When TIME named Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek its 1937 International Man & Wife of the Year, China was engaged in the early stages of the bitter Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45. "Through 1937 the Chinese have been led not without glory by one supreme leader and his remarkable Wife," TIME noted.
"Under this Man & Wife the traditionally disunited Chinese people millions of whom seldom used the word 'China' in the past have slowly been given national consciousness." It was the crusade to impose unity on the sprawling nation of China that occupied Chiang throughout his career a task at which he proved ultimately unsuccessful. In 1927, he married Wellesley-educated Soong Mei-ling, and through the influence of her family, became a devout Christian a few years later. "No woman in the West holds so great a position as Mme Chiang Kai-shek holds in China," said TIME.
Researched by Joan Levinstein, the Time Inc. Research Center