Sixty years ago, on August 23, 1958, Mao Zedong’s People’s Liberation Army launched over 40,000 rounds of artillery at the island of Kinmen (also known as Quemoy), which was controlled by Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China (ROC). This action started the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis. The crisis would last until October 6 when a one-week cease fire was announced—though shelling did continue later in the month. During this crisis, over 550,000 shells were fired at the Kinmen islands. The constant barrage of artillery created an artillery blockade of the island.
The Second Taiwan Strait Crisis marked a key point in U.S.-Taiwan relations as well as U.S.-China relations. It also serves as a lesson of American resolve in supporting an ally.