April 5-10, 1943

Monday to Saturday – Recovery

Madame Chiang Kai-Shek portrait. Copyright Los Angeles Public Library - Harry Quillen Collection. All Rights Reserved.

Madame Chiang Kai-shek was bedridden in her suite for most of the week following her Hollywood Bowl appearance, exhausted after a whirlwind tour of the United States. Originally supposed to return to New York on a private train following her speech, the departure date was pushed back to Tuesday, and again until Saturday in the interest of the Madame’s health.[1]

This time was not all wasted, however. On Tuesday morning, Madame Chiang Kai-shek spoke briefly by telephone to women workers building Liberator cargo aircraft at a plant in San Diego. In her address, she encouraged these “Rosie Riveters” to continue contributing to the cause of freedom, with Liberators being key to supplying the Chinese military.[2]

That night, the Madame also received some guests, including two Chinese airmen being trained in the United States.[3] A physician visited soon after, but the strain of her responsibilities eventually led to a nervous breakdown that would keep her recovering in Los Angeles until Saturday, when she could finally summon the strength to board a train back east to New York, where her sister lived.[4]


[1] Laura Li, Madame Chiang Kai-Shek: China’s Eternal First Lady (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. 2006)

[2] “Mme. Chiang Has Collapse; Washington Trip Canceled,” Los Angeles Times, April 7, 1943.

[3] “Chinese Flying Cadets Given Flag By Madame,” Los Angeles Times, April 7, 1943.

[4] “Mme. Chiang Has Collapse; Washington Trip Canceled,” Los Angeles Times, April 7, 1943.

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