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.
--Washington Post Book World
In the months before World War II, FDR prepared the country for conflict with Germany and Japan by reshuffling various government agencies to create the Office of Strategic Services--America’s first intelligence agency and the direct precursor to the CIA. When he charged William (“Wild Bill”) Donovan, a successful Wall Street lawyer and Wilkie Republican, to head up the office, the die was set for some of the most fantastic and fascinating operations the U.S. government has ever conducted. Author Richard Harris Smith, himself an ex-CIA hand, documents the controversial agency from its conception as a spin-off of the Office of the Coordinator for Information to its demise under Harry Truman and reconfiguration as the CIA.
During his tenure, Donovan oversaw a chaotic cast of some ten thousand agents drawn from the most conservative financial scions to the country’s most idealistic New Deal true believers. Together they usurped the roles of government agencies both foreign and domestic, concocted unbelievably complicated conspiracies, and fought the good fight against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan. For example, when OSS operatives stole vital military codebooks from the Japanese embassy in Portugal, the operation was considered a success. But the success turned into a flop as the Japanese discovered what had happened, and hastily
changed a code that had already been decrypted by the U.S. Navy.
Colorful personalities and truly priceless anecdotes abound in what may
arguably be called the most authoritative work on the subject.
The American Military Mission to China, 1941-1942: Lend-Lease Logistics, Politics and the Tangles of Wartime Cooperation
When Bob Greene went home to central Ohio to be with his dying father, it set off a chain of events that led him to knowing his dad in a way he never had before—thanks to a quiet man who lived just a few miles away, a man who had changed the history of the world.
Greene's father—a soldier with an infantry division in World War II—often spoke of seeing the man around town. All but anonymous even in his own city, carefully maintaining his privacy, this man, Greene's father would point out to him, had "won the war." He was Paul Tibbets. At the age of twenty-nine, at the request of his country, Tibbets assembled a secret team of 1,800 American soldiers to carry out the single most violent act in the history of mankind. In 1945 Tibbets piloted a plane—which he called Enola Gay, after his mother—to the Japanese city of Hiroshima, where he dropped the atomic bomb.
On the morning after the last meal he ever ate with his father, Greene went to meet Tibbets. What developed was an unlikely friendship that allowed Greene to discover things about his father, and his father's generation of soldiers, that he never fully understood before.
Duty is the story of three lives connected by history, proximity, and blood; indeed, it is many stories, intimate and achingly personal as well as deeply historic. In one soldier's memory of a mission that transformed the world—and in a son's last attempt to grasp his father's ingrained sense of honor and duty—lies a powerful tribute to the ordinary heroes of an extraordinary time in American life.
What Greene came away with is found history and found poetry—a profoundly moving work that offers a vividly new perspective on responsibility, empathy, and love. It is an exploration of and response to the concept of duty as it once was and always should be: quiet and from the heart. On every page you can hear the whisper of a generation and its children bidding each other farewell.