Stilwell, Joseph Warren (1883–1946), a United States army officer. During World War II, he commanded United States forces in the China-Burma-India theater and led a Chinese army in Burma. He was known as “Vinegar Joe” for his blunt manner.
Forced out of Burma by the Japanese in 1942, Stilwell and his two Chinese divisions successfully counterattacked during 1943–44. He became a full general in 1944. Friction developed between Stilwell and the Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek, under whom he was serving by special assignment as chief of staff of China's army. As a result, Stilwell was recalled in 1944. He was given command of the U.S. Tenth Army in 1945.
Stilwell was born in Palatka, Florida, and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1904. During World War I he fought in France, where an explosion left his sight badly impaired; in later years he became nearly blind. He first served in China with the U.S. Army in the 1920's, becoming familiar with the people and their language. Stilwell was a military attaché in Beijing, 1935–39.