Last Updated on 2022/04/22
Images of Old Tibet: These photos were taken by U.S. military personnel during the period 1942-1943.
American soldiers arrived in Tibet from India to support the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese forces. Qinghai Tibetans served in the Qinghai army against the Japanese. After the Japanese blocked the Burma Road in April 1942, the majority of allied supplies to China had to be delivered via airlift over the eastern part of the Himalayan Mountains known as the Hump. Flying over the mountains was extremely dangerous, but the airlift continued daily to August 1945, at great cost in men and aircraft.
After the Xinhai Revolution (1911–12), the Dalai Lama refused any Chinese title and declared himself ruler of an independent Tibet. For the next 36 years, the Dalai Lama and the regents governed the province. During this time, Tibet fought Chinese warlords for control of the ethnically Tibetan areas in Xikang and Qinghai along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Kuomintang Government of the Republic of China expanded its reach into the territory.
In this period, Tibet took control of the western part of Xikang, an illusory province formed by the Republic of China in 1939 on the initiative of prominent Sichuan warlord Liu Wenhui. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when, following the Battle of Chamdo, Tibet was occupied and annexed into the People’s Republic of China, and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising.
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