Chinese Civil War

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1949 Dec 7

Kuomintang's retreat to Taiwan


The retreat of the government of the Republic of China to Taiwan, also known as the Kuomintang's retreat to Taiwan, refers to the exodus of the remnants of the internationally recognized Kuomintang-ruled government of the Republic of China (ROC) to the island of Taiwan (Formosa) on 7 December 1949 after losing the Chinese Civil War in the mainland. The Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party), its officers, and approximately 2 million ROC troops took part in the retreat, in addition to many civilians and refugees, fleeing the advance of the People's Liberation Army of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

ROC troops mostly fled to Taiwan from provinces in southern China, in particular Sichuan Province, where the last stand of the ROC's main army took place. The flight to Taiwan took place over four months after Mao Zedong had proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Beijing on 1 October 1949. The island of Taiwan remained part of Japan during the occupation until Japan severed its territorial claims in the Treaty of San Francisco, which came into effect in 1952.

After the retreat, the leadership of the ROC, particularly Generalissimo and President Chiang Kai-shek, planned to make the retreat only temporary, hoping to regroup, fortify, and reconquer the mainland. This plan, which never came into fruition, was known as "Project National Glory", and made the national priority of the ROC on Taiwan. Once it became apparent that such a plan could not be realized, the ROC's national focus shifted to the modernization and economic development of Taiwan. The ROC, however, continues to officially claim exclusive sovereignty over the now-CCP governed mainland China.