John Birch (1918-1945) was a American intelligence officer and Baptist missionary in World War 2 who was killed by armed supporters of the Chinese Communist Party.
His parents were also missionaries and he was brought up in the Southern Baptist tradition. He graduated from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and in 1940 arrived in China. He involved himself in missionary work, and in intelligence work against both the Japanese and the Chinese communists.
He was killed by Chinese communist forces in 1945, apparently after he refused to disarm.
A portion of the American right consider him a martyr, the first American victim of the Cold War. The conservative John Birch Society, formed 13 years after his death, is named in honour of him.