Vinegar Joe's War: Stilwell's Campaigns for Burma

Vinegar Joe's War: Stilwell's Campaigns for Burma

Vinegar Joe's War: Stilwell's Campaigns for Burma

Vinegar Joe's War: Stilwell's Campaigns for Burma

Synopsis

This dramatic account throws light on a little-known World War 2 campaign - the battle for the Burma Road. It provides a portrait of General Stilwell, and reveals the importance of the campaign to the defeat of imperial Japan.

Excerpt

The story of the United States Army in the Second World War continues to produce numerous histories of campaigns great and small. As the largest part of that army was involved in the European theater, with a lesser portion struggling across the vast Pacific Ocean areas, nearly all of the studies concern the battles of those campaigns. the debate on the reasons for victory, the strengths and skills of the opposing forces, and the interservice and interallied disputes are both interesting and useful for contemplating modern-day situations.

Yet one area remains largely ignored. This is the U.S. Army's involvement in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater of operations. Because it was a theater in which little hope was placed, even at the time, for a decisive strategic or tactical success, the importance of the performance of the U.S. Army in its first prolonged battle on the continent of Asia is relegated mainly to a footnote in the larger studies of the war. However, the American involvement in the Burma campaign, in particular, is a classic study in refuting some historian's arguments about the skill and professionalism of the U.S. Army in the Second World War.

These historians, usually but not solely European, argue that the Allies, and most particularly the Americans, won that war by applying a mass of material and manpower to overwhelm a more professional but materially weaker enemy. the argument points out that the Americans relied heavily on air supremacy, undisputed logistical support, and a superior supply of manpower to defeat their enemies. Often the case is argued using some of the more spectacular battles of the war. the campaign in Normandy and the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa are just some of the examples used to support this thesis.

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