Degree Year

2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

Advisor(s)

Renee Christine Romano

Keywords

World War II, War memory, History, Flying Tigers, American Volunteer Group, China, United States, Taiwan, Claire Lee Chennault

Abstract

In 1941, under the leadership of General Claire Lee Chennault, the Flying Tigers- a volunteer group of fighter pilots and crewmen from the United States- traveled to Southwestern China to support the Chinese Nationalist military in their resistance against the Japanese. How do the United States and China remember the Flying Tigers, and how is the memory shaped by domestic and international politics? Drawing from media coverage, museums, popular media, and memoirs, this thesis traces the evolution of the memories of the Flying Tigers in the U.S. and China from 1941 to the present. I argue that from the war years through the present, the memory of the Flying Tigers have converged and diverged between (and within) the U.S. and China. Although some of the narratives have been deliberately obscured at times, the memories have been able to coexist without much tension. The romantic narratives of the operation have served the needs of actors ranging from veterans and locals, to the national governments, in constructing themselves, and ultimately the nation, in a positive way. Therefore, the memory of the Flying Tigers, often a result of the interplay between the different actors, has become a space through which both nations can promote their own national identity and imagine a reconciliation through this model of transnational friendship.

Included in

History Commons

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