Inane historical what-ifs: KMT won the war?

If KMT won the war back in 1949 what would Taiwan and China be like now?

My half informed musings

Shanghai would be the worlds most globalized city with a vibrant international community and artistic base. Hong Kong would be having a vote to rejoin China under economic and political pressure after it became independent.

Beijing would be half the size it is now and less monstrous buildings . Capital would have remained in Nanjing.

Taiwan would be an industrial and unique cultural center but better known as the Hawaii of China and untrustworthy Japan lovers but a bit of a backwater. Population would be approx 12 million. Would also be known for resisting control and only region of China to try and secede following WWII .

China would have neutral and relatively cordial relations with Japan having gained all lost territories after WWII

Korea would be united and extremely prosperous but look at China warily.

Corruption would be widespread in China , multi party democracy end up with provincial politics establishing local fiefdoms. Grand coalitions of ruling parties from North and South maintain power through mutual corrupt interests as they divide regions of influence and control.


We wouldn’t have the word brainwash in English.

no industry would have come to Taiwan, so it would be a holiday destination of epic proportions.

It depends a lot of when they won in relation to the end of WWII, and how fully they would have defeated the CCP (did they still control regions, guerrilla warfare, etc.). China would probably be smaller if some regions broke away under warlords. If they defeated the CCP early, they would have had more resources to maintaining control over the rest of the country. The US would have built up China over Japan as a counterpoint to Russia. Assuming China didn’t swing towards Russia. The KMT was a Russian start-up, and Chiang Ching-guo studied there and married a Russian. Likely, the US would have won out, but instead of the industry built up in Japan and Taiwan, China would have spent it’s energy quelling the population and trying to unify the nation. We may be driving bigger cars, less and more expensive high-tech electronics. Business in Shanghai and other regions would have been under foreign control for many more years, the steel-producing regions in the NE may have remained under Russia for a long time. Taiwan would be a bigger Hainan. The KMT, who were initially culturally tolerant, may have allowed local culture to flourish if they had a relatively stable situation on the mainland. Hong Kong, maybe Macao, might have remained colonies. All or parts of Tibet, Inner-Mongolia, East Turkestan, and Manchuria may or may not have become independent or autonomous.
The Cold War might have ended earlier, or have been less relevant in international affairs.
Or it could have been completely different.

Mao Zedong would have retreated to the island of Taiwan and become a North Korea or North Vietnam, maybe naming it East China.

Does our alt-hist KMT still lean towards Stalin, or not? Are there warlords?

The world complains about human rights in theocratic Tibet (whose Chinese ties are nominal), while the Ayatollah Khomeini wins the Nobel Peace Prize and the adulation of Hollywood as Richard Gere gives learned talks on the Perfect Shi’a as the Fourth Support.

China would be a shithole.

sounds right.

What kind of shithole?
Are we talking Shanghai sized Zhonghe in the 1980s or Taoyuan in the 2000s here . You need to flesh if out a bit.

Personally I think things for most Chinese may not be that much different on a day to day basis. Chinese are Chinese no matter which party is in charge
We know the old KMT wasn’t vastly different from the CCP in terms of its governance style and organisation and repressive policies.

I think China would certainly be united and it would just be a question if Tibet, Inner Mongolia, HK, Macau were incorporated or not.

But culturally, politically , how they face the world …there are some really interesting scenarios to think about.
Shanghai already had aircraft factories and a massive and diverse foreign community in the 1930s. It was the up and coming place beyond America perhaps…

Now we have a country of billion plus butthurt people with money to burn but not much else to contribute. They are Locked down and taught there’s only one proper way to think or to not think at all.

Chiang lacked the charisma, political astuteness and legitimacy to maintain a unified China. Chiang basically took over the KMT because he had all the guns in the KMT.

Most original followers of Sun looked down on what they considered a mere hit man. To them, CKS was no different than other warlords, such as Li Zhongren, or Zhang Zoulin. Not to mention CKS had a very corrupt inner circle, many of whom were within his family. CKS was in constant battle with the non-military KMT types, and whenever he failed, those old guards would push him out of power.

If CKS did win the civil war, he would have gained more esteem. I imagine he would be even less willing to let go of power, seeing how he wouldn’t let go of power when he failed in the real time line. (While he did step down after the CCP had crossed the Yangtze, he maintained real control over most of the armies and refused to cooperate with the acting president Li Zhongren.)

CKS would start a purge within the party to rid KMT of the old guards (actual Sun followers, many of which were pro-communism to begin with). CKS also would need to force complete capitulation from other warlords within the KMT, such as Li Zhongren, and Zhang Xueliang. Those forces would unite and turn against CKS sometime in the late 1950s. The KMT old guards and dissatisfied warlords would point out the corrupt and dictatorial actions of CKS and rally up enough public support to have enough forces to put on a couple of major battles.

Most in the US would be very annoyed by CKS, and his dictatorial rule, but they needed CKS and China to act as a buffer between the Soviet and the rest of Asia. However, they probably would refrain from giving either side too much support.

The Soviets would seize the opportunity and reorganize the communists, but since Zhang Xueliang still had control over Manchuria, they would have achieved very little.

Mongolia (both inner and outer this time), Tibet and East Turkistan would however use the opportunity to gain full independence. Taiwan would follow the trend, since in the real timeline, Taiwan experienced the 228 massacre before CKS lost China, so in this alternate timeline, with the support of former Japanese officers, Taiwan would declare independence while pointing out KMT unlawfully incorporated Taiwan as a province of China.

I imagine the outcome of the civil war would be a fractured China, with Chiang holding the South East coastal areas. Zhang Xueliang holding most of the North, and Li Zhongren controlling Guangxi and most of the central parts of China.

The US would support all 3 to continue acting as buffers. Korean war would be avoided. Ho Chiming would still carve up half of Vietnam, but would be less effective and wouldn’t take over the whole thing.

All in all, China and Asia would still be a mess, but the end result would be less dead people, especially less starved people, and a much stronger US.

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I fear L.A. Boyz would never have happened. The world would be a different place without their seminal rap records.


If UC Irvine exists, L.A. Boyz would always exists. In this alternate timeline, they would be called Irvine Boyz, and their songs would be all in Taigi and English, with no Mandarin lyrics what so ever.

As if it’s not a shithole now.

I think had KMT won the war, China would be even more of a shithole today. They were even lamer than CCP. It would probably be like Russia today without the nuclear warheads - big and pathetic.

If the KMT had won the war, we’d all be speaking Chinese today. Wait…

Also, they would be a barbershop quartet. (No US-Vietnam War means less of a youth movement / counterculture, which throws a big monkey wrench into music history)

China could have got through peak shithole a lot faster, similar to Taiwan in the the 80s.
It could be a post modern shithole already.
Whichever party was in charge the new buildings were bound to be hideous.

Many people who are alive today would have never been born, including myself. And there would have been many people born in such a world who don’t exist in our world. Sort of like a parallel universe.

I think we can take that as read.

Taiwan certainly had its problems it the 80s but it was also economic boom times. The sense of optimism and belief that most people would only get richer in the future was palpable. Not to mention optimism about more freedom as well with lifting of martial law in '87. Far from being peak shithole, it was perhaps Taiwan’s short-lived golden age in some aspects.

True, but the idiots poured all their money into the stock market. And I mean all. People sold land and property to pour even more money in, they borrowed huge sums from each other. And then watched it all go down the plughole in '97. Taiwan was never the same again.