As 1945 opened, America was on surprisingly congenial terms with China’s Communist rebels—their soldiers treated their American counterparts as heroes, rescuing airmen shot down over enemy territory. Chinese leaders talked of a future in which American money and technology would help lift China out of poverty. Mao Zedong himself held friendly meetings with U.S. emissaries, vowing to them his intention of establishing an American-style democracy in China.
By year’s end, however, cordiality had been replaced by chilly hostility and distrust. Chinese Communist soldiers were setting ambushes for American marines in north China; Communist newspapers were portraying the United States as an implacable imperialist enemy; civil war in China was erupting. The pattern was set for a quarter century of almost total Sino-American mistrust, with the devastating wars in Korea and Vietnam among the consequences.
Richard Bernstein here tells the incredible story of that year’s sea change, brilliantly analyzing its many components, from ferocious infighting among U.S. diplomats, military leaders, and opinion makers to the complex relations between Mao and his patron, Stalin.
On the American side, we meet experienced “China hands” John Paton Davies and John Stewart Service, whose efforts at negotiation made them prey to accusations of Communist sympathy; FDR’s special ambassador Patrick J. Hurley, a decorated general and self-proclaimed cowboy; and Time journalist, Henry Luce, whose editorials helped turn the tide of American public opinion. On the Chinese side, Bernstein reveals the ascendant Mao and his intractable counterpart, Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek; and the indispensable Zhou Enlai.
A tour de force of narrative history, China 1945 examines the first episode in which American power and good intentions came face-to-face with a powerful Asian revolutionary movement, and challenges familiar assumptions about the origins of modern Sino-American relations.
From the Hardcover edition.
This book will be of essential reading to anyone interested in Chinese-Soviet history, Cold War history, International Relations and the theory of ideology.
Drawing on a substantial number of sources available only in Chinese as well as on English-language secondary sources, the book provides a basic reference aimed at orienting the nonspecialist to the significant events and people in China's recent military history. The book will also provide a quick reference for the specialist in Chinese history.
The Chinese Revolution of 1911, initiated by Sun Yat-sen, liberated the Han Chinese from the rule of the Manchus and ended the Qing dynastic order that had existed for centuries. With the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the Mongols and the Tibetans, who had been dominated by the Manchus, took advantage of the revolution and declared their independence. Under the leadership of Yuan Shikai, the new Chinese Republican government in Peking in turn proclaimed the similar "five-nationality Republic" proposed by the Revolutionaries as a model with which to sustain the deteriorating Qing territorial order. The shifting politics of the multi-ethnic state during the regime transition and the role those politics played in defining the identity of the modern Chinese state were issues that would haunt the new Chinese Republic from its inception to its downfall.
Modern China's Ethnic Frontiers will be of interest to students and scholars of Chinese history, Asian history and modern history.