China in the 1940’s

After yesterday’s post about the China History Podcast, I decided to do some more posts about Chinese history this week.

China from the eyes of the flying tigers 1944 1945 20 1

Unless you’re a Chinese or World War II history buff, you may not know that the US military had a fairly robust presence in China during the War. The famous “Flying Tigers” had bases and personnel in several cities in SW China, including Kunming and Chengdu.

This article from Business Insider features a number of photos that were taken by US servicemen in China. They provide an interesting glimpse of what the country looked like in the late 1940’s.

A description from the article:

“In 1941 before the United States entered World War II, 300 young Americans were secretly trained to combat the Japanese Air Force in China. The American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Airforce, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was comprised of pilots drawn from the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.


In the days after Pearl Harbor, the group went on to capture the public imagination in both China and the United States with their daring tactics and distinctive airplanes painted with shark teeth.


Members of the squadron (most prominently, William L. Dibble and H. Allen Larsen) took a huge collection of color photographs that depict the nation adopting new urban and modern modes of living along with the rural practices of the past.”

Click on the link to the article to see the rest of the photos.

I don’t know about you, but I never get tired of looking at old photos of China.

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2 thoughts on “China in the 1940’s

  1. Outstanding! And yes, I am a WWII history buff. When my friends and I flew into Chongqing in 1987, we knew that airport and the Flying Tigers airbase might be one and the same location. As such, we kept our eyes peeled for any trace of that period. What we did see, and assumed were not still in use, were military transport biplanes about the size of a DC-3. Right out of a 1930’s action adventure matinee! A few years ago, in Minneapolis, while parking to go into the Holy Land Deli, I spotted a car infront of me with an intriguing bumper sticker which had the phrase ‘Flying the Hump’ and the acronym ‘CBI’ on it. I knew the CBI referred to the ‘China-Burma-India’ theater of operations in WWII and ‘flying the hump’ to the allied air route over the Himilayas between India and China. The elderly owner of the car and his wife were just walking up to it, so I struck up a conversation with him. He was ‘gobsmacked’ that someone of my age would know anything about that bumpersticker. It turned out he had been a pilot there. Initially flying fighters, but then ‘demoted’ to flying transport planes,the DC3/C47, because of his antics. Speaking of which Erik Severeid, the intrepid Minnesota reporter was amongst those that bailed out of a DC3 on that very route during WWII. They were rescued and sheltered by a tribe behind Japanese lines in India. Severeid had no ‘jump’ training.