At the time of the North American Rebellion, Taiwan was a province of the Chinese Empire. Taiwan is first mentioned in For Want of a Nail . . . during Governor-General Douglas Watson's special Cabinet meeting of 8 May 1933, when Minister for Foreign Affairs Courtney Judd states that Japanese suzerainty over Taiwan has been challenged by Germany and Mexico. Presumably, the Japanese established some form of hegemonic control over Taiwan between 1777 and 1933, mostly likely following a successful war against China.
During the Global War, a Mexican attempt to invade Taiwan in 1944 was unsuccessful. Robert Sobel mentions that Taiwan was "taken" in 1948 by Kramer Associates President John Jackson, but he does not explain what he means by this. Possibly the Japanese were unable to maintain whatever control they had established over Taiwan, and K.A. used its financial power to gain control of the island's government. While running for President of Mexico in 1949 and 1950, Admiral Paul Suarez advocated resuming the Global War by blockading Japan and launching a naval war against the Philippines and Taiwan (that is, against K.A.), and against Australia.
Soon after becoming President of Kramer Associates in 1949, Carl Salazar ordered the industrialization of Taiwan, and moved the company's headquarters there from the Philippines, since Taiwan had a more skilled population and a better climate, and was more stable politically. By the late 1950s Taiwan had reached a growth rate of 12% per annum, was the richest nation in Asia, and was slowly but persistently turning Japan and Australia into economic colonies. The Taiwanese government was separate from K.A., but the relationship between the two was much the same as that between K.A. and the Mexican government in the late 19th century. Salazar became fast friends and golfing companions with Taiwanese Premier Chiang Ching-kuo.
By 1959 Mexican dictator Vincent Mercator was sending warships to patrol the western Pacific not far from the Philippines, and at one point they came within range of Taiwanese shore batteries. Sobel does not say whether the Taiwanese shore batteries fired on the Mexican ships.
The Taiwanese city of Taichung was the site of a secret project by K.A. to build an atomic bomb, which was tested in the north Pacific on 30 June 1962. On 20 July Salazar called his first and only press conference in Taiwan to announce that he would use K.A.'s atomic weapons against any nation that attempted to re-open the Global War.
Professor Sobel moved from the C.N.A. to the University of Taiwan after completing the research for For Want of a Nail..., and the book was written there in 1971, with the preface completed on 19 February 1972.
IOW Taiwan was annexed by Japan in 1896 following the First Sino-Japanese War. China regained control of Taiwan in 1945 after the Japanese were defeated in World War Two. When the Chinese Communist Party gained control of China in 1949, the government of President Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan.
This was the Featured Article for the week of 16 December 2012.