Civil War Resumes in China
|From the late 1920s through much of the 1930s China had
been torn by civil war. On the one side was the ruling Nationalist Party,
headed by Chiang Kai-shek, while on the other were the Chinese Communists,
led by Mao Zedong. In the late 1930s the two sides called a temporary halt
to their war, as both Chiang and Mao viewed the Japanese invasion of their
country as a greater threat. From 1937 to 1945 an uneasy peace reigned
between the Nationalists and Communists, although skirmishes between the
two still occasionally broke out.
It was not long after Japanís surrender that fighting resumed. General George C. Marshall, former chief of staff of the U.S. Army, arrived in China late in 1945 to try to negotiate a lasting peace between the two sides. He advocated a coalition government in which Nationalists and Communists would be invited to participate. However, in the course of his stay in China Marshall concluded that Chiangís government was hopelessly corrupt and inefficient. Mao and his lieutenants, believing that their ultimate victory was inevitable, refused to compromise on what they considered to be critical issues, and the truce collapsed altogether in the spring of 1946. Marshall stayed on through the rest of the year, desperately trying to patch together some kind of agreement, but he was recalled to the United States in January 1947.