Uncertain Allies: General Joseph Stilwell and the China-Burma-India Theater (Hardcover)

Uncertain Allies: General Joseph Stilwell and the China-Burma-India Theater By Eric Setzekorn Cover Image

Uncertain Allies: General Joseph Stilwell and the China-Burma-India Theater (Hardcover)


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Uncertain Allies looks at the U.S. military's experience in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater during World War II through the eyes of Joseph Stilwell, the commanding general of all American forces in those three countries. Accomplished historian Eric Setzekorn, focuses on two key themes: uncertain allies and ambiguous missions.

Despite being allies, relationships between the Americans and Chinese, as well as the Americans and the British, were marked by a profound lack of trust in the CBI theater. This was particularly problematic because most combat personnel under Stilwell's command were Chinese. As a result, the lack of trust directly impacted tactical and operational planning. The second reoccurring theme, ambiguous missions, refers to the poorly defined goals for the theater. The CBI's mission was vague, and Stilwell lacked clear objectives or benchmarks of success.

Underlying both themes is the key flaw in Stilwell's conduct in the CBI theater: a failure to understand the American political context in which he operated. Stilwell advocated for a transactional military and political relationship despite clear indications that President Roosevelt, other political leaders, and the American public at large desired a long-term cooperative relationship. In this context of deep and widespread public support for forging a close and lasting alliance with China, Stilwell's proposals to make military aid and American support on a quid pro quo basis was an isolated position that inevitably ran into staunch opposition. The result was a dangerous disconnect between American military operations and national policy.

Setzekorn, who is fluent in Chinese, relied on a wide variety of sources when writing this penetrating account of the U.S. military's time in the CBI theater, including Chinese and Japanese language archival material. The declassification of numerous U.S. government sources over the past fifteen years also enables Setzekorn to make a full assessment and analysis of World War II-era strategic thinking and military policy.

Dr. Eric Setzekorn works for the U.S. federal government and lives in Falls Church, Virginia. After service in the U.S. Army and the intelligence community, he received his PhD from George Washington University. He has published two other books: The Rise and Fall of an Officer Corps: The Republic of China Military, 1942-1955 (University of Oklahoma Press, 2018), and Arming East Asia: Deterring China in the Early Cold War (Naval Institute Press, 2023).
Product Details ISBN: 9781682472033
ISBN-10: 1682472035
Publisher: US Naval Institute Press
Publication Date: October 15th, 2024
Pages: 276
Language: English