As an answer said in this subject (What are some major military successes the Soviet Union achieved against the Western World?), it seems that the politics of USA had a great issue on the help of Tchang Kai Chek against Mao Tse Tsoung after the world war 2.

However, the nationalists lost continental China, so my question is did the Americans help Chinese, and how?

I am doubtful there was no help as the Americans had, at the end of the WW2, the entire 14th Air Force based in China.

From comments: I am also interested in how this help was effective in fighting the communist troops and why, considering the 5th comment and the 50 000 US soldiers sent there, no more help and no more involvement was made by the USA into the fight.

Side note, I am well aware of the help given by the USA during WW2, but I am also aware that the Chinese nationalist army was not that much efficient, even in 1945. So did the American government understood this situation, and did it measure how much the Kuomintang was in danger of being defeated?

Edit: I am interested in:

  • On tactical point, with the American hardware and the American advisors of WW2, did the Nationalists have a chance to win?
  • How have or could have the Americans help the Nationalist army in the fight against Mao's?
  • On strategy and politics, did the USA and USSR oppose themselves on an intervention in this war and did one of them envisage and could have made an intervention (such as reinforcing with US/USSR soldiers the Nationalist/Communist army)?
  • 1
    There was the Marshall Mission (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Mission) for starters.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 14:37
  • 3
    Perhaps you could edit your question to show what your research has found so far? Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 14:40
  • 3
    No, they didn't. And, yes, show your research if you're looking for answers.
    – J Asia
    Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 15:24
  • 1
    Of course US helped Nationalists, after all they did arm and train them both during and after WW2. Start with Wikipedia article and work from there : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – rs.29
    Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 17:55
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    "The US strongly supported the Kuomintang forces. About 50,000 US soldiers were sent to guard strategic sites in Hupeh and Shandong. The US equipped and trained KMT troops, and transported Japanese and Koreans back to help KMT forces to occupy liberated zones as well as to contain Communist-controlled areas.[43] According to William Blum, American aid included substantial amounts of mostly surplus military supplies, and loans were made to the KMT.[51] Within less than two years after the Sino-Japanese War, the KMT had received $4.43 billion from the US—most of which was military aid."
    – rs.29
    Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


Did America participate in China's Civil War (1945-9), to repel the Communists?

No, they did not. Marhsall's role was to intermediate between Chiang Kaishek's Nationalists and Mao's Communist, to avert a civil war. Not to start one, nor to use force against the Communists. Truman was blamed during later stages of the Civil War (1945-9), when it going the way of the Communists and Marshall, frustrated with failure to achieve his diplomatic mission, pulled out early 1947.

Why didn't the US government get involved in the war?

Too many reasons but it boils down to politics (no popular support for yet another war, after WW2) and lack of intelligence (or understanding) of Mao's Communist Army. This and a lot more details are available in "The China White Paper" (1949) by Acheson, Truman's Secretary of State. This "loss of China" to America, which supported the Nationalists, contributed significantly to the rise of McCarthyism.

Although it is nearly impossible to prove a negative, a logical way of deducing this would be to check Wikipedia's list of battles in the Chinese Civil War. Only the Nationalist Revoltionary Army (NLA) and th People's Liberation Army (PLA) are listed as belligerents. Not the US Army.

Additional What-If Questions

History tries to answer one (hopefully, logical) question at a time. Speculation is beyond its scope. I am not a historian, nor am I good at the speculative question you've asked.

Instead, I recommend that you try "China 1945" (Penguin, 2015) by Richard Bernstein, who studied history under John K Fairbank (one of America's most promienent historian of China). Bernstein wrote this book not as an historian, but from perspective of a journalist (at NYT). This book has lots of "What-If's" on the Civil War. NYT's review.

For what it's worth, your additional questions does not surprise me, because the "loss of China" is still being considered today, "Could Truman Have Worked With Mao?" (2017). An historian and above-named Bernstein participated here.

Deploying vs Employing Force: China & UNPROFOR

Finally, regarding the 50,000 or so American troops in China -- during war or military operational conduct, a distinction should be made between forces deployed and forces employed. One does not necessarily lead to the other. In other words, deploying military forces to a theater of war does not necessarily mean such forces will be used.

I will quote General Rupert Smith, the UNPROFOR commander in Bosnia and Herzegovinia (1992-1995), during Yugoslavia's Civil War (1991-2001) (emphasis mine):

"Industrial wars had clear-cut strategic goals. It has been used to create states, destroy the evil of fascism and end the Ottoman Empire. In war amongst the people, however, the ends to which we use military force are changing to something more complex and less strategic. ... (If) there was no strategic side to conquer: the enemy by design often did not present a target that was susceptible to strategic attack, since in most conflicts of war amongst the people the enemy is in small groups operating at the tactical level, against which the manouevres and mass firepower of industrial war are ineffective ... (This) mean that, much as the political aims have changed, so has the use of force: the conflict are fought for sub-strategic objectives.

The term "sub-strategic" arises form the confusion between deployment and employment. We may deploy forces strategically in terms of distance or in teams of the level at which the decision to do so is made. ... However, none of this indicates the level or purpose to which is to be employed."

Source: The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (Penguin, 2008), pp. 272-3.

He was referring to "peacekeeping forces" of late 20th century, with which he had direct experience, but I hope you can see the similarity of sub-strategic objectives that the American forces had to deal with in China, mid-20th century.

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