I never thought that KMT would retreat to Tibet back then. Is it possible? afterall they had 600K or more soldiers and should easily take over control of Tibet. logistically, Tibet is a mountainous region, easier to defend than attack. Technically it made sense for the nationalists to remain on mainland and continue the fight against the communists rather than retreating to Taiwan and be separated from mainland by 120km of water.
Some Chinese lower-level generals did have plans to conquer Burma and Vietnam. Those plans, should they get carried out, should be a no brainer.
Unfortunately, the French outsmarted the Chinese by cheating them into a retreat to Vietnam with guarantee of possession of weapons and then played a trick to disarm them, possibly 30,000-40,000 troops.
Burma story was that some trick was played to have two ROC army corps abandon the siege of Kunming the capital, where there was a mutiny by chair Lu Han. Then communist army made sure they cut off the retreat path of the two army corps to Burma, hence frustrating the plan to establish a base at the Sino-Burmese border.
In both cases, international opinions, with British American Soviet and French gloating over China's civilw ars, worked against ROC. Chiang already yielded the presidency to Li Zongren in Jan 1949. There was no strongman who could take charge to stabilize the situation.
Hu ZOngnan's 1st Corps was ordered to defend Qinling Ridge, south of XI'an and ordered not to pull out without seeing snow fall. (Communist spies Liu Fei and Guo Rugui must have issued this "snowfall" order.) Then it was too late because Mao's army went around central China to attack Sichuan, cutting off the retreat path of Hu Zongnan's army. -Hu Zongnan suggested abandoning all defense line of North China for Southwest China.
There was no way to go to Tibet because there was no food supply there. Zhang Guotao's Red Army, halved at Baizhangguan battle to 40,000, spent half a year at Xikang-Tibet border, eating grass like beggars.
The importance of Tibet was psychological. So, when US issued visa without ROC foreign ministry stamped passport, it was with vicious intent, which was more psychological blow to ROC.
In any case, ROC could not have defended Southwest China. Even if they had taken Vietnam/Burma, they could not make it. Because there was still the ARMS EMBARGO against ROC. There was no bullets for ROC troops to use against Mao's army which had unlimited supplies from Russians.
Edited by ahxiang, 21 February 2009 - 05:16 PM.