By Michael A. Krysko
Interwar period efforts to extend US radio into China floundered within the face of fallacious US rules and methods. positioned on the intersection of media reports, expertise reviews, and US overseas kin, this examine frames the ill-fated radio tasks as symptomatic of an more and more bothered US-East Asian dating earlier than the Pacific conflict.
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Extra resources for American Radio in China: International Encounters with Technology and Communications, 1919–41
As a relative latecomer to industrialization and imperialism, many Japanese leaders believed that they had to exploit Japan’s proximity to China to “catch up” to the West. Manchuria figured prominently in these calculations. A Japanese “sphere of influence” in China’s northeast, Manchuria also provided essential mineral resources such as coal and iron that fueled Japan’s expanding economy. Growing Chinese radicalism further concerned the leadership, including the Crown Prince and Regent Hirohito.
Meanwhile, RCA’s decision to end the Federal partnership killed the Delaware company, while the stockholders of the original California Federal ousted Schwerin from their board. Rennie Schwerin and his Federal Telegraph Company arrived in China in 1921 with the backing of one of the world’s most powerful governments soon to be joined by one of the world’s most powerful radio corporations. It was not enough to surmount the complications confronted in the increasingly complicated and nationalistic political context that defined 1920s China.
67 The story, however, is more complicated than that. During the 1920s, Federal encountered the shifting terrain of China’s political instability, Japanese expansion, and – in particular – newly assertive Chinese nationalism. The Federal Telegraph controversy demonstrated that for all its problems, China did not react passively to the “Great Power” politics that impinged upon the country. Comparable to earlier strategies that challenged the foreign introduction of the railroad and telegraph into China, the admittedly weak Chinese instead sought to influence the course of events by utilizing whatever the options and alternatives were available.