationalist government and its army, which gradually lost territory in the north to the Communists led by Mao Zedong. As civil war worsened and the U.S. suspended aid to Chiang, the Nationalist government battled severe inflation that threatened financial chaos. Chiang declared a series of financial and economic emergency measures in August 1948 that were ultimately unsuccessful. Five months later, in January 1949, Chiang resigned as president of the Republic of China while continuing as leader of the Nationalist party. With a strong military push by the Chinese People's Liberation Army beginning in the spring, the Nationalist forces retreated in December 1949 to Taiwan, where Chiang established a stronghold for his party. He resumed his position as president in March 1950, and was reelected by the National Assembly in 1954. Having lamented in his diary about the disintegration and rot from within that led to his party's failure, Chiang established the Central Reform Committee in 1950 to revitalize the party and its principles, reestablish the state in a new milieu, advance his vision for China and Taiwan, and begin laying the groundwork for Taiwan's eventual economic success.
    On July 8, 2009, the diaries from 1956 to 1972 were opened. This period draws attention to Taiwan's transformation from a postwar island frontier to the epicenter of the Nationalist China regime. As inflation dropped steadily and the economy grew, Chiang was reelected president by the National Assembly in 1960, 1966, and 1972. The KMT, with Chiang taking the reins as the zongcai (director-general), instituted comprehensive industrial, agricultural, economic, and social reforms. Chiang made land available to farmers at affordable prices and provided state support to industries to nurture their competitiveness internationally. The construction of Taiwans highway system was also completed.
    With these reforms came repression as Taiwan functioned as an authoritarian state. The White Terror era ensued, in which the formation of opposition political parties was denounced and pro-democratic/pro-independence figures, like Lei Zhen, were arrested and jailed.
    Tension in the Taiwan Strait intensified when Mao continued to launch attacks against Chiang’s troops in the Quemoy and Ma–tsu Islands in 1958. As commander in chief of the military, Chiang held steadfast to his unrelenting objective of counterattacking the Chinese Communists and recovering Mainland China. Though the U.S. Congress passed the Formosa Resolution (January 1955) --a joint security that a joint security pact that authorized President Eisenhower to use U.S. forces to defend the ROC against armed attack--Chiang was unable to garner more American support, and he devised several failed military campaigns.
    At the forefront of Chiangs political discussions and thoughts was the U.S. military presence in Cuba and Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam. Taiwan served as a military and supply base for the U.S. during the height of the Vietnam War.
    July 22, 1972, marks Chiangs last noted diary entry. Months earlier, President Nixon had visited China. The announcement of that visit triggered a United Nations vote to give the People's Republic of China a seat in the U.N., effectively expelling Taiwan. Anti-U.S. riots followed on the island.
    When Chiang died in 1975, Taiwan remained a one-party state controlled by the Kuomintang. Chiang's son, Chiang Ching-kuo, assumed party leadership and within a few years also became president.


    The original diaries contain sentences that were crossed out in ink. It is believed that these redactions were made years ago by Chiang Kai-shek, Chiang Ching-kuo, or another individual.
    Since the diaries were deposited at Hoover, the Chiang family has been reviewing their contents and is choosing to keep some passages private until 2035. These will be redacted from the use copies with a "2006," "2007," or "2008" annotation in the margin to distinguish them from the earlier redactions.

    Related Material

    Transcriptions of Chiang's diaries are located in the Second Historical Archives in Nanjing, China, under the collection title Jiang Jieshi Riji Leichao. Photocopies of the transcriptions are located in the Academic Historica in Taipei, Taiwan, and the Kuomintang Party Archives in Taipei, Taiwan.
    Accounts of Chiang's early years, including diary excerpts, have been published in several books, such as Mao Sicheng's Minguo Shi Wu Nian Yi Qian Zhi Jiang Jieshi Xian Sheng and Qin Xiaoyi's Zongtong Jianggong Dashi Chang bian. Diary excerpts were also published by the Academia Historica in a continuing series, Shilue Gaoben (1927-1949), attributed to Chiang's colleagues, Sun Yi, Wang Yugao and Wang Yuzheng. These texts were written in the Spring and Autumn Annals (Chun Qiu) style of historiography by blending passages from Chiang's diaries, letters, official papers, etc., to chronologically outline significant events in his personal, military and political life.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    China--History--Republic, 1912-1949.