OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War Review

OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War
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OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War ReviewI have had a deep interest for some time in how the US government got sucked into the quagmire of intervention in SE Asia in the fifties. If you read the French sources, they blame the triumph of Ho Chi Minh on the materiel support given him by the OSS missions at the end of the war. If you read the massive work by Archimedes Patti, the support did not make any difference. But that aside, when one starts pulling on the strings of why the OSS mercy missions of 1945 to Vietnam were sent, it descends from the various US intelligence and special operations agencies working in the area, and a very tangled web leads back to China--with its US Army-Navy rivalries, US- British rivalries, plus the US State Dept vs. many of the others. Then throw in the Free French and the Vichy governments. And some of these folks lost sight of the fact they were guests and not in a conquered country.Until the release of the OSS records to the National Archives a few years ago, much of this was hidden except glimpsed in a few memoirs. But the OSS side and the State Department side and the other US departments ' sides are unavoidably biased views for and against each other and the Chinese sides-the Reds and the Nationalists. Without seeing from the Chinese side one cannot balance the view point. The author has done this. He has been able to use the memoirs and histories now available from mainland China to develop this history as well as can be expected this close on. Sometimes it takes a hundred years for everyone to finally agree and sometimes there never is a consensus. We have not sorted out our Civil War yet. How can we expect the Chinese to have done so when even the territorial and economic consequences are still being worked out. This book is an essential tool for beginning that task. It makes clear what all the turf quarrels were between the War Department, the Navy Department, the OSS, the 14th Air Force (Claire Chennault, a profit without honor in his own country, who had to go to China to prove his theories of air combat.), the British and French governments, and the Chinese Nationalists, whose guests they all were. If you like organizational histories of the sort of who said what when then this is for you. If you want daring tales of dauntless deeds then look elsewhere. This is an extremely well written and thoroughly researched book but it is not a shoot 'em up operational history. There are many good histories and memoirs of those. Stratton's SACO history is still quite useful but hard to find. (By the way, I'm still looking for that Vietnam history.) Carter RilaOSS in China: Prelude to Cold War Overview

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