GENERAL JOSEPH W. "VINEGAR JOE" STILWELL - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 05/05/1941 - HFSID 291356
Special Sale Price $675.00
As Commander of the US Army's 7th Division on the eve of World War II, "Vinegar Joe" invites a fellow officer to an operetta!
Typed Letter signed: "Joseph W. Stilwell" as Major General commanding, US Army 7th Division. 1 page 8x10½. To Col. Meredith, Chief of Staff, Ninth Army Corps, Presidio, San Francisco. Fort Ord, California, 1941 May 5.In full: "It is my pleasure to invite you to be the guest of the 7th Division at the presentation of the all-soldier benefit operetta, the 'WIZARD OF ORD,' on Saturday, May 10th, at 8:30 P.M., at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. If you will be able to accept please inform me, and I will send you the tickets for a box for you and your guests. It will be greatly appreciated if you and your military guests would wear blue uniforms for this occasion. An aide will be detailed to meet you at the entrance to the Opera House to conduct you and your party to your box." Joseph Warren Stilwell (1883-1946) was a tactically skilled US Army officer who, at the date of this letter, was training the newly formed US Seventh Division. If assigned to the European or Pacific Theaters when World War II commenced, Stilwell might have been remembered as a gifted corps commander. Instead, President Roosevelt sent him in 1942 to the China-Burma-India Theater, where he led British and Chinese forces in combat and served as Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek. Stilwell, who reveled in the nickname "Vinegar Joe," was not a talented diplomat. Although he led British troops on foot in a daring escape from Burma, he soon antagonized British commanders and Chiang himself.(Stilwell came to believe, not unreasonably, that Britain was more concerned with protecting its colonial possessions in Asia, and Chiang with retaining power and preserving his forces for a later showdown with Mao Zedong's communists, while waiting for the US campaign in the Pacific to defeat Japan.) Stillwell thought Chiang, whom he privately called "Peanut," corrupt and militarily incompetent. He also clashed with US General Claire Chennault, Time magazine editor Henry Luce, and other leaders of the emerging "China Lobby." In October 1944, Chiang demanded Stilwell's recall. He commanded the US Tenth Army in the Okinawa campaign, but succumbed to stomach cancer at Fort Ord shortly after war's end. After his return from China, Stilwell urged the US to disengage from its involvement there. Historical evaluations of Stilwell vary widely, depending on each writer's appraisal of US policy in East Asia from the Chinese Civil War to the Vietnam War. Joseph Stilwell, Jr., who had served under his father in China, rose to the rank of brigadier general and served as an advisor to the South Vietnamese army. Horizontal and vertical folds - affecting "J" of signature. Lightly toned at upper horizontal fold. Otherwise, fine condition.
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