As Chiang expected, the end of World War II led to the outbreak of open civil war in China. Any strength Chiang conserved during the war availed him little, as the communists sent the remnants of his government fleeing to Taiwan in 1949. At first, the Taiwanese held out hope of a massive counterattack against the mainland, but reality set in with time. Chiang was labeled “the man who lost China,” and the republican period in China seemed like just another failed experiment.

Chiang Kai-shek with U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower in 1960