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Joseph Stilwell
Stilwell001.jpg
Nickname(s) "Vinegar Joe", "Uncle Joe"
Born (1883-03-19)March 19, 1883
Palatka, Florida
Died October 12, 1946(1946-10-12) (aged 63)
San Francisco, California
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1904–1946
Rank General
Commands held 7th Infantry Division
III Corps
China Burma India Theater
Chinese Expeditionary Force (Burma)
Chinese Army in India
Northern Combat Area Command
Army Ground Forces
Tenth United States Army
Sixth United States Army
Western Defense Command
Battles/wars World War I

World War II

  • Burma Campaign 1942–1943
  • Battle of Northern Burma and Western Yunnan
  • Burma Campaign 1944
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Other work Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek

Joseph Warren Stilwell (March 19, 1883 – October 12, 1946) was a United States Army general who served in the China Burma India Theater during World War II. An early American popular hero of the war for leading a column walking out of Burma pursued by victorious Japanese forces, his implacable demands for units debilitated by disease to be sent into heavy combat resulted in Merrill's Marauders becoming disenchanted with him. Infuriated by the 1944 fall of Changsha to a Japanese offensive, Stilwell threatened Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek that lend-lease aid to China would be cut off which led Ambassador Patrick J. Hurley to decide Stilwell had to be replaced. Chiang had been intent on keeping lend-Lease supplies to fight the communists, but Stilwell had been obeying his instructions to get Chinese communists and nationalists to co-operate against Japan.

Influential voices such as journalist Brooks Atkinson viewed the Chinese Communists as benign and Stilwell as a victim of a corrupt regime. The ousting of Stilwell sparked the beginning of anti-Chiang feeling by US policymakers that culminated in the 1947 end of American assistance to Chinese Nationalist forces during the Chinese Civil War.

Stilwell's admirers saw him as having been given so few resources and responsibilities that his task was virtually impossible. His critics viewed him as a hard-charging but ultimately-unprofessional officer whose failings contributed to the loss of China.

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