SuluSea -> RE: OT: Your Opinion of General Stillwell? (8/19/2019 3:57:56 PM)
It was Stilwell's job to expose the corruption he witnessed American assets not being used in the spirit they were allocated by Congress. as an American Officer his duty was not only to the President but also military and American people.
Often it's easier to be quiet than expose something.
Well, I have the opinion it certainly wasn't, and that's the whole problem with this assignment. He had other people whose job was to report to the President and the United States on these issues, that's the role of the State department. That was the difference between his job as THE military cog in the machine and, say, Patrick Hurley's mission as the President's special envoy. In that quality, Hurley was there again everything Stillwell wasn't. As a Republican he could still put his partisanship and ideology in a little box for the duration of the war and serve his country and president with no afterthought. You could say that Stillwell was a straight man when it came to do what he believed in, but at a certain point if it means sabotaging your own country's influence in a struggling allied nation, maybe it's not really worth it - or maybe you're just not the right guy for the job.
Rarely are good military men good politicians or vice/versa. I respect Chennault's contributions to the theatre but I do question his motives of undermining Stilwell not to mention his theory on air power staying the Japanese or better.
The main reason why Chennault would undermine Stillwell was because Stillwell was undermining Chiang. It is the result of some sort of toxic love triangle that ended up exploding in the face of everybody and make everybody a loser - Stillwell, when he got relieved, but even Chiang in the long run.
Let's make it simple: Chennault was in a relationship that he deemed productive with the Chiangs. He was getting as much as he could from this relationship, and through this channel the sort of support that mattered on the ground, especially in terms of logistics (that is, support Stillwell would refuse him to a certain extent). It doesn't matter if Chennault got 15% of what could be expected from the Chiangs, and often had his plans or requests kindly rejected or ignored. These 15% mattered to him and to his plans, and were accounted for in his larger scheme. Chennault knew what to ask for, he knew what the Generalissimo's worries were made of and why he had them, and it is not because he chose to make the most of his political ally that he ended up bombing Communist troops (at least not then...). He didn't care about the rest (the KMT corruption, the warlords, etc...) because he would rather have his 15% in a corrupted world lead by Chiang than 0% in a place gone bonkers. To him, he had a valuable asset in Chiang and thought this relationship could only be improved overtime. And in hindsight, this approach makes perfect sense considering what befell the KMT (or Vietnam, or whatever, examples are aplenty) once ideology replaced realpolitik in D.C.
Then you have Vinegar Joe, who came to the personal realization that trying to get his own 15% was worthless if he could simply get more by removing Chiang from the business all-together (after all, he spoke Chinese and all, didn't he). To the point it wasn't just about removing Chiang from the management of his own troops, but openly plot the involvement of whom the said Chiang considered to be his true adversaries for the future. His approach as such was in direct conflict with that of Chennault and in retrospect not unlike what you'd imagine about a very loudmouthed, cowboy-like caricature of an American soldier (again, Patton comes to mind - and there again, being loud doesn't mean you're dumb at all, but it somewhat hampers your ability to move up the chain of command). Except that Chennault's way was aligned with the Roosevelt's administration policy and Stillwell's wasn't, which would explain why the latter was finally recalled - but too late not to matter.
To make things clear, I agree that good commanders are not always, if ever, good politicians. But you just don't expect the same from a division commander and a corps commander, and from a corps commander and a theater commander. The daily life of a man like Ike was more about pushing papers, advocating plans made in Washington and managing giant egos with all his allies and subordinates than it was about commanding troops on the field. As a fantastic drill sergeant Vinegar Joe might have been perfect, but he was just an elephant is a china store in this very assignment, if you would pardon the pun [;)]
No opinion on this because I didn't know him personally and I'm not infallible myself. Present company excluded because I don't know you personally I've witnessed complaints of racism many times only to see the same people partake in it. So I'm hesitant to play the progressive labelling of past historical figures or rewriting their legacy because they said or wrote unkind things.... I'm more interested in their historical actions.
Well, at least in his case we can't say that he didn't stick to his words [:'(]
Actually I wouldn't call him racist. He was depreciative of everybody, at every level, from every origin. In that regard he is just a fine misanthrope who hated anybody who wouldn't care for his plans. The written part just adds to the historical flavor [:'(]
It's probable He didn't want to be a pawn for a political opportunist
Certainly, but if so he chose the wrong career path as a soldier, I am afraid [;)]
although I don't agree with all the points your rebuttals have been enjoyable to read. Have a great one!😊
Same here [8D]
Compelling, eloquent stuff Fishbed.... I'm entertained.[:)]
With your defense of Chiang Kai-Shek Government, it's not surprising that you hold Patrick Hurley’s involvement in high esteem. It’s predictable.
Keep in mind that Hurley didn't report to China until Ichi-Go was well underway in August of '44. It’s noted Hurley needed an interpreter (and was a republican himself) I’d assume not a bad one because he fell in line with Chiang.
I'm trying to keep politics out of it but you keep invoking it back into the conversation? Why?
Do you believe that Stilwell would undermine his own country for political beliefs?
What concrete evidence is used to support that?
You keep stating or implying Stilwell should tow the Roosevelt line….. Why? The United States is a Republic; Roosevelt wasn’t a King. The United States is three coequal branches of government; it was Stilwell’s job to report corruption and theft, which is not insubordination.
100% of us enter into any subject with preconceived notions due to our world view and/or life experiences.
Find any subject and you'll find an opposing work, book, or viewpoint someone can hitch their wagon.
I do my best to choose trusted authors or best available sources for my historical accounts. Barbara Tuchman really spoke volumes with me in an early book titled Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour. In her Preface she noted her publisher wanted her to carry the work up to the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948 but because of her emotional attachment writing she could not be impartial. She noted, “This is not a suitable condition for a historian”. That kind of dedication to writing the historic account seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Barbara Tuchman’s Grandfather was Henry Morgenthau Jr (Democrat), he worked in the Roosevelt administration helping shape Lend-Lease support for China. Tuchman would have sources and experiences available to her that few others writing the historical narrative would. IMO Her work is the definitive account.
Finally I'll add Truman's words;
Harry S. Truman despised Chiang and the Soongs. “I discovered after some time,” he told one of his biographers,
“that Chiang Kai-shek and the Madame and . . . the Soong family and the Kungs were all thieves, every last one
of them, the Madame and him included. And they stole $750 million out of the $35 billion that we sent to Chiang.”