I suspect, that China would become an economic power really earlier without communists' experiments. Big part of chinese culture would be saved.
Chiang was a good administrator and I believe, he would be better leader for the China after 1949 than Mao (in fact, it's hard to find a worse candidate than this Chairman...). "The Nanjing Decade", 1927-1937, was a time, when a lot of important reforms were started. The biggest problem was an instability, warlords, communists, and soon Japanese attack...
KMT changed Taiwan, made it a rich an well-prospering country. It also gave Taiwanian people democracy. I believe, that after defeating the military opposition, and definitly re-uniting China, Chiangs could do that with whole state.
People here tend to be very critical of the GLF and CR, while ignoring the significant strides in industrial growth that were achieved under the same period as well as the even worse famines and conditions that were going on during Chiang Kai Shek's rule even under the golden period of the Nanjing decade.
But if you compare datas, the nanjing decade is really not all that impressive even compared to the early growth of the PRC. We do not have the exact figures for per capita growth for that period, but we do have several figures for important resources.
For one, the ROC never improved much on iron production, which was one of the biggest indicators of industrialization.
Below is a figure for iron production for the entire country in the unit of 10,000 tons
Year Steel Iron
1927 3.0 43.7
1928 3.0 47.7
1929 2.0 43.6
1930 1.5 49.8
1931 1.5 47.1
1932 2.0 54.8
1933 3.0 60.9
1934 5.0 65.6
1935 25.7 78.7
1936 41.4 81.0
1937 55.6 95.9
The figures above also includes Manchukuo, which had a significant portion of the entire country's iron production, in another word, the total iron production during the nanjing decade of the ROC probably increased by less than three times. The weakness of the KMT's iron industry was one of its major weaknesses in the war against Japan, when the supplies of its soldiers were totally lacking.
Compared to the ROC, between 1950-1960, the PRC steel production increased by over 20 folds in the same breadth of time, and its iron quadrupled in just five years and by 1982, it has became the world's fourth largest producer in steel, and today, it overtook Japan and became #1.
In fact, even compared to the early Beiyang government, the KMT does not compare well, in the area of industrial output, it was estimated that in 1920, the national volume was around 222,600,000 yuan, while in 1937, after the nanjing decade, the KMT only had 206,000,000 yuan worth of industrial output, a decline from the Beiyang regime's productions. In another word, despite the growth of the nanjing decade, Chiangkaishek's China was probably less industrialized than that of Yuan Shikai's China.
As for famine, we do not have exhaustive data for the whole country, but even taking one of the wealthiest region in Jiangsu, we see that the mortality rate during Chiang's nanjing decade surpassed the worst famines during the GLF under the PRC.
From 1931—1934 年江苏省江阴县农村人口贫富死亡率（千分比）
年 度 富有者 安舒者 贫穷者 总 计
1931—1932 26.5 39.6 45.6 42.8
1932—1933 32.3 31.0 39.6 36.1
1933—1934 33.9 49.3 56.0 52.0
1931—1934平均 30.9 39.9 47.4 ——
2、Infant mortality rate
年 度 富有者 安舒者 贫穷者 总计
1931—1932 161．3 219．8 198．2 203．4
1932—1933 275．9 240．2 239．2 241．8
1933—1934 379．3 373．5 403．4 309．3
In another word, in 1933, the mortality rate in Southern Jiangsu was twice as high as 1960, the worst year of the GLF
, and 3 times higher than the average mortality rate in the 50s and 60s China, and 6 times higher than the 70s PRC.
Even in mainland China, despite the GLF and CR, the economic growth rate between 1949-1979 was quite significant for a country of that size and averages around 5.6% a year, which was far superior to the contemporary growth in India which numbered between 1-2% and not that far behind Taiwan's growth of 8% a year. The reason that the early PRC growth is not apparent is because they are focused on heavy industries such as iron, but without these early growth, the reforms under Deng Xiaoping would not be possible.
All of the above does not even take consideration of the military status of Chiang's China which was not only far below that of the PRC, but below even those of Yuan Shikai's Beiyang government, and the last decade of the late Qing, both of which had standing armies or navies that were updated and ranked among the top 10 in the world and had enough military might to repulse foreign invasion. http://www.chinahist...rs/page__st__75http://www.chinahist...vy/page__st__30
Edited by Borjigin Ayurbarwada, 07 January 2011 - 02:11 AM.