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View Full Version : What if the US had fully backed the KMT in the late 1940s?



DOR
23 Oct 17,, 11:54
The CIA’s assessment of China, November 1947

171 pages of sharp analysis that, if it had been read widely, would have pre-empted any discussion of “Who Lost China?”

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP78-01617A001400090001-6.pdf

According to the assessment of the day, extremists on both the Nationalist and Communist sides scuttled the 1946 political agreement brokered by General George C. Marshall. Civil war resumed in the Spring of 1946.

The Nationalist Government is bureaucratic, incompetent and corrupt. It has “a deteriorating supporting economy, lack of adequate communications and industry, corrupt and often professionally incompetent generalship, passive tactics, large and inefficient masses of men under arms, shortages in trained military personnel and technicians, depressed morale among officers and men, and a lack of popular support.”

The well-developed, little-damaged economy of Taiwan has disintegrated under Nationalist rule. “[T]he native population found it had merely exchanged Japanese domination for subjugation under mainland Chinese. Whereas Japanese exploitation of Taiwan had been orderly and efficient, Chinese administration has been characterized by lawlessness, economic decay, and industrial stagnation.”

Prospects
The KMT still holds national power, but it is “gradually losing the sympathetic support of great masses of Chinese.” The faction-driven leadership prevents cohesion; the conservative CC Clique of Chen Li-fu and Chen Kuo-fu controls much of the party machinery while the more moderate Political Science Clique of Chang Chun recently took over government administration. [Note: Chen Li-fu and Chang Chun would remain highly active in KMT politics into the 1980s. This indicates how difficult it would have been for Chiang Kai-shek to purge the KMT.]

The CCP, on the other hand, is “the most effectively organized opposition party in China today,” largely because of its agrarian reform policies and support for freedom of individual expression. It’s soldiers are better clothed, equipped, trained and fed than KMT troops and officers advance on merit and are “comparatively honest, diligent, and competent.”

If the US were to withdraw financial support, the KMT government would “probably diminish to such a degree that it will no longer be able to provide effective government for China on the present national scale.” The CCP would step into the power vacuum and separatist tendencies on the periphery would grow. If the US continued to financially support the KMT government, it would be wasted without proper internal reforms that Chiang Kai-shek is incapable of providing.

Conclusion
“If a Communist state covering all or a large part of China were established, the Soviet Union would acquire for practical purposes another Soviet republic…The Chinese Red Army would become a wing of the Soviet military machine, with bases in China available for Soviet use”

“Present trends within China are in the direction of further instability and an extension of Communist military and political influence… [A]cute political and economic disorganization probably would prevail in China for several years. This disorganization would retard the development of a Communist China as an effective instrument of Soviet policy.”

To slow or reverse this would require nonmilitary aid of a minimum of $1-2 billion over a three-year (1948-50) period [i.e., about 0.6% of the US’ 1947 GDP, or $10-15 billion in today’s money). This would be in addition to military aid sufficient to train, supply and maintain 30 divisions.

astralis
29 Mar 18,, 19:42
not yet a year old so i guess this doesn't qualify as a necropost...yet.

i'm writing a historical piece based on USAAF support to KMT China between 1945-6. What is astonishing to me is the sheer amount of equipment and training we turned over/provided the KMT. hundreds of aircraft, renovated bases, hell, even assistance in modernizing civil aviation. this was an effort almost comparable to the massive building of the South Vietnamese Air Force two decades later.

Double Edge
29 Mar 18,, 19:52
not yet a year old so i guess this doesn't qualify as a necropost...yet.

i'm writing a historical piece based on USAAF support to KMT China between 1945-6. What is astonishing to me is the sheer amount of equipment and training we turned over/provided the KMT. hundreds of aircraft, renovated bases, hell, even assistance in modernizing civil aviation. this was an effort almost comparable to the massive building of the South Vietnamese Air Force two decades later.

So why did things crumble so quick then. Didn't receive full backing ?

DOR's link will make for some fascinating reading. i've often wondered how things would have turned out had the KMT managed to hold on

astralis
29 Mar 18,, 20:10
So why did things crumble so quick then. Didn't receive full backing ?

corruption and no unifying message. KMT was essentially a collection of warlords with CKS at the top. when things got bad, those warlords could and would turn-coat to the CCP. CCP would promptly break up the warlord army and subsume it.

the Americans tried to build up a modern military but pretty much when it was turned over, whichever warlord was in charge would start putting loyalists and not professionals in charge. morale and unit cohesion would plummet. even the vaunted Burma troops, the creme of the creme of American-trained/equipped troops, were ruined that way.

Double Edge
29 Mar 18,, 20:37
corruption and no unifying message. KMT was essentially a collection of warlords with CKS at the top. when things got bad, those warlords could and would turn-coat to the CCP. CCP would promptly break up the warlord army and subsume it.

the Americans tried to build up a modern military but pretty much when it was turned over, whichever warlord was in charge would start putting loyalists and not professionals in charge. morale and unit cohesion would plummet. even the vaunted Burma troops, the creme of the creme of American-trained/equipped troops, were ruined that way.
There's a stark lesson in there for Afghanistan. Exactly what your ambassador to afghanistan pointed out. Loyalists over competents get promoted

Happened in Iraq already. Americans left an even split of Shia & Sunni in charge. Maliki starts replacing Sunni with Shia and creates his own private militia. Result ? Isis

DOR
30 Mar 18,, 09:01
So much in-fighting.

Fengtian Faction vs. Beiyang Clique
Anhui Clique vs. Fengtian Clique
Xinjiang Clique vs. Hui Ma Clique
CC Clique vs. Political Science Research Society
Blue Shirts vs. Wang Jingwei


By the time the KMT got to Taiwan, the survivors were die-hard Chiang allies; Yan Xishan (Shanxi Clique), Bai Chongxi and Li Zongren (New Guangxi Clique), Ho Ying-chin (Guizhou Clique) and Sun Fo (token Sun family icon).

DOR
30 Mar 18,, 09:29
Further reading: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/search/site/%22CC%20Clique%22

Albany Rifles
30 Mar 18,, 14:38
Further reading: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/search/site/%22CC%20Clique%22

As a child of the Cold War it still boggles my mind that you can have open, public access to the CIA Library!

Allen Dulles has to be spinning in his grave!

Ironduke
31 Mar 18,, 04:40
As a child of the Cold War it still boggles my mind that you can have open, public access to the CIA Library!

Allen Dulles has to be spinning in his grave!
James Jesus Angleton is probably spinning even faster, at speeds possibly approaching the speed of light.

gunnut
19 Apr 18,, 08:27
So much in-fighting.

Fengtian Faction vs. Beiyang Clique
Anhui Clique vs. Fengtian Clique
Xinjiang Clique vs. Hui Ma Clique
CC Clique vs. Political Science Research Society
Blue Shirts vs. Wang Jingwei


By the time the KMT got to Taiwan, the survivors were die-hard Chiang allies; Yan Xishan (Shanxi Clique), Bai Chongxi and Li Zongren (New Guangxi Clique), Ho Ying-chin (Guizhou Clique) and Sun Fo (token Sun family icon).

This fact always puzzled me. Why is it that China (even today), Iraq, Afghanistan, all have warlords and cliques that have real firepower dividing up the nation's army? Why aren't there American warlords?

DOR
19 Apr 18,, 09:09
This fact always puzzled me. Why is it that China (even today), Iraq, Afghanistan, all have warlords and cliques that have real firepower dividing up the nation's army? Why aren't there American warlords?

Post-revolution, China's fear of a resurgence of warlordism (山头主义, shantouzhuyi: mountaintop-ism) led to shuffling regional commanders around the country. Men who’d spent their careers largely in Shenyang were sent to Wuhan, from Xinjiang to Chengdu. Five years later, pairs of commanders were swapped straight across, like a baseball trade. Li Desheng took Chen Xilian’s job, and vice versa. Yang Dezhi and Zeng Siyu swapped Wuhan for Jinan. Guangzhou for Nanjing, Lanzhou for Fuzhou.

In America, the names were Cornelius Vanderbilt, John Jacob Astor, Andrew Carnegie, Jay Gould, Andrew Mellon, Leland Stanford, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and William Randolph Hearst. Same thing, different uniforms.

gunnut
19 Apr 18,, 19:57
Post-revolution, China's fear of a resurgence of warlordism (山头主义, shantouzhuyi: mountaintop-ism) led to shuffling regional commanders around the country. Men who’d spent their careers largely in Shenyang were sent to Wuhan, from Xinjiang to Chengdu. Five years later, pairs of commanders were swapped straight across, like a baseball trade. Li Desheng took Chen Xilian’s job, and vice versa. Yang Dezhi and Zeng Siyu swapped Wuhan for Jinan. Guangzhou for Nanjing, Lanzhou for Fuzhou.

In America, the names were Cornelius Vanderbilt, John Jacob Astor, Andrew Carnegie, Jay Gould, Andrew Mellon, Leland Stanford, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and William Randolph Hearst. Same thing, different uniforms.

That's not exactly the same. Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller didn't have their own armies or control a portion of the federal army.

Just the other day I saw a program talking about Xi Jingping consolidated power by using people loyal to his father to replace generals in other parts of China.

Even Taiwan, the DPP is having some issues now because Tsai doesn't get along with Chen in the south, and Lai (the premiere?) is from the Chen clique.

WABs_OOE
19 Apr 18,, 20:32
This fact always puzzled me. Why is it that China (even today), Iraq, Afghanistan, all have warlords and cliques that have real firepower dividing up the nation's army? Why aren't there American warlords?Technically speaking, the ACW's Confederate Armies were all warloard armies. Each state controlled its own army and the Confederate Government had no say in who commands what nor interfere in each state's military decisions.

Skywatcher
20 Apr 18,, 05:45
That's not exactly the same. Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller didn't have their own armies or control a portion of the federal army.

Just the other day I saw a program talking about Xi Jingping consolidated power by using people loyal to his father to replace generals in other parts of China.

Even Taiwan, the DPP is having some issues now because Tsai doesn't get along with Chen in the south, and Lai (the premiere?) is from the Chen clique.

Well, the Robber Barons pretty much had the National Guard at their beck and call, given that they usually more or less owned the state governors, and could call upon the Pinkertons and local/state police forces in a pinch.

hboGYT
29 Apr 18,, 05:16
What if the KMT won the war on the back of massive US aid, but persisted the old policies, assuming the US does not intervene, would China have fared better or worse.\?

WABs_OOE
29 Apr 18,, 07:02
A Banana Republic

hboGYT
29 Apr 18,, 07:57
A Banana Republic

KMT vs Macedonian phalanx?

DOR
29 Apr 18,, 09:29
What if the KMT won the war on the back of massive US aid, but persisted the old policies, assuming the US does not intervene, would China have fared better or worse.\?

The revolution would have been postponed a decade or so, until the next set of uprisings brought down the corrupt regime . . . just like it happened over and over again in dynastic China.

hboGYT
29 Apr 18,, 09:54
The revolution would have been postponed a decade or so, until the next set of uprisings brought down the corrupt regime . . . just like it happened over and over again in dynastic China.

Assuming any rebellion is brutally crushed with US aid, what kind of economic policy would the KMT pursue?

Triple C
29 Apr 18,, 11:50
Even Taiwan, the DPP is having some issues now because Tsai doesn't get along with Chen in the south, and Lai (the premiere?) is from the Chen clique.

Not precisely. While Premier "William" Lai has the support of Chen's base, he's from the New Trend Faction, and his naming as the premier is supposed to smooth over his disagreements and conflicts with President Tsai.



By the time the KMT got to Taiwan, the survivors were die-hard Chiang allies...


I don't know if that is accurate. At least according to the memoirs, the relationship btw CKS and the New Guangxi Clique generals were far from harmonious. That said, being stuck on the same island probably did wonders in bringing everybody into CKS's span of control, as they were no more regions for regionalism to develop. And the lion's share of warlord armies and resources were left behind.

WABs_OOE
29 Apr 18,, 17:16
KMT vs Macedonian phalanx?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_republic

DOR
30 Apr 18,, 10:38
Not precisely. While Premier "William" Lai has the support of Chen's base, he's from the New Trend Faction, and his naming as the premier is supposed to smooth over his disagreements and conflicts with President Tsai.



I don't know if that is accurate. At least according to the memoirs, the relationship btw CKS and the New Guangxi Clique generals were far from harmonious. That said, being stuck on the same island probably did wonders in bringing everybody into CKS's span of control, as they were no more regions for regionalism to develop. And the lion's share of warlord armies and resources were left behind.

Only one of the three main leaders of the New Guangxi Clique even made it to Taiwan.

Li Zongren was side-lined by CKS in 1943, and after CKS took the stole the Nationalist Government’s money and ran off to Taiwan, Li retired to Guangxi. Stealing the coffiers (CKS wasn’t in office at the time, so it was straight-forward theft) was a contributing factor to the hyperinflation that added to the Nationalists’ untenable position in the late 1940s.

Yan Xishan (not one of the clique; he remained in public office into the 1980s) convinced Li to “unretired,” and Li formed a government in Guangdong that was quickly over run by the CCP. Li then went to New York. CKS set up a new government in Chongqing, and then had to relocate to Taiwan. Li Zongren stayed in the US until 1965, then “defected” to China where he died in 1969.

Bai Chongxi, Li’s long-time sidekick, was a Muslim and quite principled man. He may have been responsible for a declaration of a jihad against Japan in 1937, but I can’t pin down a source on that. Like Li, CKS essentially sidelined him whenever he (CKS) was strong enough to do so.

In 1949, when it was clear that the CCP was winning, Bai refused to fight at the Huai River and demanded negotiations. His first condition was that CKS resign. While Lin Biao was sweeping through central and southern China, CKS sent Bai to Taiwan to investigate the 2-28 slaughter and perhaps to make sure there was somewhere to regroup. Bai did a competent job in Taiwan, but then fell out with CKS once again. In Taiwan, he was given an honorary advisor position and helped Chiang Ching-kuo reorganize the KMT in the early 1950s. He died in Taiwan in 1966.

Huang Shaohong, the third musketeer, participated in the CCP-KMT peace talks in 1949, and when those failed, retreated to Hong Kong. He then joined the CPPCC, in effect changing sides. He killed himself during the Cultural Revolution.

hboGYT
02 May 18,, 14:03
What economic reform was Chiang attempting to implement before getting rekt?

Triple C
03 May 18,, 10:24
Only one of the three main leaders of the New Guangxi Clique even made it to Taiwan.


Oi! I stand corrected. Bai's son later became one of the great modern novelists.

DOR
03 May 18,, 11:08
What economic reform was Chiang attempting to implement before getting rekt?

None?
He wanted an end to hyperinflation, but wasn't willing to cut the government budget to slow the printing machines.
He wanted more US aid, but wasn't willing to be held accountable.
And, he wanted reliable government revenues but wasn't willing to stop stealing anything he could get his hands on.

hboGYT
05 May 18,, 04:25
None?
He wanted an end to hyperinflation, but wasn't willing to cut the government budget to slow the printing machines.
He wanted more US aid, but wasn't willing to be held accountable.
And, he wanted reliable government revenues but wasn't willing to stop stealing anything he could get his hands on.

I heard that he was trying some land reforms. Your take?

DOR
05 May 18,, 08:33
I heard that he was trying some land reforms. Your take?

It’s really, really hard to reform land ownership without taking it from those who have it and giving it to those who don’t. And, as the landed gentry and business were the main (noncriminal) supporters of the KMT, such a move would have been suicide. The Nationalists paid lip service to land reform in the early days, but after 1931 it was more about minimizing the fallout from the Japanese invasion than about land reform.

hboGYT
05 May 18,, 16:55
It’s really, really hard to reform land ownership without taking it from those who have it and giving it to those who don’t. And, as the landed gentry and business were the main (noncriminal) supporters of the KMT, such a move would have been suicide. The Nationalists paid lip service to land reform in the early days, but after 1931 it was more about minimizing the fallout from the Japanese invasion than about land reform.

Who were some of the clean officials within KMT who wanted to reform?

astralis
07 May 18,, 18:02
And, as the landed gentry and business were the main (noncriminal) supporters of the KMT, such a move would have been suicide.

think CKS could and should have leaned on them more. i mean, what were their options? japan or the commies, pretty much.

DOR
07 May 18,, 23:36
Who were some of the clean officials within KMT who wanted to reform?

“clean” KMT officials? I don’t know if there ever was such a thing.

WABs_OOE
08 May 18,, 04:57
Sun Yat Sen.

hboGYT
08 May 18,, 12:37
“clean” KMT officials? I don’t know if there ever was such a thing.

I'm a well educated, middle-class patriot living in Chiang's China. I'm dissatisfied by the status quo and want to be an agent of change. What are my options.

DOR
08 May 18,, 15:43
I'm a well educated, middle-class patriot living in Chiang's China. I'm dissatisfied by the status quo and want to be an agent of change. What are my options.

Start a revolution.
Back the commies.
Leave.

hboGYT
09 May 18,, 10:24
Start a revolution.
Back the commies.
Leave.

Surely, someone must have thought to effect change from within. Didn't a general kidnap Chiang to make him do the right thing?

WABs_OOE
09 May 18,, 17:40
It was a friggin civil war. You're not going to find anyone without bloody hands nor compromized morals. Somebody got to lose and lose big. There was nothing fair about any of this. Pretending otherwise ignores the history.

DOR
09 May 18,, 18:41
Surely, someone must have thought to effect change from within. Didn't a general kidnap Chiang to make him do the right thing?

Zhang Xueliang and the Xi’an Incident of 1936 had nothing to do with economic reforms, which was the heart of your question. Still, he did follow No. 1 on my list of suggested courses of action.

astralis
15 Jun 18,, 14:43
i'm currently writing a paper for a military journal on this subject. i knew the US had supported the KMT a lot post war, but with a bit of research i found out just how much...it was shocking.

we gave more to CKS in the four years post-war than we've provided afghanistan in 17 years. and he still blew it.

DOR
15 Jun 18,, 20:17
i'm currently writing a paper for a military journal on this subject. i knew the US had supported the KMT a lot post war, but with a bit of research i found out just how much...it was shocking.

we gave more to CKS in the four years post-war than we've provided afghanistan in 17 years. and he still blew it.

Wasn't most of that WWII surplus? In other words, 'free' ?

DOR
15 Jun 18,, 20:32
Dec 1947 Intelligence briefing mentioning CCK being tasked with cracking down on the Shanghai black market. Currency dropped by half between mid-November and this Dec 2 report.

US$60 million US stop-gap aid being recommended to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs “this week.” Not clear if that is in addition to $300 mn previously signaled by Secretary Marshall.
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp79-01082a000100010043-2

astralis
16 Jun 18,, 05:42
Wasn't most of that WWII surplus? In other words, 'free' ?

the equipment was WWII surplus but the re-supplies, logistics, training, etc was all provided by the US. that's also not counting the enormous japanese stockpiles and arms that were turned over to the Nationalists...in addition to captured Japanese soldiers "persuaded" to fight on in the name of CKS.

and CKS got a bunch of direct financial aid, not just from the US but from the UN.

CKS had a bunch of beautifully trained and equipped divisions (the Burma troops) at the end of the war, an Air Force that was completely rebuilt along US lines (he had so many surplus bomber aircraft that he asked the US to help the pilots re-qual to transports), and even the beginnings of a Navy.

he managed to screw things up so bad that in the less than one year that the US finally had enough of his corruption and stopped the re-supply/arms sales, all of the hard work the US did in training the Chinese military collapsed from within, as evidenced by the disastrous battles of 1947-1948.

Ironduke
16 Jun 18,, 15:52
he managed to screw things up so bad that in the less than one year that the US finally had enough of his corruption and stopped the re-supply/arms sales, all of the hard work the US did in training the Chinese military collapsed from within, as evidenced by the disastrous battles of 1947-1948.
How likely did the US consider an eventual possibility of a Communist victory to be when this aid was cut off?

DOR
17 Jun 18,, 09:21
Dec 1948: the KMT is losing, discredited, impotent.

US military aid can only have a limited effect on the course of the civil war. “The funneling of US aid to Taiwan (Formosa) or South China, no matter on what schedule, would serve chiefly to maintain the legal fiction that there is in China a government still resisting the Communists.”

“To the extent that expedited military aid would prolong the civil hostilities without affecting the final outcome, such aid would have a weakening rather than strengthening effect on [the] Nationalist economy.”

“The political effects of expediting US aid to the Nationalists might be positively harmful to US interests.”

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp78-01617a000300010001-3

Triple C
17 Jun 18,, 11:00
think CKS could and should have leaned on them more. i mean, what were their options? japan or the commies, pretty much.

Particularly hard when some of the noncriminal elements were CKS's own in-laws.

Triple C
17 Jun 18,, 11:03
It’s really, really hard to reform land ownership without taking it from those who have it and giving it to those who don’t. And, as the landed gentry and business were the main (noncriminal) supporters of the KMT, such a move would have been suicide. The Nationalists paid lip service to land reform in the early days, but after 1931 it was more about minimizing the fallout from the Japanese invasion than about land reform.

IIRC, post-retreat from China, the KMT implemented land redistribution in Taiwan, followed by a state-ordained reduction in agrarian rents. Some historians have argued that since Taiwanese gentry were not CKS supporters, the reforms carried less political pain, and the fact that their loyalties to the KMT was dubious to being with means depriving them of land killed two birds with one stone.

DOR
17 Jun 18,, 15:53
IIRC, post-retreat from China, the KMT implemented land redistribution in Taiwan, followed by a state-ordained reduction in agrarian rents. Some historians have argued that since Taiwanese gentry were not CKS supporters, the reforms carried less political pain, and the fact that their loyalties to the KMT was dubious to being with means depriving them of land killed two birds with one stone.

That's right.

The KMT took the land from the Taiwanese elite and redistributed it to (mainly) mainland demobilized soldiers. It not only 'punished' families who had 'collaborated' with the Japanese for 50 years (including the last dozen years of the Qing Dynasty), it also effectively destroyed any effective base of future resistance. The token shares they were issued in exchange for their land were in confiscated companies such as Taiwan Cement.

As long as you weren't an actual Taiwanese land owner, the land reform was painless.

astralis
04 Aug 18,, 20:08
still writing that article of mine. when George Marshall stopped US aid in July 1946, he thought it was going to be a shot across the bow for CKS.

of course CKS ignored him and escalated his offensive. marshall then responded by withdrawing USAAF advisors and slowing down training, and slow-rolling a lot of the US aid-- both military and economic-- going to the Nationalists.

the period of July 1946-July 1947 was essentially the highwater mark of Nationalist China, with the seizure of CCP capital of Yan'an in Mar 1947.

by the time the assistance restarted, it was at a considerably smaller scale going into fall 1947. from DOR's original post:


To slow or reverse this would require nonmilitary aid of a minimum of $1-2 billion over a three-year (1948-50) period [i.e., about 0.6% of the US’ 1947 GDP, or $10-15 billion in today’s money). This would be in addition to military aid sufficient to train, supply and maintain 30 divisions.

the original US plan was to train and equip 39 divisions and stand up a 8-1/3 group Air Force. by June 1946 this had largely succeeded, altho logistics was a mess and the Nationalists were fully dependent on US training.

the Nationalist highwater was essentially taking these US trained troops and $$, and using them up.

from the US standpoint, US aid to China was expensive (equivalent in 3 years to what we spent in Afghanistan in 17), but "only" one-tenth the amount of aid we gave to Western Europe under the Marshall Plan. US diplomatic, military, and political leadership essentially thought China was going to slag down into further warfare anyways and didn't see the point. reading through State and CIA annexes, it's clear that the $$$ aid required to "save China" in Nov 1947 became VERY $$$$ aid by Spring 1948, and by Summer 1948 the analysis was that nothing short of US armed intervention was going to save the Nationalists, which absolutely no one was for.

of course, it's no accident that less than a year after the fall of mainland China, the DPRK was trying to do the same thing...and the US intervened. but it took the shock of the utter rout of the Nationalists to make this clear (even as late as Fall 1948, IIRC CIA was predicting that it'd be several more years of combat before Communist victory).

wonder what would have happened if the US kept on throwing $$ at the Nationalists in 1946-1947, or even tried an armed intervention in 1948. after all, the cost of Korean War far, far exceeded the cost of throwing money at the Nationalists. come to think of it, fighting the Commies in China might have been an easier prospect than fighting in little-manuever room Korea.

thoughts?

DOR
05 Aug 18,, 09:49
Rather than rely on my original back-of-the-envelope 0.6% of GDP / $10-15 billion, here’s a slightly more thoughtful calculation:

Sum of 1946-48 GDP: $751.6 billion (as per Bureau of Economic Analysis, after July 2018 revisions…which did stretch back that far).
Which means, $1.5 billion (midway point) would be 0.020%
And, 0.020% of the sum of GDP in 2015-17 ($56.4119 billion) is $112.8 billion.

Remember, it was $1-2 billion over a three year period, so it is vis-à-vis the sum of three years’ GDP, not the average.
My bad.

DOR
05 Aug 18,, 10:24
Massive reorganization of intelligence agencies going on throughout 1946-47. Many very senior wartime department heads replaced and whole departments shifted to new agencies. Confused lines of reporting.

Feb 26, 1946: George F. Kennan’s “Long Telegram” laying out containment
Mar 5, 1946: Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech
May 2, 1946: Tokyo war crimes trials
May 31, 1946: Congressional hearings on Pearl Harbor
Jun 30, 1946: US armed forces reduced to 3 million in FY46, from 12 million in FY45.
Jul 1, 1946: Bikini Atoll A-test.
Jul 23, 1946: First report to Truman of Soviet’s global capabilities and intentions.
Sep 12, 1946: Commerce Secretary Henry A. Wallace publicly deplores ‘get tough with Russia’ policy; dismissed by Truman Sep 20. To me, this signals more broad strategy confusion.
Sep 15, 1946: Greek civil war resumes.
Sep 30, 1946: Nuremberg trials end.
Nov 28, 1946: Indo-Chinese civil war resumes; French bomb Haiphong; Ho Chi-Minh government evacuates Hanoi.

Jan 21, 1947: General George C. Marshall returns from 15-month China mission, becomes Secretary of State.
Feb 12, 1947: NIA prescribes requirements on China in Directive No. 8
Apr 23, 1947: Congress allocates $400 million for Greece and Turkey
May 5, 1947: French government dismisses communist cabinet ministers.
Jun 5, 1947: Marshal Plan. National security and international expenditures in FY47 reduced to $20.9 billion, from $46.2 billion in FY46. Military strength down by half, to 1.5 million.
July 1947: “Mr X” Foreign Affairs article (George Kennan on containment)
Jul 11, 1947: Wedemeyer mission ot Korea and China (to Sep 18)
Sep 18, 1947: National Security Council, National Security Resources Board and Central Intelligence Agency established
Oct 5, 1947: COMINFORM established to coordinate communist party propaganda in nine European countries. US organized Organization of American States March 30, 1948 indicating we were playing catch-up.
Dec 23, 1947: House passes $540 million aid bill for France, Italy, Austria and China

Feb 16, 1948: DPRK established (ROK established Aug 15)
Feb 25, 1948: Czechoslovakia falls to communist coup d’etat
Feb 27, 1948: Finland-USSR mutual assistance proposals revealed; signed April 6.
Apr 3, 1948: $5.3 billion foreign aid to Europe.
Jun 11, 1948: NATO; Yugoslavia expelled from COMINFORM June 28
Jun 20, 1948: Berlin blockade (to May 11, 1949)
Jun 30, 1948: national security and international expenditure cut to $16.3 billion, armed forces to 1.4 million.

astralis
05 Aug 18,, 21:28
DOR,


And, 0.020% of the sum of GDP in 2015-17 ($56.4119 billion) is $112.8 billion.

yes, this was my calculation too, which is why i compared this to Afghanistan:

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/25/us/politics/critiquing-us-spending-in-afghanistan-to-dramatic-effect.html

an expensive proposition but again considering how much we blew on Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, etc...not much by comparison. but that's looking at it from a lot of hindsight.