My Dad the U.S. China Marine

My Dad the U.S. China Marine

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year Wishes and Perspectives: 1946

As 1945 concluded the prospect of real peace loomed brightly. As the year came to close news spread that American soldiers were coming home. They were returning from far-flung places around the globe –from Africa, Italy, Germany, and small islands in the Pacific such as Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Philippines, Japan, and China. They answered the call to duty, leaving families and neighborhoods as na├»ve, adolescent youths and returned as mature young adults, sobered and steady by the reality of wartime service.

There were also many who were not returning home for the first peacetime New Year. My father was among those who were called to extended duty in China. Besides being separated from loved ones and familiar surroundings they had personally borne witness to immense changes in the world they inhabited and in themselves. My Dad faced dangers few if any of us could imagine. He like his fellow Marines and those of the other services faced danger, death and severe combat.

December 27 brought news that Chinese Communists had presented to the national government under Chiang Kai-shek a proposal for an unconditional truce on all sides. Gen. Chou En Lai of the communists was a luncheon guest of Gen. George C. Marshall, the new American envoy where views were exchanged. The Chinese News Service, an agency of the central government said in an editorial that, “We must keep pace with the times and solve our own problems so that the blood of our patriots which made victory possible will not have been shed in vain.” On December 31 the Nationalist government announced that it had accepted the Communist-proposed “”cease fire.” Yet Lt. Gen. Albert c. Wedemeyer, commander of American forces in China, indicated that American military support for the Nationalist government was increasing. “The trend of American policy in China is enough reason for asking just what we intend to do in the Far East,” stated an editorial in the December 31, 1945 edition of the Honolulu Star Bulletin. “Granted that our interest prohibits our complete withdrawal. But a token representation is quite different from becoming the policeman of eastern Asia.”

The possibility of peace between both sides of the Chinese Civil War must have brought kindling in the hearts of many U.S. soldiers, my father included. And yet continued civil strife in the near future would necessitate that he and many other soldier from the United States would be staying longer. “The morale of marine occupation troops in north China is quite high,” said Maj. Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., formerly the commanding general of the 6th Marine Division. At the time there were an estimated 50,000 Marines controlling several vital centers of north China. My father was one of them.

In Connecticut my father’s family greeted the New Year in Greenwich, Connecticut with cold temperatures and light snow flurries. They, my father, his fellow China Marines and countless millions around the world greeted the New Year with a sense of hope tempered by anxious concerns about the future. The surrender of Japan and the defeat of Nazi Germany did not automatically bring peace to the world. There were misunderstandings and festering antagonisms simmering with the victors courageous looking for resolutions without resorting to renewed armed conflict. Wishing for peace and achieving it in the New Year would be elusive, and as history has shown, was not achieved as many had hoped.

And yet the will to simply give up did not materialize. That still holds true in the 21st century. History reminds us that “the will-to-do and the purpose-to-perform” by individuals represents some of the best traits of our military, their families -and all who work tirelessly for the cause of freedom and the journey of bringing about a safer world.

Happy New Year

Friday, December 10, 2010

1946: "China’s Major Industry" (Honolulu Advertiser Editorial)

In the April 20, 1946 edition of the Honolulu Advertiser an interesting editorial was published entitled ‘China’s Major Industry’ which reads as follows:

“A well-known Chinese war correspondent once confided to fellow correspondents that China is not likely to become a united nation within a hundred years. China, he pointed out, has been a war-torn country for a thousand years and more and civil war has long been a part of the nation’s diet even as rice. By that he meant that without civil war and proceeds thousands of Chinese would be without a livelihood. These wars between warlords and their followers are looked upon by the average national as one of the country’s major industries.

“The current battle in Manchuria between the Chungking Nationalist defenders against the so-called Communist army is but a part of the ancient internecine struggles of old Cathay. And as for this army labeled Communist, competent observers just come from China are frank in their praise for its competence as opposed to the of-times bungling inefficiency of Chungking warlords, -who, by the way, the United States has put its money on.”

Friday, October 29, 2010

China Pictures: 170th Anniversary of the Founding of the Marine Corp

These are pictures taken by my father in November 1945. Celebrations marking the 170th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps were held on Marco Polo Field in China.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The 170th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps: First Marine Recruiting Office Was In Philadelphia Tavern

The 170th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps brought to life much about its history and origins in the 1700s. This is the text of an article I found originally published in the Honolulu Advertiser on November 10, 1945:

First Marine Recruiting Office Was In Philadelphia Tavern

Tun Tavern in 1775 was a prominent Philadelphia hostelry on the east side of King (Water) St., at the corner of a small thoroughfare known as Tun Alley that led down to the Delaware River.

The historic resolution which brought the Corps of Marines into existence was passed by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on November 10, 1775. Capt. Samuel Nicholas, named commandant of the corps, immediately established a recruiting rendezvous in the popular tavern and chose as his first recruiting officer big-fisted Robert Mullen, the proprietor.

Captain Nicholas instructed his recruiting chief to accept only candidates who were of “dependable and religious nature combined with proper robustness of body.”

To this were added other qualifications: a man had to be at least five feet four inches tall, between the ages of 18 and 40 years, a native-born American or if foreign-born a settled resident with family; he could not be a deserter from the British army, a vagabond, or “person suspected of being an enemy to the liberty of America.”

Lured Recruits
These limitations by no means meant that recruiting was merely a screening process. Suitable recruits were sorely needed and many devices and inducements were used to bring them in.

Lures of prize-money, advance money, expense money, bounties, pensions and promises of ample “grog,” adventure and glory were dangled before prospective volunteers. Handbills were distributed, glowing advertisements were put in the newspapers and vigorous broadsides were displayed in every tavern.

Drum Parades
Headed by drum, fife and colors, recruiting parties in brilliant uniforms marched up and down the streets to attract men thirsting for distinction and military excitement. At intervals and party, followed by a crowd, would pause to enable an officer to orate on patriotism and the cause of liberty.

“Drumming up” recruits was practically a literal term. The educated hands of the marine drummers beat hard and ceaselessly on instruments larger than snare-drums of today, and on each of which was emblazoned a coiled rattlesnake about to strike with the motto, “Don’t Tread on Me!” under it.

Inevitably the paraders ended at Tun Tavern accompanied by a queue of patriots who had decided to become marines. There the volunteers signed enlistment papers and a toast was drunk in their honor.

Officers were prohibited from enlisting a drunken man or from swearing in an applicant until 24 hours had elapsed from the time he signed his enlistment.

Occasionally recruits were advanced as much as one month’s pay, but usually only $2. (Recruiting officers were allowed two dollars expense money for each recruit.) The pay of a private was less than an ordinary seaman. A marine had to sign up for three years while a seaman was asked to sign for only one.

Press Ridicule
Efficient recruiting sergeants were hard to obtain, as the army offered a large inducement bounty to them. Editors of anti-military publications constantly sought to discourage volunteers by ridiculing men in uniform as ‘hired assassins and cutthroats.”

Despite these handicaps, the marines succeeded in enlisting their quota of loyal and courageous fighting men –those men who captured the British forts at New Providence in a daring amphibious operation, the men who fought with John Paul Jones, with Washington crossing the Delaware into New Jersey, and in other great victories of the Revolutionary War.

Tun Tavern no longer stands, but it has been commemorated by a bronze tablet on the site which reads: “This tablet marks the site of Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps. Here in 1775 Captain Samuel Nicholas, the first marine officer, opened a recruiting rendezvous for the marine battalions authorized by a resolution of the Continental Congress, November 10, 1775.”

Friday, October 15, 2010

History Shows Marines in China and Japan Nearly Century Ago

History Shows Marines in China and Japan Nearly Century Ago
Honolulu Advertiser: November 10, 1945. Page 17, Section 2.

When the Marine Corps observes its 170th anniversary, it will have reassumed its familiar role as guardian of American interests in the far corners of the world.

After having spearheaded victory in the Pacific from Guadalcanal to Okinawa, Marines have taken over posts in China and Japan and on scattered islands such as Truk and Guam to make sure that the peace so bitterly won is not disturbed.

The Marines were no strangers to China, for they first landed there more than 100 years ago. Nor, for that matter, were they strangers to Japan, for Marines landed there with Commodore Perry in 1853.

More than any other branch of America’s armed forces, the Marines have a reputation for being on hand when trouble arises. The world has been their beat and it still is.

Although best known as the “fightin’est outfit on earth,” the Marine Corps has augmented the defenses of our country since the Revolutionary War, both at home and abroad. Marines have acted as guards aboard ships of the navy and in navy yards. They have safeguarded American embassies and protected Presidents of the United States from possible harm.

Early Duties
One of the earliest duties of the Continental Marines was to guard prisoners taken by the American fleet, in addition to participating in the battle itself.

History records that back in 1800 during the naval war with France, Marines marched a miscellaneous collection of prisoners and buccaneers from the Atlantic coast to Frederick, Md., where a prison camp was maintained.

During the Revolution mutinies were not infrequent among the unreliable crews of the period, and the Marines were expected to be the force behind the captain in dealing with these serious breaches to discipline. Whenever the crew was called to quarters, the Marines habitually were mustered on the quarter-deck near the arms chest in the event of an emergency.

When vessels were engaged in actual battle, both during this period and later years, Marines armed with muskets and bayonets were used to enforce discipline over the gun crews and were expected to use the weapons for such purpose if necessary.

Far East Duties
The last century is marked with many instances were Marines were called upon to protect American interests and nationals in the Far East.

Names that are in the news today –Seoul, Tientsin, Shanghai, Pekin- are not new to the Corps. In the shifting rebellions and banditry that scarred China in the days before a stable government was finally produced, Marines, though few in number, were always ready to “take steps” to protecting U.S. interests. And “taking steps” frequently meant fighting.

In addition to serving as protectors of American interests in far-places, Marines have on numerous occasions been called upon to safeguard life and property in the wake of disasters at home.

"Always a Marine" 170th Anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps 1945

The Honolulu Star Bulletin (now the Honolulu Star Advertiser) published this editorial salute to the Marines on its 170th anniversary, dated Friday, November 9, 1945.


The 170th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps comes tomorrow at the peak of achievement for what is probably the finest fighting force the world has ever seen.

This is said with no thought of disparagement for the other services of this country. There are certain procedures possible for the Marine Corps which are denied to the army and navy because of their greater size, involving selection of personnel training and more compact organization.

These factors, plus a fighting spirit, which is a living thing in the face of danger, have made the Marine Corps immortal.

The Marines formed the point of the spear that was thrust across the central Pacific to strike at the heart of Japan. They fell by thousands, but they never faltered. Their job was to fight and the recognized it as such –to die, perhaps; perhaps to live- but to fight. And fight they did and each time won.

Many of us are familiar with the role of the Marines in seizing stepping stones across the Pacific, but it is worthwhile on this 170th anniversary to recall the indispensable part they played in the march on Japan.

In August, 1942, the Marines seized a foothold in the Solomon Islands and made it possible through action on land and sea, to halt the Japanese drive southeast, which was aimed at cutting the American supply line to Australia.

In November, 1943, the Marines, in one of the great gambles of the war –a gamble because it was a new departure in amphibious warfare against a reef enclosed, heavily fortified atoll- took the island of Tarawa, thus breaking down the door to Japan’s position in the Marshalls, which lay athwart the projected course westward.

In February, 1944, the Marines, in conjunction with the army, seized Kwajalein Atoll, the Marines capturing the northern point, the army the southern end.

In June the same year the Marines, assisted by the army but taking the major role themselves, finally tore down the door to Japan itself. They captured Saipan, then Tinian, then Guam.

Saipan sealed the fate of Japan but the Marines had still other chores to perform before the enemy could be dispatched.

Peleliu, in the Palau’s –Peleliu, with its Bloody Nose ridge, its heat, its heavy, humid atmosphere- came in September. It was a dreary, heartbreaking task. The Marines went through with it as usual.

There was one last hard rock to be blasted out of the way. Iwo Jima lay between the B-29 base in the Marianas and the target, Japan. The B-29s needed a place to sit down when, shot up and disabled, they headed home.

Okinawa came afterward but that was mainly an army show. The Marines, lacerated and weary but with chins up, helped finish off the enemy on Okinawa. And they were preparing for the landing in Japan itself when the Japanese quit.

The projected unification of the services is frowned upon by many Marines, who see the swallowing up of their proud corps if the plan supported by the army and air forces should win out.

Almost certainly the Corps as a personality would lose something by the change. Its old individuality and independence could not be exactly the same.

Nevertheless, whatever happens, we may be sure that the Marines will remain one of the great fighting organizations of the world.

There is something in Marine Corps history and tradition that no unification can ever remove. The Marine Corps spirit is a living thing that is rooted in the undying courage of the men who have fallen in battle. Whatever he is called, whatever uniform he wears, a Marine will always be a Marine.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Picture of Dad with Hataman Street, Beijing, 1946

On my previous post regarding the establishment on Hataman Street I thought there was no picture. I stand corrected, slightly. Pictured here is my father at Marco Polo Field. Behind him are a row of buildings along Hataman Street in the distance. He spelled it "Hadaman Street."

A colleague at Hawaii Tokai International College in Honolulu was here earlier this summer to teach Mandarin. Daniel Fan saw this photo and remarked that he grew up only a block or two from this location! What a small world we in the 21st century live in.

Tien Hsin Cheng on Hatamen Street, Beijing

This is another business card from my father's records of his time spent in China. The establishment was located on Hatamen Street in Beijing. He did not include any photos of this place, but I did find on the site Images of Asia this picture of Hatamen Gate, taken before 1949.

Honolulu Advertiser Editorial: Democracy Emerging in China 1946

Democracy Emerging in China (Editorial)
Honolulu Advertiser: February 3, 1946

China is on the brink of its first taste of democracy in its 4,000 years of history. From centuries of monarchy which held the power of life and death to a series of “republican” governments which began in 1911 and succeeded mainly in perpetuating civil strife, China is emerging with a formula to administer to an unhappy land. The Political Consultive Council, sitting uneasily at Chungking for many months, at last has rammed through a democratic coalition government which will hold the reins until May when the country’s national assembly will adopt a constitution.

This marks the end of what has been close to absolute dictatorship by the Chiang-Soong “dynasty” which rode to power in the revolution of 1927. Since then, only one political party –the Kuomintang- has been responsible for government. The product of warlordship, it was ponderous, untractable, unmindful of the true meaning of democracy. It survived only because of the stubbornness of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and what enlightened reforms could be maneuvered by the American-educated Madame Chiang, one of the great Soong family.

In the last 18 years, there were some reforms but not enough. Now, the Kuomintang, the Chiangs and the Soongs have been stripped of power in reforms and in the making of the constitution. Communists, people of the Democratic League, a party of young men and women, numerous other partisan groups are to have their say in China’s destinies.

China at last appears to be finding its way. It has been a long uphill pull through the dark. There is no reason to believe that more civil dissension might not be ahead, but China, nonetheless, is on the right path. It has the cheers of the rest of the world.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Honolulu Star Bulletin Letter to the Editor: US Forces in North China, Nov. 1945

The following is a letter published in Honolulu’s Star Bulletin, dated November 14, 1945, page 6:

Editor The Star Bulletin:

In recent weeks, the internal situation in China has become extremely explosive.

The presence of United States armed forces in north China, however, is not a deliberate attempt by the U.S. government to side with the Chungking government against the Communists. U.S. armed personnel are in China merely to aid the Chungking government to disarm and demobilize 4,000,000 Japanese troops and nationals in north China. It must be borne in mind that the Chungking government is the legal government of China and is considered as such by the major powers of the world. A New York Times editorial says in part:

“The Chinese Communists are trying to repeat the coup which Marshall Tito so successfully accomplished in Yugoslavia in which the Lubin regime repeated in Poland.

“And there is no doubt that the behavior of the big powers in these two cases is now raising new trouble for them elsewhere. The matter is, of course, primarily one for settlement by the Chinese themselves, and President Chiang Kai-shek has invited the head of the Communist regime to come to Chungking to discuss the problem as a Chinese internal affair.

“Judging from their past performances the Communists will refuse. They will not seek participation; they want domination. They are not a political party; they are a conspiracy to seize the Chinese government. And they consider the victory of the United Nations, in which they played a microscopic part, as their great opportunity.

“But the matter is obviously also one for the attention of the four among the Big Five. With China itself a member of the Big Five, it is impossible for them to deal with any factions within China behind the back of the Chinese government without inviting similar action within their own domain and thereby destroying all faith in the United Nations.”

George Y. Chan,
Ensign, USNR, 902 Spencer St.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Honolulu Star Bulletin Editorial: Still a Task in China (1946)

Editorial: Still a Task in China
Honolulu Star Bulletin: February 2, 1946
Page 6.

Practically all the fighting in China has been brought to a stop and a degree of political unity between Nationalists and Communists has been reached which holds high promise of continued peace and growth.

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek has pledged that the decisions of the unity conference just ended in Chungking will be carried out –free, open activities in all political parties; nationalization of the army; universal compulsory education; and economic reconstruction.

Toward these ends the generalissimo has made a number of concessions, the genuineness of which is best attested by the opposition they have aroused among functionaries of the Kuomintang party, who claim the government has no right to surrender any of its power.

In the conferences which have produced the unity agreement Gen. George C. Marshall, ambassador and special American representative, has remained largely in the background, but his constructive influence is evident in the quick progress made toward a settlement.

Yet Gen. Marshall’s and Generalissimo Chiang’s hardest task still remains-the amalgamation of the two armies which are still hostile to each other, despite the respite from fighting.

To accomplish this amalgamation, the unity conference set up a committee composed of two representatives from Chungking, one from among the Communists and Gen. Marshall himself.

The committee’s task is to whittle down 253 nationalists army divisions to 90 and 100 Communist divisions to 20, then melt them together into a single force willing to obey the edicts of Generalissimo Chiang.

Hopeful though the Chungking conference accomplishments have been, the reunification of China and the prospect of a peaceful future will not rest on solid ground until the army problem is solved.

The reason for this is simple. Government for the average Chinese has meant army. No central government has existed to maintain control throughout the country. Instead, dozens of armies have ruled dozens of different localities, and the rule of each has been different.

Once the task of military unification has been completed, the new state council of 40 members, which now takes over Chiang’s former powers of emergency decree, can begin to function as intended. But until the armies are removed from the field of government, peace and unity can not be said to have arrived in China.

Monday, September 6, 2010

News Notes from China’s Capital: February 6, 1946

News Notes from China’s Capital
(By the Chinese News Service-Official Agency)
Honolulu Star Bulletin. Wednesday, February 6, 1946. Page 8, col. 1-2.

CHUNGKING. Dr. Wei Tao-ming, Chinese ambassador to the United States, and Dr. Hollington Tong, former vice minister of information, left January 30 for Shanghai on their way to America.

Averill Harriman, U.S. ambassador to Soviet Russia, who recently arrived here for a short visit, also left for Shanghai returning to the United States. During his stay in Chungking, Ambassador Harriman was President Chiang’s house guest.

Dr. T.V. Soong, who was scheduled to fly to Taiwan (Formosa) on January 29, cancelled the trip due to engine trouble in his plane. He left Canton for Shanghai.

Gen. Chou En-lai and Lu Ting-I, Communist delegates to the political consultation conference, returned to Chungking from Yenan. The two went to Yenan on January 27 to report to the Communist party on the progress of the unity conference in Chungking.

Dr. P.H. Chang, counselor of the executive yuan (cabinet), has been slated as Chinese consul general in New York, succeeding Dr. James Tsung-hi Yu who will be transferred to another post shortly.

Born in Tientsin in 1902, Dr. Chang graduated from the Nankai University in 1920. He studied in England and Germany between 1920 and 1925. In 1934 he was appointed counselor of the executive yuan (cabinet), a post he will vacate when he leaves for New York. Dr. Chang has been a government spokesman at the weekly press conference in Chungking for the last two years.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Meanwhile in Shanghai…

Thanksgiving is one of America’s quintessential holidays, I was curious to know how my father and his fellow China Marines celebrated. Though I’ve not found anything yet this article by Henry Lieberman from the November 21, 1945 edition of the New York Times presents how things were in Shanghai. I am not sure whether my father ever visited the city. The nightlife is described as “feverish,” and foreign business men were not operating because of “exchange difficulties.”

Although the effervescent nightlife of Shanghai goes on at a fast, almost frenetic pace, China’s leading metropolis has not even come close to regaining its economic feet after three months of peace. The feeling prevails that the first peacetime winter will be hard for this city of more than 4,000,000, which is now experiencing a coal shortage and the dizzy processes of inflation.

The tinkle of ricksha bells combines with the roar of trolley and Army vehicular traffic to create a din of activity. Junks and Allied men of war glide down the Whangpoo River. Curio shops and street hawkers do a thriving business in exotic bric-a-brac, and American service men spend their money freely in the Avenue Joffre bistros.

But the basic commerce of this great port, which is said to have handled 10,000,000 tons of incoming and outgoing cargo annually before the war, has not yet been restored.

Foreign Representatives Back

The representatives of most of the American and British companies seem to be back on their old premises. They have been unable to resume their operations, however, because, the explain, the Chinese have not yet established a “realistic” exchange rate or promulgated a definite set of rules for doing business now that extraterritoriality has been abolished.

Aside from the matter of exchange, which is still operated under the wartime control machinery, the foreign business men are moving cautiously pending the official publication of China’s new company law. This is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 1946.

There are a number of indications that the economic situation has grown worse since the Japanese surrender even though Mayor Chien Ta-chun and the new Chinese municipal government have kept food supplies coming in and have maintained the public utility services without interruption. Prices have gone up 300 to 400 percent since the surrender, and while inflation is most noticeable in the restaurants and hotels frequented by foreigners, it has also affected the coolie.

The poor are paying more for rice and complaining that its quality has deteriorated. Rents have gone up, too, in the form of higher “key money,” the flat down payment required in Shanghai for taking possession of rented property. This “key money” payment is never returned. An office that could be obtained for two gold bars after the surrender, one business man asserts, now requires six gold bars for possession.

Employment Is Reduced

About 100,000 workers are now employed in Shanghai, as compared with 500,000 before the war in the city’s consumer goods factories, according to an official estimate. Cotton mills are the most important of these.

But these mills are cut off from their sources of raw cotton and coal in the southern provinces of Hopei and Shantung, where clashes are going on between the Communists and Government troops. So the cotton mills are operating with 159,000 spindles, as compared with 200,000 under the Japanese at the time of the surrender.

Five American Liberty ships and five British transports have brought 62,000 tons of coal to Shanghai from Chinwangtao during the past month, but this has been used mainly for the public utilities.

Night Life Is Flourishing

This side of Shanghai offers a pronounced contrast to the nightly gayety one finds in bistros like “D.D.’s,” the “Kavkaz,” the “Atomic Bar,’ and the “Arcadia” in the vicinity of Avenue Joffre and Avenue Albert in the old French Concession. Many of the 15,000 American soldiers still here and the 5,000 sailors are at liberty nightly and they flock to this oriental Times Square in pedicabs, a means of locomotion that is half ricksha and half bicycle.

A drink of Canadian Club along Frenchtown’s Gay White way costs $2.50, American money. White Russian and Eurasian girls, acting as hostesses, help run up the bills. These hostesses are free to leave the bistros to explore the night life with guests, but the price, according to the sailors, is $10, divided equally between the management and the hostesses.

There is a noticeable change in the attitude of service men since the first wave entered the city following the Japanese surrender. After long months in the interior of China they plunged like starved men into Shanghai’s metropolitan whirl. Now that the shine has worn off the men are looking homeward.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Take Out Anyone?

Among the other items we found in my father's scrapbook was this card. I would imagine this place is not in business anymore. Restaurants large and small, upscale and basic are all gathering places where memories are created and shared.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"A Marine is at Home Anywhere"

This is a newspaper clipping from one of my father’s albums. There is no date of the photograph mentioned. This is a photo of Chinese citizens outside the main gate to the 1st Marine Division’s headquarters in Tianjin (Tientsin).

The man on the left appears to be a military officer with the Chinese government. Under the photo is a caption that mentions the eagerness of the Chinese to see the Americans and try to speak English to the guards.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Map of North China: NY Daily News, November 7,1945

This is a clipping found in one of my father's albums of a map showing important location in North China. The map is dated November 7, 1945.

Note that Beijing is referred to as 'Peiping,' Tianjin is 'Tientsin,' and so on. Also note the caption that states the Americans "will leave for home by Dec. 5."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bargaining for Ricksha Rides

The weekend is here. Life and service with the American Marines in China included scenes such as this one. This clipping comes from one of my father's scrapbooks. There is no date mentioned.

What caught my attention was the name and title of the American Marine featured here. Corp. Richard W Miller of Philadelphia was a photographer connected with the 1st Marine Divisionin Tientsin (Tianjin). I'm interested in finding out if his photographic work is archived somewhere.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Map of the Bohai Sea

This is a modern map of the Bohai Sea region that features many of the name places found in the articles and sources mentioned in the articles I’ve posted on this blog. When looking at the map it becomes clear why this region of China was so important strategically in the mid-1940s. Given Tianjin’s location near Beijing it is no small wonder that this was then as it is now one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The North China Marine: Newspaper Published By and For the Marines

The North China Marine newspaper was published by and for the Marines stationed in North China after the conclusion of World War II. The image here comes from this link which featured an original edition that is for sale. I assume by now it has been sold.

I am looking for information on whether copies of this publication are available online, on microfilm or conserved in their original print editions. Please contact me. Thanks!

When Did World War II End? October 15, 1945 for the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions

Yesterday I found this article on the conclusion of World War II by Ed Fulwider of the China Marine Association. Of course, most American students learn that the war ended on V-E Day or V-J Day. I was in Hawaii when the 50th anniversary of V-J Day was observed.

Fulrider is correct that one important anniversary was not widely observed. That was the 50th anniversary of the surrender of over a half-million Japanese troops in Tianjin (spelled Tientsin in 1945) on October 15, 1945. My father was there in the middle of it all with the other members of the 1st Marine Division and 6th Marine Division.

Fulrider points out:

"On that day, the United Sates Marine Corps accepted the surrender of more than 500,000 Japanese troops in mainland China. The majority of these Marines were members of the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions who had just completed the long and bloody campaign on the island of Okinawa. They were among the hundreds of thousands of American serviceman preparing for the final assault to end the war and were scheduled to land on the Japanese homeland on November 1st. Had this invasion actually taken place, it would have made Valley Forge, Gettysburg, the Marne and even Iwo Jima look like Boy Scout Camporees. President Truman's difficult and courageous decision to drop the Atomic Bomb not only saved a million American casualties, it undoubtedly saved 10 million Japanese casualties."

Go to this link to read the entire text.

As I have continued my research and analysis it's also become clear to me that the seeds of what we knew as 'The Cold War' were in the process of being planted. The immediate postwar period was a far more complicated and dangerous time than many people realize.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chinhsien Still Attacked: New York Times: Sunday, November 25, 1945

Chinhsien Still Attacked
New York Times: Sunday, November 25, 1945. Page 4.
By Wireless to the New York Times

CHUNGKING Nov. 24 –Government forces are continuing their attack on Chinhsien, main communist base and administrative center in southwest Manchuria.

[Government troops were reported to have seized Chinhsien’s railway station, according to The Associated Press]

To attack Chinhsien the government forces bypassed the port of Hulutao, leaving it on their flank for later attention. The aim now is said to be to smash the Communists in the Chinhisien area.

The Communists say they had been operating strongly in Liaoning Province from Chinhsien to the Great Wall during the war against Japan and after the Japanese surrendered. They incorporated the area, together with Jehol Province, into their Chinchachi border region. In addition to Jehol and part of Liaoning the region takes in the Communist area of northern Hopeh, northern Shansi and southern Chahar and has its “capital” at Kalgan.

Other Government Advances

Government forces are pushing northward also at points west of Shanhaikwan and the Communists report fighting at Fengjun and Lwanhsien. Trainloads of Government troops from Peiping were said to have been sent to Nankow, the pass through the Great Wall leading to Kalgan.

The success of the Government offensive in Manchuria has caused Kuomintang quarters here to feel more optimistic about the Manchurian situation. These sources believe that if the Government troops could move more quickly they would be able to take over the main centers before the Communists could build up military strength and that a large part of the population would welcome Government control instead of Communist domination.

The Foreign Office spokesman said that despite continued Chungking negotiations with Russia no satisfactory arrangement had been made for the entry of Kuomintang troops into Manchuria. Reports from Manchuria indicate a continuation of the Russian withdrawal and probable further expansion of Communist influence.

Hulutao Reported Taken: New York Times Nov. 25, 1945

Hulutao Reported Taken
New York Times: Sunday, November 25, 1945. Page 4.

(AP) –Chinese Government troops have wrested the Manchurian port of Hulutao from the Chinese Government Communists, Chungking newspapers reported today.

Capture of Hulutao would give the Government its first port in Manchuria at which to land reinforcements for the campaign at securing Manchurian strongpoints, many of which are already reported being entered by Chinese Communists as the Russians withdraw.

Chinese Communists report that their forces are pouring into Mukden, Manchuria. They asserted that 200,000 men, including the People’s Militia, were ready to fight for Manchuria.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Living Quarters of the Dowager Empress Ci'xi: January 21, 1946

This is a photograph taken by my father of the front entrance of the Hall of Joyful Longevity at the Summer Palace outside Beijing. The image was taken during a visit on January 21, 1946.

This building was the summer residence of Empress Dowager Ci’xi from April to October. An earlier residence stood on this site until it was destroyed in 1860 by the Allied Anglo-French Force. The Empress Dowager had this reconstructed in 1889.

The foreground of this photo features a pair of bronze deer, two cranes and one of two large bronze vases. My father’s notation in the photo albums states “Bronze deer and Phoenix Incense burner.” Deers are symbols of longevity since the Chinese believe that deers are the only creatures that can find the lingzhi fungus of immortality.

I was intrigued to find a reference to an electric chandelier that hangs from the ceiling in a sitting room. It was installed in 1903, and it is said to be the first electric light ever introduced in China. For further details about the Hall of Joyful Longevity go to this link.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Marines To Stay On Job In China: New York Times Nov. 25, 1945

Marines To Stay On Job In China
New York Times: Sunday, November 25, 1945. Page 4.

-No Prospect of Early Leaving, Wedemeyer Says – Expects MacArthur Visit


-Repatriation of Japanese Goes Slowly – U.S. Officers Not Admitted to Manchuria

By Henry R. Lieberman, by Wireless to the New York Times.

SHANGHAI, Nov. 24 –There appears little prospect of an early evacuation of North China by United States Marines as Lieut. Gen. Albert C. Wedermeyer, American theater commander, told a press conference that his instruction from the War Department did not cover an “immediate withdrawal.”

At the same time he declared that he and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had invited Gen. Douglass MacArthur to visit China and that the Supreme Allied Commander had “expressed a desire to come as soon as his official duties in Tokyo permitted.”

When he was asked when the Marines would “pull out” of North china General Wedermeyer reiterated the stand that his job is to implement policy and not make it. He said that until he got instruction regarding the withdrawal of the Marines he could not answer the question.

“I am just a pick and shovel man doing my best to carry out instructions from Washington, “he added.

General Wedermeyer asserted that his directives required him to assist the Chinese Government to disarm the Japanese and repatriate them to their homeland. Following his recent disclosure that one-third of the 1,090,000 Japanese troops in China proper are still not disarmed, he said today that out of 500,000 Japanese troops and civilians between the Yellow River and the Great Wall, only 35,000 will have been repatriated by Nov. 30.

-Rate is 3,000 a Day

“We have facilities for repatriating 3,000 Japanese daily,” General Wedermeyer said. He added that at this rate it would take six to eight months to get the Japanese out of North China.

With Chinese troops movements competing with the repatriation problem for scarce shipping space, General Wedermeyer told the conference the Chinese Government has requested the United States to make additional vessels available to transport Government forces northward. He added that the War Shipping Administration was now studying this request.

Denying Communist claims that the United States Army had committed itself to train and equip seventy Nationalist Government Divisions, General Wedermeyer said that the wartime contract with Chungking called only for training and equipping thirty-nine divisions. By the end of the war, he said, twenty of those divisions were completely trained and equipped and the remaining nineteen were in various stages of American sponsorship.

Now that the war is over, he continued, the equipping of these nineteen divisions is being completed by making available to the Chinese lend lease material that was either en route to China or in Army storehouses here when the war ended. The Chinese Army, he saod, is completing its own training program formerly carried out under the auspices of the United States Army’s Chinese Combat Command.

-Says Question is for Chinese

Parrying a question as to whether the Government forces now engaged against the Communists include wartime American-sponsored divisions, General Wedermeyer said that such a query should be addressed to the Chinese authorities. He conceded, however, that some of the units of the Thirteenth Army that were transported to Chinwantao, on the Hopei coast, by the United States Seventh Fleet were trained and equipped earlier by the Americans.

American cadres have been assined to assist the Government troops embarking by sea for North China and debarking there, General Wedermeyer said. He added, however, that United States liaison groups would not accompany Chinese land forces entering Manchuria.

The general confirmed earlier reports that united States Army personnel who went to Manchuria at the time of the surrender to gather intelligence and pave the way for the entry of Chinese Government forces had been asked to withdraw by the Russians. The theater commander who declared there were no Army personnel in Manchuria have said the withdrawal of the first Americans entering the northeastern provinces had been requested by a Soviet consul, whose name he remembered as Danovich.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mystery Building in Tianjin

Among my father's various photos are these. The buildings are supposedly located in Tianjin, probably in the former Foreign Concession section of the city. Do you know what these buildings were and what they were used for? Do they still exist? Please contact me. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Veteran Who Needs Help (Editorial)

On the same day that the editorial on American policy and involvement in China was published this one on the special needs to returning veterans appeared. This editorial could apply today in the early 21st century:

New York Times: Friday, November 23, 1945

If there is any one thing that the American service man wanted during the war was to get home.

Home, as seen from the front-line hole in the ground, the deck of a fighting ship, the inside of a fighting plane or some forsaken outpost, was heaven. But for many returned veterans it is turning out to be an imperfect heaven.

Bradley Buell and Reginald Robinson, looking into case records in several American cities, find about one-fifth of the veterans “unable to cope, by themselves, with the problems of personal and family adjustment which face them.” The Buell-Robinson report, financed by the Grant Foundation and to be published in the forthcoming issue of survey Mid-Monthly, emphasizes the need for community action on all fronts to ease the veterans transition into civilian life.

Veterans come home to face all sorts of problems. Many of them are emotionally upset and need psychiatric attention. Some find family troubles waiting for them. The investigators believe that for five or ten years to come “there will develop personal and family crises which had their beginnings in this present period of transition from military to civilian life.” The veteran and his family may become what social workers call a “case” –in other words, they need the very best advice and guidance they can get. They need help to adjust themselves emotionally; they made need more financial aid than comes automatically under the GI Bill of Rights –they want education; they will have health problems; they will want to rebuild the social life and friendships war has destroyed or suspended.

Many existing agencies can do various parts of this job: the Red Cross, the charitable and social service organizations, employment services, Selective Service boards, juvenile courts and domestic relations courts, veterans information centers. But too often the veteran doesn’t know just where to go. Too often he feels that he is being given a run-around. The gist of the Buell-Robinson report is that his needs should be more concretely realized, that it should be made easier for him to get the information and the help he requires, and that there should be a centralized community responsibility for him and his future.

He comes close to being one in ten of the population of many cities. If in one out of five cases he is in serious trouble and the trouble is not cured the situation is bad for him and dangerous for his country. The moral seems to be that we need now and will need for years to come a warm aliveness to the veteran’s difficulties and an earnest determination to make up to him the time and opportunities he lost while serving his country.

New York Times Editorial: American Policy in China, Nov. 1945

The following is an editorial from the November 23, 1945 edition of the New York Times:


On the basis of first-hand investigation on the spot, Under-Secretary of the Navy Gates sends back word that the situation in China is more serious and the danger of American involvement more acute than is generally realized. The Chinese civil war, which is rapidly passing from a war of words to a war of arms, is lighting new fires in the East which could set all Asia aflame again. It was Asia rather than Europe that was the immediate cause of America’s entry into the war, and American forces are now deployed throughout the Orient to help liquidate that war, a fact which puts them in the direct path of any new conflagration.

Under these circumstances it behooves the American Government and the American people to be very clear about the reasons which brought our forces to the Orient, and about the policy we wish to pursue there. The temptation is great to avoid possible danger simply by withdrawing all Americans from the danger zone, and old isolationist voices mingle with those of partisanship to urge such a step. But an examination of the fundamental causes, principles and methods of our policy in the Far East reveals how contradictory such an act would be to everything we have stood and fought for, and how futile and how dangerous such a course might be. For these causes, principles and methods may be summarized as follows:

1. The immediate issue over which the United States was plunged into war was American aid to China, which prevented Japan from conquering that great and friendly nation. America aided China for three reasons. The first was that we stand for a free world and that it is part of our policy to aid victims of aggression. The second was that we were specifically pledged by policy to defend the Open door in China, and by the Nine-Power Treaty to uphold the ‘sovereignty, the independence, and the territorial and administrative integrity of China.” The third and most fundamental reason, proceeding from the elemental instinct of self-preservation, was the realization that the domination of Asia by Japan would represent a mortal threat to the security of the United States.

2. American aid to China was extended to the only authority to which it could be extended –the Chinese National Government under Chiang Kai-shek, which all Chinese factions still recognize. This government was America’s ally during the war. It is now a charter member of the United Nations. To extend aid to any other authority in China would have been tantamount to fomenting rebellion against our ally and a flagrant intervention in China’s internal affairs. It is a curious but revealing sidelight on the situation that some of the same voices which properly demanded American aid to the Spanish Loyalists as the legitimate government of a neutral country now cry out against American aid to the legitimate government of our ally China.

3. Before Japan surrendered it was feared that American forces would have to fight the Japanese across China even after Japan herself had been conquered. The Japanese surrender fortunately made that great and perilous task unnecessary, but buy the surrender terms signed by all the Powers the Japanese armies in China have been ordered to surrender to Chiang Kai-sek, together with their arms and equipment. Because of the Communist revolt, Chiang Kai-sek has been delayed in carrying out his part of the surrender terms, and American forces are now aiding him in doing so. They are not there to fight the Chinese Communists, or to take part in a Chinese civil war, but to complete the Japanese surrender in conformity with obligations assumed by the American Government. In the performance of that duty they are entitled to understanding and support at home.

4. Whatever aid must still be extended to china must likewise go to the National Government, because any other course would undermine the United Nations. In this connection we must note that the other great Western Power in Asia, Soviet Russia, has pledged itself in the Russian-Chinese treaty to extend moral and military support to the National Government and no other.

5. The National Government of China is not yet as democratic as we should like it to be, but it offers more hope for liberty than the totalitarian regime of the Chinese Communists. The National Government is not only pledged to the establishment of democracy after a long period or tutelage; it is already beginning to extend democracy to the opposition. The Chinese Communists liquidate all opposition.

These are the principles and the practical considerations which have shaped, and should continue to shape, or policies.

Monday, July 5, 2010

New York Times: Role in China Laid to Vow to Japan, November 22, 1945

Role in China Laid to Vow to Japan
New York Times: Thursday, November 22, 1945. Page 8

Byrnes Reveals That Marines Must Stay Until 600,000 of Foe Are Sent Home

Pledge Made in August

Diplomats in Washington See Long Stay by Our Forces in Civil War Areas

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 –Secretary of State James F. Byrnes disclosed today that the United States had promised Japan last August that she would see that Japanese troops in all outlying places, including many Pacific Islands, were returned to their home islands.

The disclosure was made in response to questions at the Secretary’s press conference concerning marines who were in North China to assist Chungking forces in bringing about the surrender of Japanese troops in that area. Mr. Brynes said his latest reports were that there were about 300,000 Japanese soldiers and 300,000 civilians still in North China.

Our promise to bring about the return of the Japanese troops, Secretary Byrnes explained, was given in response to a Japanese inquiry last August regarding the Potsdam ultimatum calling upon Japan to surrender. While Mr. Byrnes did not go into the matter in detail today, it was assumed that the pledge in which he referred applied to the area in which we received responsibility from the Combined Chiefs of Staff last summer. This area includes Japan, the Philippines, islands in that general area which lie north of the Netherlands Indies, where Britain has the responsibility, and North China.

Our responsibility in North China, however, was limited to assisting Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in cleaning up there. This limitation, however, would not relieve us of our responsibility to return Japanese soldiers where we can.

Secretary Byrnes made the disclosure in explaining the presence of our marines in North china as solely a military matter, although he said that inevitably political aspects arose incidentally.

In view of our pledge, he declared, the marines should remain there until their mission was completed, although he reiterated that his statement of two weeks ago. To the effect that plans were underway for their withdrawal, still stood. He stressed that the accomplishment of our pledged purpose depended in some slight measure upon the availability of transportation, especially ships.

Mr. Brynes said that his information was that reports as to the fighting in North china had been exaggerated but, he added, the situation was most unfortunate.

Long Stay by Marines Seen
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21. Secretary of state Byrnes’ comment today, on the secret assurances that surrendered soldiers would be returned to Japan, immediately raised speculation among diplomats here that American marines and other forces would be active in strife-torn China for a fairly long time.

It was a question of how soon these United States forces in north China –the scene of conflict between Chinese Government and Chinese Communist forces- might be withdrawn that set off the discussion that led to mention of the undisclosed assurances.

Heretofore inquiries at the State Department about the need for American marines in north China have always been answered with the statement that their presence there was necessitated by the surrender of Japanese forces because it is this Government’s policy to give all possible assistance in such matters to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

This is apart from the question of sending a military mission to help train Chinese troops as Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, American commander in China, forecast immediately after his recent return to China from Washington.

Any political implications in the presence of American forces in China at this time, Mr. Byrnes said, arise incidentally to the main military purposes they serve there.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 4, 1946: New York City Welcomes the 442nd, by Jeffrey Bingham Mead

By Jeffrey Bingham Mead

It was a welcoming-home event like none other that New York City had thrown before. Summer heat and humidity descended on the region in the days leading up to the first post-World War II July 4 holiday. “Skippers of harbor craft leaned heavily on their whistles, low-flying Navy planes dived low in salute and fireboats put on a display off the Battery yesterday afternoon,” reported the New York Times on July 3.

The Transport Wilson Victory had arrived at 3:00 p.m. off ‘the Narrows’ between Staten Island and Brooklyn, the main channel long considered the maritime gateway to the city. It was escorted up the Hudson to Pier 84.

An Army tugboat carried a band that commenced playing a medley of Hawaiian tunes, causing the returning soldiers and about 800 other passengers to the rails, life rafts and the ship’s mast to view, hear and no doubt smile at the welcome they rightfully were receiving. Thoughts of home and of loved-ones who had withstood separation and sacrifices surely warmed their hearts.

The occasion was the return of 500 officers and enlisted men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. They were returning home after nearly three years of some of the worst combat in Europe. Many of their brothers in arms did not live to see victory or the welcome those who survived the horrors of the Second World War were being treated to by the people of New York City that summer day.

“And for support of this Declaration,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in the American Declaration of Independence, “with a firm reliance on Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our Live, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” Those words rang true in 1776. On this occasion -and for these special Americans- history and tradition was reaffirmed.

Those returning soldiers were making history, and history was all around them that sunny day in New York. Almost 170 years earlier British forces under the command of William Howe in late August 1776 mounted an amphibious maneuver across those same Narrows from Staten Island, landing in Brooklyn, routing Washington’s army at the Battle of Long Island. This was the first major battle of the American Revolution, and it was the largest of the entire Revolutionary War.

It was a near catastrophe for Washington, his army and the cause of American freedom and independence just declared the month before.

But the landscape the 442nd Regimental Combat Team passed by that day was the scene of one of the most surprising and successful military retreats in history –a retreat that, confusing as it may be was in hindsight a resounding victory.

Washington and the army under his command were encircled on Brooklyn Heights; the East River was at their backs. Heavy rain descended. British forces were digging trenches, and approaching the American lines. David McCullough reflected in his book ‘1776’ that, “With the situation as grim as it could be, no one was more conspicuous in his calm presence of mind than Washington, making his rounds on horseback in the rain. They must be “cool but determined,” he had told the men before battle, when spirits were high. Now, in the face of catastrophe, he was demonstrating what he meant by his own example. Whatever anger or torment or despair he felt, he kept to himself.”

The commander of the Pennsylvania regiments was Thomas Mifflin, who had crossed over from Manhattan to Brooklyn. After an inspection of the outer American defenses he advised Washington that retreat to Manhattan was necessary. The other Generals agreed and orders were sent out. “In a single night,” McCullough wrote, “9,000 troops had escaped across the river. Not a life was lost. The only men captured were three who had hung back to plunder.” The British were understandably astonished, and the cause of freedom was preserved.

The members of the 442nd were officially welcomed at New York’s Pier 84 by Hugo Rogers, president of the Borough of Manhattan along with army officers that included Brig. Gen. Robert H. Wylie, deputy chief of transportation of the Army as well as Major Gen. Ewart G. Plank, the commanding officer of the New York Port of Embarkation.

The New York Times reported that in a message from Gen. Jacob L. Devers, head of the Army Ground Forces, the soldiers of the 442nd were honored for their record of service and valor “in which we of the Army Ground Forces take special pride.”

Lieut. Col. Alfred A. Pursall (spelled Purcell by the Times) of Crystal City, Missouri was there. He was the commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion who said, according to the Times, the troops displayed the same high morale and in the scene of battle.

The Times did not shy away from the issue of discrimination the Japanese Americans endured. Pursall reportedly commented that indeed discrimination against Nisei families “was not entirely cleared up,” noting that while it was “depressing” it did not lead to bad morale. “The men took in their stride. They were out to fight for liberty and recognition of themselves and honor for their families in every way.”

“How thoroughly the 442nd lived up to its meaning (referring to the slogan ‘Go for Broke”) was reflected in the 3,600 Purple Hearts and almost 2,000 other decorations, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, won in their drives.”

The day after the news of the warm welcome and return to American soil was reported, the New York Times published an editorial like none other in a July 4 edition. It was and still is a cause for celebration and inspiration.

Entitled ‘First-Class Citizens,’ the July 4 Independence Day editorial harkened back to the days of the American Revolution and those who crossed the waters of New York to secure freedom and liberty we enjoy as the 21st century continues to unfold:

“By any test, the men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team who came home belatedly from Europe to a sincere welcome by New York City are a fine type of American citizen. All were born in the United States, or in United States territory. They were educated in American schools. As a group they and their parents and grandparents have the highest record of law observance in Honolulu and on the West Coast. Some of them were in military service before the beginning of the war. Practically all of the rest were volunteers in the sense that they did not wait their turn to be drafted. Their military record is unsurpassed by any organization of the like size in the United States Army.

“These men deserve well of their country. They are of Japanese ancestry, descendants of a people with whom we have just fought a bloody war. But if anyone ever lived up to the democratic ideals it was the men of the 442nd, 650 of whom died in action, or of wounds, and of whom 4,349 more were wounded in action and 4,881 suffered from combat-induced illness. Even more important than their combat record, however, is the report of their commanding officer that their morale has been as good in camp, as they waited long to come home, as it was in combat.

“For these men, it is hoped, there will be waiting here no second-class treatment, no second-class citizenship or social or economic discrimination. For they and their families from which they came are first-class citizens in every sense. They won that honor the hard way –with blood, sweat and tears. They are men of whom the whole United States should be proud.”

On this 234th anniversary of American independence we reminded that throughout our history the lives entailing self-sacrifice are the ones that endure the most. Whether it was 1776, the World War II years, the present and all points in between we should both celebrate and pause to recall those who answered the call in the face of tyranny’s darkness to uphold, perpetuate, support and protect free government. Throughout the great events of time our wisdom, moral courage and our ideals have been and will continue to be tested. History records the achievements of those who embraced the inner strength and faith needed to face down discouragement, fear, discrimination and turn those darker paths of human conduct into opportunities for courage and devotion to a cause and country higher than themselves. “Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages,” said Washington. As it should be.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New York Times: Manchuria Gains are Won by Chiang, November 20, 1945

Manchuria Gains are Won by Chiang: Chungking Says Government Troops Have Gone 40 Miles Beyond Shanhaikwan
New York Times: Tuesday, November 20, 1945, page 2.
By Tillman Durdin. By Wireless to the New York Times.

[Map Caption: In the region of Shanhaikwan (1) Nationalist soldiers swept to Suichung and Shihmenchai (A on inset). Suichung is half way to the port of Hulutao and a third of the way to the Communist base at Chinhsien. In the interior Chinese Reds were attacking Tatung (2), were still besieging Kweisui (3) and were reported to have captured the railroad town of Paotow (4). The Communists denied they were landing men at Dairen and Port Arthur (5), but government sources insisted such forces were crossing from the Shantung Peninsula and were landing in that area.]

CHUNGKING, China, Nov. 19 – Government troops, pouring into Manchuria through Shanhaikwan, have reached Suichung, forty miles beyond the Great Wall, Government sources revealed here today.

At the same time it was reliably reported that virtually the entire Government mission of 500 persons, sent to Changchun a month ago to take over civil and military affairs in Manchuria, was being withdrawn, and that only a small group was being left behind to maintain liaison with the Russians.

These major developments on the Manchurian scene coincided with a continued lack of improvement in Communist-Kuomintang relations, marked by comment from Communist sources here that “conditions have worsened.” Communist-Kuomintang hostilities at Kweisui, Paotow and Tatung in China’s far north and at points in southern Shansi and Honan persisted.

The report that Government troops have reached Suichung does not make clear whether the place has been captured, but indicates a good pace in the advance. The town is half way to the port of Hulutao from Shanhaikwan and a third of the way to the important Communist base at Chinhsien.

If Government troops can take Hulutao, the port would be open for American ships to shuttle more Chungking forces to Manchuria. The Government troops are operating from Chinwangtao, the base to which they were taken by United States vessels after it had been taken by American marines.

The official Central News Agency still is making no report of the Government’s Manchuria advance, but the Communist office here said the Government troops were branching out west and north of Shanhaikwan for fifteen to twenty miles.

[Government forces have fanned out to Funing, thirty miles west of Shanhaikwan, and Shihmenchai, ten miles northwest, according to Communist sources, The United Press said.]

A good part of the Chungking mission to Manchuria has already been withdrawn and the members are now in Peiping and Chungking. Following the arrival here of Gen. Hsiung Shih-hui, head of the Generalissimo’s Headquarters for the Northeast, last week the Generalissimo’s son, Chiang Ching-kuo, special diplomatic representative with the mission, returned here yesterday. Chiang Kai-ngau, head of the economic commission to Manchuria and chairman of the Changchun Railway is understood to be in Peiping on his way here.

Officials here are reticent about the withdrawal from Changchun, but it is understood to be the result of the inability of the mission to accomplish the assignment of taking over the administration of Manchuria. The reason seems to be primarily the activities of the Communists. The Russians are understood to be taking the position that they are neutral and cannot suppress Communist activity and keep Manchuria secure pending the arrival of Government forces in strength.

The presence of strong Communist forces around Changchun is understood to be a deterrent to flying in Government forces there. It is feared the Government troops would not have time to consolidate before the Russian forces pulled out, leaving the Government units facing the Communists at a disadvantage. Presumably negotiations with the Russians regarding this problem are still going on.

The schedule for the Russian withdrawal from Manchuria calls for their evacuating the Changchun area soon and all of Manchuria by the first week of December. In effect the Russians in Manchuria are declining to do for the Government what the Americans have done in north China, to garrison and hold areas against the Communists until Government troops have arrived and consolidated their control.

The Communist spokesman here charged today that the Government was trying to impose its rule on Manchuria and that the will of the people there was not being taken into consideration. He said the proper procedure would be to form a popular government in Manchuria representing all interests. He said he knew little about Communist activities in Manchuria because the Chungking Communist office was cut off from communication with Manchuria.

The Yenan Communist radio denied reports that Communist troops had landed at Dairen and Port Arthur from Shantung.

The Communist attacks on Paotow, Kweisui and Tatung are understood to be going on amid heavy snows and bitter cold. The Yenan radio denied a Chungking report that the Communist troops in Suiyuan were equipped with heavy guns “from some other source” than the Japanese. The radio said the Communists had “never received arms from any foreign country.”

Although small Communist-Kuomintang clashes continue in Shansi, Honan and northern Kiangau, a lull seems settling over these areas on conflict. In a recent clash with puppet troops at Chiehho Station on the Tientsin-Pukow railway the Communists claim they wiped out a good part of an army.

The American policy in China was criticized today by a number of speakers at a public meeting here that was attended by several hundred representatives of business and educational and Democratic party leaders. The meeting was called to protest against the civil war and there were denunciations for both the Kuomintang and Communist party.

Dr. Lo Lung-chi, one of the Democratic League leaders, who is a graduate of Columbia University, charged that American aid in support of one party against another was contributing to civil war in China.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Honolulu Advertiser: Grave World Crisis Brews in North China Nov. 18, 1945

Honolulu Advertiser: Grave World Crisis Brews in North China
Sunday Morning, November 18, 1945. Page 1 and Page 10, Col. 8.

NEW YORK, Nov. 17 (UP) –Two developments tonight emphasize the international importance of the civil strife in China.

One is the decision of Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedermeyer, commanding general of the U.S. forces there, to take armed action against a Communist-held village in northeastern China to prevent further attacks on American marines.

The other is the resentment, so far entirely unofficial, in Chungking against the Russian course in Manchuria.

Not Local Affair

Any tendency to regard the China trouble as a local affair which can be solved by the Chinese themselves without disturbing the world picture seems to be a grave mistake.

Russia and the United States already are directly involved. Both have troops in Chinese territory, although the Russians are now pulling out fast. The United States is openly supporting Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek by every means short of actual fighting. The Russians, by negative action, are aiding the Communists in the north.

Gen. Wedermeyer’s announcement implies that United States forces soon may be drawn into the shooting.

That would be unfortunate, since it is not easy to isolate such an “incident” in a country torn by war.

Attitude Held Correct

Wedermeyer’s attitude is, of course. Technically correct.

American forces in North China have the sole avowed purpose of aiding in the disarmament and disbandment of the Japanese. If they are attacked, in the process, they must defend themselves.

Unfortunately, the Communists regard the American policy as out and out intervention and are bitter about it.

The Russian policy of non-intervention, if it can be called that, is much more subtle. The Russians like the United States have recognized and committed their support to the Chungking government. Yet the Russians are not giving their support to Chiang.

The Russians are withdrawing their troops from Manchuria in literal compliance with treaty terms, but in doing so are permitting the Chinese Communists to take vast stores of Japanese arms, munitions and supplies.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Minister of War Chen Cheng Enters Forbidden City: Nov. 18, 1945

On November 18, 1945 my father was in the Forbidden City. The photos featured here are from that day. All photos were taken by him.

One photo shows KMT troops entering the Forbidden City. Another shows Chiang Kai-shek’s Minister of War and his staff. His name, I believe, was Chen Cheng.

So far I have found very little information about him with the exception of this English-language profile on Wikipedia. I am not the fondest fan of Wikipedia, though in this case it provides a starting off place for further research. Go to this link for Chen Cheng’s biographical profile.

Chen Cheng was appointed by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-sek to serve as the Chief of the General Staff, a rank and title that sounds similar to a Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the American military. According to this source Chen implemented Chiang’s orders to attack areas controlled by the Communist Red Army. This apparently instigated the Chinese Civil War.

I have no idea yet why he was in the Forbidden City on November 18, 1945. His presence there occurred just after an incident in Chineangtao in which gunfire was exchanged between members of the 1st Marine Division and Red Army forces. No one was hurt or killed. The New York Times reported that a Communist spokesman justified the incident as necessary so long as American troops transported “Government troops” (KMT forces). The incident was reported in the November 18 edition of the New York Times. Again, I’d be interested in knowing where Chen Cheng was at the time.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Antique Shanghai Pop Music 1930-1949

While surfing the Internet and iTunes I came across this interesting web site. It features popular music centered in Shanghai from 1930 to 1949. Go to this link.

The site's owner and developer say this: "However, antique Shanghai pop music has the appeal to a certain sentimentality that is not only understood through the context of history; it can be thought as a discontinued school of aesthetics, a lost craft. Thus, I truly hope that something new will be introduced when I expose the potential joy of the music."

Among a number of things I desire to learn more about what U.S. Marines like my father and the Chinese listened to in terms of music. I would imagine that American pop music of that time was available, or was it? Did it all originate in Shanghai for distribution across China? My research continues. In the meantime enjoy the music and historical commentary.

YouTube Channel and Gmail Account Created

This morning I set up a YouTube channel. The address is

In addition, I've created a special gmail address for inquiries and messages. You can still contact me at my personal account, but here is the one I set up for my research:


Jeffrey Bingham Mead

Chiang Kai-shek's Portrait on the Meridian Gate: November 18, 1945

"Peacetime Minutemen"

Excerpted from this link:

"There did remain some hostile fire for the Marines in Asia-but not in Japan. The Marines soon had to go back to China, where they had been intermittently active for decades. Whether they arrived in ships at the mouth of the Hai River or in the railway station, throngs of boisterous Chinese greeted the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines with cheers and wide grins. Children waved, laughed, and scurried about amid the novelty of seeing such large, tough-looking American troops. The 3/7 was in the vanguard of General Keller Rockey's III Amphibious Corps force of fifty thousand Marines en route to duty in war-wracked northern China.

"The first landing of Marines in China had taken place in Canton in 1844 to protect an American trading post. In 1856, Marines had led a combined navy-Marine assault on several barrier forts manned by Chinese who sought to prevent the U.S. Navy from resupplying the U.S. legation in Canton. More famously, the Marines engaged in heavy combat in Peking and Tientsin in defense of American and other foreign nationals during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. They stayed from 1900 to 1941, giving rise to the term China Marines.

"The new deployment marked a departure, for postwar North China duty was the first of many inspired by the Cold War. For the next four years ever-smaller numbers of Marines found themselves embroiled in the bizarre, highly unpredictable, and often violent landscape of China's civil strife. Sino-American diplomacy of this era was attended by more than a little naivete on the part of American policy makers, and the costs of America's well-intentioned but wrongheaded policies were paid in large measure by Rockey's force of Marines. The China deployment would come to an abrupt conclusion in May 1949 with the Marines' evacuation of American dependents in Tsingtao, just as Mao Tse-tung's troops were about to crush the remnants of Nationalist resistance and give birth to the People's Republic of China."

Friday, June 25, 2010

New York Times Nov. 19, 1945: Chinese Reds Justify Sniping at Americans

Chinese Reds Justify Sniping at Americans
New York Times: Monday, November 19, 1945
By the United Press

TIENTSIN, China, Monday, Nov. 19 –A Communist spokesman said today that Red troops would continue to disrupt military communications lines in North China and that clashes with American patrols were “regrettable and unavoidable.”

In an “unofficial interview,” the spokesman said that the attacks would continue against vital lines in the undeclared war zone as long as they were used to transport troops and supplies of the Chinese government.

He termed the “firing incident” involving Maj. Gen. Dewitt Peck, commander of the First United States Marine Division, regrettable, but said that as long as American troops continued to transport Government troops, such incidents could not be avoided.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nov. 1945: U.S. Marines Forced To Fire On Chinese As Reds Cut Rail Line

U.S. Marines Forced To Fire On Chinese As Reds Cut Rail Line
New York Times: Sunday Morning, November 18, 1945
By Richard W. Johnston

CHINWANGTAO, North China, Nov. 17 (UP) –Maj. Gen. DeWitt Peck, commander of the American 1st Marine Division, arrived here today in a reconnaissance plane after a reinforced company of his U.S. Marines had quieted harassing fire against a Leatherneck troop train stalled 25 miles southwest of here by Chinese Communists.

Gen. Peck said that the Communists and Marines exchanged scattered shots for 15 hours during the trip from Tientsin.

Twice the railroad, which is still guarded by Japanese troops, was blown up in front of the Marines train.

Peck said he had to give up the trip and accept a lift from the air sea rescue reconnaissance craft to keep a conference date in Chinwangtao.

Peck said the train got as far as Tangshan, halfway point between Tientsin and Chinwangtao, without difficulty or interruption. Six miles east of Kuyeh the train was halted by the blowing up of the roadbed.

The general said the train had hardly stopped when rifle bullets and some automatic fire began to spatter around the area.

The firing, he said, continued from shortly after daylight through “all the rest of the day.”

Marine guards returned the fire every time they saw a target.

The Communists did not score a hit, possibly because of poor marksmanship or, as peck suspected, they did not wish to wound the marines. He said he believed they only wanted to harass repair crews.

The roadbed was fixed the following day and the train got 20 miles farther before it was stalled at Lwanhsien by a blown up bridge.

The rest of the marines are still there and it looks as if the roadbed will be out one or two days more, Peck said.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Visits to Coal Hill or Jing Shan Park

One of the places in Beijing Dad enjoyed visiting was Coal Hill (Mei Shan), also called Jing Shan Park or Prospect Hill today. The photos featured here were taken on January 5, 1946.

Featured here are photos he took on one of those visits. The first is from an unknown location looking towards it. The second photo is apparently from one of the five pavilions, the ‘White Pagoda,’ the highest point on Coal Hill and, in turn, the highest point in Beijing.

The park itself that includes Coal Hill is approximately 57 acres and sits on the central point of the south-north axis.

It was opened to the public some time in 1928. The hill was created in the year 1420. Sources describe various purposes for the hill and for its location that includes guarding the Forbidden City against “evil northern spirits” according to feng shui principles.

Note the barbed wire, and to the left is a Chinese national apparently in uniform. Though it is difficult to see, off in the distance is the Forbidden City.

Coal Hill is an artificial mound located north of the Forbidden City, today known as the Palace Museum. At one time the private garden of the imperial family, my father said it was the highest hill in Beijing, and as the photos attest it offers visitors then as it does now superb views of the city.

Supposedly a coal supply was buried under the earth excavated from the moat and Behai lakes from which the hill was created. Other sources point out that coal was at one time stored at the foot of the hill.

Five pavilions were built on Coal Hill. They are each known today as Guanmiaoting (Wonderful View Pavilion); Zhoushangting (Surrounding View Pavilion); Wanchunting (Ten Thousand Spring Pavilion); Fulanting (Panoramic View Pavilion); and Jifangting (Harmonious Fragrance Pavilion). For more interesting facts and color pictures go to this link.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

October 10, 1945 Rally in New York Hails Chinese Republic

Chiang and Truman Messages Are Read-Generalissimo Pleads for Allied Unity
New York Times: Thursday, October 11, 1945.

President Chiang Kai-shek urged that the unity in war among the allied nations be continued in peace and President Truman pledged American support of China’s efforts to build a democratic nation in messages read last night at the China Friendship Day rally held at Carnegie Hall on the thirty-fourth anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China.

“We are deeply grateful for help from the American government, which has been a decisive factor in the pacific war,” President Chiang said.

“Now the days of war have ceased and days of rehabilitation and reconstruction have come. During the war the Allied armies fought as one, Allied governments planned as one, Allied peoples bore their burdens as one. In unity was strength and in strength victory. Therefore, let us now be resolved that this cooperation and brotherhood may not be things of the moment only but, in deeper measure, may characterize the days ahead so that peace as in war unity will prevail.”

President Truman’s message said the American people joined all free nations in saluting the people of China on the anniversary of the national revolution, which they could celebrate without fear of aggression for the first time in fourteen years. Declaring that the tremendous sacrifices of the Chinese had been rewarded with complete victory, he added:

“China now faces the urgent problems of reconstruction of her devastated nation, a task which will require all the inspired leadership and full cooperation of the Chinese people which have been so evident during these years of desperate struggle for survival and without which Japan’s savage aims of aggression might have succeeded.

“On behalf of the American people I take pleasure in reaffirming our abiding faith in the ability of the Chinese nation to accomplish the democratic objectives established for it by Dr. Sun Yat-sen and in pledging our assistance and support to the attainment of this end.”

Chennault Praises Chinese
Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, leader of the Flying Tigers and commander of the United States Fourteenth Air Force in China until his recent retirement, reviewed the eight-year war in China, saying Japan in her attempt to conquer China had not given enough weight to the Chinese love for freedom and to her ability to endure suffering. Praising the strategy adopted in 1938 by Generalissimo Chiang of giving way in front while attacking thinly held lines of communication, he said:

“Military men of western powers have criticized this policy on many occasions, but none has suggested a better plan.”

Dr. Hu Shih, former Chinese Ambassador to the United States, author and president of the National Peking University, declared in an address that all the intellectual, social and political progress made by China since the revolution would have been lost if China had not fought the eight year war and ultimately won it.

James A. Farley was chairman of the meeting, which was sponsored by United China Relief, the China Society of America, the East and West Association and many other groups. W.R. Herold, president of the International General Electric Company, was chairman of the China Friendship Day Committee.

New York Times: Truman Hails China on National Day 1945

Special to The New York Times
October 11, 1945; page 2, column 7

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10- President Truman pledged our assistance and support to China in accomplishing the democratic objectives of Dr. Sun Yat-sen in a statement today on the thirty-fourth anniversary of the Chinese Republic.

“The American people today,” Mr. Truman said, “join the people of all free nations in saluting the people of China upon this thirty-fourth anniversary of China’s national revolution. For the first time in fourteen years China is able to celebrate the Double Tenth without fear of aggression. The tremendous sacrifices which the Chinese people have made for so long in their stirring and effective resistance to the Japanese invader have finally been rewarded in complete victory over the enemy, and the American people take pride in the decisive role played by our gallant ally in this titantic struggle for world freedom.

“With final victory in the war achieved, China now faces the urgent problems of reconstruction of her devastated nation –a task which will require all of the inspired leadership and full cooperation of the Chinese people which have been so evident during these years of desperate struggle for survival and without which Japan’s savage aims of aggression might have succeeded.

“On behalf of the American people I take pleasure in reaffirming our abiding faith in the ability of the Chinese nation to accomplish the democratic objectives established for it by Dr. Sun Yat-sen and in pledging our assistance and support to the attainment of this end.”