Project National Glory

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Project National Glory
Cihu Chiang residence.JPG
The command post of Project National Glory in Cihu
Planned byChiang Kai-shek
Commanded byChiang Kai-shek
ObjectiveTake back mainland China from the People's Liberation Army
Date1 April 1961 – July 1972
Executed byRepublic of China Armed Forces
Casualties>300 killed

Project National Glory or Project Guoguang (Chinese: 國光計劃; pinyin: Guóguāng Jìhuà) was a military attempt by the Republic of China (ROC) Armed Forces in Taiwan to try to recapture Mainland China held by the People's Liberation Army in the newly established People's Republic of China (PRC). Preparatory operations began in 1961 and the project was abandoned in July 1972.


The idea of counterattacking the mainland started out as a slogan in 1950, after the Kuomintang's expulsion to Taiwan at the end of Chinese Civil War. It was a bid to bolster morale on the island, which now consisted of homesick soldiers and refugees, the established Chinese community, and the Taiwanese indigenous peoples.


After the PRC's disastrous Great Leap Forward, the outbreak of the Vietnam War and the prospect of the PRC having a nuclear weapon, ROC President Chiang Kai-shek launched planning for an attack to recover mainland China once and for all, owing to the poor situation that faced the mainland population in the beginning of the decade and taking advantage of the Sino-Soviet split in diplomatic, military, economic and political relations with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, while it was forging alliances with other countries.[1][2]

On 1 April 1961 the Project National Glory office was established by the Republic of China Armed Forces together with the Ministry of National Defense in Sanxia Township, Taipei County. Army Lieutenant General Zhu Yuancong took charge as director and officially launched the project to formulate a plan of operations for retaking Mainland China. Other military members at Xindian and Bitan established Project National Glory offices to discuss and work out an alliance with the United States Armed Forces to attack mainland China. Another office was established for counterintelligence operations, specifically to avoid the US side learning about the mission.[3] During this time, he started active ideological military education to prepare all of the ROC armed forces for this mission of recovering the lost territories in the Chinese mainland proper.

In April 1964, Chiang ordered the construction of air raid shelters and five military offices at Cihu (慈湖), which served as a secret command centre.[4]

After Project National Glory was established, it consisted of the following subsections: Frontal area of the enemy, Rear area special warfare, Surprise attack, Take advantage of the attack, and assistance against tyranny. The plan was formulated, fine-tuned and proposed to Chiang Kai-shek 97 times. On the American side, the United States Armed Forces and the United States Department of Defense were, together with the United States State Department, actively opposed to the plan to retake mainland China. Therefore, every week they checked the inventory of ROC amphibious landing vehicles used by the Republic of China Marine Corps. American military advisory group members even flew over the Project National Glory camp on scouting missions which caused Chiang Kai-shek to become very displeased with them.[5]

On 17 June 1965 Chiang Kai-shek went for a visit to the Republic of China Military Academy to convene with all mid level and higher officers to prepare for launching the attack. Every military officer at the meeting had already prepared a last will and testament. During that time it was demanded that this plan be kept secret and that D-Day's date also be kept secret.[6]

In that time, the Project National Glory was considered to be extremely top secret. According to the then Republic of China Navy commander in Chief Admiral Ye Changtong's recollection, at that time, one security official said to him, "Just now we had a briefing where we decided to announce our plan to retake mainland China in a day or two." Ye believed that this kind of military landing would fail and that the essence of the plan was flawed.[5]


On 24 June 1965 dozens of soldiers died during a training drill conducted ostensibly to simulate Communist attack on major naval bases in southern Taiwan near Zuoying.[7][8] During this simulated landing maneuver, five amphibious landing craft overturned in the heavy waves. Ten people died in the line of duty and were the first but not last deaths in Project National Glory.[3]


On 6 August 1965, the naval warship Zhangjiang carried out assignment "Tsunami Number 1" to transport special forces to the vicinity of the Eastern mainland Chinese coastal island of Dongshan for an intelligence gathering operation. However, "Tsunami Number 1" met with disaster when a People's Liberation Army Navy torpedo boat ambushed and sank the Zhangjiang, killing 200 soldiers.

In November 1965, Chiang ordered two other naval vessels, the CNS Shan Hai and the CNS Lin Huai, to pick up wounded soldiers from Taiwan's offshore islands of Penghu and Wuqiu. The vessels were attacked by twelve People's Liberation Army Navy ships near the island of Magong, and the Lin Huai was sunk by two torpedoes, with some 90 soldiers and sailors killed.[7] After the naval battle at Magong, Chiang Kai-shek gradually gave up all hope for the success of Project National Glory,[3] just as the winds of the Cultural Revolution began to gather. Chiang Kai-shek also worried about his declining health since he felt that, if he died, there was no one who could effectively replace him as the supreme decision maker.[6]


On 7 July 1972 the Guoguang office was dissolved and merged into the Ministry of National Defense. With the People's Republic of China now recognized in the United Nations, the project was finally finished on that very day.


In 1971 the United Nations voted to replace the representative of the Republic of China with that of the People's Republic of China as the legal representative of China in the United Nations.[9] Project National Glory was dropped in 1972 as the ROC no longer had international support to attack Mainland China. Chiang Kai-shek died in 1975.[9] Confidential documents on the project were revealed to the public at the Cihu Presidential Burial Place in 2009.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Li Shui. Chiang Kai-shek Captain of the Guard Publishers. Discloses the history of retaking the mainland. 13 November 2006.
  2. ^ Qin Xin. Taiwan army published new book uncovering secrets of Chiang Kai-shek: Plan to retake the mainland. 28 June 2006. China News Agency. China News
  3. ^ a b c Wang Guangci. Project National Glory. Makung Naval Battle Defeat. Waking up from the dream of retaking the mainland. United Daily News. 20 April 2009.
  4. ^ South China morning post." Details of Chiang Kai-shek's attempts to recapture mainland to be made public. Retrieved on 2009-04-26
  5. ^ a b Wang Guangci. Project National Glory. Nearly 200 officers and men died for their cause. United Daily News. 20 April 2009.
  6. ^ a b Cheung, Han (17 November 2019). "Taiwan in Time: Spies, guerillas and the final counterattack". Taipei Times. Retrieved 19 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b SCMP. "South China morning post." Details of Chiang Kai-shek's attempts to recapture mainland to be made public. Retrieved on 2009-04-26.
  8. ^ a b "" Taiwan invaded China, declassified papers show. Retrieved on 2009-04-26.
  9. ^ a b Gulf-times. "Gulf-times." Generalissimo Chiang wanted to retake China. Retrieved on 2009-04-26.