CHINA: Battle Joined

Civil war spread across North China.

So far it was an undeclared and limited war — a military offshoot of the unity negotiations between the Central Government and the Communists. But at any time the war might become open and unlimited.

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's armies, moving to restore Central Government authority above the Yellow River, had collided with Communist forces moving from their strongholds in the same region.

The Communist aim: to control a belt of territory reaching roughly 500 miles from Soviet-dominated Outer Mongolia to Soviet-occupied Manchuria (see map).

Success would give the...

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