Joseph Stilwell Facts and Biography

Joseph Stilwell

Joseph Stilwell Biography Summary: General Joseph W. Stilwell (1883 – 1946) was famous as the commander of the U.S. and Chinese Nationalist resistance to Japanese invasions into China and Burma during WW2. Joseph Stilwell was a hard headed and strong willed man. Once he set his mind to a task he was immovable. At times this could be detrimental to his men. If he could complete a task, he felt his men should too, unfortunately not all men were as robust as Stilwell and sometimes just circumstances were against them, but it was not right to insist men fight when they were so undeniable sick.

Another leading commander from the allied forces had to step in and demand proper treatment for these men. Of nearly 3,000 men between combat injuries, fatalities and sickness only 130 men were left battle ready.

Joseph Stilwell Fact Sheet: Who was Joseph Stilwell? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Joseph Stilwell.


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Joseph Stilwell Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1883 – 1946 *** Full Name: Joseph Warren Stilwell *** Nickname: Vinegar Joe & Uncle Joe *** Occupation: United States Army General *** Date of Birth: Joseph Stilwell was born on March 19th 1883 *** Place of Birth: Joseph Stilwell was born in Palatka, Florida, USA *** Family background: His father was Doctor Benjamin Stilwell and his mother Mary A. Peene. Of patrician Yankee stock his father’s family were eighth generation descendants from England. *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in New York and his father made him follow a very strict routine *** Education: Joseph Stilwell went to Yonkers High School ***

Joseph Stilwell Fact 1: Joseph Stilwell was born on March 19th 1883 and during the 19th century period in history when many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish, first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 2: Having left school after graduation under a bit of a cloud his father advised him to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. With a little help from the family connections he was admitted.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 3: Later Joseph Stilwell would teach at West Point and also attend the Infantry Advanced Course and the Command and General Staff College.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 4: Throughout World War I he would be the intelligence officer of the U.S. Fourth Corps and would be given the Distinguished Service Medal.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 5: After the First World War Joseph Stilwell spent three years in China where he learnt not only to speak Chinese but to write Chinese as well. Between 1935 and 1939 he was the military attaché in Beijing at the U.S. Legation.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 6: Between 1939 and 1940 he would be the assistant commander to the 2nd Infantry Division.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 7: He organized and began training the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord in California between 1940 and 1941. It would be here that he earned himself the nickname Uncle Joe as he showed more concern for the common soldier and also reduced officious discipline and ceremonies.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 8: On the eve of World War II Joseph Stilwell would be recognized as the most significant corps commander in the Army and was originally picked to command and plan the Allied offensive in North Africa.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 9: Disregarding his personal feelings on the subject, he would instead be selected by President Franklin Roosevelt to return to China as a senior officer was required there to ensure the Chinese remained in the war.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 10: In that role he became commander of the China Burma India Theater overseeing all the lend lease supplies headed to China, he was also Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kia-Shek and much later became Deputy Commander of the South East Asia Command.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 11: Joseph Stilwell held nothing but contempt for the British armed forces thinking them cowardly when in fact, upon instructions from the Supreme Commander, Admiral Louis Mountbatten, the men were examined by medical staff and of 2200 only 119 were declared fit enough for duty.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 12: Later he deserted the Chinese troops he had been put in charge of and this was seen has a huge insult by Chiang Kia-Shek.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 13: His only concern was the retaking of Burma but the Chinese were requesting far too many supplies and the British were concentrating on Europe first under direct orders from the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 14: Finally, with the creation of the South East Asia Command under Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Stilwell was selected as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander and given the opportunity to take back Burma.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 15: Part of the American contingent were Merrill’s Marauders, a new U.S. Army special operations formation put under Stilwell’s command.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 16: Having been assigned to undertake a jungle mission consisting a 65 mile march through dense jungle these men in particular began suffer terribly from amoebic dysentery, even going so far as to cut out the rear end of the uniforms in order for them to continue fighting while being able to relieve themselves in battle. Suffice it to say he was not thought at all highly of by these men.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 17: By August 4th 1944 Myitkyina was taken but the casualties where enormous, not only was Stilwell actively willing to send still sick men to the front he honestly felt that they were not as sick as they were making out.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 18: One week after Myitkyina was taken the Marauder force, with barely 130 battle ready men out of what had originally been 2, 997 men, were disbanded.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 19: Stilwell would be recalled to America in October 1944, but instead of the usual pomp and ceremony, he was met by two Army generals and instructed to make no comment to the press.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 20: Joseph Stilwell would be reassigned as Commander of Army Ground Forces, U.S. Tenth Army commander and then as U.S. Sixth Army commander at wars end.

Joseph Stilwell Fact 21: On October 12th 1946 while undergoing surgery for stomach cancer Joseph Stilwell died at the Presidio of San Francisco. His body was cremated and his ashes scatter over the Pacific Ocean. At West Point a cenotaph was placed in his memory.

List of Medals Awarded to Joseph Stilwell: *** Distinguished Service Cross *** Distinguished Service Medal (2) *** Legion of Merit ***

Short Facts about Joseph Stilwell for Kids
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