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By year’s end, however, cordiality had been replaced by chilly hostility and distrust.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.
The book traces the origins of the American interest in China, based on Roosevelt's hope to use China as a partner of the United States to preserve the peace in East Asia. It covers the U.S. failure to realize that most Chinese people supported the Communist revolution and the U.S. attempt to keep the reactionary Nationalists in power after they lost the Civil War. Next, the work considers the misconception that Red China was an instigator of the Korean War, the U.S. attempt to destroy the North Korean state, and China's decision to intervene to prevent American forces from proceeding to its frontier. The text also traces the adoption of Taiwan as an American protectorate, the flirtation with atomic war to protect the Nationalist-held islands of Quemoy and Matsu, and the decades-long U.S. policy of denying Communist China a seat at the UN. The work concludes with Nixon's decision to recognize China because U.S. policy was threatening world peace and order.
James Bradley introduces us to the prominent Americans--including FDR's grandfather, Warren Delano--who in the 1800s made their fortunes in the China opium trade. Meanwhile, American missionaries sought a myth: noble Chinese peasants eager to Westernize.
The media propagated this mirage, and FDR believed that supporting Chiang Kai-shek would make China America's best friend in Asia. But Chiang was on his way out and when Mao Zedong instead came to power, Americans were shocked, wondering how we had "lost China."
From the 1850s to the origins of the Vietnam War, Bradley reveals how American misconceptions about China have distorted our policies and led to the avoidable deaths of millions. The China Mirage dynamically explores the troubled history that still defines U.S.-Chinese relations today.
With no agenda other than an unshakeable belief in China's potential, Donald was drawn into the republican revolution as it swept aside the last imperial dynasty, becoming advisor to a succession of idiosyncratic political figures: Sun Yat-sen, a Manchurian warlord and the Chiang Kai-sheks. In his relentless pursuit of China's destiny, he tracked down Russia's Baltic Fleet, cured the warlord of his opium addiction and confronted the kidnappers of the nation's leader.
A born raconteur, charming, generous and blunt to the point of rudeness, Donald lived in China for most of his adult life. Yet, he remained steadfastly the down-to-earth Australian from a New South Wales mining town, pretending not to speak Chinese, refusing to use chopsticks and shunning Chinese food.
Surprising, compelling and richly told, The Reporter and the Warlords introduces an extraordinary Australian character and brings to life the turmoil behind events still unfolding in the new superpower that is China.
Breaking with U.S.-centered analyses which stressed the incompetence of Chinese Nationalist diplomacy, Negotiating China's Destiny makes the first sustained use of the diaries of Chiang Kai-shek (which have only become available in the last few years) and who is revealed as instrumental in asserting China's claims at this pivotal point. Negotiating China's Destiny demonstrates that China's concerns were far broader than previously acknowledged and that despite the country's military weakness, it pursued its policy of enhancing its international stature, recovering control over borderlands it had lost to European imperialism in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, and becoming recognized as an important allied power with determination and success.