World War II: American Aid for China (1931-45)


Figure 1.--Here former Democratic Presiential candidate Al Smith promotes the United China Relief effort. The UCR caption read, "Al Smith Buts tea on 'Drink Tea for China Day': Opening intensified fall campaign of United China Relief to raise $5,000,000 for war suffering Chinese, pretty Chinese children dispensed ice tea and paxkaged mayling teas, named after Mayling Soong Chiang-Kai-Shek, wife of the Generalissimo. Sales were made at busy interesections throughout New York and the first customer was former governor Alfred E. Smith pictured making his purchase outside the Empire State Building."

Chinese-Americans began raisung funds for China after the Japanese seized Mnchuria (1931). Chinese groups formed many committees were to raising funds to aid the Chinese people. This effort increased when the Japanese invaded China proper (1937). The Nationalist Army fought it out with the Japsnese (1937), had after a series of defeats (1938), retired into the interior and was difficult for the Japanese to get to without increasing their invasion and occupation force. Thge Japanese in addition to terrible atrocities, began to bomb Chinese civilans, essentially waging a campaign of terror on cities crammed with regugees. The United Stared Government at first protetesed and then begam nom-beligerant actions to push Japan to end its aggression in China. This began with moral embargoes (1938). Chinese immigrant organizations to make the raising of funds more efficient by reducing duplication of effort, several committees joined together in 1941 to found United China Relief (UCR). It was chartered in the State of New York, with its headquarters in New York City. Among the founding organizations were the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China, the Associated Boards for Christian Colleges in China, the China Emergency Relief Committee, the Church Committee for China Relief, and the China Aid Council. UCR sought to provide funds for the relief and rehabilitation of the Chinese people. UCR also aimed at informing Americans on events and conditions in China. Chinese officials hope for a great American Government commitment to China. Here UCR and Church groups with missionary activities in China were having some impact. The United States Government began applying economic sanctions against Japan and provide aid to the Nationalists. The United States with the Export Control began to transition from moral to legal embrgoes on Japan (1940). Sectretary Hull's Four Principles were demands for Japan to withdraw from China (April 1941). This was followed by an oil embargo, an economic sanction that Japan could not ignore (July 1941). The first direct military aid would be the American Volunteer Group (AVG)--the Flying Tigers (December 1941).

The Crisis: Japanese Agression in China (1931-45)

China was the first victim of Axis agression. Japan from an early point after the Meiji Restoration had long coveted China, both as a secure market fir Japan's expanding industry and as a source of badly needed raw materials. Japan's first modern war was fought with Chuna (1894-95). Its second war was fought with Russia over control of the Shanding Peninsula, Korea, and influence in Manchuria (1904-05). Japan's initial interest in China was the Shandong Peninsula. The United Stares convinced Japan to withdraw from the Shandong Peninsula after World War I. As tge militarits gained power in Japan, the focus on China internsified. Japan seized Manchuria from Nationalist China (1931). Chiang knew he did not have the military capacity to resist the Japanese in Manchuria (1931). When Japan invaded China proper, he had no choice, but to fight (1937). Japan gained many battlefield victories, but was unable to force the Nationalists who retired into China's rugged interior to capitulate. So they began the first strategic bombing campaign in history. And the Chinese Air force had been destroyed in 1937, leading the beleagered country with no air defense. Japan was the first country to launch a strategic bombing campaign. Ironically, it would be Japan that would be reduced to cinders by the very trategy that they initiated--strategic bombing. And it would occur as a result of the Pacific War -- another war launched by the Japanese.

Private Fund Rising in America

Chinese-American groups began raisung funds for China after the Japanese seized Mnchuria (1931). Chinese groups formed many committees were to raising funds to aid the Chinese people. This effort increased when the Japanese invaded China proper (1937). Chinese immigrant organizations to make the raising of funds more efficient by reducing duplication of effort, several committees joined together in 1941 to found United China Relief (UCR). It was chartered in the State of New York, with its headquarters in New York City. Among the founding organizations were the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China, the Associated Boards for Christian Colleges in China, the China Emergency Relief Committee, the Church Committee for China Relief, and the China Aid Council. UCR sought to provide funds for the relief and rehabilitation of the Chinese people. UCR also aimed at informing Americans on events and conditions in China.

American Diplomaric Support (1937-41)

The United Stared Government at first protetesed and then begam nom-beligerant actions to push Japan to end its aggression in China. This began with moral embargoes (1938). Chinese officials hoped for a greater American Government commitment to China. Here UCR and Church groups with missionary activities in China were having some impact on moving public opinion. The United States Government began applying economic sanctions against Japan The United States with the Export Control began to transition from moral to legal emnbrgoes on Japan (July 1940). Sectretary Hull's Four Principles were demands for Japan to withdraw from China (April 1941). This was ultimatrely followed by an oil embargo, an econonic sanction that Japan could not ignore (July 1941). Japan's major source of oil was the United States. The oil embargo meant that Japan would have to eiter end its aggression and withdraw from China or to go to war. It chose war with the United Srates.

American Military Aid (1941-45)

The first financial aid to China was a $25 million loan to the Nationaslist Government (1939). This was funds which coud be used by the Nationalidt Givernment to purchased mililtary equipment including aircraft. The first direct military aid would be the American Volunteer Group (AVG)--the Flying Tigers (December 1941). This was a covert operatin. The American pilots had to resign their commissions and go as voluteers as America was not yet at war with Japan. The whole operation was, however, a U.S. givernment effotrt to aid China, entirely paid for by Government funds. The Flying Tigers arrived in Burma just as the Japanse struck Pearl Habor. There first effort was to protect the Burma Road, the only way of getting military supplies into Chuna. When the Burma Riad fell (February 1942), America's abilkity to aid China was sigbificantly impaired. As a result for most of the rest of the War, the orimary route was flying the Hump over the Himalayas. This significantly reduced the quantity of material tht could be delivered. As a result, the Great bulk of American military assistance to China was to build an air campaign against the Japanese in China. This would include the capability of protecting Chinese cities from Japanese bombing. The AVG would be disbanded and the air war in China would be conducted by the U.S. 14th Air Force..






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Created: 8:38 PM 12/18/2018
Last updated: 8:38 PM 12/18/2018