MIA: History: USA: Military: Timeline: 1945-49

A Timeline of US War (1945 - 1949)


"In the indoctrination lectures, the Communists frequently displayed global charts dotted with our military bases, the names of which were of course known to many of the captives. "See those bases?" the instructor would say, tapping them on the chart with his pointer. "They are American — full of war material. You know they are American, and you can see they are ringing Russia and China. Russia and China do not have one base outside their own territory. From this it's clear which side is the warmonger. Would America have these bases and spend millions to maintain them were it not preparing to war on Russia and China?" This argument seemed plausible to many of the prisoners. In general they had no idea that these bases showed not the United States' wish for war, but its wish for peace, that they had been established as part of a series of treaties aimed not at conquest, but at curbing Red aggression."

U.S. Army account of Communist instruction in POW camps
Korea, 1951.


U.S. Military Budget (in 1996 Dollars: Source)
1945: $962,700,000,000
1946: $500,600,000,000
1947: $133,700,000,000
  1948: $94,700,000,000
1949: $127,800,000,000

Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1945. "The dropping of the atomic bombs was not so much the last military act of the Second World War as the first act of the cold diplomatic war with Russia." (PMS Blackett, Military and Political Consequences of Atomic Energy, 1948). In two days, Japan lost over 150,000 civilians to the only atomic bombs ever used on human beings.


China. 1945-49. Civil War (U.S. & Kuomintang vs. Communists). The Communists were the most successful fighters against 17 years of the Japanese occupation of China. By 1945, the Communists had won hundreds of millions of people to their side, and were liberating one city after another from Japanese control. At the same time, another political party, the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang in Chinese, or KMT for short), were fighting the Japanese with less success, but received tremendous U.S. military & financial support. The U.S. enlisted Japanese soldiers, fresh off the battlefields of their defeat by the U.S., to fight against the Communists. The U.S. instructed all Japanese forces in China, who were under order of complete and unconditional surrender, to continuing fighting against the Communists. The U.S. military sent well over 100,000 American soldiers, a constant stream of military munitions (at a cost totaling more than $1,000,000,000), provided intelligence through unending air-surveillance, and conducted the military training of thirty-nine full army divisions of the Kuomintang. Over $2,000,000,000 in cash was given to the KMT to use as it choose. Entire divisions of the KMT defected to the Communists, who were known for their honesty, progress, and justness, as opposed to the extraordinarily corruption within the wealthy KMT. When the Communists prevailed after 23 devasting years of war, the Kuomintang escaped to Taiwan, killing over 28,000 Taiwanese civilians in their conquest of the island. The U.S. Navy then came in full force, patrolling the straights for years to protect the KMT take over of Taiwan. The U.S. refused to accept the reality of the Chinese Communist victory, and insisted that the Taiwanese government was the government of all China. The United Nations complied with U.S. wishes until the dictator of the KMT, Chiang Kai-shek, died in 1975.


South Korea. 1945-53. Civil War. (U.S. vs. Korea & China) On August 11, 1945, the U.S. military had presented Japan General Order No. 1 — unconditional surrender. To prevent the Soviets from capturing all Japanese forces in Korea, and thus having a military presence in the entire nation, this order stipulated that all Japanese forces North of the 38th parallel would surrender to the Soviet Union, while all Japanese forces South would surrender to the U.S., who were later in arriving on the peninsula. Meanwhile, the South Korean people established a People's Republic of Korea on September 6, 1945 before any U.S. troops had arrived. This government had been elected by several regional governing committees who had been administrating food distribution and keeping order. Two days later, U.S. troops began pouring into Korea, and immediately smashed the newly formed South Korean government. The U.S. military established itself as the government of South Korea, lead by Lieutenant General John R. Hodge. The Soviet Union responded several months later by installing a civilian North Korean government in February of 1946. The Civil War had begun between the two nations essentially when the Soviets and U.S. met near the border, and the war would last for 8 years — at this point the war was limited to frequent border fights on the 38th parallel. By December, 1948, the Soviet military had completely withdrawn from Northern Korea, while the U.S. military stayed in the South until June 1949, replacing its own military government with a civilian one. Beginning in October of 1949, the U.S. congress agreed to pour $50,570,000 into the South Korean military over a span of three years, with $330,000,000 of economic aid for the same period of time. Border clashes between the two nations became more intense as the South Koreans gained in strength, nearly 2,500 armed incursions across the border had occurred in 1949, but on June 25, 1950, the front-lines were broken by the North, and by August, the North had won the entire peninsula, primarily from the help of guerilla fighters in the South, who had been resisting the Japanese and then U.S. military occupation for decades. On September 15, 1950, U.S. General MacArthur came with an overwhelming U.S. military force and counter-attacked the Korean army at Inch'on, and by October 26, 1950, the U.S. military had defeated the Korean army and was on the border of China, poised for payback after their recent loss of the war in China. MacArthur urged the U.S. government that now was the perfect time to counter-attack China and take out two communist powers at once. While the U.S. military waited for the go-ahead, China counter-attacked in overwhelming numbers and with incredibly fierce fighting and great loss of life drove the U.S. back to the 38th parallel by January of 1951, where the fighting was more or less sustained for two years. Unspeakable atrocities were committed by either side: the U.S. indiscriminately massacred civilians suspected of guerilla fighting, while the North Koreans killed many captured U.S. soldiers outright. MacArthur demanded that the U.S. military be allowed to use atomic weapons across all of China and denounced the U.S. president for not doing so. Truman sacked MacArthur as a result, and by June of 1951, the Soviet Union began brokering for peace at the U.N. The cease-fire lasted until July 25, 1953, when an armistice was signed. A total of 4,000,000 people were killed — 2,000,000 were civilians. All of Korea lay in total devastation and ruin. One third of all Koreans were homeless. U.S. money came in enormous sums to rebuild South Korea and show the superiority of the Capitalist system, while the North began secluding itself from the rest of the world.


Turkey. 1946. Strategic Control (U.S. vs. Soviet Union). Istanbul was the straight through which the vast majority of all Soviet shipping had to pass to get to the outside world. On August 7, learning from the awful experiences of fascist naval power in WWII, the Soviets asked Turkey to allow it to keep warships in the straights to ensure the safety of their all important shipping lanes. The U.S. military out right refused this, and moved to occupy this port over 2,700 kilometers away from U.S. soil, Truman fully aware this could lead to all out war. The Soviets stepped down, and the U.S. military occupation of Turkey remained.


Philippines. 1946-54. Civil War. (Dictatorship vs. Communists) Called the Hukbalahap Rebellion, a peasant uprising in central Luzon, the Huks were renown as the best fighters against the Japanese, and had established a full, democratic, socialist government by the end of the war. The U.S. military refused to recognise their government, and demanded the Huks surrender all their weapons at the end of the war to the occupying U.S. armies. The Huks refused. On July 4, 1946, the Philippines was granted "independence" from the U.S. on U.S. terms, and in fraudulent elections rightists supported by the U.S. came into power. A decade of war against the Huks, eventually crushed the Huk rebellion.


Truman Doctrine. 1947. Military Engagements of all kinds. (U.S. vs. Communists)


Italy. 1947-48. Elections (U.S. vs. Communists). The U.S. military began consistently rigging the elections to prevent the Communist Party from coming to power through democracy. This would go on for several decades.


Greece. 1947-49. Civil War (Monarchy vs. Communists). Churchill and Stalin had "traded" Greece and Romania — Stalin could have Romania, but the British would take Greece. Greece workers had other plans, and the Communists were immensely popular. Despite Greek workers' democratic attempts to elect Communists, the U.S. & British military rigged the elections, and a monarchy was elected into power while the entire left abstained from the vagrant fraud. The Communists created a Democratic Army, and a Provisional Democratic Government that was representative of Greek workers choices. The U.S. military stepped in, while the Soviets stood to the side and leant no support whatever, and crushed the Communist government, killing tens of thousands of workers. The Greek monarchy the U.S. defended was extremely repressive, and curtailed every human right. The CIA helped by creating a new internal security agency, the infamous KYP.


Marshall Plan. 1948. Military Funding. (U.S. vs. Communists)


Albania. 1949-53. Counter-Revolution. (Fascists vs. Communists) During World War II, the Albanian Communists had been some of the fiercest fighters in the war against fascism. When Hitler withdrew in November of 1944, the Communists took power and created the People's Republic of Albania. In 1949, the moment Albania began looking to the Soviet Union for friendship (before it's ties were primarily with Yugoslavia), the U.S. and Britain tried to overthrow the government. The U.S. recruited Albanian rightists of all types to overthrow the government, including prominent fascist collaborators who had been responsible for deporting tens of thousands of Jews and Communists to Nazi incineration plants. After four years of intense propaganda and rampant terrorism campaigns, the intervention succeeded only to strengthen Albanian unity, and led to the capturing and combat deaths of fascists.


NATO. 1949. Military Alliance. (Western Europe vs. Soviet Union) Part of the agreement that was established between the U.S., England, and the Soviet Union to end World War II and ensure a "safer world", was that each nation's army would occupy portions of Europe. To the outrage of the U.S., the people of Yugoslavia and Greece adamantly refused U.S. military & political control, and soon launched a full scale revolution from within to overthrow these governments and establish their own. Seeing this as "Soviet aggression" (although the Soviets denied any intervention whatever, and this has been positively verified since the fall of the Soviet Union) and breaking the deal that divided Europe among the super powers, the U.S. built a military curtain to deter any people within Western Europe to "socialistic" aspirations. The U.S. military established the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on April 4, 1949. The many militaries who complied with this agreement were from the nations of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States; all in "defense" against a single nation.


Further U.S. military interventions

1954 Coup in Guatemala
1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba
2003 Iraq War Archive


Sources: (1) U.S. Senate Congressional Record, July 20, 1973, was used for a listing of all undeclared wars the U.S. military has engaged in from 1798 to 1972. (2) The Encyclopedia Britannica was used to verify all sources, dates, and other factual information.
Editing/Markup: Brian Baggins
Online Version: USA History Archive (marxists.org) 2001

Last updated on 29 August 2023