Asia Program

The United States and the Guomindang Forces in Burma, 1949-1954: A Diplomatic Disaster

Former fellow Kenton Clymer writes for The Chinese Historical Review

Aug 11, 2014

Former Asia Program fellow Kenton Clymer recently published an article with The Chinese Historial Review titled "The United States and the Guomindgang (KMT) Forces in Burma, 1949-1954: A Diplomatic Disaster."  The article explores the KMT issue and "how it bitterly divided American diplomatic opinion."  It is based on work that Clymer completed while at the Wilson Center.

As Mao Zedong’s armies swept to victory in 1949, thousands of Guomindang (KMT) troops fled into northern Burma. The newly independent country they entered was near collapse. Burma had not recovered from the devastation of World War II and also faced two communist rebellions and several insurgencies in ethnic minority areas. The KMT troops complicated Burma's relations with the new People's Republic of China (PRC), fed traditional suspicions of the Siamese, and poisoned relations between the United States and Burma for years to come.

Clymber was a fellow with the Asia Program in 2011-2012, and recently returned from a month teaching in Burma.  He is currently a distinguished research professor at Northern Illinois University.  His article is available from Maney Online at this link.  

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