When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power, one million mainland Chinese were forcibly displaced to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek's regime. Today, this event is still largely considered as a relocation of government or a military withdrawal operation instead of a massive population movement. Contrary to popular belief, many of the displaced mainlanders were not Nationalist elites. Most were common soldiers, petty civil servants, and war refugees from different walks of life. Based on newspapers, magazines, surveys, declassified official documents produced in 1950s Taiwan and contemporary oral history, this article uncovers the complicated relationship between the regime in exile and the people in exile. It argues that the interdependency between the two, in particular between the migrant state and the socially atomized lower class migrants, was formed gradually over a decade due to two main factors: wartime displacement and the need to face an unfriendly local population together.