OSS in Kunming, China

Julia Child with OSS colleagues

The OSS group that included Julia Child and her future husband Paul found themselves in a flood in mid-August 1945.  But what they were encountering was nothing compared to the civilians.  Chinese villages of mud huts were “melting like chocolate.”  Farmers drowned in their own fields.  As the flooding began to subside, Japan was hit with the second atomic bomb.

The incoming Russian soldiers only added to the Pandora’s box that was already opened in China.  The OSS HQ in Kunming went into overdrive.  Eight mercy missions were launched to protect the 20,000 American and Allied POW’s and about 15,000 civilian internees.

Elizabeth McIntosh w/ colleagues during Kunming flood

All the frantic preparations – for rescue operations, food and medical drops and evacuation – had to undertaken despite the weather conditions.  Adding to the drama was the uncertain fate of the 6-man OSS team dispatched to Mukden in Manchuria to rescue General “Skinny” Wainwright, who endured capture along with his men since Corregidor in May 1942.

There was also evidence that other high-ranking Allied officials were held in the camp, such as General Arthur E. Percival, the former commander of Singapore.

On August 28, 1945, General Jonathan Wainwright steps down from a C-47 transport in Chunking, China, after three arduous years in a Japanese prison camp.

The OSS mercy missions were treated very badly.  Officers were held up by Chinese soldiers and robbed of the arms and valuables.  The mood in China was changing very quickly.  Even in Chungking, the Chinese troops were becoming anti-foreign and uncooperative.

Word from Hanoi was that the OSS was beset with problems there as well.  Thousands of still-armed Japanese were attempting to keep order in French Indochina.  Paul Child told his brother he well expected a civil war to start there very soon.  The French refused to recognize the Republic of Vietnam and worked with the British to push for “restoration of white supremacy in the Orient”.

OSS in Ho Chi Minh, Indochina

The French were becoming more and more anti-American.  They were using agents with stolen US uniforms to provoke brawls and cause disturbances.  The British were dropping arms to French guerrilla  forces to be used to put down the independence movement.

In Kunming, the streets were littered with red paper victory signs and exploded fireworks.  Some of the signs were written in English and bore inscriptions reading, “Thank you, President Roosevelt and President Chiang!” and “Hooray for Final Glorious Victory!”  Paper dragons 60-feet long whirled through alleyways, followed by civilians with flutes, gongs and drums.

The weeks that followed would be a letdown.  Most of them were unprepared for the abrupt end to the war.  Peace had brought a sudden vacuum.  One day there was purpose and then – nothing had any meaning.  The OSS would go back to their drab civilian lives.

Click on images to enlarge.

#############################################################################################

“Secret ?”  Military Humor – 

CIA, ‘It’s Ferguson, our ‘Master of Disguise,’ sir — he’s having an identity crisis.’

‘I don’t have any formal training, but I do own the complet boxed set of ‘Get Smart’ DVD’s.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

##############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Dalton Jr. – Charlotte, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Clinton Daniel – Anderson, SC; US Army, WWII, PTO

Richard Farden – Rochester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 95th Bomber Group/8th Air Force

Murphy Jones Sr. – Baton Rouge, LA; US Air Force, Vietnam, Colonel, ‘Hanoi Hilton’ POW

Robert Haas – Toledo, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co C/127 Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Dorothy Holmes – Colorado Springs, CO; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, Chief Master Sgt. (Ret. 30 y.)

Arnold ‘Pete’ Petersen – Centerville, UT; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, Purple Heart

Alfred Rodrigues Sr. (99)  – HI; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor survivor

Tito Squeo – Molfetta, ITA; US Merchant Marines, WWII, diesel engineer

Joseph Wait – Atlanta, GA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, pilot

##############################################################################################

Advertisements

About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on March 7, 2019, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 134 Comments.

  1. Story’s within story’s with that post gp, virtually a first hand layman’s view, interesting visual panorama of what was occurring in that part of the world at that time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How strange that everyone started hating someone new. The French attitude was really strange.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on The Tactical Hermit and commented:
    Very interesting read for all you fellow WW2 OSS/SOE Historians.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I truly appreciate your educating me, GP; this information is new to me and very important. Also, love your “funnies”!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amazing article thanks GP!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t suppose that there are many still left GP

    Alfred Rodrigues Sr. (99) – HI; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor survivor

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Om het even hoe je het bekijkt Bij het einde van een oorlog zij er geen echte winnaars want ieder verloor een massa aan manschappen

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s interesting that I’m still on a waiting list for the book about Julia Child: A Covert Affair. I suppose the wait is due to interest in Child as a chef and “personality” more than historical curiosity about the war, but at least people are reading it.

    What you say about that “vacuum” that’s left after the end of conflict is so true. I’ve heard vets today talk about it — apparently it’s the same for individuals who leave the service even when the conflict continues. It’s even more complicated because wars end; conflicts seem eternal these days. It’s doubly hard for vets who still have buddies in various places around the globe, with no clear sense of what they’re supposed to be doing, or when it will end.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. DeGaul went to sleep, especially on Algeria and most especially Indochina, he was so unprepared for the seeds of change sown by war. Even Churchill, who was voted out, was surprised by the speed of change and mood. My parents commented that one day the war was on, the next it was over and then it was all about the next thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Very complicated times, particularly when viewed alongside our knowledge of later events.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I was surprised when I learned about Julia Child and the OSS

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The transition from war to peace was a difficult one. With no purpose, prospects or even basic foods available for years after, a good future must have seemed a million years away – regardless of who the victor was.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Really enjoyed hearing about the OSS groups and the many challenges they faced, GP. As a Julia Child fan, I especially liked hearing about her and Paul’s involvement. Great post, as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great post. Again an awful war produces an imperfect conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve seen this apparent ‘let down’ elsewhere after a conflict ended. Soldiers suddenly with nothing to do and had to go back to the real world after fighting for years. They were in an emotional limbo for quite a while and almost didn’t want the thing to end.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Jennet Conant’s “A Covert Affair” details the OSS days of Julia and Paul Child, how it complicated their lives during the McCarthy years, and how she ended up belig the beloved “French Chef” on Public Television in later years.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly, Doug. Great book isn’t it?!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thought so,m too! I definitely learned a lot about the pair that was new to me. I think one of the lessons of the book, her life, was be careful about the people you associate with. Many lives were screwed up in the 1950s because of sincere if misguided association with communist or suspected communist organizations in the 1930s, when that sort of thing had a cachet, perhaps, because of people’s ignornance about Soviet life, misguided idealism, or dissatisfaction about the deprivations of the Great Depression. (Probably a lot more than that – Roosevelt New Dealism, for example.)

        Liked by 2 people

  17. Wow- what a mess! Fascinating stuff as always. Isn’t it funny how- like you said- peace left a vacuum in so many places? One set of troubles solved just leads on to the next ones…
    Was it on your blog that I saw a book about Julia Child’s work in China referenced? I’ve been meaning to try to hunt that down (if I can ever recall the title 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Another fantastic piece of history GP! I don’t comment here often enough, but I read your pieces from my email all the time. Thank you for your great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is certainly no requirement to comment on each post, I know I am unable to comment on all the sites I read. I appreciate your visits and just hope you find all the posts interesting. Is there anything in particular you would want to read about that I missed?

      Like

  19. Seems when one war ended, it planted a seed for the next one to begin. It’s a forever thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Fascinating; always enjoyed your posts but this post on OSS is even more interesting given the subject

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I really admire what you do. The farewell salutes are ever so special for the families and instills in us feelings of respect and admiration for their contributions to ‘our’ lives. Touched by all! 🍎

    Liked by 1 person

  22. “The French refused to recognize the Republic of Vietnam and worked with the British to push for “restoration of white supremacy in the Orient”.” Thus laying the groundwork for the future Vietnam War. Very interesting about Julia Childs, G. I continue to learn new things from your blog. Thanks! –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Totally cool story. My son-in-Laws grandfather was OSS but he was in Greece. One of the stories that got handed down was he working with the local partisans, and they were watching a convoy that was going past. They were concealed in bushes so they couldn’t be seen. anyway, a staff car pulls to the side of the road, and a German Officer get’s out, strolls over to the bushes they were hiding in, and urinates all over them. All the while, they’ve a pistol pointed at him. He zips up, get’s back in the staff car, and drives off. I wonder if he ever had any idea how close he came to dying.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a good thing it wasn’t be down there, I would swear the officer could hear my heart beat!! 🙂 Thanks for adding info to the post – love those first-hand accounts!!

      Like

  24. Fascinating story here!

    I learned so much about the OSS + had no idea that Julia Child was there at that time with her husband. Also of interest is to learn of the dynamics between the English + French.

    Thx for posting this!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SECRET SERVICE!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This is a piece of history I knew nothing about. Very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our school systems sure didn’t keep us informed on this part of the war. They never even made much of a connection between WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Thanks for coming, Jacqui, your book promotion must have you extremely busy!!

      Like

  27. I’ve quietly waited a long time for you to post this; (I knew of this but it was more appropriate to me that it first appear on your site)
    https://partneringwitheagles.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/julia-child-much-more-than-the-french-chef/

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I’m fairly sure that I read somewhere that the armed Japanese soldiers were also used in the Dutch East Indies / Indonesia to keep order and they actually did a fine job.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Fascinating post, GP. I knew next to nothing about this aspect. I vaguely remember hearing that at the end of WWII Ho Chi Minh asked the Americans for help against the French. We turned him down and the Communists did not. We know how that story ended.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Thank you, GP, for throwing some light on a little known event in China near the end of WW2! The French should have been grateful to the Americans for the liberation from the Nazi occupation of their homeland. But I guess their preoccupation was the rebuilding of their colonial empire.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Well, the OSS became the CIA, so they didn’t have to wait too long to get back into action. 🙂
    (God cartoons, GP.)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. July and August are monsoon time with the accompanying flooding. Not a great time for rescue mission. It was a shock a few years ago when I first heard that Julia Child was with the OSS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • With China being in the flux of Communist and Nationalist sides, Russia invading and Japanese to surrender and and repatriated – rescues HAD to be done – weather or no weather. I know the feeling about Julia Child. I grew up knowing the chef with the unusual voice and taking a slug of wine while cooking on TV. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  33. “restoration of white supremacy in the Orient”, is a phrase that would not go over well in this day and age. And perhaps its symptomatic as to why native resistance was so fierce.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. It’s sad to think that some people prefer war to peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. And the French thus laid the groundwork for the tragedy that would become the Vietnam War…

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Thanks for this interesting story, GP. I loved the last cartoon, too!

    Liked by 3 people

  37. I enjoy the stories you tell. Out of curiosity, is there an amazing story that no one has heard about regarding women aviators? Or not specific to women but a story/mission you wish more people knew about?

    Liked by 2 people

  38. I guess it’s hard to prepare for the end of anything, but war where the sense of purpose must be so focused. I’m glad I can’t imagine it and hope I never have to!

    Liked by 2 people

  39. “melting like chocolate” unfortunate phrase coupled with dear Julia Child. Interesting article nonetheless.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Thank you for sharing this post.

    Like

  41. Thank you very much!

    Like

  42. Thank you for those kind words.

    Like

  1. Pingback: A CHILDLIKE FORAY – CASSANDRIC

  2. Pingback: FEATURED BLOGGER REPORT: OSS in Kunming, China By Pacific Paratrooper #AceHistoryDesk reports | ' Ace Worldwide History '

  3. Pingback: Julia Child – Much more than The French Chef… | partneringwitheagles

  4. Pingback: Julia Child – Much more than you ever knew… | partneringwitheagles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: