This article rethinks what are perhaps the most important attempts at making peace in modern Chinese history: The first post-World War II peace talks convened in Chongqing, between the two old foes of the Chinese Civil War. Previous studies treat the peace conference as a sideshow to the subsequent full-scale civil war. Examining the political and military situation in China toward the end of World War II, this article argues that a peace agreement was needed for both parties. The core of the article examines the hitherto unexplored aspects around the negotiating table: The debate, disagreements, and compromises, and the American mediator s attempt to alter the dynamics of the peace talks from an inherently biased position. It finds that the history of the Chongqing negotiations is more important to our understanding of China s struggle between peace and war in the modern era than previously acknowledged.