Stilwell's Command Problems

Stilwell's Command Problems

Stilwell's Command Problems

Stilwell's Command Problems

Excerpt

When, in October 1943, Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell decided there was little more he personally could do to improve the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army, and decided to concentrate his efforts on the India-Burma scene, in effect his decision marked a change from the role of a staff officer, advising without the power to command, to that of a commander, giving orders. As Commanding General, United States Army Forces, China, Burma and India Theater of Operations, as acting Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia, as Commanding General, Chinese Army in India, and as Commanding General, Northern Combat Area Command, Stilwell was charged with many duties. He was responsible for the active conduct of a campaign in north Burma, and for its immediate logistical support; for the execution of a number of projects agreed to by the President, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the Generalissimo of China to aid China; for the execution of projects ordered by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff to reinforce U.S. operations in the Pacific, and for their logistical support; and, as deputy commander, for playing an appropriate role in Southeast Asia Command should necessity demand. This multitude of roles, these often conflicting missions and requirements, meant that Stilwell faced a variety of command problems. This volume relates his efforts to solve them.

The narrative, like that in the first volume of the subscries, Stilwell's Mission to China, is written at the level of the theater commander's headquarters or command post. Under this inherent limitation, it offers a contribution to an understanding of the American effort in China, Burma, and India in 1943 and 1944, and to the study of Sino-American relations in the same period; it is not a definitive history of the war in Asia. The U.S. Air Force is telling its story in many volumes, written from its own point of view. So are the technical services. A British official history is well advanced. The Chinese may someday tell their story, and the beginnings of a Japanese official history are at hand. From these several sources, some historian May ultimately produce a fairly complete history of the war in Asia, which truly deserves to be called "the unknown war." This volume only continues what its predecessor began, that is, a reconnaissance of part of the area the future historian must cross.

That the authors prepared the volume in this manner reflects primarily . . .

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