You have been listening to ‘This is Free China’ a program transcribed from the Republic of China and designed to promote better international understanding ‘This is Free China’ is a presentation of the Voice of Free China the international service of the Broadcasting Corporation of China It would appear everyone but the historians may have forgotten that August 23rd is a day that will live in infamy in Taiwan’s history In the old days it might have been much trendier to mark this important anniversary. But with war becoming less and less fashionable around the world such anniversaries are indeed becoming an exclusive topic for historians and warfare buffs. This is Commentary for the Voice of Free China I’m Joanna Fu. August 23rd is the day in 1958 on which the armed forces of the Republic of China on Taiwan turned the tide in the battle of Quemoy against the Chinese communist invaders. had the defenders of Quemoy succumbed to the invasion the history of Taiwan in the past thirty years surely would have been radically different. Quemoy is a small island located less than a quarter of a mile off the communist controlled mainland of China. Since 1949 it has been held and fortified by Nationalist Chinese troops Quemoy is the frontline of Taiwan’s anti-communist defense. On August 17th 1958 the Chinese communists launched an all-out invasion of the island. It was a combined effort of the Chinese communist air force, navy, and marines. In one of history’s greatest stand-offs the seriously outnumbered defenders of Quemoy held their ground despite endless bombardment and human wave tactics employed by the communist invaders. The turning point of the battle occured in the air with Free Chinese dogfighters shot down communist fighters at a ratio of twenty to one. The struggle for control of the air over the Taiwan strait was vital to the defense of Taiwan itself. On the ground, a massive Chinese communist invasionary force was wiped-out on the early morning of August 23rd. After that, the communist guns tapered off, until about September 7th when the invasion efforts was aborted. The communists then began their odd-day bombardment of Quemoy. A practice that lasted until January 1979. Thus the battle for Quemoy is forever remembered not just as the confrontation that proved Taiwan could be defended against communist attack but also as a turning point in the Chinese Civil War Between 1949 and 1958, Free Chinese on Taiwan were forced to brace themselves for the eventuality of a communist attack. Mao Zedong had repeatedly vowed to turn Taiwan into a bloodbath. This caused the little Taiwan to devote a large measure of her resources to defense The policy of using Quemoy as the front line of Taiwan’s defense was, and perhaps still is, a matter of controversy. Some military experts question the wisdom of fortifying the islands when all the communists have to do is go around it if and when they invade Taiwan itself. But so fortified is Quemoy that if the communists do attempt a roundabout invasion of Taiwan the Free Chinese forces on Quemoy will strike through the middle and as one military official here confidently predicted the years back could take them from mainland China in a matter of weeks. These days however warfare as an instrument of diplomacy is taken a dark sky to mellowing peace efforts. Still, the importance of the Battle for Quemoy cannot be played down. For today’s Taiwan owes its existence to the bravery of the Quemoy defenders who repulsed a communist invasion. Commentary for the Voice of Free China this is Joanna Fu.