The United States Army Forces in the China, Burma and India Theater were originally planned as a task force to support China. They were largely based on India; only a small fraction of their strength was in China itself. In China, the Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-shek, was Supreme Commander, China Theater. In India, Gen. Sir Archibald P. Wavell had a comparable role and title. The two portions of the U.S. forces -- in India and China -- were separated by Japanese-occupied Burma. The U.S. theater commander had two major roles, in that he was an American theater commander and also chief of the Generalissimo's Allied staff for China Theater. The command situation was thus most complex. More complications were provided by the differing views on strategy held by the United States, the Republic of China, and the British Commonwealth.
After a few months' research, the authors concluded that, without some understanding of the roles played by the President and the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff, the full story could not be told. They therefore examined the relevant files of the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, of the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff, of the Secretary of War, of the Operations Division of the War Department, and of the War Department Classified Message Center.
The authors are greatly indebted to many of the participants in the events described in the text who were willing to offer comment and criticism on several drafts of the manuscript: Col. Harry S. Aldrich, Brig. Gen. Edward H. Alexander, Col. Haydon L. Boatner, Lt. Gen. George H. Brett, Col. Frank Dorn, Lt. Gen. Hugh A. Drum, Col. Henry W. T. Eglin, General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, Col. Benjamin G. Ferris, Col. Arcadi Gluckman, Maj. Gen. Thomas G. Hearn, the Hon. Nelson T. Johnson, Maj. Gen. Edward E. MacMorland, Brig. Gen. John Magruder, Maj. Gen. Frank D. Merrill, Maj. Gen. Sherman Miles, Lt. Gen. Eugene Reybold, Col. Frank N. Roberts, Maj. Gen. Franklin C. Sibert, Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, Admiral Harold R. Stark, and Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer. These men are of course not responsible for any errors of fact or interpretation in the pages following.
The authors have been greatly aided by and are grateful for the opportunity to discuss the history of the China-Burma-India Theaters with Colonel Aldrich, Colonel Dorn, General Drum, Colonel Gluckman, General Heam, Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, Mr. Johnson, General MacMorland, General Magruder, General of the Army George C. Marshall, General Merrill, Mr.