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Barbara W. Tuchman won the Pulitzer Prize for Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45 in 1972. She uses the life of Joseph Stilwell, the military attache to China in 1935-39 and commander of United States forces and allied chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek in 1942-44, to explore the history of China from the revolution of 1911 to the turmoil of World War II, when China's Nationalist government faced attack from Japanese invaders and Communist insurgents. Her story is an account of both American relations with China and the experiences of one of our men on the ground. In the cantankerous but level-headed "Vinegar Joe," Tuchman found a subject who allowed her to perform, in the words of The National Review, "one of the historian's most envied magic acts: conjoining a fine biography of a man with a fascinating epic story."
Year:
2001
Edition:
1st Grove Press ed
Language:
english
Pages:
624
ISBN 10:
0802138527
ISBN 13:
9780802138521
File:
EPUB, 2.86 MB
Download (epub, 2.86 MB)

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Barbara W. Tuchman





STILWELL





AND THE





American Experience in China, 1911-45












Copyright © 1970, 1971 by Barbara W. Tuchman





First Printing












Contents





Foreword                                                                                                  xi





Prologue: The Crisis                                                                                I





PART ONE





1   Foundations of an Officer                                                        9





2    Visitor to Revolution: China, 191 i                                       25





3    The Great War: St. Mihiel and Shantung                         42





4    Assignment to Peking: Years of the





Warlords, 1920-23                                                                  61





5    The "Can Do" Regiment and the Rise of





Chiang Kai-shek, 1926-29                                                    90





6    "Vinegar Joe," 1929-35                                                            123





7    Military Attache: China's Last Chance, 1935-37        143





8    Military Attache: Sino-Japanese War, 1937-39            164





PART  TWO





9     The Rush to Prepare





1939-41                                                                                      203





10    "I'll Go Where I'm Sent"





December 1941-February 1942                                                  229





11     "A Hell of a Beating"





March-May 1942                                                                        256





12    The Client





June-October 1942                                                                     301












13    "Peanut and I on a raft"





August 1942-January 1943                                                        326





14    The President's Policy





January-May 1943                                                                      349





15    Stilwel; l Must Go





June-October 1943                                                                     375





16    China's Hour at Cairo





November-December 1943                                                         396





17    The Road Back





December 1943-July 1944                                                          415





18    "The Future of All Asia Is at Stake"





June-September 1944                                                                 455





19    The Limits of "Can Do"





September-November 1944                                                        483





20    "We Ought to Get Out—-Now"





1945-46                                                                                      510





Appendix Road-Building, 1921: Haphazard





Conversations by Major Joseph W. Stilwell                      535





Bibliography and Other Sources                                                          541












Illustrations





PART ONE





FOLLOWING PAGE   I74





Stilwell as a cadet





Winifred A. Smith





Stilwell in the Philippines, 1905





Stilwell as instructor at West Point, 1914





Stilwell at Verdun, 1918





From Stilwell's album: north China scenes





Marshal Wu Pei-fu





Stilwell on road-building mission





Marshal Chang Tso-lin, Chang Hsueh-liang, General Connor





Marshal Feng Yu-hsiang





Feng's troops at trade school





Feng with Chiang Kai-shek, 1928





From Stilwell's album: road-building





American compound, Tientsin, 192 7 Staff of the Fort Benning Infantry School, 1932 Foreign attaches at Peking, 1935 Chiang Kai-shek at Hungchow, 1936 Stllwell as Military Attache, 1936 The Stilwells' household staff, Peking Chinese troops, 1938 Mrs. Stilwell and guests, Peking Chinese war poster





After the bombing of Shanghai, 1937 Japanese troops invading Anhwei, 1938 Japanese generals at the fall of Hsuchow, 1938 Japanese column, Kiangsi, 1938












Stilwell with Chinese troops, Kaijeng, 1938 Japanese soldiers, photographed by the author, 1935 Bombing of Chungking, 1940





PART TWO





FOLLOWINGPAGE430





General Marshall





T. V. Soong and Secretary Morgenthau, 1942





Stilwell with Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, 1942





The Walkout, 1942:





Stilwell and bearers





The last radio message





Stilwell leading the column on the trail





Stilwell in the river





On rafts on the Uyu River





Stilwell leading the column down the Uyu Generals Yu Fei-p'eng and Ho Ying-chin Stilwell and Chennault Stilwell and war correspondents Stilwell at Ramgarh The Cairo Conference, 1943





Stilwell with Generals Sun Li-jen and Liao Yao-hsiang, 1944 Troops of the 38th Division, 1944 Class at Infantry Training Center, Kweilin, 1944 Artillery pack train, 22nd Division, 1944 Monsoon, Ledo Road, 1944 Stilwell at forward headquarters, 1944 Admiral Mountbatten, 1944





Stilwell in the field: Christmas 1943 and at Taihpa Ga, 1944 Kuomintang generals, 1944 Refected for the Chinese Army, 1945 Yenan, 1944:





Colonel Barrett with Chou En-lai and Mao Tse-tung





The American Military Mission Evacuation of Kweilin, 1944 Evacuation of Liuchow, 1944 Arrival of Hurley and Nelson at Chungking, 1944 Stilwell with the press at Carmel, 1944












Maps





Maps drawn by





Brigadier General Frank Dorn,  U.S.A. (Ret.)





China                                                                                   Front endpaper





North China and Peking                                                                           64





Stilwell's travels on land and sea in the 1920s and 30s                           162





Burma, 1942                                                                                           268





North Burma, 1944                                                                                417





The Far East                                                                         Back endpaper












Foreword





The theme of this book is the relation of America to China, in a larger sense to Asia. The vehicle of the theme is the career of General Stilwell. Why Stilwell? Because he combined a career focused on China with background and character that were quintessentially American; because his connection with China spanned the period that shaped the present from the dramatic opening moment of 1911, year of the Revolution, to 1944, decisive year in the decline of the Nationalist Government; because his service in the intervening years was a prism of the times—as language officer from 1920 to 1923 in the time of the warlords, as officer of the 15th Infantry in Tientsin from 1926 to 1929 at the time of the rise to power of Chiang Kai-shek, as Military Attache from 1935 to 1939 at the time of Japanese invasion, lastly as theater commander in World War II; because in the final and critical years of this period he was the most important figure in the Sino-American relationship. Impatient, acid, impolitic, "Vinegar Joe" was not the ideal man for the role. But in knowledge of the language and country, friendship for the people, belief and persistence in his task, combined with official position and power, he personified the strongest endeavor and, as it was to prove, the tragic limits, of his country's experience in Asia.





I am conscious of the hazards of venturing into the realm of America's China policy, a subject that, following the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek by the Communists and the waste of an immense American effort, aroused












one of the angriest and most damaging campaigns of vilification in recent public life. Nevertheless, since China is the ultimate reason for our involvement in Southeast Asia, the subject is worth the venture even though the ground is hot. It is only fair to add that this book, which ends in 1946, is concerned with origins that reach back beyond yesterday. "You will hear a lot of talk," General Stilwell wrote for the graduating class of West Point in 1945, "about how this or that generation messed things up and got us into war. What nonsense. All living generations are responsible for what we do and all dead ones as well."





I should like to add a word of explanation about General Stilwell's diaries, which were naturally a major source for his biographer. I became thereby a trespasser since the diaries were intended for no eyes but his own. "This little book," he explicitly warned on the flyleaf of the pocket diary for 1906, "contains None of Your Damned Business!" Believing in the right of privacy, I do not share the view that posterity has some sort of "right" to know the private life of a public figure if he wishes otherwise but in Stilwell's case the needs of history had already prevailed over privacy. After the war it became important and necessary to let Stilwell's voice speak for itself about the events of his controversial command. With the consent of his family his wartime diaries and letters for the period 1942-44 only were edited by the former correspondent in China, Theodore White, and published under the title The Stilwell Papers in 1948. The originals together with other wartime documents were also made available to Charles Romanus and Riley Sunderland, authors of the official Army history of the China-Burma-India theater, and were subsequently donated for public use to the Hoover Library in Stanford, California. This decision having been taken, it was logical to give a biographer access to the rest of the Stilwell archive covering his career prior to Pearl Harbor. Mrs. Stilwell made available to me the diaries, letters, documents, scrapbooks, family albums and other material in her possession, hitherto unpublished. These are described further in the Bibliography.





The Stilwell Papers was a sensation and a best seller and has been a source of invaluable fact and enlivening quotation for historians ever since. Yet in this case a man's own diaries, paradoxically, do not represent the real, or at any rate, the entire, man. Taken alone they give a one-sided view because Stilwell consciously used his diary to vent his "bile," as he put it, of which he had a large natural endowment augmented by a peculiarly frustrating situation. Not content with diary entries, he rewrote and expanded his notes afterwards in larger notebooks or on loose sheets of paper, all of which he kept. Sometimes the process itself was recorded: "Wrote and wrote. Terrible." Or, "I am just scribbling to keep from biting












the radiator." All this turmoil, which in other men would have been ephemeral, has become historical record. The acid, which in life was balanced by other qualities, has survived in undue proportion.





Finally, I am aware that this book by the nature of its subject does injustice to China and the Chinese people. Because it concentrates, especially in the second half, on a low point in China's history and on the military function which has never been of high repute in China, the negative aspects predominate. The likableness, the artistic vision and philosophic mind, the strength of character, intelligence, good humor and capacity for work which have put the Chinese in the forefront of the world's civilized peoples, have not come through in proper proportion. The author can only acknowledge this with regret.





Documentation will be found at the back of the book, with the relevant phrase and page number as the indicator.





ACKNOWLEDGMENTS





This book has had many contributors for whose help and advice and criticism I would like to express my gratitude and thanks. These go first lo Mrs. Joseph W. Stilwell for permission to use and quote from all of her husband's papers and family letters in her possession and for her friendly hospitality while I was engaged in their study; to Mrs. Bettye (the former Mrs. Benjamin) Stilwell for her devoted work in transcribing the diaries and arranging the papers in order; to Mrs. Nancy Stilwell Easterbrook, the General's eldest daughter, and her husband, General Ernest Easterbrook, for their insights and information throughout the course of my work; to Mrs. Stuart Wilder, the General's sister, for her recollections.





I owe a special debt to Professor John King Fairbank of the East Asia Research Center, Harvard University, for the gift of his knowledge and time in reading and commenting on the manuscript; to Brigadier General Frank Dorn, Stilwell's senior aide and colleague in other capacities over many years, for the same, as well as for a constant and generous supply of information; to Colonel David D. Barrett, who served in China from 1927 to 1945, for most of the time in association with Stilwell, for his lively












guidance and earnest endeavor to persuade me to "keep down the charisma"; to Dr. Forrest Pogue, biographer of General Marshall, for his ungrudging response whenever queried; to Lieutenant General Raymond A. Wheeler, former chief of the Service of Supply in the China-Burma-India theater, for his warm interest and help in arranging interviews and introductions.





My thanks and appreciation are due also to many who participated in the events of this history and who personally answered my questions, supplied explanations, recalled experiences and provided other varieties of help, viz.: to Colonel Trevor Dupuy and General Samuel B. Griffith, who separately and coincidentally supplied the initial push to a project that was then only lurking in the back of my mind; to Shang Chen, former Chief of Foreign Liaison of the Ministry of War, Yii Ta-wei, former Director of Ordnance, Chang Kia-ngau, former Minister of Communications, Horace Eng, formerly with CBI Headquarters; to the four former officers of the Chinese 38th Division, veterans of the Burma campaign, who were good enough to give me in Taiwan their first-hand views and information, and whom with great reluctance I must leave anonymous to protect them from possible embarrassment; to the former foreign service officers in China, and on the China desk, Edmund Clubb, John Service, John Paton Davies, John Emmerson, Philip Sprouse and John Carter Vincent, for their intimate knowledge of circumstances and persons, and to Mrs. Clubb, Mrs. Service and Mrs. Vincent, who supplemented it; to President Roosevelt's associates, Ambassador Averell Harriman, Judge Samuel Rosenman, Benjamin V. Cohen and the President's daughter, Mrs. James Halsted; to Earl Mountbatten of Burma who spared a morning out of a very crowded schedule and filled it with sparkling reminiscence; to John Keswick and Peter Fleming for further views from the British side and hospitality in addition; to the journalists who served in China or CBI, Edgar Snow, Theodore White, Tillman Durdin, Brooks Atkinson, Eric Sevareid; and to the following fellow-officers, friends and other associates of General Stil-well: General of the Army Omar Bradley, Generals Jacob Devers, Matthew B. Ridgway, Maxwell Taylor, Albert C. Wedemeyer, Major Generals Frank Roberts, Thomas Timberman, H. L. Boatner, Brigadier Generals Thomas Arms, Thomas Betts, W. E. Crist, E. J. McNally, Frederick Munson, Ambassador Henry A. Byroade, Colonel George Demetriadi, Colonel Thomas Arms, Jr., Mrs. John Magruder, Mrs. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Mrs. James McHugh, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Jones, Dean Rusk, Joseph Alsop, Dillon Ripley, Richard M. T. Young, Roger Hilsman, and members of the family, Colonel and Mrs. Ellis Cox, Dr. Benjamin Stilwell and the late Mr. Charles Duell.





I am particularly grateful to Ambassador Chester Bowles for making it












possible for me to go to Assam and to Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Watt for their hospitality and Mr. J. Phookan for his escort while there. For assistance in Taiwan I am indebted to Colonel Harry Collier and Mr. Fox Butterfield, and in Hong Kong to Mr. Alan Whiting of the American Consulate and Colonel William Whitson.





For assistance in research my primary thanks go to Mr. John E. Taylor of the Military Records Division, National Archives, and to Dr. Kenneth Glazier of the Hoover Library at Stanford. I am especially indebted to my predecessor on the Stilwell trail, Mr. Charles Romanus, co-author of the inexhaustible Army volumes on CBI, for his welcome and his elucidations; also to his colleagues in the Office of the Chief of Military History, Dr. Stetson Conn, Mr. Charles MacDonald and Mrs. Hannah Zeidlik; to Colonel Thomas Griess, professor of Military Art and Engineering at West Point; to Mr. Joseph O'Donnell of the Archives and History Section, USMA Library; to Mr. Leon Williams of the Film Division, National Archives; to Mr. Seymour Pomrenze and his staff of the Adjutant General's Office, Department of Defense; to Colonel Fant, Colonel Webb, Miss Urban and Miss Sprigg of the Book and Magazine Division (in its various incarnations) of the Department of Defense; to Miss Elizabeth Drewry, former director of the Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, and her successor, Dr. James O'Neill, and their staff; to Miss Julie How and Mrs. Elizabeth B. Mason of the East Asia Oral History Project of Columbia University; to Dr. Herman Kahn, director of Manuscripts and Archives of the Yale University Library, and his assistant, Miss Judith Schiff, for searches in the Stimson Papers; to William Franklin, chief of the Historical Division, Department of State; to the staff of the Reference Division, New York Public Library; to Miss Dorothy Borg and Professors Theodore Ropp of Duke University, Doak Barnett of Columbia, James MacGregor Burns of Williams College and Lyman Van Slyke of Stanford.





For indispensable readership of the work in progress, without which a writer—or this one—would dry up, and for valuable criticism, I am most sincerely grateful to my daughters and son-in-law, Lucy and David Eisenberg, Jessica and Alma Tuchman, and my husband, Dr. Lester Tuchman.












Prologue: The Crisis





IN July 1944, at the height of the Second World War, the United States Government officially requested Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek to place an American, specifically Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell, in command of all China's armed forces. The proposal was unprecedented: no American had ever before directly commanded the national forces of an ally. It was the more extreme because General Stilwell, already a figure of accomplishment, controversy and feuds in the China—Burma-India theater, was known to be persona non grata to the Generalissimo who had previously asked for his recall.





China's case, however, was considered "desperate," demanding "desperate remedies." To keep China in the war, salvage something of her combat potential and prevent the consolidation of Japan's hold on the mainland were objects essential to both American strategy and postwar policy. "The future of all Asia is at stake," President Roosevelt said in his message to Chiang Kai-shek, "along with the tremendous effort which America has expended in that region." He was fully aware, he added, "of your feelings regarding General Stilwell" but "I know of no other man who has the ability, the force and the determination to offset the disaster that now threatens China."





A sweeping offensive by the Japanese into hitherto unoccupied China had precipitated the crisis. Launched in April with rapid successes, and advancing implacably against feeble and yielding Chinese defense, it threat-












ened to choke off Free China and overrun the area where American air bases were located. At this stage of the war Japan was on the defensive against the westward American advance across the Pacific and her supply lines by sea were dangerously weakening under American air attack from the bases in south China. The purpose of the Japanese offensive was to wipe out the American airfields, assure a linked-up overland route from Manchuria to Southeast Asia and isolate Free China from contact with a possible American landing on the China coast.





Were these gains to be won, as the enemy's rapid successes and lack of coordinated Chinese defense indicated they might well be, the war would be prolonged for no one knew how long. Japan could knit together her communications, eliminate a future base of American action and so strengthen her hold on the mainland that her Government might retreat there even if the home islands were lost.





Beyond that a darker prospect loomed. If China collapsed, the whole goal of American policy in the Far East could well be lost. That goal required, after victory, a Chinese nation strong and stable enough to take Japan's place and keep the peace in the Far East. Far from strong after resistance to invasion that had lasted for seven years, longer than that of any other nation, China was battered and blockaded, its economy ruined by enemy occupation, its Government tired, corrupt and deteriorating. National war effort was paralyzed by fear of the internal challenge of the Communists whose annihilation Chiang Kai-shek had vainly pursued for ten years before a truce in 1937. If his Government should now fall, China would disintegrate in civil strife. Even if the Nationalist Government survived in an area reduced and fragmented by the new Japanese inroads, defeatism and decay from within would be accelerated. In the end, would the ravaged China that emerged from the war be capable of enforcing Japan's surrender and maintaining her own integrity? If not, who then would be the foundation of stability in Asia?





These were the disturbing questions that shadowed American policy and that by negative outcome could nullify the tremendous effort of the war. The hope of a strong China as one of the four cornerstones of the postwar peace had formed Roosevelt's policy from the beginning and dictated the effort to sustain China through the war. Military strategy ran parallel. It intended that China's manpower, not America's, should fight on the mainland; it needed China's territory as a base of present air, and future ground, operations; above all, it depended on China's continued resistance to hold down a million Japanese troops on the mainland. Otherwise they might be released against the Americans' perilous progress from island to island across the Pacific. The collapse, surrender or collaboration of the Chungking Government, representing the last free nation of the Far












East, might induce the other nations of Asia to come to terms with Japan, realizing Roosevelt's greatest fear. These were the reasons that dictated the long-bedeviled campaign to supply, invigorate and mobilize China and reopen the back door through Burma which had been General Stilwell's task since Pearl Harbor.





The Government in remote Chungking beyond the gorges of the Yangtze had no plan of defense to stem the Japanese advance. The Generalissimo whose genius was political rather than military had relied for defense on the air power of the American Fourteenth Air Force and the assurance of its confident commander, General Claire Chennault, that if adequately supplied by his countrymen he could contain, even defeat, the Japanese. This program perfectly suited the Generalissimo because it provided him with a surrogate to fight Japan while allowing him to hoard China's limited military capacity for use against internal enemies. His best divisions were not in action against the Japanese but holding a frontier against the Communist area in the north. Dissidence in other quarters, too, chronically haunted him. Old antagonists among the southern regional commanders, growing restless under the many failings of Chungking, were promoting another of the separatist movements that had long been China's bane.





Under these pressures Chiang wished neither to risk loyal troops in costly battle against the Japanese nor allow troops of doubtful loyalty to be trained, armed and equipped by the Americans lest some day they be turned against himself. He desperately wanted all the American help in arms, money and supplies that he could get, not for use against the common enemy whom he expected his allies would defeat in any event, but for the purpose which he, as its chief executive, considered most important for his country—survival of the Nationalist regime. This was the web in which he was caught and which fixed the terms of the long-existing struggle between himself and Stilwell.





Stilwell offered no surrogate. He had long maintained that an air force was no better than the ground troops that defended its airfields. The Japanese advance now gave his thesis alarming cogency. His object and assigned mission was to enable the Chinese ground forces to fight efficiently; to so train, arm and equip the Chinese soldier, and assure his pay, food and medical care, as to create an effective military arm. "If I can prove the Chinese soldier is as good as any Allied soldier," he told a correspondent, "I'll die happy." He had proved it could be done by the performance of two Chinese armies under his command in Burma, but his training programs with American instructors and equipment for 60 divisions in China were a ceaseless battle against frustrations and delays, not all of them natural.





To Chiang every unit trained by the Americans was one that loosened his control. He could not reject the program since he was utterly dependent












on American aid but he could stall and thwart and divert supplies. For more than two years two unyielding men, equally determined, mutually hostile, supposedly allies, wrestled over the fate of China. Three times Chiang asked or induced others to ask for Stilwell's recall. Stilwell in his turn despised, as he tactlessly did not conceal, the Generalissimo.





Known with reason as Vinegar Joe, Stilwell was a man of high performance and utter integrity, too quickly disgusted with anything less in others. His particular animus was reserved for persons in high places. He could no more ingratiate himself with someone he did not respect than the dumb could speak. He would have liked to do the job proposed for him if he could have done it without the office. He was already Commanding General of U.S. forces in the CBI theater, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Southeast Asia, Commanding General of the Chinese Army in India and its field commander in Burma, nominal Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek for the China theater, chief of the Chinese Training and Combat Command and Administrator of Lend-Lease to China—each of these with its appropriate staffs, pomp and paper work. Since he hated palaver and loathed pretensions, it was understandable that he preferred war in the jungles of Burma among leeches, mildew and outright enemies.





At the front, like General U. S. Grant, he shed insignia of rank and made himself comfortable out of uniform. In nonregulation sweater, GI boots and his old stiff-brimmed campaign hat from the First World War, he could be found within a few hundred yards of the firing line, standing beside a Chinese battalion commander, chewing gum, smoking from a cigaret holder and talking Chinese. He was sixty-one, a slight figure, lean and bony, five-foot-nine, with short-cropped gray-black hair, a hard, lined, decisive face and a deceptive appearance of physical fragility. He was in fact as fragile as steel wire. He had served in China at different periods through the days of the warlords, the rise of the Kuomintang and the Sino-Japanese War. As an officer his persistent concern for the welfare of the men, whether Americans or Chinese, was not journalists' copy but lifelong, unfailing and on occasion explosive. To the American public he was the hero of the celebrated walk out of Burma in a time of defeat, to the GIs he was Uncle Joe, to the British, whom he insisted on disliking except for those he liked, he was "difficult," to CBI Roundup, the theater journal, he was remarkable for singleness of purpose and a sense of humor which "only fails him in case of the monsoon and stuffed shirts." His motto was Illegitimati non carborundum, personally translated as "Don't let the bastards grind you down."





To make his proposed appointment more palatable to Chiang Kai-shek, Stilwell was promoted to four-star general, equal to the rank then held only by Generals Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur and Arnold.












A foreigner in command of China's armed forces was not a proposition that could be made palatable to Chiang Kai-shek in any form. Nevertheless Roosevelt's tone, harsh and almost insulting from one head of state and ally to another, suggested an ultimatum. The United States held the upper hand but all China's history weighed in the scale against compliance. Chiang accepted "in principle," proposed modifications, shifted ground, insisted on control of Lend-Lease, twisted and temporized. The Chinese from necessity had made manipulation of the strong by the weak into a fine art and Chiang played every stratagem and every maneuver. In response to his request for a special envoy to "adjust relations between me and General Stilwell," Washington sent a former Secretary of War, General Patrick Hurley. Chiang enveloped him in seductions and evasions; Washington's impatience and pressure increased. After two months the issue was still unresolved. On September 12 Hurley returned from an interview discouraged, reporting the Generalissimo to have been "very difficult" and the matter no nearer to settlement. Chiang's parting remark, half Oriental pretense of humility, half genuine bitterness, was "General Stilwell has more power in China than I have."





The facts were otherwise but that the statement could be made was a strange destiny for an American who five years earlier had left China, as he then supposed, at the end of his career and for the last time.












PART ONE












1





Foundations of an Officer





Lieutenant stilwell, aged twenty-eight, met China for the first time in November 1911 at the moment when the most ancient of inde-J pendent nations stumbled into the twentieth century. Six weeks before he came, revolution had erupted half by accident, and spreading from city to city in swaying battle against the Imperial forces, was about to overcome the decrepit Manchu regime. Haphazard in outbreak it was to be imperfect in triumph for it failed to fill the void left by what it swept away. The monarchy which had held together a quarter of the earth's population found no firm successor. Fragmenting under rival claimants and already penetrated by a maze of foreign inroads into her sovereignty, China with lost cohesion and damaged confidence moved into the oncoming storms of the world's most violent age.





The visitor, on leave from military duty in the Philippines, was as pure Yankee in heritage as it was possible to be. He was the eighth generation in direct descent from Nicholas Stilwell, who had come to America from England in 1638 and acquired property in Staten Island, Long Island and Manhattan. His mother's forebears named Fowler had also arrived in the 163 os and over succeeding generations had gathered in the major strains of colonial America: English, French Huguenot and Dutch. Nicholas Stilwell had produced some 1,600 descendants by the time Joe Stilwell was born, of whom two, Colonel Richard Stilwell and General Garrett Stilwell, fought in the American Revolution.












A military career was not so much chosen by Joe as thrust on him by paternal whim. His father, Dr. Benjamin W. Stilwell, was a clever and handsome gentleman of authoritative character, comfortable circumstances and a variety of talents not carried too far. He was the son of John Stilwell, a dry-goods merchant of "business sagacity and exemplary habits" who had retired with a considerable fortune derived from investment in real estate and settled in Yonkers where he built an attractive house overlooking the Hudson and became a director of the Bank of Yonkers and a pillar of the Methodist Church. The family home remained in Yonkers thereafter.





Benjamin Stilwell took a law degree at Columbia when he was twenty-one but did not establish himself in practice. Following his marriage in 1880 to Mary A. Peene, and the birth of a daughter, he moved to a plantation near Palatka, Florida, with the intention of developing a lumber business in southern pine. Here on March 19, 1883, his first son was born and named Joseph Warren for the friend and physician who attended at his birth. The name had been inherited from the original Dr. Joseph Warren of Boston who, refusing the post of Surgeon General for a more hazardous active command, was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill.





Abandoning the venture in lumber, Benjamin Stilwell returned with his family to Yonkers where he now took up the study of medicine and obtained a degree, but this profession too failed to attract him into practice. In 1892 the family, enlarged by a second son, John, and a second daughter, Mary, moved to a farm near Great Barrington in the Berkshires where Dr. Stilwell decided to take up the role of country gentleman. After four years he came to the conclusion that he was failing in the duty he owed society to make use of his endowments and so returned once again to Yonkers where he now accepted a position with a public utility, the Westchester Lighting Company, ultimately becoming vice-president.





Having at last satisfied the prodding of the puritan conscience which will not allow a man to live guiltlessly without a job, Dr. Stilwell enjoyed life thereafter as one of Yonkers' distinguished citizens, holding office as president of the school board and various directorships of Westchester banks and companies. With his imposing but genial presence and considerable charm, Dr. Benjamin Stilwell was accepted at face value by his family and community as a superior person. "Father was impressive" was the verdict of a daughter. He had the manner and means to carry off the posture of prominence as well as the evident abilities which he never used to their fullest or tested in a more exigent world than Yonkers. He took his family to Paris in the centennial year of 1889, conducting them through England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria and Italy and sending home a series of entertaining and well-written travel  letters to the












Yonkers Statesman. He painted and played the piano, maintained a strict hand and high moral tone over the upbringing of his children, presided and asked the blessing three times a day at the family dining table, entertained the family with a flow of stories, wit, advice and instruction, and enjoyed the devoted admiration of his sons and daughters, who believed, or were educated in the habit of believing, that Father was wonderful— and always right.





Joe Stilwell, called Warren by his family, was an active, driving, sharp-witted boy who climbed rooftops, drowned rabbits in the horse trough and exceedingly disliked Sunday services which he was required to attend three times in the day, including church, Sunday school and a sermon at vespers. Writing to his own daughter when he was over sixty, he recalled the "criminal instincts I picked up by being forced to go to Church and Sunday School, and seeing how little real good religion does anybody, I advise passing them all up and using common sense instead."





Like his father, Warren had facility with words, but his heart and energy went into athletics. He played tennis, rowed a shell on the Hudson and played quarterback on the Yonkers High football team of which, in the words of a classmate, he was "the motive power, inspiration and field general." When under his generalship the varsity of 1889 defeated all the prep school teams of New York City and Westchester, the public high school of Yonkers was so pleased that it paid its players. On the track team Warren's specialty was the quarter-mile and his interest carried over to organizing track meets of the Westchester Inter-Scholastic League which he helped to form and serving as reporter of athletic events for the Yonkers Statesman. Organizing athletics was to remain a lifelong activity along with a passion for keeping himself in physical trim at the athlete's level.





At the end of his senior year in 1889 the final report of the principal, Dr. Thomas O. Baker, described a model boy—as it proved, a little prematurely. The subject maintained "a high standard in all his studies," possessed "energy and executive ability . . . useful in advancing the interests of the school," had "no bad habits" and was "entirely worthy of confidence."





Dr. Stilwell had chosen Yale for his sons but he now decided that at sixteen Warren was too young to go to college and, on the theory that the right place for every child was at home, he ordained that his able, bright, extra-energized, highly effective son should take a postgraduate year at Yonkers in the same school system in which he had been, with a brief interval, since he was five. Ironically, it was this over-protective gesture which diverted Joe Stilwell to a military career. Predictably bored, he soon departed from his estimable record. Forming a club of friends called the "Big Four," he constructed a hideaway in the school loft with












boards laid across the rafters where the group played cards and on one occasion suspended the principal's desk by ropes from the ceiling. In another venture they spread Limburger cheese on the pupils' desks, and in climactic naughtiness, at the senior dance of 1900, perpetrated what came to be known as the Great Ice Cream Raid. Led by Warren, the four marauders assaulted the refreshment table and after doing battle with the defenders, in the course of which Dr. Baker was inadvertently "slugged," made off with the tubs of ice cream and trays of cakes. A special meeting of the Board of Education to deal with the scandal was summoned the next day, at which the guilty boys were variously suspended, expelled or not allowed to graduate, leaving Warren, who had already graduated, a special case.





Though at first unable to believe that a Stilwell could be guilty of misbehavior, Dr. Stilwell upon investigation confirmed the unhappy truth. He decided discipline was needed: Warren must go into the Army. He seems not to have taken a severe or punishing attitude for he told Warren (according to a version adopted if not authenticated by the family) that "there is a nice place up the Hudson where you can play tennis." Although his father's decision cost Warren the chance to play football at Yale, he made, as far as is known, no objection. Indeed, with the United States having recently tossed off a "splendid little war" in Cuba and still engaged in fighting Insurrectos in the Philippines, and with American infantry at that moment shooting their way along with other foreign troops to the rescue of the Legations besieged in Peking by the Boxer Rebellion, the prospect of being a soldier may have appealed to a boy suffering from both paternal smothering and a surfeit of high school.





In any event he seems to have plunged with characteristic intensity into the endeavor of gaining admission to West Point; a neighbor remembers his having stayed in bed for a week on the interesting theory that he could in this way stretch himself a quarter-inch to meet the height requirement for a cadet.





As it was already late to apply for an appointment to the Military Academy, Dr. Stilwell pulled wires. Through a neighbor across the street who was a friend of President McKinley, Warren was given an appointment as an alternate-at-large. On the application form Dr. Stilwell lightly penciled in the blanks before allowing his son to copy them over in ink. At the ordeal of the qualifying examinations Warren thought he had failed in mathematics, but when the names of those failing to qualify were mercilessly read aloud, he found himself, to his surprise, left in line with the successful remainder.





The student body in which he was now included did not represent a












military caste such as was built into European society. Out of close to 4,000 officers who had graduated from West Point by the year 1900 only 139 or 3.5 percent were the sons or grandsons of previous graduates. Traditionally suspicious of "militarism," Congress had retained the power of appointment to the Academy, and from fear of allowing a military caste to develop, tended to lean away from the sons of officers in favor of civilians' sons. Its nominations brought together a group mainly of conservative, native-born, middle- and upper-middle-class background. Ages ranged in the first year from seventeen to twenty-two, with Stilwell among the youngest. The newest recruits on that July day in 1900 raced to the telegraph office to notify their families and then, as Stilwell wrote in his diary, "went back to hell."





For plebe year at West Point in 1900 the description was not inappropriate. Hazing had reached an extreme at this time which, after the withdrawal and subsequent death of two cadets from causes attributed to hazing, brought on a Congressional investigation in February 1901. Among those required to testify, much against his will, was Douglas MacArthur, in the class a year ahead of Stilwell, who had lain on his cot in convulsions after a session of "exercising." Plebes were made to squat over bayonets, to run naked while buckets of cold water were thrown at them, to be hanged from their thumbs or to stand on their heads in the bath, to hold a rifle on extended arms for long periods, to be "sweated" (wrapped in blankets and raincoats in July), to swallow Tabasco sauce or eat vast quantities of a food such as a plateful of molasses or two hundred prunes, to engage in forced fights or eat meals under the table and to suffer various other humiliations.





The practice was not entirely wanton. Its excuse was that, like the rigid routines of the official regime, it was said to teach self-control, resistance to panic and, above all, acceptance of authority. The core of the military profession is discipline and the essence of discipline is obedience. Since this does not come naturally to men of independent and rational mind, they must train themselves in the habit of obedience on which lives and the fortunes of battle may some day depend. Reasonable orders are easy enough to obey; it is capricious, bureaucratic or plain idiotic demands that form the habit of discipline. Of these, bracing at West Point—a frozen stance with shoulders squeezed back, chin and stomach sucked in—was the symbol and the essence.





"Brace, brace, brace," Stilwell wrote in his diary, "drill, drill, drill. Oh, Lord. . . . Sink, setting up drill, drink, rest, squad drill, dinner, clean guns, squad drill, retreat, company drill around the area before supper. . . . Taps, oblivion, reveille at 4:30, brace all the time, at meals between every mouthful, had to brace on toes for an hour-and-a-half once." Upper-class-












men made bracing a constant torture. Sometimes plebes had to work "holding tissue paper between shoulder blades (a cinch when wet)." During tent camp in summer he was subjected to a "soiree" of hazing which he could describe only incoherently as "smoking and poking skags at your chin. And hell sauce. Oh, joy. Rat funerals and bugs. Watch 'em with crossed bayonets for hours." Joe (as he was now and hereafter known except to his family) was homesick, miserable and constipated, a condition with which he was often concerned throughout life. "Overslept once till guns went off—scared to death. . . . Made beds, swept up tents, looped up walls, dragged water, put in collars and cuffs . . . cussed out all the time."





He found escape in adventure stories borrowed from the library, among them Kidnapped, The Luck of Roaring Camp, King Solomon's Mines, Under Two Flags, Les Miserables and a sport on this list, De Quincy's Confessions of an Opium Eater. He kept the last out for the longest time, two weeks compared to two to five days for the others.





Eventually plebe year was over, and like coming into the sunlight out of some dark tunnel, he emerged an upper-classman. The curriculum of the Military Academy at this time was designed to produce an officer ab ovo and concentrated on the technical knowledge needed by a soldier with little attention to the possibly wider needs of a citizen. A student emerged marvelously proficient in drawing maps and terrain features but less well versed in the history of man and his institutions. The humanities were confined to one course in history and one in English language, literature and composition combined. Otherwise the cadet took French and Spanish, math, chemistry, law and "natural philosophy" (which meant a smattering of the physical sciences), plus his military subjects. In addition to drill regulations, these were ordnance and gunnery, surveying, fortifications, tactics and two years of drawing which included topography and plotting of surveys, shades and shadows, linear perspective, theory of color and laying of tints, field reconnaissance contouring, history of cartography, engineering and ordnance drawing, freehand landscape and enough more to equip a Leonardo.





The capstone of the cadet's military studies, taught by the Department of Military Engineering, was "The Art of War." Originally called "The Science of War" in the days when the only element considered teachable was fortifications, the course had been transformed and developed by one of the Academy's great teachers, Dennis Hart Mahan, into a study of the principles of tactics and strategy drawn from lessons of past battles and great captains. During Mahan's tenure from 1832 to 1871 Napoleon's campaigns were the model and the offensive spirit was the theme. Emphasis was on speed, mobility, surprise and oilier components of attack. By Stil-












well's time as a cadet the Civil War had superseded Napoleon. Even the dubious experience of 1898, which provided more lessons to shun than to emulate, had reached the classroom.





Joe revealed a proficiency in languages, standing number one in French in his second year, and managed well enough in his other studies, but he lacked the high seriousness and self-belief that had led such predecessors as Robert E. Lee, John J. Pershing and Douglas MacArthur to graduate number one in military aptitude. Twice Joe received demerits for "laughing at drill," which is not the stuff that makes First Captain. Other demerits incurred were for "throwing food in mess hall at supper," "shouting and creating disturbance in bathroom upon departure of baseball squad," "prearranging organized fistic combat between two cadets" and "cat in quarters at P.M. inspection."





Besides these pursuits his athletic activities continued prodigious. He formed the habit of running several miles before breakfast, served as captain of the cross-country team, won the mile in 1903, scored the winning points in the track meet of 1904 and rowed in two boat races the day after. He is credited with introducing basketball at the Academy and he coached and played on, as well as managed, its first team in 1903-04. Despite the handicap of slight stature, he earned his letter in varsity football in his final year. With what energy was left over from athletics he served as his company's "hop" manager, or representative for social activities, for two years in a row.





Having achieved the rank of Lieutenant of Cadets, he graduated decently if not brilliantly as 32nd in a class of 124. This was considerably short of the top ten, who, as the first to exercise choice of their branch of service, invariably took all the available places in the Engineers which offered the most interesting work in peacetime. The Cavalry was not for Joe either; although he rode, he hated horses. He called them "oat blowers" and said the shape of their heads showed they had dinosaur brains. He chose the Infantry, and on June 15, 1904, aged twenty-one, received his commission as second lieutenant. Described in the yearbook as "one of the few who puts down his ancestry as Yankee," he was at this time a straight, taut figure of five-foot-nine weighing 145 pounds, with neat head and features, cropped hair, a straightforward look and serious dark eyes. "Sheepskin at last" was the only comment in his diary on graduation day. Then as later, memorable events caused him to lapse into the laconic.





While Stilwell was at West Point preparing to enter it, the Army was undergoing the greatest shaking up in its history. From an unexacting career in 1900 it had been purged, reorganized and reformed into a profes-












sion by 1904, at least in theory. If the change was still mostly on paper, the foundations of professionalism had been laid. The' transforming cause was not so much the recent war as the Secretary of War, Elihu Root.





The chaos of mobilization for Cuba in 1898 revealed the hopeless inadequacy of the Army's executive system. It had no General Staff but operated under ten virtually autonomous Bureaus—Quartermaster's Paymaster's, Commissary, Ordnance and so forth. No unit of the armed forces could be activated by a single order since its arms and supplies and auxiliaries and transport each required the orders of a different Bureau. The officers administering the Bureaus held permanent staff jobs, which tended to nourish inertia.





Appointed Secretary in 1899 to reform the system, Root went to work on the basis of a truism and a principle: that "the object of having an Army is to provide for war" and that the Regular Army could only be a nucleus, "never the whole machine with which any war will be fought." His primary reform, based on blueprints drawn 20 years earlier by General Emory Upton, one of West Point's most remarkable graduates, and by an Englishman, Spenser Wilkinson, was the establishment of a General Staff. The Staff, in the title of Wilkinson's book, was to serve as "The Brains of the Army." It was to exercise the executive function in place of the Bureaus and it was assigned a task new to the American Army—war planning.





Root created the Army War College to educate for the strategic function and he improved the postgraduate courses for line officers in the Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry schools and at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. He introduced examination as a criterion for promotion and established the principle of rotating service between line and staff duty. The whole system was to be regularly tested by field maneuvers. Root succeeded in pushing his reforms through Congress in the sessions of 1901-03. Although the grip of the Bureaus could not be loosened all at once, he laid the framework for a centrally organized Army.





In size the Army had increased from a prewar strength of 28,000 men and 2,000 officers to a total of 100,000 at the peak of action in the Philippines. Against cries of "militarism," Congress authorized a minimum of 60,000 thereafter. By 1904, the year that Stilwell entered it, the Army had shrunk back to about 50,000 men and 3,000 officers. On paper it was organized into 31 regiments of Infantry and 15 of Cavalry, which together with the Artillery Corps and the Corps of Engineers were distributed over some 45 posts in the United States and overseas. The framework of a regiment was three battalions which at full strength numbered 800 men each, divided into four companies.  In the peacetime reality of 1904 the












average garrison was merely the nucleus of a regiment amounting to about 700 men, or less than a battalion.





Except in the Philippines where sporadic fighting still continued, garrison life in the United States was not challenging. The last armed clash with Indians had taken place in 1890, but local districts and their representatives in Congress resisted attempts to abolish the "hitching post" forts or to consolidate their areas. The little garrisons droned on with whatever routines of drill and rifle practice, polishing and cleaning and rote-learning of the Manual could be devised to keep men and officers busy. Emphasis was on exactness, and marksmanship was a fetish at which the American soldier attained greater skill than the European. The working day was over at noon. Enlisted men lived in quarters known as Soapsuds Row from the days when their wives worked as laundresses for the officers. Pay ranged in 1904 from a private's $13 a month to a minimum of $45 for a first sergeant, with an extra $2 for qualifying as a marksman, and $5 for expert rifleman. The quality of enlisted personnel was rough and they did not command the affection of the public.





America did not on the whole admire its Army. Having deliberately eschewed spiked helmets and cuirasses, bearskin hats and scarlet facings, it did not feel the love and respect these accouterments evoked in Europe. After the short-lived imperial enthusiasm of 1900, Congress resumed being as stingy as possible with appropriations. Troop trains on the railroads rated after freight cars in priority and had to wait on sidings to let passenger and freight trains go by. The public attitude was such that Congress felt required in 1911 to provide a $500 fine for any public place of entertainment that discriminated against men in uniform.





Against the long horizon of peace as viewed from 1904, the officers' corps to which Stilwell now belonged could look forward to an assured and reasonably comfortable but small-time life with little scope for strong ambitions. Pay was not princely, ranging from $1,400 a year for a new second lieutenant to $4,000 for a colonel. Life was dominated by rank, and promotion in 1904 was stagnant. Descending step by step from the commanding officer—and the commanding officer's wife, referred to as COW—rank determined everything in both official and social life, including living quarters. Within any grade it was refined down to seniority by date of appointment so that an officer promoted as of June might find himself ousted from a desirable house by a new arrival who had reached the same grade in May. At afternoon receptions the highest ranking officer's wife poured coffee rather than tea because, since coffee was the more popular drink in America and more people tended to congregate at that end of the table, it was considered to outrank tea.












With place of work and residence combined, with schools located on post, with frequent changes of post preventing ties with the local community and throwing officers on each other's company, with lives crossing and recrossing, and the social notes in service journals keeping everyone apprised of marriages, card parties and who entertained whom at what post, the military career evolved into a closed, and as regards the tensions and political antagonisms of civilian life, an almost innocent society. Regardless of jealousies and intrigues engendered by rank, a strong esprit de corps existed whose sign was the salute, proclaimed by the Manual as "the signal of recognition and greeting between members of the military brotherhood." The code instilled by the Academy prescribed that officers were gentlemen joined by common principles of honor and behavior and by personal loyalty toward brother officers. Loyalty owed to the CO, whether regimental colonel or Commander-in-Chief, was considered to be personal no less than official.





In its special relationship to the Commander-in-Chief as "the right arm of the Executive," the Army acknowledged itself subordinate to the civil power. It was very conscious of its position as servant of the state. Beginning at West Point with the motto "Duty, Honor, Country," the operative concept of the officer corps was duty. To be able to respond to a call to duty at any time by whatever Administration, and perform that duty effectively, the military was supposed to cultivate a nonpartisan frame of mind in which it could carry out orders without questioning. In theory it considered itself set apart under an obligation to renounce the ordinary political passions much as a religious order renounces the flesh. "There shall be no discussion of politics" was a bylaw of the West Point Association of Graduates. Army personnel, according to the Military Services Journal, were "scarcely conscious" of their right to vote and rarely exercised it.





Given his natural bent for action, Stilwell chose the Philippines, the only place where U.S. forces were then actively engaged, for his first service as a fledgling officer. As a West Point graduate, especially one in the first third of his class, he could express his preference of post. Assigned to the 12th Infantry, he sailed in October 1904 aboard the troop transport Sheridan, one of three former transatlantic cattleboats purchased by the Army in 1898. With a stopover in Hawaii, the transports took from 30 to 40 days to make the passage to Manila. Joe managed to pass the time exercising on deck, reading, sleeping, eating, boning up on his Spanish, "bellyaching" with friends, talking with officers' wives and writing letters — "8 good fat ones and 16 postals" in one day. His ease and flow with pen and paper, which he was to retain through life, was already established. He recorded another characteristic: not joining "the booze fighters who get












tanked up every night," among them Captain H., "soaking like a piece of milk toast." Though never a teetotaler nor one to make an issue of liquor, Stilwell's drinking remained minimal.





The embarrassment of the United States at finding itself involved in foreign conquest just like any wicked land-hungry power of the Old World was great, the more so since the conquest was being actively resisted. For the sake of the American conscience the Government had hurried to install civil rule in the Philippines and to declare the rebellion over before in fact it was. Although broken as an organized national movement after the capture of Aguinaldo in 1901, many of the island tribes refused his plea to surrender. With lethal bolo knives replacing their dwindling supply of firearms, they were still conducting a guerilla resistance and erupting every now and then in fierce raids on the occupied areas. On Cebu alone, Stilwell noted in his diary, 803 Moros had been killed in "scraps" during the three months before he arrived.





He was soon on active service and while on a march to the coast was "scared to death of getting a bolo rush." In February 1905 his unit, D Company of the 1st Battalion, was sent on an expedition up the Gandora River in Samar against the rebel Pulajanes. He marched "up and down over mountains toward San Jose, swamps, vines, mud, hills, slips, falls. . . . Camp in the woods at dark. Men slept as they stood. Rained all night. Men wet, mud, etc. OH HELL!" Again the next day through rain they climbed a very hard trail, men were dropping out, and they found San Jose deserted. Filipino scouts were sent ahead, they flushed out a band of Pulajanes and a skirmish followed. Later they encountered 50 bolo men who ran off. After two weeks in the bush, Joe recorded, "Took big drink of booze—phew!" During respite in camp by the river, he at once began to organize athletics. "Fixed up a baroda with seats, oarlocks, oars—funny as hell, the first 8-oared shell in Samar."





When the march resumed, Joe learned in a few hours of active duty a lesson in command no war college could have taught him. On the second day out the company was without water and the Captain, anxious to reach a source, moved ahead fast, telling Joe to drop behind and keep the rear of the column closed up. In the hard hot going Joe, leading a Pulajan prisoner tied by a rope, came upon the First Sergeant lying by the trail, collapsed from heat exhaustion. During the few seconds he stopped to try to arouse him, the column moved ahead and his shouts to halt it, muffled by the thick brush, went unheard. With the unconscious Sergeant loaded alternately on the prisoner's shoulders and on his own, he struggled forward, losing the faint trail, backtracking to pick it up, badly off for water, and armed with only a .38-caliber Colt, expecting all the time the Pulajanes to "jump out of the brush to cut us up." No message came back from












the column. Increasingly exhausted and hoping desperately to get somewhere before dark, he finally heard a clatter ahead and stumbled into camp to find the company eating supper and the Captain unconcerned. "You're here, are you?" was all he said. No one had been sent back to look for the missing Sergeant and Lieutenant; only Joe's physical stamina had brought them through. Had he fallen from fatigue in hostile territory, his life might have ended there in Samar within two days of his twenty-second birthday. This experience of a commanding officer's responsibility—or lack of it— made a profound and lasting impression which continued to haunt him. "I don't know to this day," he wrote 30 years later, "if we hadn't gotten in, whether Captain Falls ever intended to do anything about it."





On post at Camp Jossman on the tiny island of Guimaras off Panay, life was less strenuous. An evening at the General's was quickly caught in a few words: "Talcum powder belles, uniforms, waiter, English Lancer." Everything in the native surroundings interested him, from* fern leaves used by the children as kites to the native method of stealing grain by letting it drain from a hole in a sack through the slatted floor to a bag held underneath. Tactical exercises, drill and regulations, rifle practice and pistol shooting, tennis, sailing and encounters with "cavalry stiffs" filled his time. Joe organized hikes and games, arranged decorations for the company dance and translated for the War Department a French pamphlet on the siege of Port Arthur in the current Russo-Japanese War and a Spanish treatise on "The Military Geography of Chile." As first member of the Club executive committee, he "decided to stir things up a little." One form this took was an episode in his running battle with the Cavalry in which he undertook to prove the superiority of the Infantry. Lining up his men in a trench, he provided them with a number of bed sheets. When the Cavalry charged, they stood up and waved the sheets, frightening the horses into a mad shambles, to Joe's infinite delight. In spite or because of such exploits, his Efficiency Report from the Captain of D Company rated him "Excellent" in all categories and "Exceptionally bright, hardworking and efficient."





In February 1906, after 14 months in the Philippines, he received notice that he was being detailed to West Point as Instructor in the Department of Modern Languages. "First man in 1904 back," he noted as a cause for pride. Revealing a supersensitivity, he added a list of seven names from whom he had received congratulations and nine from whom he had not.





He immediately seized on the appointment in languages to apply for two months' leave with permission to return via Europe in order, as he wrote, to improve his French by traveling from Saigon to France on a French liner with opportunity for "everyday intercourse and conversation












with Frenchmen." Fallen among the Bureaus, the request was still unanswered, despite his urgent cables, by the time he was due to sail on the April transport. At Nagasaki in Japan, where the transports stopped to coal, he tried again and at last received a reply which proved that inefficiency still defied Root's reforms: it was in a code that no one in Japan was equipped to read. Joe perforce sailed eastward with the transport, and only at the next military post in Hawaii, which had the right key for the code, found that the message read, "Leave granted, return by Europe." By then it was too late, and with feelings apparently too strong for comment, he returned home via San Francisco.





In the military profession, where the opportunity to learn through actual practice is undependable, teaching and training in one form or another was a major occupation of the officer in peacetime. During his first three years as an instructor Stilwell taught English, French and Spanish. In the fourth year he was given additional duty as Instructor of Tactics and transferred from languages to teaching history. Already impatient with slow minds or lack of effort or anyone "not on the level," he was quick to help anyone who was really trying. He served in the Department of Tactics throughout the period as coach of basketball, baseball and track and in the fourth year as assistant football coach. "It was due to Lieutenant Stilwell's untiring work," reported the Army Athletic Association for the 1908-09 season, "that the [basketball] team was so successful." Whether team sports were assigned to the Department of Tactics for reasons of convenience or of philosophy is moot, but they represented tactics, especially football whose pattern often appears later in the plans and discussions of Stilwell and other commanders. As a coach, according to General Jacob Devers of the class of 1909, Stilwell was "sarcastic but in a way that made you want to perform. I would have done anything for him."





The Academy, however, could not fill his horizon, the less so for being next door to home. Restless and inquiring, he requested leave for each of the summers of 1907, 1908 and 1909 to go "beyond the seas," with Spanish as the excuse. With better luck than he had had when he applied for leave to improve his French, he succeeded in making three voyages to areas of Latin America. The first was at Government expense in the form of a "Confidential Mission" to make a topographical survey of Guatemala. Ordered to travel under an assumed name, carrying nothing that would reveal his identity or show him to be a Government agent, he was to fill in skeleton maps with an accurate rendering of the topography, and supply information on bridges, fords, ferries, railroads, roads, wagon carts, draft animals, harbors,  landings, fortifications, telephone  and telegraph lines,












rivers, lakes, canals, cities, towns and villages, garrisons, occupation and density of population, food, fuel, forage, political conditions, diseases and climate. Six weeks were allowed for the mission.





Stilwell's wanderings by foot and mule in Guatemala were full of discoveries. He found the country flea-bitten and unappetizing, fell ill with dysentery and fever and after a few weeks longed to go home. Yet he was constantly observing, filling his notebooks with facts and comments, finding himself stirred by the same aspects of oppression that were to become familiar in China. They evoked a sympathy with the common man and anger with his rulers that he would not have felt at home. The Guate-malteco, he noted, would not work more than he had to because everything he made was stolen by Government officials who were often "thieves and even worse." Stilwell formed a very "unfavorable opinion" of the officials, landowners and professional classes. Keeping the peasant illiterate and uneducated, he wrote, "suits very well the purpose of the Government which takes him from his farm at any time and puts him in the Army for an indefinite period, not caring whether or not his family starves. Yet. . . he says nothing, enduring it all in silence." These were sentiments that were to repeat themselves in China. As a close friend said, "Stilwell was liberal and sympathetic by instinct. But he was conservative in thought and politics."





The next year, 1908, he spent his summer leave traveling through Mexico with a friend and classmate, Lieutenant Francis Honeycutt, nicknamed "Hungry." They made a militant pair for Honeycutt was reputed to be the best swordsman in the Regular Army while Stilwell, who had qualified as expert marksman and member of the Army rifle team, was reported by a contemporary newspaper to be "one of the 20 premier rifle shots in the United States." Starting in Washington, they visited the War College and the Congressional Library, "which is a peach," Joe noted, giving it his highest praise. Things he really liked were "peachy."





In Mexico they traveled on foot and horseback for two weeks while Joe made copious notes on Mexican culture, history, customs, agriculture, religion and Aztec hieroglyphics. After their return home via Cuba he and Hungry carried the Mexican theme to a costume party at Lake Placid at which they appeared "dressed as 2 femmes with bare legs and bellies. Made quite a hit as Montezuma's daughters." The party was the highlight of a fortnight of fun in the Adirondacks in August which finished off their leave. They charged without pause through picnics and tennis, hikes and dances, sports with friends and jaunts with girls. Containing for once no caustic comments, the diary recorded a rare acknowledgment of a good time among "fine people, cordial and friendly."





Just before leaving for Mexico, Stilwell at twenty-five had met the girl












he was going to marry. She was Winifred A. Smith of Syracuse, a classmate at boarding school of his younger sister Mary. So far, except for a girl whose picture he had carried to the Philippines (with the approval of his parents who believed it would "help to keep him straight"), Joe had had no serious romances. Not the shadowy girl of the photograph, but his sister, then only thirteen, had been his date at the West Point Hop in the year he graduated. Now returning the compliment, Mary invited him to her school's June dance and asked him to bring Hungry along for her friend Win, a very pretty young lady of nineteen with vivacious eyes and curly hair.





Lieutenant Honeycutt wore elegant blues with the red stripe of the Field Artillery, but it was Mary's brother in starched summer whites to whom Win was more attracted. She thought she had "never met anyone so handsome or with such wonderful deep brown eyes." They felt happy together and he asked if he could write. A year later he invited her to the Officers' Hop at West Point but her mother, suspicious of Army men, refused permission. He came, however, to her graduation dance at finishing school and later, chaperoned by her mother, she visited the Point and met his family. A letter from him addressed "Sweet Peach" embarrassed her but in the spring of 1910, after she attended the Hop of that year, they became engaged and were married in October. In a letter to her before the wedding he wrote, "I will love you more as my wife than I ever have as my fiancee— lots more. ... I am going to do my very best to take care of you and make you happy. But I am very far from perfect. I'll want your help many times —when I get impatient, grouchy, gloomy. ... If at times I am unbearable please remember, dear, that I'll come out of it and that my one wish will always be your happiness. For I love you with all that is in me."





Even in love Stilwell had not been content to stay home but, moved by his annual yearning to go "beyond the seas," had spent his summer leave of 1909 in Central America, and in 1910 had again applied for a topographical mission for the months between his engagement and marriage. Citing his qualifications in Spanish and previous experience in a letter to the War Department, he stated combatively if somewhat obscurely that he was indifferent to the nature of the work "so long as it takes me to those countries in the interests of the United States and against them." Despite these fighting sentiments the request was disapproved by both the State Department, which wished to avoid complications owing to "the late friction" with Nicaragua, and the Chief of Staff, who objected rather cryptically to sending young officers on these missions "on account of the effect it has had upon some of those who have been there in the past."





Shortly before his marriage Stilwell had been caught up in the new rules enforcing rotation between detached service and regimental duty. These












required that in peacetime line officers under the rank of major must serve two years out of every six with their regiments. Designed to limit tours of detached service in Washington to four years, the rules were codified by act of Congress in 1912 and thereafter were known as the Manchu Act in tribute to the common uprooting of Army bureaucrats from Washington and Manchus from Peking. Stilwell's first term with the 12th Infantry being found short of the requirements, he was reassigned to his regiment and sailed with his wife for the Philippines on the transport Sherman in January 1911.





His second tour in the Islands proved to be routine post duty at Fort William McKinley, a trolley ride from Manila. Marked only by his promotion to first lieutenant in March, it was a daily round of drill which the company could do with its eyes closed, of garrison school which succeeded in killing time until 1 p.m., and of efforts to vent unused energy in organizing boat races in native bancas for his men and teaching them to build bamboo bridges over the river. With his eye on the current revolution in Mexico, he agitated for transfer to "activities" on the border but without success. By September, having three months' accumulated leave saved up, he determined to spend it seeing more of the Orient with his wife before she was to go home to await the birth of their first child.





They sailed for Japan on September 14, arriving at Nagasaki from where they toured the shores of the Inland Sea as far as Hiroshima. Stilwell raced up every mountain in sight. After climbing to the top of Miyajima in an hour and a half, he recorded "the guide's admiration for my legs knew no bounds." In the next six weeks, pulled by his endless curiosity and energy, he and Win saw Japan intensively. He began at once to learn the language, causing titters at a railroad station when he asked to buy milk. Checking in the dictionary later, he found he had asked for "mother's milk." His recorded comments were exhaustive but at this stage of his acquaintance with Japan they were confined to descriptions without judgments or opinions.





Although the newspapers were full of the startling events of the Revolution in China, Stilwell was evidently too absorbed to notice, for his diary makes no mention of them. He saw his wife off for the United States in mid-November and continued on to see China by himself.












2





Visitor to Revolution: China, 1911





Stilwell entered at Shanghai, epitome and greatest of the Treaty Ports. His first sight was of the fleet of foreign warships—two Japanese, two French, one British, one German and one American—riding the coffee-colored waters of the harbor not as visitors but as occupants. Developed by foreign enterprise, the great metropolis and business capital of China was governed in major part as a concession under foreign control. It lay at the mouth of the Yangtze, central artery of the country and busiest river in Asia; half of China's industry was contained within its limits and half of China's trade passed over its wharves. Stilwell saw his first rickshaw at Woosung and sampans and sailing junks in the river. Coming into Shanghai proper, his first impression was "a shock," as it was to most foreigners on arrival who, unconsciously expecting something Oriental and exotic, saw instead the solid hotels and banks, the broad streets and parks of a Western-style city. From the hotel window Stilwell thought it looked like Philadelphia. In the streets of the International Settlement he was struck by the tall turbaned Sikhs imported from British India who served as police.





The Revolution added a touch of excitement for Stilwell without seriously inconveniencing him, for like most momentous upheavals it was less noticeable to the eyewitness than it would be to history. On a tour of the Old Chinese City he saw rebel recruiting stations under the flag of the Revolution whose twelve-pointed black sun on a red ground had replaced












the Imperial yellow dragon. He talked with some of the soldiers, noting that they carried Chinese-made Mausers and seemed "fine-appearing lads." He saw beggars thick as flies lying in rags in the gutters, vile, filthy canals clogged with refuse, a coolie taking a mountain of trunks from wharf to hotel for 30 cents, a street vendor selling oranges by the section, mourners dressed in white in a temple, "dames of fortune lined up in the doorway under a light, gaily dressed and bejewelled but solidly listless faces." Visiting an old teahouse dating from the Ming dynasty, he noted that the bridge leading to it was built in zigzag form to thwart evil spirits who, unable to maneuver angles according to Chinese belief, would fall into the water at the turns. Elsewhere observing the number of gods and shrines in all the houses, he remarked that the main point of religion in China "seems to be an effort to scare away evil spirits who are continually trying to do them harm."





By chance or perspicacity he had hit upon a central fact of Chinese life—fear of Feng shui, the demons, ghosts and devils who bring evil upon men. Foreigners, as indicated by the term "foreign devil," sometimes modified by "long-nosed" or "hairy," were associated in Chinese minds with evil spirits. The instinct of China had been to keep her precincts immune from foreign infection. The Manchu Empire before 1898 had no Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct relations with other countries because no such relations had been wanted or considered necessary. Aliens desiring to trade, preach or otherwise establish contact had been dealt with by the Hall for Governance of Barbarians.





Throughout her history China had believed herself the center of civilization, surrounded by barbarians. She was the Middle Kingdom, the center of the universe, whose Emperor was the Son of Heaven, ruling by the Mandate of Heaven. Convinced of their superior values, the Chinese considered that China's greatness was owed to principles of social order formulated by her sages and administered benevolently by a learned elite over a harmonious whole. All outsiders whose misfortune was to live beyond her borders were "barbarians" and necessarily inferiors who were expected, and indeed required, to make their approach, if they insisted on coming, bearing tribute and performing the kowtow in token of humble submission.





From Marco Polo to the eighteenth century, visiting Westerners, amazed and admiring, were inclined to take China at her own valuation. Her recorded history began in the third millennium B.C., her bronzes were as old as the pyramids, her classical age was contemporary with that of Greece, her Confucian canon of ethics predated the New Testament if not the Old. She was the inventor of paper, porcelain, silk, gunpowder, the clock and movable type, the builder of the Great Wall, one of the wonders












of the world, the creator of fabrics and ceramics of exquisite beauty and of an art of painting that was sophisticated and expressive when Europe's was still primitive and flat.





Vast and grand and faraway, a land of dragon-roofed temples, bridges of marble, terraced rice fields and many-tiered pagodas, dominated by a fabulous monarch and splendid court, supported by a limitless mass of hard-working laborers, unravaged by the religious wars of the West, ancient and supreme outside the Christian sway, boasting a love of order, respect for learning and contempt for war, she was reported by European travelers as a kind of Utopia which seemed indeed, as her philosophers claimed, to have found the secret of rational government. In that case the paradox of mass penury was puzzling. Some observers were troubled too by the recurring phenomenon of corruption and dynastic decay and by evidence of a culture that was endlessly turning like a wheel without gears in the grooves of the past. But such doubts did not greatly disturb the Western habit of idealizing China to suit Western theories of a particular time.





When at the end of the eighteenth century Western ships and merchants surged against China's shores, eager for tea and silk and cotton, they found no reciprocal enthusiasm. Enclosed in the isolation of superiority, Imperial China wanted no influx of strangers from primitive islands called Britain or France or Holland who came to live off the riches of the Middle Kingdom bearing only worthless articles for exchange. They had ugly noses and coarse manners and wore ridiculous clothes with constricting sleeves and trousers, tight collars and coats that had tails down the back but failed to close in front. These were not the garments of reasonable men.





A past-oriented society, safe only in seclusion, sensed a threat from the importunate West. The Imperial Government raised every barrier possible by refusals, evasions, postponements and prohibitions to foreign entry or settlement or the opening of formal relations. Splendidly remote in the "Great Within" of the Forbidden City of Peking, the court refused to concern itself with the knocking on its doors. It would admit foreign embassies who came to plead for trade treaties only if they performed the ritual of three genuflections and nine prostrations in approaching the Son of Heaven. British envoys, after surmounting innumerable obstacles to reach Peking, balked at the kowtow and turned back empty-handed.





Since Western merchants paid in silver for Chinese goods they were not banned altogether. Under a set of regulations designed to bar their intrusion but not their money, they were confined to the southernmost port of Canton, as far as possible from the capital at Peking, and were required to do business from "factories"—a combination of dwelling, office and












warehouse—outside the city walls. To discourage their permanent settlement they were not allowed to bring in their women. To keep them from learning the language it was made illegal for Chinese to serve them as teachers.





Even so the trade grew—to be paid for, fatefully, in opium. The demand in Europe and America for tea and chinoiserie made the traders' prospects rich but a one-sided exchange of money for goods could not expand profitably. The foreigners had little to bring that the Chinese wanted until they introduced opium grown in India and Persia. As the Chinese demand spread, the drug became the main cargo of shippers licensed by the British East India Company as well as of American clipper trade which followed in its wake. Fortunes were made, commerce multiplied and British rule in India came to depend on the income.





The Chinese too grew rich on the trade although they declared it illegal. Dealers and middlemen took their commissions and officials at every level took a consideration for administering permissively the grand fraud. They surrounded the smuggling with an elaborate pretense of pursuit, chasing the clipper ships at a safe distance and firing loud cannonades, duly reported to the distant Emperor as victories. In the context of the East where form rather than substance is the reality, these engagements satisfied the Chinese requirement of face. Lush in opportunities, the opium trade extended the deepening corruption of the Manchu regime. The Westerners, pricked now and then by a sense of shame, found it could be subdued by counting the gains. For both sides the vast masquerade was not a good school of mutual respect.





Out of this situation came the Opium Wars of 1839-42 and 1856-60, the matrix of intercourse thereafter between China and the West. Because of the loss of customs revenue, the growing ill effects of opium-smoking among the people, and the fear that the cordon against foreigners was breaking down, the Imperial Government decided that the opium trade must be brought to an end. The British, eager to sell their cotton and other manufactured goods, were pressing for the opening of other ports and for the right of trade to be confirmed by treaty. Basically the issue was not simply opium but the fact that the Chinese wanted to restrict, and the West to expand, their intercourse. The West prevailed.





Against British armed frigates China's antiquated coastal cannon, left to rust by Manchu ineptitude, were useless. The First Opium War ended in the Treaty of Nanking which in effect opened China to the West and broke ground for all foreign inroads thereafter. Besides ceding Hong Kong in perpetuity, it opened five coast (owns from Canton to Shanghai, later known as Treaty Ports, where the British could maintain homes (with wives), establish consulates and courts to try their own law violators under












their own laws, and carry on trade under a fixed tariff of 5 percent. The Second Opium War, in which Imperial forces armed with spears were defeated by an Anglo-French expeditionary force outside Peking, confirmed and extended the principle of extraterritoriality. Foreigners gained access to ten more Treaty Ports and the right to navigation of the Yangtze and to travel anywhere in China. They were yielded the awesome right of diplomatic representation and residence in Peking and the right of missionaries to own property outside the Treaty Ports. In final submission opium was legalized. America and Russia shared in negotiation of the treaties if not in the active belligerence. Throughout the process of the opening of China, the United States followed through portals cut by the British, avoiding the aggression and inheriting the advantages.





China's Imperial Government had ruled by prestige which defeat by the barbarians gravely undermined. In the years following the First Opium War disasters multiplied, taxes were increased upon the peasantry, corruption in the governing mandarinate became systematic, respect for authority declined, power decentralized, banditry flourished, sovereignty rotted at the center. In 1850 all these decays and discontents coalesced in a great popular uprising known as the Taiping Rebellion which was to last 15 years and cost 20 million lives before it was over. Drawing strength from the oppressed, the Taipings succeeded in establishing a rival capital at Nanking. The recurring moment seemed at hand when the Mandate of Heaven had been withdrawn from a dynasty proven unworthy. But the foreigners, in order to ensure the privileges they had exacted by treaty, shored up the Government. With their aid Nanking was retaken to the accompanying massacre of 100,000 Taipings. China's failed French Revolution was suppressed.





Preserved by foreign help, China's Bourbons thereafter began to lean upon their encroachers. One form that dependence took was in the vital area of revenue. During the chaos of the revolution the British and the Americans had taken over the collection of customs dues on behalf of the Government, and as a result of greater efficiency and less graft, Peking enjoyed a larger income from this source than ever before. The system was extended by agreement to all Treaty Ports and put on a permanent footing with a foreign staff under a British Inspector General.





Many Chinese were coming to believe that their country, while remaining true to its own concepts, must arm itself with Western techniques if it was to cope with the Western threat. It must reform or perish. Western methods appeared as something that could be picked out of context and borrowed for limited use. Leaders of this "self-strengthening" movement managed to introduce Western training programs for the Army and Navy, arsenals for Western weapons and, against the bitter resistance of the conservatives,












a college in Peking for the study of Western subjects to supplement the ritual learning of the classics which was the substance of Chinese education. As the first essential for a country largely dependent on wheelbarrows for land transport, they advocated railroads as well as telegraph lines, factories, machines, a postal system and above all a modern school system. But reactionary objection was strong, and lacking a mover of vigorous conviction like the current Emperor Meiji in Japan, the program of modernization had no engine and developed no power of its own. The Imperial circle, personified in the narrow mind and majestic presence of the Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi, was able to deflect the efforts of the reformers.





Her Government rested on a medieval-minded princely clique and on a mandarinate grown slack and inefficient. Energy for change was in the foreigner. Railroads were the channel of penetration for foreign capital and influence. The Government sold concessions for. the railroads to the foreign powers, who scrambled for them. Foreign advisers were increasingly employed; missionaries proliferated, asserting by their presence China's need for salvation; foreign cotton and other products were imported, causing the decline of cottage industry. China's resentment increased in proportion to her dependence and expressed itself in "incidents," each ending helplessly in another "unequal" treaty, another round of sovereignty sliced off, another toe of extrality* inserted, another Treaty Port door wedged open by a foreign foot. Foreigners developed China's resources but sapped her will and capacity to use them.





Western imperialism reached its rampant age in the 1880s. The Manchu Empire, fighting bitterly but ineffectively, lost two tributaries to the West in 1885—Tonkin and Annam to France, and north Burma to Britain—plus ten more Treaty Ports to Britain in the same year. A third tributary was lost within the decade to another species of barbarian, near neighbors whom the Chinese customarily referred to as the "dwarf slaves" or "dwarf bandits." In 1895 Japan suddenly stood up in new strength and, easily victorious in war with China, forced her to release Korea (under the euphemism of "independence"), as well as Formosa, the Pescadores, a large indemnity and—severest loss of all—the strategic Liaotung peninsula on the mainland. This was the door to Manchuria and the control point of the seaward approach to north China.





Startled at this rival apparition, the European powers, urged on by Russia who wanted no one else in Manchuria, hurriedly combined to make Japan disgorge Liaotung, and then separately rushed in to exact from a China still quivering in defeat various leaseholds, concessions and special





* This shortened form of extraterritoriality was generally in use at the time and has been adopted here.












privileges for themselves. Russia moved in where Japan had been pushed out and took leasehold of the tip of Liaotung where she built herself a naval base at Port Arthur and a commercial port and railway terminus at Dairen. Across from Port Arthur Britain took Wei-hai-wei on the Shantung peninsula, giving herself a naval base in the north. Germany acquired a naval base and railway terminus at Tsingtao on the underside of the Shantung peninsula facing the Yellow Sea, plus mining concessions. In the south Britain took Kowloon on the mainland opposite Hong Kong and France acquired her naval base at Kwangchow Bay on the coast adjoining Indochina and also the concession to build a railway leading from Indochina into Yunnan in south China.





Next they all quarreled over shares in the foreign loans through which China was to pay the Japanese indemnity. Loans were the favored form of penetration after railroads. Competition sharpened greed and the powers settled down to staking out "spheres of interest" where each secured a recognized prior right to develop resources and a foothold for future annexation should China ever be partitioned. As the predatory spirit sharpened, talk of the partition of China was increasingly heard, causing an agony of concern to the United States, caught between hunger and principle.





America in the flush of post-Civil War boom had joined in the exploitation of China without compromising her scruples against taking territory. In 1898 this combination of profit and principle was elevated to a doctrine of foreign policy by John Hay. Called the Open Door (though not by him), it managed to sound generous, high-minded and somehow protective of China while meaning, if anything at all, that the door for penetration should be opened equally to everybody.





American infiltration of China by this time was a two-pronged affair of business and the gospel. Agents of Standard Oil purveying kerosene for every household lamp in China may have found more receptive customers, but the missionaries were to leave a greater mark on relations between the two countries.





China's vastness excited the missionary impulse; it appeared as the land of the future whose masses, when converted, offered promise of Christian and even English-speaking dominion of the world. Disregarding the social and ethical structure which the Chinese found suitable, the missionaries wanted them to change to one in which the individual was sacred and the democratic principle dominant, whether or not these concepts were relevant to China's way of life. Inevitably the missionary, witnessing China's agonies in the nineteenth century, took these as evidence that China could not rule herself and that her problems could only be solved by foreign help. Zealous and ubiquitous, American missionaries took "America Assists












the East" as their mandate and made it the refrain of their reports to the congregations at home. As they were personally dependent on the home constituencies for financial support, they had to be convincing in arguing the cause to be worthwhile. Congregations all over the United States listened to the returned missionary with his lantern slides tell of the deserving qualities of the Chinese people and of the great reservoir of future Christians. Along with the public impression that America had saved China's integrity by the doctrine of the Open Door, missionary propaganda helped to create the image of China as protege, an image which carries an accompanying- sense of obligation toward the object of one's own beneficence.





For a brief hopeful hour in 1898 China grasped for modernity. Following the defeat by Japan, the shock of the despised neighbor's transformation into a modern military power had revived the Chinese reform party which, with the support of the young Emperor Kuang Hsu, proposed a large program of modernization including development of transport and industry, establishment of schools and newspapers, civil service reform and, most drastic of all, abolition of the old examination system based on calligraphy and the Confucian essays. The Emperor issued the necessary decrees, the old shell cracked and for a hundred days a new China struggled to be born. But the old clique controlled the strongest armed force. In a sweeping coup the Empress Dowager arrested the reform leaders, executed six of them, imprisoned her nephew in an island palace on a lake of the Forbidden City and reseated herself on his throne. A painted, brocaded despot amid her eunuchs, she presided over the final sinking years of the Manchu dynasty, lapped by approaching ruin.





Out of accumulated frustration and humiliation the great crisis of the Boxer Rebellion burst in 1899-1900. Xenophobia was the cry if not the entire cause. The instigators were a train of secret societies called "Harmonious Fists" (translated "Boxers" by foreign newsmen) led by fanatics who blamed all China's ills on the foreigner and aroused the populace with incitements to massacre and promises of magic immunity to bullets. They were the Chinese equivalent of America's Know-Nothings in the 1850s. Not a true rebellion, the movement was a wild and murderous extravaganza that flamed in the north and claimed to fight not against the Manchus but in the name of Empire and Dynasty. It rested in fact on support by the Government which saw in the Boxers both an opportunity to divert popular discontent upon a scapegoat and a last mad hope of sweeping out the foreigner altogether. In separate outbreaks through north China the Boxers murdered over 200 missionaries and their families plus 20,000 or more "secondary devils—that is, Chinese converts—before converging upon Peking in a siege of the foreign Legations. Trembling












with the gathered hate of 60 years, the court, though divided in counsel, declared war on the Western powers at last.





A foreign force made up of six national contingents fought its way through from the sea to rescue the besieged Legations. Afterwards in revenge for the Boxers' attack, the rescuers burned and looted and killed in wanton punitive forays. "Every town, every village, every peasant's hut in the path of the troops was first looted and then burned," wrote an eyewitness, the veteran journalist, Thomas Millard. The path of the foreign contingents, he concluded, "will leave a taint in the moral atmosphere of the world for generations to come." Inside Peking, according to the American Minister, foreign soldiers and civilians from general to private, from minister to attache, from bishop to missionary, have "stolen, sacked, pillaged and generally disgraced themselves." Terms imposed by the victors were harsh. Twelve powers signed the Protocol which pronounced China guilty of crimes "against civilization" and against the laws of nations. The Legation Quarter in the heart of Peking was yielded up to extrality under control of foreign garrisons. Importation of foreign arms was prohibited for two years and China's forts from Peking to the coast were razed, with foreign troops given the right to keep the way to Peking open. A huge indemnity was levied with China's customs revenue as security. Four Imperial officials were executed, others dismissed or permanently exiled.





Foreign enterprise, however galling, dragged China into the twentieth century, developing her economy, awakening political consciousness and breaking down her seclusion. As the need to adapt to modernity became obvious, the desire to get rid of the Manchu incubus spread. The first secret society dedicated to the overthrow of the Manchus, the Hsing Chung Hui or "Revive China Society," was organized in 1894 by a twenty-eight-year-old Western-educated Christian, Dr. Sun Yat-sen. A native of Canton, the area longest open to Western influences, he had received Western schooling in Honolulu and Western medical training in Hong Kong. His followers were part of the movement toward modernity that was surfacing in many forms—in daring students who cut off their queues, a symbol of submission to the Manchus, and in a literary renaissance that was breaking the rigid mold of the classics. Even the mandarinate, not all of whom were diehards, began to move and in 1904 established the first national public schools. In September 1905, by Imperial edict, the classical examination system in force since the first century B.C., the Great Wall of the country's culture, was abolished. The Manchu court, willing to adopt a new facade in order to preserve the power of the throne, promised a constitution in five years and elected assemblies after a suitable period to allow for education of the people. Western subjects were introduced into the school curriculum












and missionary schools expanded as sources of the new learning. Progressive Chinese, like the Japanese, were attracted to Western methods because they saw in them the means of meeting the Western challenge.





Japan's startling success in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 gave impetus to the "self-strengtheners." The Japanese example appeared as something to emulate. Students seeking a higher education in tune with modern times went to Tokyo. A powerful impulse to nationalism was given by the United States Exclusion Act of 1904. Brought on by heated agitation against cheap "coolie labor" imported to lay the transcontinental railroads, the act ordained specific and permanent exclusion of Chinese workers, but not other classes. Resentment in China burst into a boycott of American goods in 1905 which spread to 25 cities from Peking to Canton and merged with revolutionary sentiment against the Manchus. Now the enemies were combined; usurper and foreigner together would be swept away in a general overturn of all that bound China down. The boycott did not, however, extend to Western ideas; modern-minded Chinese continued to regard Westernization as the necessary vehicle of change.





The returned students from the United States and Europe, with their degrees in engineering or agriculture or political science, their Western clothes and eyeglasses and earnest look, formed a new class as distinct in spirit from the silk-gowned mandarin with the button of rank on his skullcap and long mustache hanging to his chest as they were in appearance.





America at this time, newly directed toward Asia by the recent acquisition of Hawaii and the Philippines, was dazzled by the vision of the opportunities for her enterprise and outlets for her commerce in the Far East. China seemed the area of America's future and took on vast importance. John Hay was credited with having said that whoever understands China holds the key to the world's politics for the next five centuries. "Our future history," declared President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905, "will be more determined by our position on the Pacific facing China than by our position on the Atlantic facing Europe." In 1908 he remitted America's share of the Boxer indemnity, the unpaid portion to be allocated for the education of Chinese students in the United States. As a visible gesture this was an act of advertising genius which for long afterwards was to be cited by Americans and Chinese as the sign of a special relationship between their countries.





American dollar diplomacy, less altruistic, shared with other powers in the frenzied activity to force loans on China for construction of railroads at highly profitable interest rates. Wherever a Chinese looked, some part of his country's body or sovereignty or essential services was in the hands of foreigners. Their steam vessels navigated her inland waterways under