The Momentous Change in China’s Military Situation

Proletarians of all countries, unite!
There is one goal, the conquest of power!

THE MOMENTOUS CHANGE IN CHINA‘S MILITARY SITUATION

Chairman Mao Tse-tung
14.11.1948

Selected Works, Vol. 4
Foreign Languages Press
Peking 1965
Reproduced by
The Red Flag

THE MOMENTOUS CHANGE IN CHINA‘S MILITARY SITUATION

This commentary was written by Chairman Mao Tse-tung for the New China News Agency. Here Chairman Mao Tse-tung, basing himself on the new situation, that is, the change in the relation of forces between the enemy and ourselves after the Lisohsi-Shenyang campaign, made a new estimate of the time needed to win victory in the People‘s War of Liberation and pointed out that the reactionary rule of the Kuomintang could be overthrown in no more than a year from November 1948. Subsequent developments in China‘s military situation fully confirmed his prediction.

The military situation in China has reached a new turning point and the balance of forces between the two sides in the war has undergone a fundamental change. The People‘s Liberation Army, long superior in quality, has now become superior in numbers as well. This is a sign that the victory of the Chinese revolution and the realization of peace in China are at hand.

At the end of the second year of the war, that is, at the end of June this year, the Kuomintang army still had a total of some 3,650,000 troops. This was 650,000 less than the 4,300,000 troops the Kuomintang had in July 1946 when it started the country-wide civil war. The Kuomintang recruited about 2,440,000 troops during the two years of war, which is the reason why the decrease was only 650,000, although in that period approximately 3,090,000 were wiped out or captured, or deserted (2,640,000 were wiped out or captured). Recently a sudden change took place. In the first four months of the third year of the war, from July 1st to November 2nd when Shenyang was liberated, the Kuomintang army lost 1,000,000 troops. Its replacements during these four months have not yet been ascertained; supposing it was able to recruit 300,000 troops, then the net decrease would be 700,000. Thus the whole of the Kuomintang‘s armed forces — army, navy and air force, regulars and irregulars, combat troops and troops in the rear-service establishments — are now only some 2,900,000. On the other hand, the People‘s Liberation Army, which had 1,200,000 troops in June 1946, grew to 2,800,000 in June 1948 and has now increased to more than 3,000,000. Thus, the numerical superiority long enjoyed by the Kuomintang army has rapidly turned into inferiority. This is the result of heroic fighting by the People‘s Liberation Army during the past four months in all the war theatres of the country; it is especially the result of the Sui-Ki and Tsinan campaigns1 on the southern front and of the Chinchow, Changchun, Liaohsi and Shenyang campaigns2 on the northern front. Up to the end of June this year, the Kuomintang still had designations for 285 divisions because it had frantically incorporated its irregulars into its regular forces. In these four months, the battalions and larger units wiped out by the People‘s Liberation Army totalled 8 divisions, including 63 whole divisions.

Accordingly, the war will be much shorter than we originally estimated. The original estimate was that the reactionary Kuomintang government could be completely overthrown in about five years, beginning from July 1946. As we now see it, only another year or so may be needed to overthrow it completely. A longer time will be needed, however, to eliminate the reactionary forces in all parts of the country and complete the liberation of the people.

The enemy is collapsing rapidly, but the communists, the People‘s Liberation Army and people of all walks of life throughout the country must continue to unite as one man and redouble their efforts; only thus can we finally and completely wipe out the reactionary forces and build a united, democratic people‘s republic in the whole country.


1The Sui-Ki campaign, also known as the Eastern Honan campaign, was fought by the People‘s Liberation Army in the sector comprising Kaifeng, Suihsien and Kihsien. The campaign started on June 17th, 1948. On June 22nd our army captured Kaifeng. To save his critical military situation, Chiang Kai-shek went to the front, took personal command and mustered 3 armies under Chiu Ching-chuan, Ou Shou-nien and Huang Po-tao to start an attack on Kaifeng from several directions. Six columns of our Eastern China Field Army, 2 columns of our Central Plains Field Army and our Kwangtung-Kwangsi Column surrounded the armies under Ou Shou-nien and Huang Po-tao in the Suihsien-Kihsien sector and, after nine days and nights of fierce fighting (June 27th to July 6th), they wiped out 2 divisions, or 6 brigades, of Ou Shou-nien‘s army and a part of Huang Po-tao‘s army, a total of over 90,000 troops. Ou Shou-nien, army commander, and Shen Cheng-nien, Commander of the Reorganized 75th Division, were captured. For the Tsinan campaign, see „The Concept of Operations for the Huai-Hai Campaign“, Note 2.

2The Chinchow, Changchun, Liaoshi and Shenyang campaigns in north-eastern China, taken together, were called the Liaohsi-Shenyang campaign. See „The Concept of Operations for the Liaohsi-Shenyang Campaign“, Note 1.