Second Taiwan Strait Crisis
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|Second Taiwan Strait Crisis|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Chiang Kai-shek
| Mao Zedong
|155 mm Long Tom, M115 howitzer, North American F-86 Sabre, North American B-25 Mitchell, etc.||Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-9, Mikoyan MiG-15, etc.|
The Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, also called the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis, was a conflict that took place between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China, commonly called Taiwan (ROC) governments in which the PRC shelled the islands of Matsu and Quemoy in the Taiwan Strait in an attempt to seize them from the Republic of China.
The crisis started with the 823 Artillery Bombardment (translated from Traditional Chinese: 八二三炮戰; Simplified Chinese: 八二三炮战; pinyin: Bāèrsān Pàozhàn) at 5:30pm on August 23, 1958, when People's Liberation Army forces began an intense artillery bombardment against Quemoy. ROC forces in Quemoy dug in and returned fire. In the heavy exchange of fire, roughly 2,500 ROC troops and 200 PRC troops were killed.
This was a continuation of the First Taiwan Strait Crisis, which had started immediately after the Korean War. Chiang Kai-shek had begun to build on the two islands of Matsu and Quemoy. In 1954, PRC began firing artillery at both the islands of Quemoy and Matsu focusing most of the attack on Quemoy.
The United States Eisenhower Administration responded to ROC's request for aid according to its obligations in the 1954 U.S.-ROC defense treaty by reinforcing US naval units and ordering US naval vessels to help the Kuomintang Nationalist government protect Quemoy's supply lines. Under a secret effort known as Operation Black Magic, the US Navy modified some ROC air force F-86 Sabres with its newly introduced AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile to provide an edge against more advanced PRC MiG fighters, which had an advantage over the Sabre. Recent research from the National Archives also indicates that the Air Force was prepared for a nuclear strike against the PRC. Also 12 203mm M115 howitzer long range artillery guns and other 155mm guns were transferred from US Marines to ROC Army and sent to Quemoy/Kinmen to help turn the tide of the artillery duel there. The PLA thought that ROC forces had used nuclear canons on them since the effect of shelling was so devastating.
On 22 September 1958, the Sidewinder was used for the first time in dogfights with 32 Sabres against over 100 MiGs. Faced with a stalemate, and having run out of artillery shells on the PRC side, the PRC government announced decreasing bombardment level on October 6.
Afterwards, both sides continued to bombard each other with shells containing propaganda leaflets on alternate days of the week. This strange informal arrangement continued until the normalization of ties between the US and PRC in 1979.
The question of "Matsu and Quemoy" became an issue in the 1960 American Presidential election when Richard Nixon accused John F. Kennedy of being unwilling to commit to using nuclear weapons if the People's Republic of China invaded the Nationalist outposts.
The PRC fired around 450,000 shells at the Quemoy islands in the conflict. The shells have become a recyclable resource for steel for the local economy. Since the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, Quemoy has become famous for its production of cleavers made from PRC bomb shells. A blacksmith in Quemoy generally produces 60 cleavers from one bomb shell and Communist China tourists now purchase Kinmen knives as souvenirs together with other local products.
See also 
- First Taiwan Strait Crisis
- Third Taiwan Strait Crisis
- List of battles over Quemoy
- Chinese Civil War
- Military of the Republic of China
Further reading 
- Bush, R. & O'Hanlon, M. (2007). A War Like No Other: The Truth About China's Challenge to America. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-98677-1
- Bush, R. (2006). Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 0-8157-1290-1
- Carpenter, T. (2006). America's Coming War with China: A Collision Course over Taiwan. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-6841-1
- Cole, B. (2006). Taiwan's Security: History and Prospects. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-36581-3
- Copper, J. (2006). Playing with Fire: The Looming War with China over Taiwan. Praeger Security International General Interest. ISBN 0-275-98888-0
- Federation of American Scientists et al. (2006). Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning
- Gill, B. (2007). Rising Star: China's New Security Diplomacy. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 0-8157-3146-9
- Shirk, S. (2007). China: Fragile Superpower: How China's Internal Politics Could Derail Its Peaceful Rise. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-530609-0
- Tsang, S. (2006). If China Attacks Taiwan: Military Strategy, Politics and Economics. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-40785-0
- Tucker, N.B. (2005). Dangerous Strait: the U.S.-Taiwan-China Crisis. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-13564-5
- Ministry of National Defense R.O.C 
- US Naval War College
- Mao Zedong's handling of the Taiwan Straits Crisis of 1958
- Khrushchev's Nuclear Promise to Beijing During the 1958 Crisis
- First and Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, Quemoy and Matsu Islands of Taiwan from the Cold War Museum
- The Communist Threat in the Taiwan Area Contemparary US government reaction