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Old 10th October 2019, 08:46 PM   #1
Puppycow
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Could/should the US have done more for the KMT in the Chinese Civil War?

I guess what I'm wondering is, would it have been a blunder for the US to get involved in a land war in Asia after World War 2? Would it have made any difference? If the KMT had won, rather than Mao and the communists, would the Chinese have been better off? Would it have just been another Vietnam before Vietnam? Hypothetically, without the Communist Chinese, we would have won the Korean war, right? Because the Chinese saved the North Koreans from defeat.


Earlier this year I watched Ken Burns' Vietnam War documentary. In hindsight, it was a terrible blunder. But watching the documentary and recalling what the situation was at time, each individual decision that got us deeper and deeper involved there seemed like a logical decision at the time. At first it was mainly for domestic political reasons. There was lots of finger-pointing over "Who Lost China" to the communists. It seemed like all sorts of problems followed from the fact that we hadn't supported the KMT more and helped them to win the Civil War. Presumably China would then be a crucial US ally if they had, and the problems in Korea and Southeast Asia wouldn't have happened, or could have been put down more easily.
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Old 11th October 2019, 11:35 AM   #2
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Probalby not, given the level of corruption and sheer incompetence in the KMT.
China was like Vietnam, no matter who won, the common people of the country lost.
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Old 11th October 2019, 11:57 AM   #3
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The Nationalists had some decent units early in the war. They lacked serious numbers of tanks, artillery or planes, but they could and did put up a stiff defense. Which is what got the Japanese Army mired in China.

When the US entered the war General Stillwell was given nominal command of several of these armies but squandered them on useless attempts to connect up with Burma. This, combined with the lessening of the war with Japan led to units just kind of sitting around. When that happens the corruption kicked in as Nationalist Generals found they could make money by listing troops that weren't actually there and filling their pockets with absent soldier's salaries.

Even so, the Nationalist numbers might have held up if the level on inaction in China had continued to the end of the war. But Japan made its biggest Army offensive in its history in mid-late 1944

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This offensive wiped out an alarming amount of Nationalist troops and equipment. In addition, farming territory was destroyed, the economy was wrecked, and corruption went on the rise. Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist army was untouched and in fact was able to expand their territory as Japanese units were moved away from 'watching' the Communists to participate in the offensive.

So by the end of the war, the Nationalists were shattered, bankrupt and corrupt. They were teetering so to win the US would basically have to come in and do all the fighting for the Nationalists. The most we could do is prop it up for a few more years.
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Old 11th October 2019, 12:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I guess what I'm wondering is, would it have been a blunder for the US to get involved in a land war in Asia after World War 2? Would it have made any difference? If the KMT had won, rather than Mao and the communists, would the Chinese have been better off? Would it have just been another Vietnam before Vietnam? Hypothetically, without the Communist Chinese, we would have won the Korean war, right? Because the Chinese saved the North Koreans from defeat.


Earlier this year I watched Ken Burns' Vietnam War documentary. In hindsight, it was a terrible blunder. But watching the documentary and recalling what the situation was at time, each individual decision that got us deeper and deeper involved there seemed like a logical decision at the time. At first it was mainly for domestic political reasons. There was lots of finger-pointing over "Who Lost China" to the communists. It seemed like all sorts of problems followed from the fact that we hadn't supported the KMT more and helped them to win the Civil War. Presumably China would then be a crucial US ally if they had, and the problems in Korea and Southeast Asia wouldn't have happened, or could have been put down more easily.
1st. Bolded: Absolutely, yes.

2nd Bolded: On one of my jobs I was lucky enough to become acquainted with an individual who had served in the Army infantry during the Pacific war, survived and wasn't RIF'd out of the service post '45. He attended OCS and ended up as an infantry company commander in Korea, survived that and ended up his Army career as a very early (1955) military adviser in SVN.

Readers digest condensed version - he knew within his first month that any U.S. involvement was a no-goer. The folks out in the villages had no interest in much of anything involving the central or provincial government and didn't know communism from a bag of beans. The military was an army in name only.

He and his counterparts were pretty much in agreement, and the word was passed up the CoC. Too bad nobody with some horsepower listened and put the brakes to the war.
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Last edited by BStrong; 11th October 2019 at 01:03 PM.
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