The Phantom Stockpile and Other Pernicious American Myths About China in World War II
October 22, 2018 3:30 PM
212 University Club Building
Judd C. Kinzley
Resident Fellow, IRH
The successful Japanese invasion of Burma in 1942 sealed off the easiest overland route for delivering desperately needed Allied wartime aid to China. With the roads closed, American goods piled up in wharves, godowns, and warehouses across Asia and North America even after the end of World War II in 1945. The image of this stockpile was continually used as evidence by American military and political leaders for Chinese ineptitude, laziness, and bad faith. In this talk, which is based on research conducted in China, Taiwan, and various archives in the United States, I will deconstruct the so-called Chinese stockpile and reveal how focusing on it can offer a new perspective on the rocky foundations of the US-China relationship, the history of a US foreign aid regime, and the formation of the Cold War Pacific.
Judd C. Kinzley is an associate professor of modern Chinese history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His first book, Natural Resources and the New Frontier: Constructing Modern China’s Borderlands (The University of Chicago Press, 2018), focuses on the 20th century efforts by an assortment of state and non-state, Chinese and non-Chinese actors to find, exploit, process, and transport various natural resources in China’s far western province of Xinjiang. He is currently working on a new book project that focuses on the trans-pacific material exchange of American industrial goods and lend-lease equipment for Chinese raw materials during the 1940s.
Image: Chinese Supply Depot, Zahedan, Iran 1943. Credit: China Defense Supply Collection (Hoover Institution Archive, Palo Alto, CA).