The Military Picture, 1945-1949
Although military aspects of the civil strife in China have been mentioned throughout the preceding five chapters, it will be convenient to summarize here the military picture since 1945 as background for a description of the military assistance of all types rendered by the United States to the Chinese Government since V-J Day. This assistance has included the supply of arms and other matériel, credits for military purchases, transportation of Chinese troops and military advice, but it has scrupulously excluded the use of American personnel in combat operations between the Nationalist Government forces and the Communists or their presence in combat areas.
With the formal surrender of the Japanese in September 1945, the Chinese Nationalists and the Chinese Communists began a contest for the control of Japanese-held areas of China.Forces of the National Government which had borne the brunt of Japanese thrusts were concentrated in Central and South China in those areas to which the Japanese advance had penetrated. The Communists, on the other hand, organized as guerrilla units, were widely dispersed throughout Central, North and coastal China, operating in the countryside through which ran the Japanese lines of communication. In the race for the control of those areas which the Japanese had occupied the Communists thus held a certain geographic advantage. The Government at that time, however, possessed an estimated five to one superiority in combat troops and in rifles, a practical monopoly of heavy equipment and transport, and an unopposed air arm.
In order to assist the Government in reoccupying Japanese-held areas and opening lines of communication, the United States immediately after V-J Day transported three Nationalist armies by air to key sectors of East and North China, including Shanghai, Nanking and Peiping, and likewise during the ensuing months provided water