Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

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Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by Futurist » 28 Jan 2021 04:29

Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever a realistic possibility? I'm asking because the US military actively protected South Korea, Taiwan, and--for a while--South Vietnam from being conquered by Communists during the Cold War--and of course also had defensive alliances with countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia during this time, I believe. So, I was wondering if you think that it would have ever actually been plausible for the US to try militarily propping up the Nationalists (Kuomintang; KMT) on the Chinese mainland during the Chinese Civil War before they actually fled to Taiwan--and, if so, what exactly (as in, which changes from real life) would be required to make this a reality?

I'm also wondering if a US military intervention on the Chinese mainland would be more akin to Korea or more akin to Vietnam. I'm personally inclined to say more like Vietnam since Korea had a narrow and easily defendable front and border whereas Vietnam and China both had much longer borders that were much more porous and likely much easier for Communists to successfully infiltrate. China itself was much larger than both Vietnam and Korea, after all, and thus it would likely require an EXTREMELY massive US troop commitment for the US to militarily protect the Chinese Nationalists from Mao Zedong's Communists, no?

Also, I'm wondering what you think the effects of a hypothetical large-scale US military intervention in China would have actually been in the event that this would have ever actually become a reality. For instance, what effects would this intervention have had on Korea, Vietnam, the rest of Southeast Asia, and beyond?

Thoughts?

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by ljadw » 28 Jan 2021 12:11

It was impossible : politically, militarily and financially .
And, if it was possible, it would fail and the US would today still be fighting in China .
Japan tried to force China into submission,and ...failed . There is no indication at all that the US would do better .
When Ike became POTUS and Dulles Secretary of State , the ''roll-back '' claims were abandoned .
Besides : WHY would US intervene in China ? An independent China would be a rival of the USSR and a de facto ally of the US .

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by Futurist » 29 Jan 2021 08:14

Was it actually clear back in the late 1940s that an independent Communist China would be an enemy of the Soviet Union?

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by ljadw » 29 Jan 2021 19:02

Futurist wrote:
29 Jan 2021 08:14
Was it actually clear back in the late 1940s that an independent Communist China would be an enemy of the Soviet Union?
A strong China would be a rival , a danger, an enemy for the USSR .Stalin could not allow a second Tito .Before the war Stalin supported the KMT in its war against Japan and looked the other way when the KMT went after the Chinese communists .He also supported Japan in its war against China : as long as Japan and China were fighting against each other, they could not attack the USSR.

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by Futurist » 29 Jan 2021 20:29

What made the KMT more appealing to Stalin?

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by ljadw » 29 Jan 2021 21:31

The KMT was not communist,thus it could not follow a deviationist policy : Tchang Kai Chek was not Trotzky ,and Trotzky was much more dangerous than the KMT .
In a not so far past, Muslims were less dangerous for the Vatican than Protestants .
Maoism (Chinese communism ) could become as Trotzkism or Titoism and be dangerous for Stalin .China ruled by the KMT would not be that dangerous as China ruled by Mao .
And, the leaders of the satellite states had everything to thank on Stalin and would do what he said , while Mao became chief of China on its own ,without the support of Stalin .

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by AnchorSteam » 29 Jan 2021 22:43

The scale of intervention would have had to be massive to make any difference, if we are talking about "boots on the ground".

A better idea might have been to isolate Mao in Manchuria and get the rest of China back in shape.True, that's where the resources are, but the same can be said of North Korea, and look how Capitalist v. Communist halves worked out there.

Chang, thanks to his idiotic policy of holding back during WW2, was not getting all the hardware he could have from the West. A great deal of what Mao had was taken from the IJA when it surrendered, so why not dump captured German gear on the Nationalists? A lot of it would not have lasted very long, but the war did not last very long and someone might have preferred to send Chang things that had a limited shelf-life.
Right?
And even the ships, like Prinz Eugen and a couple of those DDs with 150mm guns could have been useful to raid Darien (Port Arthur) or cover the withdrawal to Taiwan.

There is a lot that could have been done, but sending in the US Army wasn't a good idea, or politically possible at the time.

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by Futurist » 30 Jan 2021 03:16

Would sending Chiang as much German hardware, equipment, and gear as possible actually be enough for him to hold onto the rest of China other than Manchuria?

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by AnchorSteam » 30 Jan 2021 07:25

It is difficult to say exactly what it would have done, beyond the "it would be more than they had" sort of arguments.

The major item would have been how much ammunition could have been included, and it is a very mized bag when it comes to that. At one point, the Germans have 8 millrems (Billion) rounds of 7.92mm ammo in circulation. Guns like the PAW-600 would have given their light infantry a huge advantage in places where 8cm. guns were not supposed to be found, and then there were the vast piles of mines of all types that are still being found in strange places today.

However.....
The quality of a lot of the late-war stuff was incredibly random, as the kids say today. The ammo would have to be inspected in detail, and many duds would be found.
I think that the most valuable weapon would be Nebelwerfers, particularly the self-propelled sort, but I have no idea what sort of ammo stocks existed for them in the end. I suspect.... not much.
Panzerfausts issued as Infantry support weapons (to reliable units) would have been awesome, but again, who knows what was captured in the West?

Back to Prinz Eugen, a heavy cruiser captured intact and taken over by the USN; the pictures of it in Copenhagen show it riding so high in the water that not only it's fuel, but it's ammunition must have been exhausted. The good news is it was armed with 40mm Bofors guns in 1945, and other peoeple's 203mm rounds might have worked in it's main guns....... but to find out means doing so research.

The Nationalists did have some experience with pre-war German AFVs, but only Mark I tanks and SdKfz.221 armored cars. However, I don't think that most Panzers would be very helpful. An exception would be the light SPs mounting the SiG-33 Infantry gun of 150mm. A good many were built, and the narrow roads, tight towns and weak bridges of China would not slow them down very much.
grille-15cm-self-propelled-artillery.jpg
Almost seems as if it was made for this sort of war, doesn't it?
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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by ljadw » 30 Jan 2021 09:06

Futurist wrote:
30 Jan 2021 03:16
Would sending Chiang as much German hardware, equipment, and gear as possible actually be enough for him to hold onto the rest of China other than Manchuria?
''As much as possible '' is something meaningless .
Germany would send more to China if it could and if China could pay for it .And China paid for it with raw materials, such as wolfram : in 1937 Germany imported 72 % of its wolfram from China and 37 % of Germany's weapon exports went to China ,til 1939 through Indochina ( with French consent ) ,after September 1939 through the Siberian railway.
The big problem was not the German weapon deliveries, but the training of the army of the KMT .And this training, motivation were very insufficient . The presence of some dozens of German advisers ( directed by von Falkenhausen ) could not transform the Chinese army in an efficient force .

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by Futurist » 30 Jan 2021 09:30

I meant having the Americans do this after Germany was defeated.

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 30 Jan 2021 15:17

Futurist wrote:
29 Jan 2021 20:29
What made the KMT more appealing to Stalin?
Partly because Mao had rejected the Communist orthodoxy of the 1920s & 30s. His practice of agrarian revolt went against Marxist theory, which Stalin & virtually every other non Chinese Communist believed was written in stone. Maos group in Marxist orthodoxy were not really Communists but fit a earlier level of class struggle. From 1927 Chiangs faction of the KMT had purged the Communist faction from the KMT, destroyed the Communist leadership in the KMT reach, and eliminated any possibility of classic Marxist revolt of the urban proletariat. Maos group in 1937, barricaded in the equivalent to the US Appalachia was not regarded as a useful option. This was the same era Stalins group rethought its support for the entire international Communist movement. Japan was a potential war in the Soviet Far East. There were not any good options for allies & the KMT is the best there was in the latter 1930s.

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by Futurist » 30 Jan 2021 17:39

What made Stalin decide to prop up Mao after 1945?

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 30 Jan 2021 22:33

Futurist wrote:
30 Jan 2021 17:39
What made Stalin decide to prop up Mao after 1945?
Success.

In the interim Maos group had successfully established a cadre among the peasants of most Japanese controlled provinces and larger of smaller military organizations in most. Maos disciplined and politically sensitive organization was in 1945 much better positioned socially and geographically to take advantage of the Japanese surrender. Conversely the corrupt, inefficient, and politically inept KMT had weaker support among the peasants & urban working classes. When the Soviet armies occupied Manchuria they could a better option than the KMT present.

To illustrate the political problem of the KMT: During the Japanese occupation the Japanese Army frequently kept the previous administrators in place. Local warlord provincial governors and their soldiers were one group. This included KMT party members, who in a significant number of individuals reconstituted in a Japanese controlled KMT party. People saw in these cases the same men, in similar uniforms, with the same logos and badges working for the Japanese. The Communists achieved some popularity when they would assassinate corrupt, brutal, & unpopular tax collectors or police chiefs. When the KMT returned they looked and acted a lot like the Chinese who had collaborated with the Japanese.

Things had changed a lot in a decade & Maos Communists were no longer the remnanat hiding out in a isolated province. They had a solid cadre extending across norther China, a growing military organization, and better support from the masses. Questionable doctrine aside, they now had juice.

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Re: Was a large-scale US military intervention to prop up the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War ever realistic?

Post by AnchorSteam » 31 Jan 2021 05:38

Futurist wrote:
30 Jan 2021 09:30
I meant having the Americans do this after Germany was defeated.
Right, that was what I was saying too.
And the reason is because it would basically have been free, aside from the cost of shipping... and expense that would have had to have been taken care of regardless of where the stuff was coming from.

And I don't think it would have been countered by shipments from the Soviets; Mao did not like (or understand) modern mechanized warfare. I don't think that the PLA received anything better than Japanese cast-offs until after the Korean War, when Mao must have been wondering why his numerically superior army bogged down and stayed that way after the initial rush south.

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