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Archives Unbound
The Chinese Civil War and U.S.-China Relations: Records of the U.S. State Department's Office of Chinese Affairs, 1945-1955


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Gale Cengage


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After World War II ended, mainland Chinese politics disintegrated into civil war between the Republic of China and the Communist Party of China. Gen. Douglas MacArthur directed the military forces under Chiang Kai-shek to accept the surrender of Japanese troops, beginning the military occupation of the island. Gen. George C. Marshall tried to broker a truce in 1946, but the Nationalist cause went steadily downhill until 1949, when the Communists emerged victorious and drove the Nationalists from the mainland.

As the People's Liberation Army moved south to complete the Communist conquest of mainland China, the American embassy followed the Chiang-headed ROC government to Taipei later that year. U.S. consular officials remained in China. However, the new Communist government was hostile to this American presence, and all U.S. personnel were withdrawn in early 1950.

A digital listening post

From diplomatic listening posts in Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo, the U.S. was able to maintain surveillance on Communist China. This collection includes the records communicated to the State Department by diplomatic personnel at first on mainland China and later from these diplomatic posts.

The U.S. State Department's Office of Chinese Affairs, charged with operational control of American policy toward China, amassed information on virtually all aspects of life there immediately before, during and after the revolution. Recently declassified by the State Department, "Records of the Office of Chinese Affairs, 1945-1955" provide valuable insight into domestic issues in Communist and Nationalist China, U.S. containment policy as it was extended to Asia, and Sino-American relations during the postwar period.

This collection comprises all 41 reels of the former Scholarly Resources microfilm product entitled Records of the Office of Chinese Affairs, 1945-1955.

The documents in this collection are organized chronologically under three major categories:

- Political Files relate primarily to political conditions in Communist China and Taiwan, including statements on U.S. policy toward the new regime, the internal structure of the Communist government, and U.S. military aid to Nationalist China.

- Economic Files contain weekly and monthly summaries of economic conditions and reports on the Economic Cooperation Administration programs in China and Taiwan.

- Top Secret Files cover Communist and Nationalist China with reports, correspondence and intelligence pertaining to U.S. policy, UN sanctions against

- Communist China, Sino-Japanese bilateral treaty negotiations and Soviet policy toward the Chinese Communist regime.

Date Range: 1945-1955

Content: 46,493 pages

Source Library: U.S. National Archives

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