The impact of Americans on China during the war was enormous. Much of U.S. activity in China, because of inadequate knowledge of China's culture, government, and military capabilities, was harmful to China and Chiang's regime. Moreover, U.S. efforts to induce Chiang to make reforms designed to improve his regime's war effort and chances for post-war survival were ineffective.
The sulfurous American General Joseph Stilwell, assigned to serve as Chiang's chief of staff, underestimating the fighting ability of the Japanese and disregarding Chiang's advice, followed a strategy in the first Burma campaign that contributed to the loss of Chiang's best divisions and the chance of holding north Burma. Stilwell's obsessive demand for a new Burma campaign involved him in bitter controversies with Chiang, the British, and U.S. Air Commander Claire Chennault.
When the British demanded that Stilwell be removed from Burma, he, with Roosevelt's support, demanded that Chiang turn over to him the command of China's armed forces, which was equivalent to control of China. But Americans could not enforce this demand on Chiang, who expelled Stilwell from China. Ambassador Patrick Hurley then attempted to arrange a coalition government between Chiang and the Communists, a proposal Chiang rejected.
At Roosevelt's insistence, Chiang allowed America to send U.S. personnel, the "Dixie Mission," to the Communist headquarters at Yennan. Mao Tse-Tung convinced Foreign Service Officer John Service and others that he sought a cooperative relationship with America (in order, among other reasons, to reduce his dependence on Russia). Before Stilwell's dismissal Americans had decided to arm the Communists, but the removal of Stilwell defeated that purpose, and U.S. aid continued to go exclusively to Chiang. It appeared that the ideological preferences of Americans brought about a postponement of cooperation with the ultimately victorious Chinese Communists, despite an eventual common interest in keeping Soviet influence in East Asia in check.
This comprehensive study is illustrated and includes a chronology, glossary, bibliography and index.
In 1937, the Nationalists under Chiang Kaishek were leading the Chinese war effort against Japan and were lauded in the West for their efforts to transform China into an independent and modern nation; yet this image was quickly tarnished. The Nationalists were soon denounced as militarily incompetent, corrupt, and antidemocratic and Chiang Kaishek, the same.
In this book, van de Ven investigates the myths and truths of Nationalist resistance including issues such as:
War and Nationalism in China offers a major new interpretation of the Chinese Nationalists, placing their war of resistance against Japan in the context of their prolonged efforts to establish control over their own country and providing a critical reassessment of Allied Warfare in the region. This groundbreaking volume will interest students and researchers of Chinese History and Warfare.
The American Military Mission to China, 1941-1942: Lend-Lease Logistics, Politics and the Tangles of Wartime Cooperation
An epic historical tapestry, this wonderfully wrought narrative brings to life what Americans should know about China -- the superpower we are inextricably linked with -- the way its people think and their code of behavior, both vastly different from our own.
The story revolves around this fascinating woman and her family: her father, a peasant who raised himself into Shanghai society and sent his daughters to college in America in a day when Chinese women were kept purposefully uneducated; her mother, an unlikely Methodist from the Mandarin class; her husband, a military leader and dogmatic warlord; her sisters, one married to Sun Yat-sen, the George Washington of China, the other to a seventy-fifth lineal descendant of Confucius; and her older brother, a financial genius.
This was the Soong family, which, along with their partners in marriage, was largely responsible for dragging China into the twentieth century. Brilliantly narrated, this fierce and bloody drama also includes U.S. Army General Joseph Stilwell; Claire Chennault, head of the Flying Tigers; Communist leaders Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai; murderous warlords; journalists Henry Luce, Theodore White, and Edgar Snow; and the unfortunate State Department officials who would be purged for predicting (correctly) the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War.
As the representative of an Eastern ally in the West, Madame Chiang was befriended -- before being rejected -- by the Roosevelts, stayed in the White House for long periods during World War II, and charmed the U.S. Congress into giving China billions of dollars. Although she was dubbed the Dragon Lady in some quarters, she was an icon to her people and is certainly one of the most remarkable women of the twentieth century.
To understand the context of today's international face-off in the South China Sea, readers will appreciate Woo's quick briefing on the extremely bloody Japanese invasion and subsequent repression (1937 to 1941) that left a deep imprint on China's worldview.
Since the last decades of the Empire, the Chinese people suffered one seismic event after another as competing political factions fought from one end of the country to the other. Chiang Kai-shek brought a semblance of order by founding the Republic of China in 1928; but the Communist Party was growing, and then came Japan.
After World War II, the Communists drove Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist Party out in 1949, and they retreated to Taiwan, taking with them the designation 'Republic of China'. Then the author describes the social and economic devastation that attended the establishment of the People's Republic of China, the repression of capitalists - business owners and property owners in particular - and the destruction of the educated classes.
Today, China is moving toward the top position among world powers, a position it enjoyed for centuries prior to Britain's Industrial Revolution. But this has been one long march, indeed.
Prior to the publication of this book, much of the historical literature on this critical period in U.S. policy toward China concentrated on the question of relations with the new regime in Beijing. A focus on those debates has largely overshadowed the concomitant policy debates that centered around the question of how to deal with the Nationalist regime on Taiwan. As this study shows, the two issues were inextricably linked and developing a Taiwan policy was no less difficult or controversial. Heavily informed by an analysis of declassified U.S. government documents and other primary sources, this history strongly suggests that had North Korea not invaded the south in June 1950 the U.S. would not have intervened to save Chiang Kai-shek and Taiwan from near-certain invasion.
Beyond the narrative itself, this volume is also a case study into the complex and sometimes messy processes by which foreign policy is made. It explores the tensions that existed within the Truman administration between the State Department and various newly-created entities such as the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council. Indeed, the history of policymaking for China and Taiwan in 1949-50 is also a case study in the early development of the post-war interagency system. It also underscores the tensions between the Executive and Legislative branches in the development of foreign policy.
The study also brings to light little-discussed and often uncomfortable issues in Taiwan history, some of which still have relevance to politics on the island even today. These include the legacies of the Japanese colonial experience, the post-war Nationalist occupation, and the early stirrings of the “Formosan” independence movement, to name just a couple.
Today, U.S. policy toward Taiwan remains a highly-charged and fundamentally divisive issue in U.S.-China relations — especially the security dimensions of that policy. And even today U.S. Taiwan policy is still subject to partisan politics in Washington as well as in Taipei. For those who still grapple with this issue, this volume presents the roots of the dilemma and essential background reading.
Winner of the 2010 Douglas Dillon Award from the American Academy
of Diplomacy for a book of distinction on the practice of American diplomacy.