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By John Kennedy, U.S. Naval War College Museum
Nov. 1, 2012

The 38th monograph in the U.S. Naval War College’s Newport Paper series is the recently published High Seas Buffer: the Taiwan Patrol Force, 1950-1979, by professor Bruce A. Elleman.

This was the topic of the Eight Bells Series lecture on Oct. 18 at the Naval War College Museum.

Calling upon extensive research from U.S. and foreign sources, Elleman was able to take his audience on a tour of the area around the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and explain the many intricacies that have an effect on strategic relations in the area.

As the Taiwan Patrol Force officially lasted 29 years, Elleman was able to include many anecdotes from interviews and personal records that put a face on the activities in the area of responsibility.

Although the program was long-lasting, it is a tribute to the success of U.S. operations and allied cooperation that few people knew of, or know of, what actually went on in the theater.

There were some crises, however.

The first was in 1954-1955 and involved the shelling of off-shore islands by the communist Chinese in a thinly veiled attempt to “liberate” Taiwan and test American resolve in the area.

A second major crisis occurred in 1958 and can be seen as an outgrowth of the Nationalist blockade of the PRC combining with the U.S. strategic embargo to choke the maritime trade of the PRC.

The blockade and embargo had forced China to depend upon the Soviet Union for 50 percent of its foreign trade.

Once relations with the Soviet Union began to turn sour and then disintegrate, Mao needed to force the issue and end the blockade.

Thus began the shelling of Jinmen which was to last for 44 straight days and then continuing on alternate days for the next 20 years, expending over one million shells.

All lectures are at noon and take place on the second floor of the museum.

For additional information, call 841-2101/4052.

Posted by Dan Marciniak