WAITING FOR AMERICANS to arrive, this native of Tientsin sits before monument of old empire. Crowds of more than 2,000,000 waited in streets from 6 in the morning to 9 in the evening for first U.S. Marines.
IN NANKING, Chinese mounted troops parade under a victory arch of bamboo and greenery to symbolize their reoccupation of the city. Nanking, China's capital, was great goal on "road back" for Chinese soldiers.

  The reoccupation of China by Chinese forces, with American help, is an event without parallel in the history of China or any other nation. New American-trained armies are on the march. But quite other kinds of armies, too; uncounted and uncountable battalions of people - rich and poor, banker and coolies, weaver and magistrate, scholar and shopkeeper - all headed for home. Some are issuing from the passes of the fortress mountains where they stood off the Japanese for eight years. Others, who took refuge in the cities to escape the guerilla warfare that crackled over the countryside, are now moving, by truck, by junk and sampan, sedan chair and bus, to their beloved villages.
  What follows is not so much a report as an impression of this extraordinary hegira caught in mid-flight. In particular, it is the narrative of a two-week airplane trip from the far west of China across its historic north to Peiping and down toward Shanghai.
  South of the Yangtze the Japanese never got a hard grip on the people; there the national government quickly completed reoccupation. It is north of the Yangtze, in the crowded plain of the Yellow River, that the traveler witnesses the unparalleled scene: half a nation freeing itself from the Japanese strait jacket, while its erstwhile jailers are holding railroads and the approaches to the principal cities against sudden swoops of Communist bands, and while the crack armies of the Central Government are flying over their heads in American transports.
  Besides merchants, bankers, students, shopkeepers, editors and farmers, I met seven governors and seven top theater commanders and their staffs, most of whom had never met an American journalist. The trip actually started from Chungking. The first stop was Chengtu, that fantastically fertile valley whence the B-29s went to war. But everybody has heard about Chungking and Chengtu - too much, perhaps. In Sian the air, an exhilarating contrast to the political staleness of Chungking, smelled clean and fresh; the land was in harvest; the reviving spirit of man was wonderful to see.

Sunlight, dust and history . . .

  Shensi (population 10,000,000): The province of Shensi is sunlight, dust and history. The enormously thick rectangular walls of Sian, the capital, hold more than a half-million people. Red dust clogs the mouth and nostrils; ricksha pullers flit hazardously through the haze before careening cars of high officials. But outside the city walls on the ample plain of the Wei River the earth is cool and clean; the millet has reddened; the golden wheat climbs from banks of miraculously clear valley streams to laddered terraces of chilling mountains. Here the din of Chungking dies away.
  Sian was the capital of the fallen T'ang dynasty which flourished about the era of Charlemagne. But Sian is also a great landmark in modern Chinese history. It was in this sector, in the great bend of the Yellow River, that the Japanese rush into China was brought to a dead stop. Here five years ago a Chinese general announced, "Beyond this point I will not yield a foot."
  Nor did he. Many of the headline Japanese army commanders - Yamashita of Singapore fame, Homma who took the Philippines, Lieut. General Shojiro-iida, the conqueror of Burma - all tried as divisional commanders to break the Yellow River line. Had they been able to spring the bolt, Sian would have fallen, the left flank protecting Chungking would have been turned and Chiang Kai-shek might have been a ruler without a country.
  The bolt held. Noe Lieut. General Hu Tsung-nan, who commands the theater, is proceeding at his leisure with the disarming of some 60,000 frustrated Japanese soldiers.
  An American observer who knows General Ho and his assistant, Lieut. General Fang Han-chien, whispered a warning not to be taken in by their justly celebrated hospitality: "In their hearts they are anti-liberal, anti-foreign, anti-American" - maybe. But an evening's talk left the stranger with the conviction that they are also Chinese is the same sense that General Patton and Admiral Halsey are Americans.
AMERICANS LAND IN TIENTSIN from LCMs and LCIs. Officially they are there to take surrender of Japanese, rescue Allied prisoners. Their presence also keeps Communists from gaining control.
IN SHANGHAI, U.S. C-54 transport lands Chinese soldiers who are greeted by enthusiastic crowds with banners and flags. U.S. has flown 41,000 Nationalist reoccupying troops to strategic Nanking and Shanghai.
  Right now outposts of the Yenan Communists are only 50 or 70 miles north of Hu's line. But, having fended off their raiding parties while fighting the Japanese, General Hu is now inclined to regard them as a diminishing military threat. "But we have been at war too long," he announced from his place at the top of the table. "China's need is peace." He lifted a tiny wine cup. "Kan pei!" The desire in the general's breast was shared by a homesick municipal functionary. From the top of the mysteriously beautiful great Crane Pagoda outside the city, he had looked that afternoon over the fields lush with grain and heard the happy cries of children floating musically on the air. Taking in this lovely scene with a sweep of his arm, he said, "All that we Chinese desire is peace, hard work, harvest."

Marshal Yen of Shansi

  Shansi (population 12,000,000: On the surface Taiyuan, the capital of Shansi, appears as calm as Sian, only more down at heel. Grass is sprouting in the cracks of the Jap runways on the airfield but smoke rises from the chimneys of foundries and textile plants. In the dusty streets and teashops Japanese soldiers and Japanese women in kimonos or baggy pajama pants, with babies hiked up on their backs, mingle amiably with their late enemies.
  One discovers with shock how deeply the Japanese burrowed into North China. In backwoods Taiyuan there are 25,000 Japanese civilians, most of whom were put down here to mine Shansi's coal. Taiyuan is a "hick town" among great provincial capitals. Its streets are unpaved. The principal hotel is as dingy as any railroad hotel in the world. A sign over the empty checkroom proclaims in English, "Travelers' baggage lives here." The tablecloth is stained, flies swarm over the food, but somewhere in the dim recesses of the establishment are Chinese cooks capable of producing an omelet of herbs that would evoke applause in Perpignan. The general who was host on behalf of old Marshal Yen had none of the military chic of Sian; he was dressed in a faded yellow flour-sack uniform. All through the meal he kept eyeing the assistant naval attache, a lieutenant commander, sitting on his left. Finally, half apologetically, he asked, "What uniform is that?" He was informed it was the uniform of the U.S., "the navy which had just conquered the Pacific Ocean." The general had never heard of the great battles of the Marianas, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. "You must forgive me," he said, "In the mountains we heard little news."
  Shansi is the barony of the last great war lord, Marshal Yen Hsi-shan. Thirty-four years ago Marshal Yen conquered it in the name of the national revolution. Until the Japanese came he held it against all comers. For the last seven years he and his bobtail provincials have been holed up in mountain passes at southwest Shansi.
  During the war some journalists at a safe distance complained that his brand of patriotism was something less than ardent. It was said he fought only hard enough to stay in Chiang Kai-shek's good graces, but not quite so hard as to goad the Japanese into wiping him out, all the while holding aloof from Chungking lest suspicious Communists fall upon him. All seems to have ended as the shrewd old warrior planned. In September he returned to his capital, Taiyuan, to take the Japanese surrender.
  The pictures of Marshal Yen in American newspaper morgues lead one to expect a fierce, poker-stiff, bemedaled character in full regimentals. But through the heavy curtains of a reception room in his yamen, to greet American journalists, came - Foxy Grandpa. The starch is out of the grenadier's back. No medals, no sword; just a dumpy provincial politico in a cheap rumpled blue suit, an old man with a scraggly mustache, a tuft of gray hair on his chin, a gold-toothed mouth, but not without an air. If he lived in a Breton village the population would instantly make him mayor.
  The marshal now has on his hands some 5,000 well-armed Japanese troops in his capital and 40,000 more scattered throughout the province. Technically they are still free men for, while Marshal Yen has taken their formal surrender, he has left many in possession of their arms. "They are really no problem," he says. "We shall get rid of them eventually." And the reason why he is in no special hurry is that he knows that the Communists are waiting eagerly to tear up what's left of the railroads.
CHUNGKING CONCLAVE between Central Government and Communists was attended by (front row) U.S. Ambassador Hurley, Chiang, Communist Mao Tse-tung; (rear, left to right): Chiang's son Chiang Ching-kuo; Chang Chun, Szechuan governor, and Information Minister K. C. Wu. Despite negotiations, clashes go on in 11 provinces.

  Before leaving Chungking we heard a government spokesman assert that 70% of the differences with the Communists have been resolved. We saw plump Mao Tse-tung, the leader of the Communists, the night before he started back to Yenan and heard him vow that the remaining 30% would be settled "by discussion and no other means." But in Taiyuan, Marshal Yen complains bitterly, "In Chungking, Mao Tse-tung talks peace; but in Shansi his Palus (Eighth Route Army troops) fight me." In Shansi the 30% far outweighs the 70%.
  Marshal Yen has weathered many a civil war and many a political storm. He says cynically, "The Communists do not live by their principles. They enter a village and take whatever is not freely given." When the American airplanes bombed the railroad yards and the Japanese airfields, the Communist propagandists assured the simple farmers that these were Russian aircraft. When Japan surrendered, the Communists spread the story through the hinterland that the Russian army had broken Japan's power and taken the Japanese emperor prisoner. Nevertheless, the old warrior does not disguise his concern over inroads that the Communist gospel had made among the land-hungry, superstition-ridden farmers. He has devised a counterprogram of his own: lower taxes, equality of service, education, roads. The old man talked hopefully of opening mineral and agricultural potentials locked in the rich Shansi earth. "But how can we reconstruct our economic life if we do not first learn to live in peace?"
  One fact is clear. In the putting together of the Chinese puzzle the marshal, for all his shortcomings, is obviously a good piece; he is no bar to national unity; he is using his power to help rather than hinder national unity.

The North China Plain

  Hopeh (population 29,000,000): This province is two and one-third hours by air from Tainyuan to Peiping. The way lies over a jumbled Shansi mountain barrier which in the pre-airplane age shielded Marshal Yen's domain. Presently mountains die out and in the province of Hopeh one enters the great North China plain. This immense plain is one of the earth's impressive spectacles. From the Shansi barrier to the Yellow River, there is hardly a square foot of land not growing food or occupied by a village. Furrows run clear to the horizon in rectilinear exactness. The villages lie scattered like pieces of a picture puzzle, seldom as much as a mile apart, each with its tiny lake, its circle of willows. War does not seem to have damaged land or houses nor to have distracted the farmer from his toil. The lands brim with harvest.
  There were no signs of battle until we crossed the Peiping-Hankow Railroad; then we saw the burned-out shells of the railroad stations, blockhouses every few miles and deep trenches on both sides which the Japanese had made to defend the right of way. Yet this was little damage considering how long the war lasted. And having seen the pulverized cities of Europe, we could not but reflect that China's weakness, her almost fatal weakness, has saved her land and villages.
  Peiping itself, when first seen with the day's last sunlight touching up the sheen of the tile of palace roofs, somehow leaps to the heart as Paris does. The governor, who commands all the military forces in Shantung as well as in Hopeh, has his headquarters in the gay, fascinating, red-and-gold residence of wealthy Prince Ching, favorite statesman of the empress dowager. And the mayor is settled in an old municipal building, among lush Louis XVI brocaded, gold-painted chairs, some of which, it is said, in the Manchu dynasty used to play enter waltzes when sat upon.
  It is easy to be taken in by the surface life of Peiping. American pilots fed up with the dirt and squalor of west China, American Marines released at last from the dozing islands of the Pacific, take to Peiping the way Americans once took to Paris. Their Peiping is populated by happy ricksha boys, overwilling, ever-present White Russian girls, crafty compradores, beer parlors and shops on Morrison Street whose shelves are laden with fine silks, jade good and bad, cloisonne, wonderful old porcelain, amber necklaces.
  With money an American lives the life of Riley in Peiping. For sheer good living, fine food and millionaire service it is not to be matched on this postwar earth. The servant problem does not exist although housewives complain that inflation has driven a No. 1 cook's wages to roughly $8 a month in U.S. currency. And the kitchen of any well-to-do banker, lawyer or general can put on a meal beside which the specialties of the 21 Club seem like a 65¢ blueplate. Golden flakes of celebrated Peking duck, one of the world's true gastronomic masterpieces, continue as in the past to come from fowl that have been force-fed a full 40 days with choice grains to the point of surfeit. As always, shark's fin soup is made to simmer for 48 hours over a low fire. Lakes yield tiny shrimps sweeter than the Louisiana prawns. Stocks of birds' nests from the South Seas, though depleted, are still ample to supply gourmets.

Peiping is cheerful

  Compared to cities of free China, Peiping is surprisingly full of bounce. It has snapped back from the eight years of Japanese occupation like a spring released. The street din is cheerful and purposeful; faces do not have that drawn, almost sullen look common to Chungking. Humming lunch tables in Pittsburgh's Duquesne Club and Detroit's Book-Cadillac Hotel have nothing on Peiping for all kinds of reconversion schemes. One even detects occasionally the brassy notes of the Chinese Henry Kaisers. Engineer Wang, graduate of the University of Wisconsin, is plumping for a colossal dam and hydroelectric development on the Yellow River. "Harness China's ancient sorrow," he cries. "Build dams. Stop up a permanent source of water for the North China plain. But above everything else put water on the land."
JAPANESE SOLDIERS stand guard for their conquerors behind barricade in Tientsin. In certain areas they have been helping Chinese and Americans to keep order.

  One's quick impression is that these people have got a good grip on their affairs. The experts from the Bank of China occupy desks in the federal reserve bank; many of the refugee Chinese managers and technicians of railroads and public utilities are back in their old jobs. The beautiful Yengching University, which the Japanese closed down as the fountainhead of anti-Japanese, pro-American sentiment in North China, is almost as beautiful as ever and has already taken in a freshman class after a stiff entrance examination. Carpenters are repairing broken furniture and ripping out Japanese bunks while students wander in golden afternoons among the white pines and cedars and fish for carp in the lake.
  It is again a shock to find the streets of Peiping thick with the Japanese military and civilians two months after their government's surrender. Before the war there were barely 5,000 Japanese in Peiping. Now they exceed 100,000. They had all the good jobs - banks, railroads, factories; they had even begun to burrow into small shops. The process of dislodging them is proceeding with a charitableness not found elsewhere in the world. The enemy, his wife and children walk about unmolested. Last week, when advance units of the crack 94th Division of the Chinese regular army arrived by airplane from Shanghai and drove through the cheering crowds, a few Japanese were dragged from bicycles and cuffed a bit. In the mayor's office the next day one heard regretful murmurs over the un-Chinese behavior.
  Two things above all other symbolize the Peiping recovery. Once concerns the city's favorite actor, Cheng Yen-chiu. When the Japanese entered Peiping in 1937, the Chinese announced, "Today I have three closings. I close my heart; I close my mouth; I close my door." A few days ago Actor Cheng spoke to the people of Peiping over the radio. Said he, "This week I have three openings. I open my heart for joy; I open my mouth to entertain you; I open my door to receive friends."
  Another symbol id that infamous corporation of conquest - the North China Development Company. In this omnibus holding company the Japanese pooled nearly 100 Chinese corporations. It imported railroad superintendents from Manchuria; agronomists and factory managers from Japan. A year ago many feared that this monster would gobble up every solvent property north of the Yellow River. But today, a U.S. Marine stands guard before its premises on Legation Street; its once bustling offices stand deserted; bumptious executives twiddle their thumbs in concentration camps. The corporate headquarters of the "coprosperity sphere" has become a haunted house.
  But underneath this busy scene of bankers dusting off their desks and industrialists moving back into their factories is a layer of trouble. Like Shanghai and Nanking, Peiping cuffs are also frayed. Paint has scaled off trolleys; textile mills are idle for lack of cotton. From many places the Japanese have moved the best machines. Many are out of work because of the collapse of Japanese buying; the poor complain bitterly over the cost of rice and cloth, raised several hundred times by inflation. "The Japanese," they say, "took and put nothing back." They sucked us dry.
  In Peiping as elsewhere Communists are topic A, but with this difference: whereas in Marshal Yen's realm we encountered communism chiefly in its local aspects, in Peiping it becomes important internationally. To be sure, local aspects of Chinese communism are plenty tough. Roaming Communist bands sit astride the main railroads south and also hold a section north of Peiping. However, General Sun Lien-chung pooh-poohs their military strength. He insists they do not have more than 20,000 ground troops in all Hopeh. The general has been waiting for the U.S. Air Forces to finish delivering to Tientsin and Peiping the American equipment for the American-trained 92nd and 94th Armies. This task was completed last week. Sun may be doing a certain amount of whistling past a graveyard but he insists that once these armies take the field they could clear the area in a few weeks - if the Communists insist on fighting. "But the persistent difficulty about Chinese communism," observed a Peiping editor, "is that it persists in remaining international."
TENSION AREA lies in North China. Nationalist troops have been landed in coastal cities by U.S. ships, in big inland cities by U.S. planes. Communists are strong in the north outside big cities, and also control rich province of Shensi. LIFE writer Murphy covered territory from Chungking to Peiping to Tientsin to Tsingtao to Tsinan.

  Beyond the Great Wall, only 55 miles from Peiping, is Manchuria. Three decades ago, in the first years of the revolution, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, not wishing to be caught between the imperialist grindstones of Czarist Russia and Japan, cautioned that "the northeast is rather the destination of revolution than the starting place for it."
  It would seem that the Chinese revolution and Chiang Kai-shek have at long last arrived at the end of the line. Manchuria, with its steel mills, its immense reserves of coal and iron ore, its first-rate railroads and its rich farmland, is a national opportunity, an international responsibility and an enormous risk. Many of Peiping bank entrepreneurs know it well. In the years before the Mukden incident, men like Engineer Wang helped to develop coal mines and start the steel industry. As one of them remarks, "under the Japanese Manchuria became more Chinese than ever." Peiping enterprisers are impatient to get into Manchuria and see what they have won from Japan in the war. But few today are so naive as to believe that the Russians will pass over unplucked so rich a prize, perhaps the most valuable single piece of booty of the war.
  "They will leave us only the bones," a Peiping official grumbles. Rumor feeds on the silence which the Russians in Manchuria have thrown about their doings. However, refugees from the region keep turning up in Peiping and rumors of a most horrendous, not to say alarming, nature are heard on all sides, from rape down. There it's said that Palus from Shantung and Chahar carouse with Red Army soldiers on the streets of Mukden and help themselves to Japanese rifles and munitions. American aviators sight-seeing along the Great Wall are fired upon; the other day an American Air Forces observer and a French consular officer were unceremoniously ejected - for no apparent reason except that the Russians didn't want them around. At the very least, factories are being stripped of their best machinery; every night trains of the South Manchurian Railway roll north loaded down with the very tools China needs for her own reconstruction.

Poker game in Tientsin . . .

  In the old treaty port of Tientsin a traveler meets another key piece in the Chinese puzzle: U.S. Marines. The streets are full of marines in rickshas, in shops, in the old French-British-Russian concessions, on airfields, along the railroad. Vice Admiral Daniel I. Barbey and Major General Keller E. Rockey, who command the force, have some of the gloss of a Sumner Welles. They are fighting men straight from the fierce ocean and island battles. Problems of the utmost delicacy challenge their every step, beginning with Communist road-blocks on the road to Peiping and the snipers' bullets that have already wounded five marines. Their orders read in effect: Disarm Japanese, protect Americans and other stranded nationals, avoid becoming embroiled in "fratricidal war," that is, the war between the government and the Communists.
  But the most naive traveler could not be in Tientsin an hour in the atmosphere of the 1st Marine Division without realizing he was witnessing
ADMIRAL BARBEY'S transports bring Chungking troops to North China.
a poker game where the stakes are control of China's great northern bastion. American policy in the bulky persons of Barbey and Rockey is gambling on being able to re-establish the Chinese government in North China and Manchuria. The fear which haunts the sleep of the American commanders is that one false step or the nervous pressure of a finger on a trigger might start a fracas that would spread like wildfire all through the northeast provinces and give the Russians an excuse - if they need one - for keping a firm grip on Manchuria. Hence Barbey and Rockey are holding their cards close to their chests: they disavow any desire to intervene in Chinese internal affairs. But the very presence of some 53,000 marines in the crucial provinces of Hopeh and Shantung, together with a supporting naval task force, is intervention. On the ground and from the air they are patrolling the government's only exit and entrance into North China - the Tientsin-Peiping Railroad which the Central Government can reach by sea in U.S. ships. Moreover, the Marines have entered a region hitherto under the intermittent overlordship of Communist bands and have occupied coal mines supplying not only the railroads but also the starving public services and industries of Shanghai. Whatever else the U.S. Marines may or may not be doing in China, they are conducting themselves in accordance with the responsibility that has devolved from American policy since the U.S. Fleet conquered the Pacific. They are the instruments of American desire for peace in Asia - a desire which seems to be shared by nearly all the people of North China.
  Certainly their presence has injected high-octane value into the atmosphere. In Tientsin topic A very definitely drops two grades to topic C - after the questions of how to get mills started again and commerce restored, and how to protect marines from being gouged by shopkeepers. The people of Tientsin are displaying wonderful tactfulness and considerateness in the last particular. Dozens of people make it their business to see that marines are not gyped and profiteering traders are rebuked and taken before magistrates. As a result marines and Chinese get along.

Marines in Shantung

  Shantung (population 39,000,000): The province of Shantung in many ways is the most important piece in the whole puzzle. Its frontiers begin some 70 miles south of Tientsin and extend to the sea. Now, as any good map will show, Shantung as it nears the sea ceases to be part of the North China plain and becomes a mountain jumble which juts a massive peninsula into the Yellow Sea. The northerly promontory is only about 100 miles from Port Arthur - no farther than Key West is from Cuba. And it is this very peninsula, taken from the Germans and awarded by secret agreement to Japan, which perhaps more than any other item cost Mr. Wilson his League of Nations. Messrs. Borah and Lodge never let America forget Shantung. In fact, Shantung helped make Mr. Borah.
  A quarter of a century passes. Lodge and Borah are dead. So is the League of Nations. But American Marines of the 6th Division are today on Shantung peninsula. So are the Communists. So is the Japanese army, not yet disarmed. Not to mention the provincials, more beachcombers than Valley Forge patriots; and guerrillas on both sides and a handful of government troops who have the task of reconstructing Chungking's authority.
OLD WAR LORD Yen Hsi-shan, conqueror of Shansi, held Japs for seven years.

  On the south coast of Shantung is a harbor city called Tsingtao, the finest natural anchorage on the China coast. Today Tsingtao is the headquarters of Major General Lemuel Shepherd and the 6th Division of the Marines - 20,000 men with full fighting paraphernalia. In the roadstead the sparkling large cruiser Alaska and the escort carrier Nassau swing at anchor. The Marines have landed and . . .
  But up to the north is another port called Chefoo, where for the first time in their memorable history the Marines did not choose to land. Early this month Admiral Barbey steamed into this port, a big task force at his back, all set to occupy it. But he found the Palus ahead of him, cocky fellows who announced politely that they had no desire to quarrel with the U.S.; however, if the Marines insisted on landing they must accept the consequences.
  Admiral Barbey himself went ashore to talk with the young Communist leader. After much soul-searching, the admiral decided to pass Chefoo by, on the sensible argument that his orders did not call for the ejection of the Communists. This was a real decision. The Communists say that they have cut the city off. Rifles crack nightly in the outskirts. There is spasmodic firing in the hills. Only the other day the Communist commander sent word to Shepherd that he was preparing to take the town and what did the Marines propose to do about it? Shepherd answered cooly and perhaps ambiguously that in his opinion there were enough troops in Tsingtao to handle the situation. Interestingly, he put off the disarming of the 15,000 Japanese troops in the area until Oct. 25; by that time the government's forces had got set. Now that the Japanese have served their purpose, the rifles are being taken away. Since many units are surrounded by enemies, the Japanese commander begged to be left with a rifle to every other man. Shepherd has allowed only one in ten. "Sorry," he said, "You fought your way in and you will have to fight your way out."
  Shepherd's policy, like Barbey's, has been brilliantly successful. He has go by so far with no real trouble. "The most effective way to avoid an incident," he philosophized, "is to stage an overwhelming show of force."

The city of Tsinan

  Some 190 miles to the west near the heart of the province is Tsinan, the capital, with a population of 472,300, bigger than Cincinnati. Tsinan is the hub of the east-west railroad and the north-south mainline from Peiping and Mukden to Shanghai. We were there and were puzzled to observe that the whole city was astir and streets were clogged with people headed into the country, all dressed in Sunday best, all walking in the same direction. "Ah," said one Chinese friend, "you are witnessing an interesting Chinese custom. Today is the double ninth of the Chinese calendar - the ninth day of the ninth month." On this day, he explained, everybody gets up early and goes up to climb a mountain, any mountain, for the good of his soul. "Perhaps you may not realize it," our friend mused, "but this is the first time we have celebrated the festival since the Japanese came."
  Coming upon Tsinan just at this time is like discovering a lost city. Here are men of great importance of whom the outside world has never heard - and more missing pieces of the puzzle.
  General Li Yen-nien commands the Shantung advance army and is therefore responsible for its reoccupation. At this moment, however, he is a general without an army - for he has no use for the ill-armed, untrained, spiritless provincials. What he is waiting for are the regulars now en route to Tsingtao by sea and approaching Tsinan by foot from the south.
  His political opposite number is Governor Ho Ssu-yuan, a remarkable man who is a combination of soldier-statesman-teacher. Wise and energetic, he wears a black felt hat, sports a Ronald Coleman mustache and speaks fluent English. Now 46, he studied philosophy at the University of Chicago after the last war, took his masters degree, then went to Europe to study economics in France and Germany. In the last seven years of war he led the pro-government underground in Shanghai, his native province. His guerrillas supplied themselves with arms stolen, captured or purchased from the Japanese and their puppets. In the entire war they received only 40,000 rounds of ammunition from Chungking - "not quite a round per man." The Japs put a price on his head. But puppet troops who had no use for their masters always gave warning when the Japanese were coming. "The Japanese," says Ho, "thought puppets were their eyes and ears, but their eyes and ears usually deceived them."
  Now installed as the head of a great province whose liberation he suffered to achieve, he and his people wait impatiently for the re-establishment of national authority. "The people," says Governor Ho, "are sick of fighting. They are fed up with Japanese and with Communists and I hope they will not be disappointed in us."
  Ho is a student and politician. He has no use for communism or Communists. In the field he came to know many - "after all, many were students of mine" - and he is scornful of their political erudition. "I studied economics in Germany," says he. "There isn't a Communist in Shantung who can debate Karl Marx with me." But Ho also knows in his heart that the only good counter to communism is a program in which people believe. "We in the Kuomintang have long promised free elections, free speech, good government. Our good intentions are now on trial."
  Ho makes a big point about Communists. He divides them into several kinds of people. In addition to "good" - that is genuine - Communists, there are many others who call themselves Communists but who are not at all. The government calls them "bandits;" we would call them racketeers. "Some are bad men," says Ho. "Others are hungry, jobless men who have taken to banditry to keep from starving. And others are unhappy conscripts." Ho figures that of 120,000 Communist troops in his province perhaps 80,000 are of this stripe.
U.S. SOLDIERS STAND GUARD in Kunming while in the streets some distance away Chiang's troops fight a successful battle with Lung Yun's Yunnan troops.

  Interestingly, Marine intelligence officers have by and large come to the same conclusion. Those who are dealing with Communists on the Shantung peninsula say that a division of Marines or a couple of American-trained Chinese divisions from the 94th Army would go through them in short order. In speculating on the possible test of strength on this battleground it is interesting to reflect on a scarcely noticed phenomenon that occurred in the Yangtze Valley in early October.
  There the Communists' New Fourth Army was supposed to have Shanghai, Nanking and Hankow surrounded. They definitely had several hundred thousand assorted men is small bands roaming the valley that divided China. But when the crack 6th and 94th Armies moved in, the Communists melted away without a battle. Some, a hard blown-in-the-bottle nucleus, made their way north. The rest seem to have put down their arms and returned to their villages. Something of that sort may take place in Shantung.
  What will the real Communists do? For there are such. In Communist-controlled villages in the Shantung peninsula, Americans and their agents have seen pictures of Stalin, Lenin and Marx, the hammer and sickle in classrooms and municipal offices. And a group of high American officers who recently went ashore at Shanhaikwan near the Great Wall returned to their ship agreeing on two enormous assumptions: One: officers and commissars of the Palus talk the straight party line; Two: if there isn't a military connection with Russia there is certainly a political one.
  The game of the real Communists in Shantung is as plain as anything can be. Manifestly they cannot hope to withstand the power slowly being massed against them. Like their companions along the Great Wall they are gambling on Russia. Look at a map - Chefoo is hardly 100 miles from Dairen. A junk can cross the Gulf of Chihli under cover of night. (There are rumors too persistent to be brushed off that 30,000 Japanese rifles recently arrived at Chefoo by this route.) If Russian aid is ever to be extended what better place to wait for it?
  Suppose, however, that the Russians decide to keep hands off. In that event the Palus have two possible lines of action: either to settle their differences politically as Mao Tse-tung has promised, or to withdraw once more into their hinterland stronghold of bitterness. Events of the next few weeks will almost certainly settle the matter. If the "undeclared" war now spluttering on Shantung can be snuffed out it is not too much to hope for peace in Asia.

Adapted from the November 12, 1945 issue of LIFE.

Portions copyright 1945 Time, Inc.

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