War Wings: The United States and Chinese Military Aviation, 1929-1949
Based on extensive research in China, the United States, and Great Britain, this book is the first comprehensive survey of the aviation aspect of Sino-American relations during the Chinese republican period. Xu reveals new information about the important U.S. role in assisting the birth and development of both military and civil aviation in China. Analyzing the significance of air power in both its military and political contexts, Xu argues that the Nationalist Air Force considerably strengthened the Nationalist government's political and military positions without changing its existent power structure and temperament.
The study also examines the role air power played in the violent partisan and patriotic power struggles within China, which illustrates how deeply China's military modernization became intertwined with competing foreign interests. Xu's discussion of the arms trading policies of various foreign powers prior to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War of the 1930s is particularly insightful and revealing. Although America's contribution to the establishment of Chinese aviation was at times undertaken with hesitation, U.S. assistance would ultimately change the balance of power in East Asia.