The declaration of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949 presented American foreign policy officials with two dilemmas: How to deal with the communist government on the mainland and what to do about Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist regime on Taiwan. By 1950, these questions were pressing hard upon U.S. civilian and military planners and policy makers, for it appeared that the Red Army was preparing to invade the island. Most observers believed that nothing short of American military intervention would preclude a communist victory. How U.S. officials grappled with the question of what to do about Taiwan is at the heart of Washington’s Taiwan Dilemma
Today, U.S. policy toward Taiwan remains a highly-charged and fundamentally divisive issue in U.S.-China relations—especially the security dimensions of that policy. This volume is essential background reading for understanding the roots of this foreign policy dilemma.