Although this is the second of a series covering the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations during World War II, it is a story in itself and one full of drama. The previous volume, Stilwell's Mission to China, recounts the early efforts of the United States to improve the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army. This second volume presents the problems of a commander, his staff, and his troops in a position so irregular and complex as to be unprecedented in U.S. Army history, and outlines the background of their position in Allied policy, military and political. Their position was determined by an arrangement among allies, one accepted with reservations by the War Department. There is a saying: "There is but one thing more difficult than fighting a war with Allies--this is to fight a war without them."
A history of the Allied effort in China and Burma, to be complete, must be written in three dimensions, American-British-Chinese. The present volume is based on a thorough study of the American records and a wealth of information in General Stilwell's papers not previously explored. The full story of the war on the Asiatic mainland cannot be written until British studies are further advanced and the records and the views of the Chinese, of which only a superficial knowledge is now obtainable, have been disclosed and compared with those of their Western allies. Nevertheless, it seems desirable to tell the American story now. It is needed to round out the history of our Army's global effort and to do justice to the Americans, high and low, who made their contribution to victory in a vast and difficult but at the time little-known theater.
Washington, D. C. ORLANDO WARD 30 January 1953 Maj. Gen., U.S.A. Chief of Military History
From 1946 to 1953 the authors formed the CBI Section of the staff engaged in writing the history of the U.S. Army in World War II.
Charles F. Romanus received the degree of Master of Arts in History at the University of Illinois in 1937, and pursued his work for the doctorate at Louisiana State University, where he was a teaching fellow in history. Entering the Army in 1943 he was commissioned in March 1945 and became a historical officer in the headquarters of the China Theater. He is now a historian in the Historical Section of the Office of the Quartermaster General, and is a captain in the USAR.
Riley Sunderland graduated from the University of Chicago in 1937. In April 1942 he was called to active duty as a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery, and from July 1945 to May 1946 was in the Historical Section, Headquarters, India-Burma Theater, in New Delhi. He is now a senior operations research analyst for Technical Operations, Incorporated, of Arlington, Massachusetts.
When, in October 1943, Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell decided there was little more he personally could do to improve the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army, and decided to concentrate his efforts on the India-Burma scene, in effect his decision marked a change from the role of a staff officer, advising without the power to command, to that of a commander, giving orders. As Commanding General, United States Army Forces, China, Burma and India Theater of Operations, as acting Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia, as Commanding General, Chinese Army in India, and as Commanding General, Northern Combat Area Command, Stilwell was charged with many duties. He was responsible for the active conduct of a campaign in north Burma, and for its immediate logistical support; for the execution of a number of projects agreed to by the President, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the Generalissimo of China to aid China; for the execution of projects ordered by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff to reinforce U.S. operations in the Pacific, and for their logistical support; and, as deputy commander, for playing an appropriate role in Southeast Asia Command should necessity demand. This multitude of roles, these often conflicting missions and requirements, meant that Stilwell faced a variety of command problems. This volume relates his efforts to solve them.
The narrative, like that in the first volume of the subseries, Stilwell's Mission to China, is written at the level of the theater commander's headquarters or command post. Under this inherent limitation, it offers a contribution to an understanding of the American effort in China, Burma, and India in 1943 and 1944, and to the study of Sino-American relations in the same period; it is not a definitive history of the war in Asia. The U.S. Air Force is telling its story in many volumes, written from its own point of view. So are the technical services. A British official history is well advanced. The Chinese may someday tell their story, and the beginnings of a Japanese official history are at hand. From these several sources, some historian may ultimately produce a fairly complete history of the war in Asia, which truly deserves to be called "the unknown war." This volume only continues what its predecessor began, that is, a reconnaissance of part of the area the future historian must cross.
That the authors prepared the volume in this manner reflects primarily
their mission--writing a history of the U.S. Army theater of operations in China, Burma, and India. It also reflects the nature of the documentary sources which the U.S. Army was able to open for them.
The events of 1943-44 in China, Burma, and India, great though they were, were but the prelude to others. Looking back on 1943 and 1944, those who had seen the later events saw the prelude through the glass of their own experiences, and interpreted the actions and motives of the men of 1943 and 1944 accordingly. But the men whose words and acts are recorded in these pages were no better at foretelling the future than men have ever been. Sometimes aware of what the future might hold, they were nonetheless preoccupied with the problems of the day, rather than those of next year. Standing on their side of the veil of the future, they saw through it dimly as men always see through it, not as men see the recent past. It is the historian's task to recreate the scene they saw, and let the reader judge them, as inevitably he will judge them, by the understanding of his own day.
The volume has many references to disagreements between allies. Inevitably, the account of the disagreements takes up more space than the final agreement, though it is the latter which is the more important. The differences and disagreements are of interest to the student because they did happen, and because they are an inevitable part of coalition war. But they should not be magnified out of proportion.
The authors are greatly indebted to many participants in the events described who were willing to offer comment and criticism on several drafts of the manuscript: Lt. Col. Charles E. Beach, Maj. Gen. Haydon L. Boatner, Brig. Gen. Frederic W. Boye, Brig. Gen. Waldemar F. Breidster, Col. Rothwell H. Brown, Col. Harry A. Buckley, Brig. Gen. Robert M. Cannon, Maj. Gen. Gilbert X. Cheves, Lt. Col. George L. Converse, Maj. Gen. William E. R. Covell, Maj. Gen. Howard C. Davidson, Col. Joseph K. Dickey, Brig. Gen. Frank Dorn, Lt. Col. Trevor N. Dupuy, Col. Ernest F. Easterbrook, Maj. Gen. Vernon Evans, Brig. Gen. Benjamin G. Ferris, Lt. Col. John B. George, Capt. Shy S. Greenspan, Maj. Gen. Thomas G. Hearn, Col. Francis Hill, Col. Charles N. Hunter, Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, Lt. Col. George T. Laughlin, Brig. Gen. Malcolm F. Lindsey, Col. Robert C. Lutz, Col. John E. McCammon, Lt. Col. George A. McGee, Jr., Col. Edward J. McNally, Lt. Col. Harry L. Mayfield, Maj. Gen. Frank D. Merrill, Lt. Col. William L. Osborne, Col. William R. Peers, Lt. Gen. Lewis A. Pick, Brig. Gen. Frank N. Roberts, Lt. Col. Joseph Rockis, General Brehon B. Somervell, Col. Carlos G. Spaht, Col. John H. Stodter, Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, Capt. James L. Tilly, Col. Thomas F. Van Natta, III, Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Brig. Gen. Theodore F. Wessels, Capt. Logan E. Weston, Lt. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler, and Col. Walter S. Wood.
The authors have been aided by and are grateful for the opportunity to discuss
the history of the China-Burma-India theaters with General Boatner, Lt. Col. Dwight E. Brewer, Lt. Col. Charles F. Byars, Colonel Converse, Maj. Gen. William M. Creasy, Mr. John P. Davies, Jr., General Dorn, Colonel Dupuy, Colonel Easterbrook, General Evans, Maj. Gen. Francis W. Festing (British 36th Division), Colonel George, General Hearn, Col. Thomas J. Heavey, Colonel Hill, General Hurley, General Lindsey, General George C. Marshall, General Merrill, Colonel Peers, General Roberts, Colonel Rockis, Col. Robert F. Seedlock, Colonel Spaht, Col. Joseph W. Stilwell, Jr., Colonel Stodter, Col. Thomas F. Taylor, Captain Tilly, General Wessels, General Wedemeyer, and Colonel Wood. They are of course not responsible for any errors of fact or interpretation in the pages following.
A great deal of assistance has been received from other historians. Maj. Gen. S. W. Kirby, C.B., C.M.G., O.B.E., M.C., and Brigadier M. R. Roberts, D.S.O., of the Cabinet Office Historical Section, commented on a draft of the manuscript at very considerable length. Col. Allison R. Hartman and the staff of former Japanese officers of the Historical Section, Far East Command, presented the authors with interpretations and corrections from the Japanese point of view. Dr. Henry Lee Bowen of the Air Force historians gave generously of his time and experience in commenting on Chapter III.
Within the Office, Chief of Military History, the authors were greatly aided by Mr. Joseph Bykofsky, Transportation Section, himself a veteran of the North Burma Campaign. Stilwell's Command Problems like its predecessor, Stilwell's Mission to China, reflects much of the industrious research, judgment, and narrative skill of Mrs. Jacqueline Perry Griffin, research assistant. The section of Chapter II entitled "SEAC Tries To Salvage Burma Operations" was written by Mrs. Griffin, whose special field was the operations of Southeast Asia Command. Only Mrs. Griffin's departure in October 1950 kept her direct contribution to the text from being a larger one.
Mrs. Dorothy Campbell Liles prepared the manuscript of Chapters I through VI in first draft, and prepared Part Two for circulation among participants in the campaign. Her successor, Miss Mildred Bucan, prepared the final draft of the manuscript for publication. Their quick perceptions, sound common sense, and stenographic skill permitted the authors to concentrate on their proper tasks of research and writing.
This volume, like its predecessor, was edited by Miss Ruth Stout, whose skill, industry, and understanding of authors' ways greatly improved the original manuscript. Miss Gay Morenus, who copy-edited Stilwell's Mission to China, has not only performed that exacting task most competently for the present volume but has prepared an extremely helpful index.
Finally, though this volume and the others of the China-Burma-India series are prepared and published under the auspices of the Office, Chief of Military History, the reader must not assume they present an official point of view on wartime events in China, Burma, and India. Indeed, the authors very
soon learned that the witnesses to and participants in these events differed among themselves as witnesses always do. The authors are not aware that there exists in the Department of Defense anything that may be called an official point of view toward the events described below. The point of view here presented is that of the undersigned. Responsibility for it, and for any errors the reader may discover, is solely theirs.
Washington, D. C. CHARLES F. ROMANUS 18 June 1954 RILEY SUNDERLAND
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