August 25, 1945 : The first casualty of the Cold War

Introduction

On this day in 1945, John Birch, an American missionary to China before the war and a captain in the Army during the war, is killed by Chinese communists days after the surrender of Japan, for no apparent reason.

After America had entered the war, Birch, a Baptist missionary already in China, was made a liaison between American and Chinese forces fighting the Japanese. But on August 25, Birch, commanding an American Special Services team, was ordered to halt by Chinese communist troops. A scuffle ensued, and Birch was shot dead.

In the 1950s, Robert Welch would create a right-wing, anticommunist organization called the John Birch Society. For Welch, Birch was “the first casualty in the Third World War between Communists and the ever-shrinking Free World.”

Article Details:

August 25, 1945 : The first casualty of the Cold War

  • Author

    History.com Staff

  • Website Name

    History.com

  • Year Published

    2009

  • Title

    August 25, 1945 : The first casualty of the Cold War

  • URL

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-first-casualty-of-the-cold-war

  • Access Date

    October 18, 2017

  • Publisher

    A+E Networks