America's Failure in China, 1941-50

By Tang Tsou | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X

THE
MARSHALL
MISSION

In the last chapter, the examination of Marshall's China policy, in order to answer the question of Marshall's failure to achieve his objective of sustaining the Chinese government, was presented in a logical rather than a chronological order. In this and the next two chapters, Marshall's China policy and its continuation under Acheson are viewed in their natural, historical setting. The treatment follows, in the main, the conventional chronological order and will, it is hoped, clarify the question of why the United States did not disentangle herself completely and promptly from China after Marshall's mediation efforts had collapsed. The treatment of substantially the same subject matter first in terms of a logical structure and then in the form of a historical narrative will necessitate a certain amount of repetition. But this will facilitate analysis of the complex problems involved and give a more adequate explanation of why the United States rejected, on the one hand, armed intervention and massive military assistance and, on the other, complete and prompt withdrawal.


A. American Policy and the Foredoomed Settlement in China

1. The Impact of American Policy on Chinese Politics

Marshall arrived in China on December 20, 1945, carrying with him the elaborate program described at the beginning of the last chapter. To understand the impact of Marshall's program, it is necessary to recapitulate briefly the policies of the Kuomintang and the Communists in their political-military struggle. At this time, the Nationalist government enjoyed a five to one superiority in armed forces-vis-à-vis the Communists. Thanks to the military assistance given by the United States in airlifting and transporting its troops to Japanese-occupied areas, it was able to re-establish its authority in the big cities and was in a position to reopen important lines of communication in North China. At the same time the position of the Chinese Communists was also strengthened by the extension of their

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