The Strange Connection: U.S. Intervention in China, 1944 - 1972

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This book provides an analysis of American intervention in China from World War II to the rapprochement Richard Nixon began in 1972. It traces the origins of U.S. interest in China, based on Roosevelt's hope of using China as a partner to preserve peace in East Asia. It analyzes the U.S. failure to recognize that most Chinese supported the Communist revolution, and the U.S. support of the Nationalists. It covers the Chinese role in the Korean War and the U.S. misconception of that role. The work considers the adoption of Taiwan as an American protectorate and the flirtation with atomic war to protect Quemoy and Matsu. Finally, it considers the decades-long U.S. policy of denying Communist China a seat at the UN and Nixon's decision to recognize China.


Describing the close interconnection between the U.S. and China as both friend and foe from World War II to Nixon’s rapprochement with China in 1972.

Chapter 1: The United States Begins to Meddle in China

Describing how the U.S. was dissatisfied with Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek’s efforts to defeat the Japanese and tried to work out a working alliance between the Nationalists and the Chinese Communists.

Chapter 2: Hurley Arrives, Stilwell Departs

A political appointee, Patrick J. Hurley, arrives in Chongqing in September 1944 as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s envoy. General Joseph W. Stilwell, the U.S. commander in China, and at odds with Chiang Kai-shek, returns home.

Chapter 3: The Dixie Mission

Describing a talented but low-ranking American mission that goes to the Chinese Communist capital at Yan’an in July 1944 and attempts to forge an alliance of Reds and Nationalists.

Chapter 4: Hurley Sees a Conspiracy

Envoy Hurley becomes an uncritical advocate of Chiang Kai-shek and suspects that some Dixie Mission members are siding with the Reds in their refusal to become subordinates of Chiang Kai-shek. The Red leaders say if they do, Chiang will kill them and destroy the Communist movement.

Chapter 5: An Illusion of Omnipotence

As Japan falls toward defeat in 1945, American leaders believe they can pressure Nationalists and Reds to form a coalition government. The U.S. aim is to neutralize the Communists. The goal is hopeless: both Nationalists and Reds want to rule China as a dictatorship.

Chapter 6: Marshall, Apostle to the Chinese

With the two sides in China about to launch a civil war, President Truman appoints General George C. Marshall as his envoy to bring about a working coalition between the two sides. There is no chance of this, but Americans refuse to see it.

Chapter 7: The Chinese Defeat Marshall

Describing Marshall’s valiant efforts to reach a compromise, but finding that neither side is interested.

Chapter 8: The United States Cuts Its Losses

As the civil war broadens, American leaders discover that Chiang Kai-shek is incapable of resisting the Communists, despite great U.S. aid. Seeing no possibility of saving the Nationalists, American leaders contemplate washing their hands of the entire matter.

Chapter 9: The Reds Create a People’s Republic

Describing the last stages of the Chinese civil war, the establishment in October 1949 of a Communist government in Beijing, and the withdrawal of Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists to the island of Taiwan. On August 5, 1949, the U.S. State Department issues a White Paper disclaiming all responsibility for the turn of events.

Chapter 10: The Quarantine of Taiwan

Secretary of State Dean Acheson draws a defense line in the Pacific in January 1950 that excludes Taiwan and South Korea, encouraging the North Koreans to invade South Korea on June 25, 1950. Truman reverses U.S. policy and goes to war. Thinking the Chinese Reds are a party to the invasion, he directs the U.S. Navy to protect Taiwan and the Nationalists.

Chapter 11: The Korean War

Describing the attempts of the Chinese Communists to prevent American forces from coming up to the Yalu river frontier between China and Korea. When this fails, the Chinese Reds launch an offensive against the U.S. in November 1950. Thereupon ensues a bloody two-and-a-half year war.

Chapter 12: Transition to Communism in China

Describing the creation of a socialist system in China and the difficulties that ensued.

Chapter 13: Carthego delenda est

Describing the great hostility of the United States against Red China in the aftermath of the Korean War. The U.S. adopts as official policy the elimination of the Communist regime.

Chapter 14: Atomic War over Quemoy?

Describing the collisions of the U.S. and China over tiny Nationalist-held islands off the coast of China in 1954 and thereafter, and the efforts of John Foster Dulles, the U.S. secretary of state, to protect the islands by the use of atomic bombs.

Chapter 15: The Great Leap and Quemoy Again

Describing the chaotic and unsuccessful effort of the Communists to advance China industrially in a huge human effort. Also describing more confrontations between the U.S. and China about the offshore islands.

Chapter 16: The Famine

Describing the horrible loss of life in the late 1950s because the Chinese Communist leadership refuses to confront the fact that the Great Leap Forward is a disaster and is reducing food production, not increasing it.

Chapter 17: Frontier Clashes

Describing the territorial disputes and military confrontations China has with India on its southwestern border, with the Soviet Union on its northern border, and with the United States on its southeastern border with Vietnam. The alliance of convenience of China with the Soviet Union collapses, and the United States becomes belligerent in Vietnam.

Chapter 18: The Cultural Revolution

Describing the great upheaval in China in the 1960s in the aftermath of the failure of the Great Leap Forward.

Chapter 19: Nixon Breaks the Deadlock

Describing the decision of President Nixon to end two decades of animosity with Red China with a visit to Beijing and rapprochement between the two powers in February 1972.


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