The day of Japan’s surrender became a day of carnival and celebration in Chongqing: ‘Everyone forwent their reserved manner; strangers greeted and hugged each other. Chinese elite women’s political engagement and accommodation with the Chinese communist party (CCP) was a gradual process throughout the entire course of the war, but this process accelerated in the immediate post-war years for two reasons. First, space for women’s spontaneous political activism and independent organisation rapidly shrank under the dispiriting political and economic conditions in Kuomintang (KMT)-controlled urban sites. Second, choices became increasingly limited for elite women seeking to maintain their political position and participation during the ensuing KMT-CCP civil war. From Chongqing to Beijing, their political reorganisation was prompted not only by the increasing political penetration of the CCP but also by the fast-shifting political and economic conditions in KMT-controlled areas during the immediate post-war period.