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Thread: What if the US had fully backed the KMT in the late 1940s?

  1. #46
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    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?
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  2. #47
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    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.
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  3. #48
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    CIA Historical Staff Chronology, 1946-65, Volume I: 1946-55

    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.
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  4. #49
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    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/u...ic-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.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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