Thunder Out of China Author:Theodore H. White, Annalee Jacoby 1946: "...there was no indication at the moment of victory on the Missouri, or in the days of defeat before the victory, or in the days of exuberance after it, that America understood the war she had been fighting in the Pacific. We had been threatened out of the darkness of the Orient; we had recognized the threat as something indescribably mal... more »evolent and had fashioned a steamroller that crushed it to extinction. But we had never stopped to inquire from what sources the threat had been generated."
"America's war [against Japan] had cut blindly across the course of the greatest revolution in the history of mankind, the revolution of Asia. We had temporarily lanced one of the pressure heads and released some of the tension by an enormous letting of blood. But the basic tensions and underlying pressures were still there, accumulating for new crises."
"In Asia there are over a billion people who are tired of the world as it is; they live literally in such terrible bondage that they have nothing to lose but their chains. They are so cramped by ignorance and poverty that to write down a description of their daily life would make an American reader disbelieve the printed word. In India a human being has an average life expectancy of twenty-seven years. In China half the people die before they reach the age of thirty."
"The war Japan fought against us [U.S.] was one in which the Japanese were beaten from the outset. They were led by military technicians who had only a jungle understanding of politics; they were defeated by superior military technicians who had as little understanding of politics but incomparably greater treasure in steel and science. By defeating Japan, however, we did not make peace. The same revolutionary forces that miscarried in Japan are still operating everywhere else in Asia. Throughout that continent men are still trying to free themselves from their past of hunger and suffering."
"The forces of change are working more critically and more explosively in China than anywhere else on the entire continent. The peace of Asia and our own future security depend on our understanding how powerful these forces are, what creates them, and what holds them back. Except for General Joseph Stilwell, no Allied military commander seems to have understood that this was the fundamental problem of the war in the Orient. Stilwell had no ideology -- but he understood that in fighting the war we were outlining the peace at the same time. He understood that both victory and peace rested on the measure with which the strength of the people could be freed from feudal restraints."
"This book is a partial story of the China war; only a Chinese can write the true history of his people. The story of the China war is the story of the tragedy of Chiang K'ai-shek, a man who misunderstood the war as badly as the Japanese or the Allied technicians of victory."
"When Chiang tried to fight the Japanese and preserve the old fabric at the same time, he was not only unable to defeat the Japanese but powerless to preserve his own authority. ... The Communists used no magic; they knew the changes the people wanted, and the sponsored these changes. Both parties lied, cheated, and broke agreements; but the Communists had the people with them, and with the people they made their own new justice."« less