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Chiang Wei-kuo

Chiang Wei-kuo

General of the Republic of China, adopted son of President Chiang Kai-shek
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro General of the Republic of China, adopted son of President Chiang Kai-shek
Countries Japan
Occupations Politician
Gender male
Birth October 6, 1916 (Tokyo, Japan)
Death September 22, 1997 (Taipei, Taiwan)
Politics Kuomintang
Father: Tai Chi-tao
The details

Chiang Wei-kuo (simplified Chinese: 蒋纬国; traditional Chinese: 蔣緯國; pinyin: Jiǎng Wěiguó, or Wego Chiang; October 6, 1916 – September 22, 1997) was an adopted son of President Chiang Kai-shek, adoptive brother of President Chiang Ching-kuo, retired Republic of China Army (ROCA) general, and an important figure in the Kuomintang (KMT). His courtesy names were Jian'gao (建鎬) and Niantang (念堂).

Early life

Former residence of Chiang Wei-kuo in Nanjing.

As one of two sons of Chiang Kai-shek, Chiang Wei-kuo's name has a particular meaning as intended by his father. "Wei" literally means "parallel (of latitude)" while "kuo" means "nation"; in his brother's name, "Ching" literally means "longitude". The names are inspired by the references in Chinese classics such as the Guoyu, in which "to draw the longitudes and latitudes of the world" is used as a metaphor for a person with great abilities, especially in managing a country.

Born in Tokyo when Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT were exiled to Japan by the Beiyang Government, Chiang Wei-kuo has long been speculated to be an offspring of Dai Jitao and a Japanese woman, Shigematsu Kaneko (重松金子). Chiang Wei-kuo previously discredited any such claims and insisted he was a biological son of Chiang Kai-shek until his later years (1988), when he admitted that he was adopted.

According to popular gossip, Tai believed knowledge of his Japanese tryst would destroy his marriage and his career, so he entrusted Wei-kuo to Chiang Kai-shek, after the Japanese Yamada Juntaro (山田純太郎) brought the infant to Shanghai. Yao Yecheng (姚冶誠), a concubine of Chiang Kai-shek at the time, raised Wei-kuo as his foster mother. The boy called Tai his "Dear Uncle" (親伯).

Chiang moved to the Chiang ancestral home in Xikou Town of Fenghua in 1910. Wei-kuo later studied Economics at Soochow University.

In the Wehrmacht

With his sibling Chiang Ching-kuo being held as a virtual political hostage in the Soviet Union by Joseph Stalin having previously been a student studying in Moscow, Chiang sent Wei-kuo to Germany for a military education at the Kriegsschule in Munich. Here, he would learn the most up to date German military tactical doctrines, organization, and use of weaponry on the modern battlefield such as the German-inspired theory of the Maschinengewehr (Medium machine gun, at this time, the MG-34) led squad, incorporation of Air and Armored branches into infantry attack, etc. After completing this training, Wei-kuo completed specialized Alpine warfare training, thus earning him the coveted Gebirgsjäger (The elite Wehrmacht Mountain Troop) Edelweiss sleeve insignia. This was not an easy accomplishment, as part of the training selection included carrying 30 kilos of ruck sack through the Bavarian Alps. Wei-kuo was promoted to Fahnenjunker, or Officer Candidate, and was evidently a fine marksman, as his pictures depict him wearing the Schützenschnur lanyard.

Wei-kuo commanded a Panzer unit during the 1938 Austrian Anschluss as a Fähnrich, or sergeant officer-candidate, leading a tank into that country; subsequently, he was promoted to Lieutenant of a Panzer unit awaiting to be sent into Poland. Before he was given the mobilization order, he was recalled to China.

Service during the Second Sino-Japanese War

Upon being recalled from Germany, Chiang Wei-kuo visited the United States as a distinguished guest of the US Army. He gave lectures detailing on German army organizations and tactics. Whilst in the northwest, Chiang Wei-kuo became acquainted with the local generals and organized an armor mechanized battalion to formally take part in the National Revolutionary Army. In addition, he spent some time in India studying tanks. There, Wei-kuo became a Major at 28, a Lieutenant Colonel at 29, a Colonel at 32 whilst in charge of a tank battalion, and later in Taiwan, a Major General. Chiang Wei-kuo was stationed at a garrison in Xi'an in 1941.

Service during the Chinese Civil War

During the Chinese Civil War, Chiang Wei-kuo employed tactics he had learned whilst studying in the German Wehrmacht. He was in charge of a M4 Sherman tank battalion during the Huaihai Campaign against Mao Zedong's troops, scoring some early victories. While it was not enough to win the campaign, he was able to pull back without significant problems. Like many troops and refugees of the Kuomintang, he retreated from Shanghai to Taiwan and moved his tank regiment to Taiwan, becoming a divisional strength regiment commander of the armor corps stationed outside of Taipei.


Chiang Wei-kuo continued to hold senior positions in the Republic of China Armed Forces following the ROC retreat to Taiwan. In 1964, following the Hukou Incident and his subordinate Chao Chih-hwa's attempted coup d'état, Chiang Wei-kuo was punished and never held any real authority in the military again.

From 1964 onwards, Chiang Wei-kuo made preparations in establishing a school dedicated in teaching warfare strategy; such a school was established in 1969. In 1975, Chiang Wei-kuo was further promoted to the position of general, and served as president of the Armed Forces University. In 1980, Chiang served as joint logistics commander in chief; then in 1986, he retired from the army, and became National Security Council Secretary-General.

In 1993, Chiang Wei-kuo was employed as the advisor of the president of the Republic of China.

After Chiang Ching-kuo's death, Chiang was a political rival of native Taiwanese Lee Teng-hui, and he strongly opposed Lee's Taiwan localization movement. Chiang ran as vice-president with Taiwan Governor Lin Yang-kang in the 1990 ROC indirect presidential election. Lee ran as the KMT presidential candidate and defeated the Lin-Chiang ticket.

In 1991, Chiang's housemaid, Li Hung-mei (李洪美, or 李嫂) was found dead in Chiang's estate in the Taipei City. The following police investigation discovered a stockpile of sixty guns on Chiang's estate. Chiang himself admitted the possibility of a link between the guns and his maid's death, which was later ruled a suicide by the police. The incident permanently tarnished Chiang Wei-kuo's name, at a time when the Chiang family was increasingly unpopular on Taiwan and even within the Nationalist Party.

Personal life

In 1944, he married Shih Chin-i (石靜宜), the daughter of Shih Feng-hsiang (石鳳翔), a textile tycoon from North West China. Shih died in 1953 during child birth. Wei-kuo later established the Jinsin Elementary School (靜心小學) in Taipei to commemorate his late wife.

In 1957, Chiang remarried, to Chiu Ru-hsüeh (丘如雪), also known as Chiu Ai-lun (邱愛倫), a daughter of Chinese and German parents. Chiu gave birth to Chiang's only son, Chiang Hsiao-kang, (蔣孝剛) in 1962. Chiang Hsiao-kang is the youngest of the Hsiao generation of the Chiang family.

Chiang Wei-kuo was also quite active in civil society, where he was the founder of the Chinese Institute of Strategy and Sino-German Cultural and Economic Association, as well as the Chairman of the Republic of China Football Association. He was the first chairman of Jingxin Primary School (靜心小學), and served as the president of the United States Students Association of China.

Final years

In the early 1990s, Chiang Wei-kuo established an unofficial Spirit Relocation Committee (奉安移靈小組) to petition the Communist government to allow his adopted father Chiang Kai-shek and brother Chiang Ching-kuo to be interred in mainland China. His request was largely ignored by both the Nationalist and Communist governments, and he was persuaded to abandon the petition by his father's widow Soong Mei-ling in November 1996.

In 1994, a hospital was supposed to be named after him (蔣緯國醫療中心) in Sanchih, Taipei County (now New Taipei City), after an unnamed politician donated to Ruentex Financial Group (潤泰企業集團), whose founder was from Sanchih. Politicians questioned the motivation.

In 1996, the Chiang home on military land was finally demolished by the order of the Taipei municipal government under Chen Shui-bian. The estate had been constructed in 1971. After Chiang moved elsewhere in 1981, he deeded it to his son. The justification was that his son was not in military service and thus was not entitled to live there.

Chiang Wei-kuo died at the age of 80, on September 22, 1997, from kidney failure. He had been experiencing falling blood pressure complicated by diabetes after a 10-month stay at Veteran's General Hospital, Taipei. He had wished to be buried in Suzhou on the mainland, but was instead buried at Wuchih Mountain Military Cemetery.

Political and military career

His positions in the Republic of China government included:

  • Commander of the Army Armored Forces (陸軍裝甲兵司令)
  • Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Services Force (聯勤總司令)
  • President of the Army Command and Staff College (陸軍指揮参謀大學校長)
  • President of the Tri-service University (三軍大學校長)
  • Senior Advisor of the Office of the President (中華民國總統府資政)
  • Secretary-General of the National Security Council (國安會議秘書長)

Education history

  • Department of Physics, Soochow University
  • Tenth Central Military Academy
  • Munich Military Academy (1938)
  • U.S. Army Air Force Air Combat Tactical School (1940)
  • U.S. Armored School in India (1943)
  • Round Mountain High Class trained officer corps (1951),
  • U.S. Army Command and Staff College formal training classes (1953)
  • School of Social Practice Class III combat training (1955)
  • Practical Advanced Military Studies Research Society training classes (1963)

Military, civil and government positions held

Written works

  • Grand Strategy Summary 《大戰略概說》
  • A Summary of National Strategy 《國家戰略概說》
  • The strategic value of Taiwan in the world 《臺灣在世局中的戰略價值》 (1977)
  • The Middle Way and Life 《中道與人生》 (1979)
  • Soft military offensive 《柔性攻勢》
  • The basic principles of the military system 《軍制基本原理》 (1974)
  • The Z that creates this age 《創造這個時代的Z》
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Early life In the Wehrmacht Service during the Second Sino-Japanese War Service during the Chinese Civil War Taiwan Personal life Final years Political and military career Education history
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