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From U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
June 8, 2012

NEWPORT, R.I. -- The U.S. Naval War College Press announces the latest Newport Paper, High Seas Buffer: Taiwan Patrol Force, 1950-1979, which is available for reading online and through the Government Printing Office.

Written by Bruce Elleman, of the Maritime History Department, , the 38th monograph in the Newport Papers series explores the United States Taiwan Patrol force, which acted as a neutral buffer between China and Taiwan during the Cold War.

From 1950-1979, tensions were high between China and Taiwan. The Nationalist government of China retreated to Taiwan following its 1949 defeat. Mao Zedong planned to invade and overtake Taiwan; both China and Taiwan were prepared to cross the strait and initiate war. If either side attacked, Soviet Russia and the United States would likely have been pulled into the conflict. To avoid a third world war, President Truman ordered the Seventh Fleet to patrol and neutralize the Taiwan Strait.

The Taiwan Police Force patrolled the strait for over twenty-nine years, establishing it as one of the longest naval operations in modern history. Elleman asserts that it was also one of the most successful operations, preventing conflict and demonstrating the influence of the United States.

“In this volume, Bruce Elleman, research professor in the Maritime History Department at the Naval War College, applies his expertise as one of the College’s specialists in Chinese language and history to provide a pioneering history of American naval experience in the Taiwan Patrol,” remarks John Hattendorf, Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History and Chairman of the Maritime History Department, in the foreword. “His focus reflects the Naval War College’s interests in the policy, strategy, and operational levels and is designed to provide a historical complement to other work on current issues being done at the Naval War College—in the China Maritime Studies Institute and in other departments.”

Through an integration of historical data and expertise, Elleman illuminates the intricacy of the political impasse in Southeast Asia. The relationships between the United States and China, Communism and Intervention are just as relevant today as they were during the Cold War. Elleman’s “pioneering history” exemplifies the pertinence of historical analysis in the modern strategic arena.

The Newport Papers are extended research projects that the Director of the Naval War College Press, the Dean of Naval Warfare Studies, and the President of the Naval War College consider of particular interest to policy makers, scholars, and analysts.

Posted by Taryn McPherson