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  1. #61
    Thebattles in Nanning City

    On the 1st of September,1939, Germany invaded Poland. World War II broke out in Europe. Japanthought that it would be best to speed up the process of conqueringChina. Considering that China got all its supplies from internationalsupport through its southwestern border, Japan understood it had tocut off this supply line and China would soon surrender. Japan sentarmy and navy forces to occupy Nanning City in Guangxi province andtook control of the railroads there. And the Chinese defensive forceswere not so strong there as around Changsha.
    On the 9th of November,1939, the Japanese attackers gathered at Shanya Bay, ready foraction. On the 13th, a Japanese fleet started out fromShanya Bay and arrived at Beihai on the 14th. As theChinese army there was not ready to fight, Beihai soon fell to Japan.On November 17, the Japanese army took Qinzhou and continued north.Guided by bandits through the mountains in that area, the Japanesearmy accelerated its advance. On November 22, they reached the southbank of the Yong River in the vicinity of Nanning City. But at thetime, Chinese armies had already arrived in the city and itsoutskirts.
    On November 23, the Japanese armycrossed the Yong River with air cover. At dawn on November 24, theattack on the city began. The Japanese army saw strong resistance,but took the city at last in the afternoon. The Chinese armyretreated to Gaofeng Pass. On November 26, the Japanese army attackedthe pass, and they captured it by December 1. Three days later theyhad Kunlun Pass as well. Then, both sides held their respectivepositions for a while. No fighting went on.
    On December 7, the Chinese army beganto attack the invaders. On December 16, the Chinese army surroundedKunlun Pass. The newly organized Chinese 22nd divisionwent round the pass from its right side to block Japanesereinforcements from Nanning. Two regiments went round from its leftside to block the Japanese army’s escape route. At daybreak onDecember 18, the Chinese army commenced the assault and took KunlunPass. At the noon the next day, the Japanese army came back and tookthe Pass again. It changed hands several times. On December 18th,the Chinese 170th division attacked the Gaofeng Passdefended by the Japanese army and took a hilltop nearby, but thatsame night, the Japanese army gave a surprise attack and occupied thehilltop again. On December 20, the Japanese army at Kunlun Pass couldnot hold out anymore. And the reinforcements were blocked. In theafternoon of December 26, both Japanese forces escaped and safelyarrived in Nanning.
    At night on December 28, the Chinesearmy attacked Jieshou Highland, the gate to the Kunlun Pass. Thefollowing morning, the Chinese army took the highlands, and on the30th of December, the Chinese army took Kunlun Pass. OnDecember 31, they wiped out all enemies in the area of Kunlun Pass.If the Chinese army could have advanced in the pursuit of theirenemies at the time, the situation might have been different.

  2. #62
    On January 1, 1940, Japan sentreinforcements, and the warfare continued. On the 7th,Chiang Kai-shek flew to Huilin City and on January 10, went to theheadquarters at Qian River to hold a meeting with all the frontiercommanders. At that time, Japan had not gathered all the forces itneeded. So at the request of some of the commanders, Chiang decidedto launch an attack, but next day, when he returned to Liuzhou, hechanged his mind and missed the chance to annihilate the remainingfoe in that area, which proved that Chiang was not a good militaryleader.
    On January 14, 3,000 Japanese soldierslanded in Qinzhou, and two days later, they began to assail theChinese army. On the 27th, the Japanese army resumed theirassault. The Chinese commanders did not have enough information aboutthe maneuvers of the Japanese army and made a terrible mistake. Theydid not have enough time to make proper arrangements.
    On February 1, the Japanese army madetheir all-out attack. But Chiang changed the commander-in-chief atthe front, which really runs counter to the fundamental rules of theart of war. In the afternoon on February 2, the Japanese army enteredBinyang Town. On February 3, they took Kunlun Pass and other spots.The Battles for Nanning City ended in failure for the Chinese.
    It was actually Chiang Kai-shek’sfault, as he often changed orders, confusing his subordinates. ChiangKai-shek was not really a good commander himself, though he hadgraduated from a famous military academy in Japan. He should havebeen able to beat Mao, who had no such advantage but only learned histactics from Chinese history books. This leads to the inevitableconclusion that Mao was more intelligent than Chiang Kai-shek. EveryChinese person knows that Chiang Kai-shek’s rulership was bad, butmany found that the rule of the Communist Party under Mao was worse.Part of this is due to personal characteristics of the leaders, partof it is due to the fact that under Mao China remained on amore-or-less war footing under constant menace from the West, andsome of it depends on the position of the people talking. Obviously,when the Communists started expropriating private property, those whohad something to lose were never going to forgive them. Somehistorians said that if Chiang could have beaten Mao, the Chinesepeople wouldn’t have suffered so much during all the cruelpolitical movements under Mao, some of which were quite poorlythought-out and highly destructive. Even so, no one can claim thatthe regime in Taiwan, after Chiang Kai-shek’s eventual defeat, waseither democratic or open.

  3. #63
    Thebattles of 100 regiments of the Communist Party

    In the Anti-Japanese War, most battleswere waged between the Japanese army and the army of the nationalgovernment. The Communist Party, though having their own army, didtheir best to shun any major fights with Japan so that they wouldstill have enough forces to fight Chiang Kai-shek after theAnti-Japanese War; this way, they could seize power and rule China.
    That was why Mao Zedong thanked thefirst Japanese delegation when they came to China for saving theCommunist Party, and himself too, from the destruction Chiang mighthave inflicted on them, if Japan hadn’t invaded China. Maograciously gave up the right to war indemnities from Japan,regardless of the demands of the Chinese people for some compensationfor their extraordinary losses.
    Anyway, at that time, Japan also wantedto occupy the territory the Communist Party possessed. So warfare didbreak out at last between the Japanese army and the army of theCommunist Party, from the 20th of August to the 10thof September, 1940, in the first stage. The Japanese army was 300,000strong, while the Communist Party had gathered 105 regiments. Theycalled this the “100 regiments battles.” Their commander-in-chiefwas Peng Dehuai. At that time, the Red Army changed their name to the8th Route army, included in the military system of thenational government. Their aim was to damage the railroads so thatthe Japanese army could not get supplies by train. They attackedZhengtai railway, Tongpu railway, Pinghan railway, and Jinpu railway,especially Zhengtai railway, the main route for the traffic of theJapanese army. Japan in the northern China didn’t have so manysoldiers to guard every inch of the rails and as a result, all thefour railways did not function any more after the attacks.

  4. #64
    From the 22nd of Septemberto the 10th of October, for the second stage, the 8thRoute Army attacked some important strategic spots controlled byJapan. At 8:00PM that day, the 8th Route Army began toattack the Lailing area and took some Japanese front fortresses roundLaiyuan Town, but they could not break through the defense of thetown itself because they did not have effective weapons for that kindof attack. On September 23, they stopped besieging the town andchanged their stratagem to first seize the defensive spots outsidethe town.
    On September 25, they turned to attackthe stronghold at Dongyuan. The Japanese army inside gave a robustresistance, even using poison gas. However, they were forced towithdraw to the central redout, which the 8th Route Armythen surrounded. As the Japanese soldiers knew that they could neverescape, they committed suicide by self immolating.
    On September 28, 3,000 Japanesesoldiers came as reinforcements. That changed the situation and itwas no longer possible to attack the town and so the Chinese forceswithdrew. On October 1, the Japanese army took back most of theplaces that the 8th Route Army had occupied. On October 7,the Japanese army at Lingqiu got some intelligence indicating thatthe 8th Route Army was planning to attack their position,and so the Japanese just headed out to meet the right wing detachmentof the 8th Route Army and give them a trouncing. From thenight of October 8to dawn, the left wing detachment ofthe 8th Route Army took their chances now that theJapanese army had left their position; they took it over as well asother positions in the vicinity. But on October 10, the 8thRoute Army learned that the Japanese army had gathered together andwould clean out the area where the 8th Route Army was inplace, so they withdrew from the combat. Thus ended another 18 daysof warfare.
    In this period, the 8thRoute Army had suffered heavy casualties, more than the Japanese armyhad lost. After the combat, Mao Zedong criticized Peng Dehuai forlosing so many soldiers. Mao’s intention was to keep his losses aslow as possible so that he could fight Chiang Kai-shek after theAnti-Japanese War.
    But during the Japanese army’sclean-up operation, the 8th Route Army always retreated toelude any fight with the Japanese army. They called this the mobilewarfare strategy. So the Japanese army just vented theirdisappointment and wrath on the common Chinese people who hadsupported the 8th Route Army. Records show that on the25th of January, 1941, when the Japanese army ran aclean-up operation without finding any 8th Route Armysoldiers in the northern Hebei province, they just encircled avillage called Panjiayu in the area of Fengrun Town and slaughtered1,237 villagers and burned 1,000 houses there. The 8thRoute Army had already escaped, deserting the villagers.

  5. #65
    Thecampaigns in northern Burma and western Yunnan province

    In 1942, a detachment of the Chinesenational government army went to Burma through Yunnan province tohelp fight the Japanese army, who had entered Burma through Thailandon the 4th of January, 1942, and occupied Rangoon (Yongon)on the 8th of March. Japan’s goal was first to cut offthe supply line to China from western countries, and second to enterIndia in the future. The British army was in Burma at that time andfought the Japanese army. The Chinese detachment went to Burma toassist the British army and secure the supply lines.
    The Chinese detachment went into Burmain 1942, but at first was defeated by the Japanese army. A section ofit escaped to India and was trained there by US advisors, and theother section returned to the western Yunnan province. Both sectionswould attack the Japanese army in Burma when they were ready.
    On October 24, 1943, the 112thregiment of the new 38th division began to attack theJapanese army and on October 29, took Shinbwinyang and enteredHukawng Valley. When the Japanese army there found the regiment, theysurrounded it. In resistance, the regiment lived on Japanese bananasand on food delivered by air drops. The Japanese army could not breakthrough their defense. On November 24, the new 38thdivision came to assist and on November 29, they took the position ofthe Japanese army, who lost round 1,000 soldiers.
    The campaign continued in January 1944,when the Japanese army receded into the valley and made theirdefensive line at Dalou and Tabajia. The Chinese new 38thdivision came to attack Tabajia, and the new 22nd divisioncame to attack Dalou. At dawn on January 28, the American air forcecame to bombard the Japanese position at Dalou and the tanks of thenew 22nd division ran through the Japanese defensive line.The new 22nd division took all the fortresses outsideDalou. On January 31,, Chinese tanks entered Dalou andcrushed the Japanese headquarters. On that day, the new 38thdivision attacked Tabajia. The American air force raided the Japanesearmy there, who had to retreat. On the 1st of February,the new 38th division occupied Tabajia.
    The Japanese army retreated to Mengguanand Walupan, 8 miles apart. They wanted to induce the Chinese army toattack Walupan so that another section of their army could attackfrom the back. The new 22nd division assaulted Mengguanwith artillery and tanks. The new 38th division stationedat the left rear to protect its back. The Japanese section came toattack the new 22th division from behind, but was blockedby the new 38th division. As the new 22nddivision attacked for a week and could not secure the place, the new38th division sent its 113th regiment to attackWalupan to distract the attention of the Japanese army. On March 1,the American 5307 corps reached them and launched their onslaught. Sothe 22nd division broke through the Japanese defensiveline. On the 4th of March, the new 22nddivision took Mengguan. Now the Japanese army was surrounded in thenarrow strip of Walupan. At noon of the 8th of March, theChinese army and the American corps jointly attacked Walupan and tookit on the 9th of March. Thus ended the campaign in thisarea.

  6. #66
    Thecampaigns in the western Hunan province

    After the outbreak of the Pacific War,the US air force helped China to fight Japan. Towards the terminationof the Sino–Japanese War, the Americans got the upper hand over theJapanese air force. American bombers raided important Japanesemilitary bases, including airports. More than once, the Americanfighter planes engaged Japanese fighter planes in the air and gainedvictory. There was an airport for US airplanes at the Zhijiang in thewestern Hunan province. The goal of Japan at the start of thiscampaign in 1945 was to capture the airport. It was the last majorbattle in the Sino–Japanese War.
    On April 9, 1945, the Japanese 47thmilitary bloc and the 116th bloc started their onslaughtat Lantian. The commander of the Chinese defensive 73rdarmy in that area estimated that the Japanese army had not finishedpulling together its forces. And so he gave orders to launch asurprise attack. The Japanese 47th bloc suffered the blow,and later when it was ready, the 47th bloc began to crossthe Zi River on April 14. The Chinese commander let the Japanesecross the river, but as most of the Japanese army was reaching thebank of this side of the river, the Chinese army struck them withartillery while American airplanes attacked those Japanese soldiersstill on the boat. Many boats were sunken. The Japanese army had aheavy loss.
    On April 28, the Japanese 116thbloc was surrounded by the Chinese army and signaled to the 47thbloc for rescue. When the 47th bloc arrived, they couldnot break the Chinese 73th army’s defense. On the 30thday, the Chinese army fought back and defeated the enemy, aided byair raids. The Japanese army had to retreat back to where they hadcome from. The battle ended in this district, but the warfare stillcontinued in other districts.
    On the 12th of April, theJapanese 34th bloc had attacked Xinning. A Chinesebattalion under the 58th division of the 74thArmy fought them for three days. Then as the Japanese reinforcementscame, the battalion had to withdraw from Xinning, which was taken bythe Japanese army. On April 21, 4,000 Japanese soldiers marchedtowards Meikou. On April 23, they began to cross the Wushui River.The Chinese 44th division waited there patiently till thefirst 200 Japanese soldiers set foot on the bank. Then they fell onthem fiercely and slew them all. The Japanese kept on crossing, buthad to stop under heavy cannon fire. On April 27, they turned toattack Wuyang, and after two days’ fighting, they took half ofWuyang. On April 29, the Chinese 44th divisioncame and the Japanese army had to give up the attack and turn back tofight the 44th division, who soon put the Japanese army torout.
    On April 27, another Japanesedetachment attacked Wugan, which was an old town. The walls were verystrong, because the bricks were stuck together using sticky ricecooked in water, which became glue. Many ancient tombs were alsobuilt this way to prevent them from being dug through. So when theJapanese cannon balls exploded and hit the walls, the shards didlittle damage to the walls. On May 1, the Japanese formed suicidesquads, but the soldiers, who had not reached the wall yet, werekilled by gunfire from the battlements. At last, some soldiers got tothe wall and blew a hole in it with dynamite. However, the Chinesepeople, who helped their soldiers in the defense of the town, heavedbags filled with sand down on the spot and the hole was blocked bythe sand bags. Then the Japanese army used long wooden siege ladders.But the Chinese army used flame throwers, provided to them by theUnited States, to burn the ladders. For seven days the Chinesesoldiers, aided by civilians, kept the small ancient town safe andsound. The Japanese army was defeated by the Chinese reinforcements.
    Other battles also took place in otherdistricts in the western Hunan province. The whole campaign ended onJune 2 with the failure of the Japanese army.
    Failure or victory in war mostlydepends on two factors: how strong are the forces and how wise arethe strategies used. But oftentimes, using a very wise ruse, theweaker side can defeat the stronger and the few fighters can defeatgreater forces.

  7. #67
    Buildingthe Communist Ranks in YanAn

    Gathering students

    After the XiAn event at the end of1936, the Central Committee of the Communist Party moved in Januaryof 1937 to YanAn, a small backward town in the north of Shaanxiprovince. At that time, Chiang Kai-shek would not come to fight themanymore as they had an agreement. Therefore, the Communist Party wasready to gather lots of people with intelligence and talent, nomatter young or middle aged. Their party members in big cities, wherethe most intelligent and talented people generally lived, adoptedevery possible means to allure such people, especially youngstudents, to YanAn to serve the Communist Party. Young people wereeasier to entice than middle-aged ones. So many young people went toYanAn, thinking that they could be trained to fight the Japaneseinvaders. Most young people went there in 1937, 1938, and 1939. Latermany of those who became communist cadres were those who had gonethere in 1938. So ’38 cadres became a special name for those.
    The Communist Party founded a so-calledAnti-Japanese military and political university and some schools tomentally train the students to become communist cadres. Yue Shan, astudent in Duize high school in Changsha city, recalled that one dayin 1938, Xu Deli, a Communist Party member and a representative ofChangsha bureau of the 8th Route Army, came to give aspeech about the Japanese invasion and called on young people to goto YanAn. His speech was so touching that Yue Shan and some otherstudents enrolled on the spot.
    Duan Xuesheng, a Communist Party memberand a writer, worked in Shandong province as a teacher, andpropagandized to students about communism and instigated them to goto YanAn to take part in the revolution. In Suiyang province andinner Mongolian district, more than 100 young people were attractedto YanAn. In Peking, from May to August in 1938, 107 young peopledecided to go.
    The Central Committee of the CommunistParty set up 8th Route Army bureaus in many towns andcities to enroll young people, especially students, to go to YanAn.Statistics showed that the bureau in Lanzhou of Gansu province sent3,000 in the autumn of 1937. The bureau in Wuhan sent 880 from Marchto May in 1938. Chongqing sent 2,000. However, those who werepermitted to go to YanAn had to have three interviews. Everyone hadto produce a letter of recommendation from an organizationestablished by the Communist Party in the place he or she lived. Thelast interview was held by the organization department of the CentralCommittee of the Communist Party.

  8. #68
    The tide of young people flowing toYanAn caused concern in the National Party. Chiang Kai-shek orderedthese young people to be detained. In Yanyang, 103 students weredetained by the military police of the national government. Aftermore than ten days, 40 students were carried away in a truck andothers were still in custody. In November 1939, labor camps were setup to confine all the students on the way to YanAn. They wereassailed with counter-propaganda and “mentally trained” untilthey expressed their loyalty to the national government, and thenthey were freed. By the end of 1940, 1,167 students had been detainedin the labor camps. From 1939 to 1943, 2,100 students were taken intocustody on their way to YanAn.
    By the end of 1943, there were 40,000young newcomers in YanAn, and half of them were female. Many of thefemales married high-ranking cadres of the Communist Party. Those ofthe cadres who had already married village girls deserted their wiveswhen they entered big cities like Beijing after 1949, and simplymarried young city girls.
    A special case must be mentioned. WenLianchen, alias Xia Sha, a girl of 14 at the time, was the daughterof a town mayor. When the family was in Wuhan, she stole out of thehouse and wanted to go to YanAn, but was stopped in a train and takenhome by a friend of her father’s at Zhengzhou. When the familymoved to Chongqing, she insisted on going to YanAn. Her father coulddo nothing but let her go. He bought a plane ticket for her to XiAn.She found the 8th Route Army bureau there and was safelysent to YanAn. This was the only case when someone went to YanAn byplane.

  9. #69
    JiangQing—Mao Zedong’s 4th wife —in YanAn

    Jiang Qing (1914–1991) was born inZhu Town of Shandong province. Her original name was Li Yunhe. Herfather Li Dewen ran a carpentry shop. Her mother was his concubine,who had been a maidservant. In the summer of 1921, Li Yunhe was inprimary school, but in 1926, she was expelled. Her father died ofsome disease in the same year and her mother took her to live withher brother-in-law in Tianjin City; he was an officer in the army ofthe warlord Zhang Zuolin. Li Yunhe had worked for three months as achild laborer in the factory of the British–American Tobacco Co.,Ltd. In 1928, the brother-in-law moved his troops somewhere else, andher mother took her to live with her cousin in JiNan. In spring of1929, when she was 15 years old, she learned to be an actress in atheater in the city. In May of 1931, she married a man from a wealthyfamily, but got divorced in July. Then she went to Qingdao, and fromJuly of 1931 to April of 1933, she worked in a library there. But inFebruary of 1932, at the age 18, she was living with (not married to)Yu Qiwei, three years older than she, a university student majoringin biography, who was also the leader of the propaganda department ofthe Communist Party there. He had contact with those in the circlesof so-called communist culture.
    Li Yunhe had acted in a one-scene playnamed Put Down Your Whip, which could be performed in thestreet as a protest against the Japanese aggression. In February of1933, she took an oath and joined the Communist Party through YuQiwei in a warehouse in Qingdao. In April, Yu was arrested and sheran away to Shanghai. In May, she attended “The Great ChinaUniversity” by auditing classes. In July she worked as a musicteacher in a primary school in the western suburb of Shanghai andacted in some amateur plays after work. In September of 1934, she wasarrested, but in February 1935, she was released and went to Pekingto live with Yu Qiwei again, who had been released, too.
    But in March, she returned to Shanghaito join the Diantong Film Company, using her stage name Lanping. Sheacted the heroine in the play Nara, and got good reviews.Afterwards, she played roles in two movies. In September, she wasliving with Tanner, a movie reviewer. In April of 1936, she wasmarried to him. The ceremony was held together with two othercouples, before Liuhe Pagoda in Hangzhou, in the moonlight. Aromantic ritual.

  10. #70
    However, she still kept in touch withYu Qiwei and by July Tanner could not bear it; he failed in anattempted suicide. She went back to Shanghai and joined the LianhuaFilm Company. She had a role in the film Blood on Wolf Mountain.In February of 1937, she acted in the drama Thunderstorm. Onthe 30th of May, Tanner attempted suicide again, but stillto no avail. Afterwards he went to France and lived there forever.
    In September of 1937, as theAnti-Japanese War broke out, Li Yunhe left Shanghai and in August,she arrived in YanAn and changed her name to Jiang Qing. In November,she was enrolled in the Anti-Japanese Military and PoliticalUniversity. On the 10th of April, 1938, the Lu Xun ArtsCollege was founded and she was appointed instructor of the dramadepartment. She acted in two dramas, and in August acted in a Pekingopera. Her efforts were appreciated and soon afterwards, she waspromoted to secretary in the office of the military committee, closeto Mao. It was said that she often went to see Mao and asked forinstructions from him. The intimacy changed their relationship andsoon she was living with Mao in place of his current wife He Zizhen,who was studying in Moscow at the time. In 1939, Mao married her. Butat the time, she had not been divorced from Tanner yet and Mao hadnot been divorced from He Zizhen. Both committed bigamy.
    Quite a few Communist Party leadersopposed the marriage, Zhang Wentian first and foremost. He maintainedthat He Zizhen was a good comrade and must be respected as a legalwife. Besides, she had been wounded in the Long March and could notbe ignored like this. Wang Shiying had been in Shanghai and knew allabout Jiang Qing’s love affairs, which were really scandals. And asthe leader of the Communist Party, Mao should not marry a woman withsuch a background. So he wrote a letter outlining these scandals. Heasked Nan Hanchen to sign the letter, too, who also worked inShanghai and knew about it all. (Both were later persecuted to deathby Jiang Qing in the Cultural Revolution.) Only Kang Sheng(1898–1975) supported their marriage.
    Then the Communist Party had a meetingand put up three conditions: 1) Jiang Qing should not interfere inpolitical affairs; 2) Jiang Qing could not take up any office, insideor outside the Communist Party; 3) Jiang Qing’s main task was tolook after Mao in his health and personal life.
    Jiang Qing had a daughter with Mao,born in 1940 and called Li Na, who is still alive now, in retirement.

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