Oral history interview with Peter H.L. and Edith Chang, 1993


Zhang, Xueliang, 1901-2001 (Interviewee)
Zhao, Yidi (Interviewee)
Zhang, Zhiyu (Interviewer)
Zhang, Zhibing (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Peter H.L. and Edith Chang, 1993
Other Titles
張學良與趙一荻口述歷史, 1993; 张学良与赵一荻口述历史, 1993
The contents of the Peter Chang interview are not in chronological order, and each interview session has a repetitious mix of themes. Chang discusses his relationship with his family, especially with his father who was assassinated in 1928. He covers the history of Manchuria in the early 20th century. He analyzes his relationships with other Chinese generals in the region, and the intentions of Jap an, the Western Powers, and the Soviet Union/Russia in the Northeastern part of China from 1900 to 1936. The greatest emphasis is on events of the 1920s and 1930s including the Mukden Incident in 1931. Chang also talks about his relations with other Chinese warlords, the Communist Party, Chiang Kai-shek, and the Nationalist Party before and after the Xi'an Incident in 1936. Other topics mentioned are his personal, political, philosophical, religious beliefs and education and how these were affected by his trip to Europe as a young man. The interview also covers his later years under house arrest following the Xi'an Incident and how that influenced his writings. Chang speculates on developments in Chinese history at the time of the interview. There is extensive discussion of people surrounding Chiang Kai-shek, Madame Chiang Soong Mayling, other high-ranking Chinese Nationalist officials, and the Generalissimo's son and former president of Taiwan, Chiang Ching-kuo. He discusses his family life and personal habits. He also analyzes the nature of modern Chinese studies in the United States and Columbia University in particular, with some reference to other American institutions of higher learning
Collection Name
Individual interviews oral history collection
Generals--China; Mukden Incident, China, 1931; China History Xi'an Incident, 1936; China History Republic, 1912-1949; China Foreign relations; Manchuria (China) History 20th century; Zhang, Xueliang, 1901-2001; Zhao, Yidi; Zhang, Zuolin, 1875-1928; Chiang, Kai-shek, 1887-1975; Chiang, May-ling Soong, 1897-2003; Chiang, Ching-kuo, 1910-1988
oral histories; sound recordings
Note (Biographical)
Peter H. L. Chang (pinyin: Zhang, Xueliang; Wade-Giles: Chang, Hsueh-liang; Chinese: 張學良, 张学良; courtesy name/字: Hanqing, 漢卿, 汉卿; alias/号: Yi'an, 毅庵) was born in 1901 in Haicheng, Liaoning province, China. He graduated from the Fengtian Military Academ y in 1919, became a colonel in the Fengtian Army, and appointed as his father Chang Tso-lin's (Zhang Zuolin/張作霖) bodyguard. After his father was assassinated by the Japanese in 1928, Chang took his place as the "Young Marshal" (少帥). In 1930, he became the Deputy Commander in Chief of the Chinese Armed Forces and traveled to Europe in 1933. After returning to China, he instigated the Xi'an Incident of 1936 where he detained Chiang Kai-shek and convinced him to unite front between the Nationalist and Communist and focus on fighting the Japanese force in China. After the incident, he surrendered to Chiang who placed him under house arrest in mainland China and Taiwan. During his confinement in Taiwan, he became a Baptist and spent most of his time writing, reading the Bible, and studying history. After his release in 1995, he immigrated to Honolulu, Hawaii. Chang died in Honolulu, Hawaii at the age of 100 in 2001. Edith Chao Chang (pinyin: Zhao, Yidi; Wade-Giles: Chao, I-ti; Chinese: 趙一荻, 赵一荻; original name: Zhao Qixia, 趙綺霞, 赵绮霞; alias: 赵四小姐) was born in 1912, Hong Kong. She was the daughter of Lu Baozhen (吕葆贞) and Zhao Qinghua (趙慶華), a senior official. Edith met Peter Chang in 1928 and left her family while she was still in her teens to become his companion. She followed him into exile in mainland China and in Taiwan, and they spent the rest of their lives together. Her devotion moved Chang's first wife Yu Feng-Tze (于鳳至) that she released him from his marriage vows in 1964, allowing him to marry Edith. She died in Honolulu, Hawaii at the age of 88 in 2000.
Interviewed by Chih-yu Chang (張之宇) and Chih-ping Chang (張之丙) over sixty sessions between 1991 and 1993.
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
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Catalog Record
Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Time-Based Media
Time-Based Media
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