Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Department of History

Advisor(s)

Yongguang Hu

Abstract

The struggle between the Kuomintang (KMT) and Communist Party of China (CPS) shaped the direction of future American-Chinese relations by seismically uprooting the dynamics between the two states amidst the backdrop of the Cold War. President Harry Truman and later President Dwight Eisenhower were responsible for shepherding the United States through this new period of crisis as the ideological debates of the 21st century were beginning to simplify into the East vs the West, communism vs. capitalism, and democracy vs. authoritarianism. China serves as one of the proto-battlefields of this ideological battle. Truman’s personal qualities, temperament, and beliefs influenced the relationship between the United States and the KMT in the formative years prior to the Korean War and establishment of Taiwan, which helped to contribute, but did not cause, the failure of Chiang Kai-shek in preventing the Chinese to fall to communism. Through the fall of the KMT’s China in 1949, the affairs of East Asia were irrevocably changed with wider global implications. Truman’s transformation and pivot toward East Asia, as events transpired in the Korean War, began to move the locus of global concern from Europe to Asia, which Eisenhower reinforced, and has persisted to the present day.

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