Madame Chiang Kai-shek
Born in China and educated in the United States, Soong Mei-ling married Chiang Kai-shek in 1927 and went on to become an internationally famous advocate for her husband"s Chinese Nationalist government. Fluent in English and a student of Chinese culture, she was a goodwill ambassador and the popular partner of Generalissimo Chiang during the 1930s. During World War II she went on an international tour and spoke before the United States congress (1943) to drum up support for China"s fight against Japan. Articulate and charismatic, her celebrity status was considered a key element in winning funds and weapons from the Allies (including airplanes -- Madame Chiang was key player in the Chinese air force). While exiled in Taiwan (1949-75), she was still considered one of the most politically important women in the world and continued her crusade for aid to China. After the generalissimo"s death, Madame Chiang moved to New York City.