The loss of China to communism in 1949

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The United States had engaged the Nationalist forces in China led by Chiang Kai Sheik throughout the period of 1930's and the Second World War. A loose coalition of Communists and Nationalists in China assisted by the United States and other allied powers had successfully defeated the Japanese forces…


The loss of China to communism in 1949

The initial criticism of US policies leading to loss of China came from the Republicans who were in the opposition in 1949. The failure to provide sustained assistance to the Nationalists was the main accusation. Dean Acheson, the then Secretary of State authoritatively brings out that there was no deficiency of arms or ammunition available to the Nationalist Army in the critical year of 1948. However it is noticed that active mediation between the two antagonists, through its Ambassadors, Hurley and Marshal failed to evoke a positive response, in bringing the Communists and the Nationalists to a negotiable agreement of power sharing.

The White Paper published by the US Government in 1949 indicated that Nationalist forces had been defeated due to intrinsic factors such as loss of confidence in leadership, corruption and the will to win. The Western powers were also inhibited in achieving a positive impact due to the traditional antipathy in the Chinese against aliens who dabbled in their internal polity.

The issue of loss of China arose in the US immediately after the Nationalist forces were forced to retreat to Formosa. The Republicans attempted to gain political mileage and the Democratic Government had to undertake immediate damage control.

Given the emerging global political dynamics and the need to control the spread of Communism in 1945, the US could have ill afforded to be isolationist. Particularly so when Britain the other great Western power of the time had already lost the initiative and was primarily engaged in keeping the faith of America during the 1940’s through symbolic diplomacy. ...
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