THE ALLIES: Clearing the Decks

On Aug. 14, 1945—one day before President Truman announced the unconditional surrender of Japan—Nationalist China and Russia signed in Moscow a treaty of friendship and alliance. T. V. Soong, China's Premier and leader of its delegation, and Joseph Stalin, who had affably joined the long-dickering sessions, looked on as Molotov and China's Foreign Minister Wang Shih-chieh wrote their names. For the Chinese it was pretty much of a mockery—the terms which gave Russia a stranglehold in Manchuria had already been laid out by the Big Three at Yalta without China's concurrence.

After World War II, Russia backed the Communists in...

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