1. Taking into account the evolution of the global context over the 1947-1950 period, what do the views and language of Truman (1947) suggest would have been the US goal in China during the Civil War (1947-49) and how does Acheson’s (Truman’s Sec. of State) perspective in 1950 diverge from or modify what Truman had believed to be the case? At least TWO PARAGRAPHS.Answers should be at least two paragraphs in length and reflect a thorough reading of our texts and an understanding of the complexities that shaped historical actors and events. If you quote or use any information directly from our readings, you must cite the author and page number like this (Kinzer, p.23) right in the text after the material you’re borrowing. There is no need to use books or internet material other than our text readings for that week.2. Comment on, question, or critique the attachment “Peer Editing“ in at least 4 sentences.Critique, question, and add to what they’ve written, but do so politely and respectfully. Credit for this part will be determined by how effectively you respond in this way. A mere “that’s good”, “I agree”, “I thought the same thing”…will not receive credit. Neither will repeating parts of your own answer or critical responses that are disrespectful or don’t provide a thoughtful rationale.



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In his 1947 speech, Truman made clear that he believed United States policy should strive to
help “free peoples” resist oppression and achieve self-determination in the face of pressure
from a terroristic minority (Truman, p. 25). This was indeed the situation of China during its Civil
War: As we saw in the “Great Leap” video, Mao Zedong’s Communist party ascended to power
and implemented progressive class warfare. The United States intervened in a way consistent
with Truman’s terms; however, Acheson, speaking with the benefit of hindsight, reflects on why
it was a lost cause from the start.
Truman believed that the United States should use financial aid to achieve the policy goals
listed above. This, he said, would create both economic and political stability – implying that a
military intervention might not. The antecedents of Truman’s argument are largely economic:
Dictators thrive in the midst of “poverty and strife”, so aid can serve to alleviate that poverty.
Going further, Truman says that the hope of an oppressed people is essential to maintain; to do
so, the support of the United States is critical (Truman, p. 25). Herein lies the main problem:
The Chinese people were without hope, Acheson says. Of the Nationalist party, he offers: “a
regime without faith in itself and an army without morale” cannot prevail (Acheson, p. 55).
The United States’ modus vivendi approach – i.e., it sought to assist the Nationalist party in
asserting its authority and achieving compromise with the Communist party – was in line with
Truman’s stated goals (Acheson, p. 54). Acheson’s point was that this approach was not
necessarily wrong, but destined for failure due to China’s unique situation at the time. In
addition to the Nationalists’ lack of hope, there were also the factors of China’s population
growth, which strained both land and food supplies, and Westernization, which “stimulated
ferment” (Acheson, p. 53). The Communist party in China explicitly used these issues to their
advantage (e.g., the land reform program, propaganda, etc.) (“Great Leap”). Thus, the only
viable approach to China would have been a full-scale military intervention, Acheson says
(Acheson, p. 54). However, the Truman Doctrine’s call for an economic solution (which is
modest relative to a military one), was incompatible with this approach. Additionally, for the
reasons touched on above, it is possible that even a comprehensive military intervention would
fail. Acheson ends with, “The unfortunate but inescapable fact” is that China’s situation “was
beyond the control of” the U.S. government (Acheson, p. 55).

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