MAO ZEDONG AND GUERILLA TACTICS

MAO ZEDONG AND GUERILLA TACTICS


Mao Zedong in a jeep

Mao was a great spokesman for guerilla tactics. “The guerilla,” he wrote, “must move among people as a fish swims in the sea.” He said guerilla tactics are what “a nation inferior in arms and military equipment may employ against a more powerful transgressor.” On guerilla tactics themselves, he wrote:. “They consist mainly of the following points: Divide our forces to arouse the masses, concentrate our forces to deal with the enemy...Arouse the largest number of the masses in the shortest possible time."

According to Columbia University’s Asia for Educators: “In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek split with the Communist Party and ordered the assassination of Communist Party members. This drove Mao Zedong into the remote rural area of Jiangxi Province, where he and his supporters established a based area and created an army to defend themselves. It was in the context of fighting with the numerically superior and better-equipped Kuomintang forces that Mao developed and applied his theories of guerrilla warfare. Mao and the Communists continued to employ guerrilla warfare in the struggle against the Japanese beginning in 1937. In 1937, Mao set his ideas out in a small book entitled “On Guerrilla Warfare.” [Source:Asia for Educators, Columbia University, Primary Sources with DBQs, afe.easia.columbia.edu <|>]

The Red Army had a great deal of success by following tactics outlined in the following slogans: "When the enemy advances, we retreat. When the enemy halts and encamps, we harass him. When the enemy seeks to avoid battle, we attack. Whenever the enemy retreats, we pursue." The highly mobile Red Army attacked quickly with a sudden concentration of force and then quickly dispersed after the attack was over.

Large battles against forces that outnumbered them were avoided at all costs. Communists in unfriendly territory operated underground and in cells and through united front operations. When a military operation was taken it aimed to follow classic Maoist insurgency theory: overrun police outpost and remote military bases; let the state overreact with human rights abuses; capitalize on the resulting public anger over the abuses to gain support and win new recruits.

Mao was not a great military tactician but he was able to surround himself with talented military minds. He also realized that one of the greatest underutilized military assets was women. Jiang Jee was young female revolutionary who was killed in fighting the Nationalists and made into a martyr.

Good Websites and Sources on the Long March: Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Paul Noll site paulnoll.com ; Chinese Government Account of Events chinadaily.com; Long March Remembered china.org.cn ; Long March map china.org.cn Mao Zedong Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Chinese Mao.com chinesemao.com ; Mao Internet Library marx2mao.com ; Paul Noll Mao site paulnoll.com/China/Mao ; Mao Quotations art-bin.com; Marxist.org marxists.org ; Propaganda Paintings of Mao artchina.free.fr ; New York Times topics.nytimes.com; Communist Party History Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Illustrated History of Communist Party china.org.cn ; Books and Posters Landsberger Communist China Posters

Good Websites and Sources on Early 20th Century China Sun Yat-sen Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Time Asia time.com ; My Grandfather Sun Yat-sen Asia Week ; May 4th Movement Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Chiang Kai-shek Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; New York Times Obituary New York Times ; Madame Chiang Kai-shek Wikipedia article Wikipedia ;

Good Chinese History Websites: 1) Chaos Group of University of Maryland chaos.umd.edu/history/toc ; 2) WWW VL: History China vlib.iue.it/history/asia ; 3) Wikipedia article on the History of China Wikipedia 4) China Knowledge; 5) Gutenberg.org e-book gutenberg.org/files ; Links in this Website: Main China Page factsanddetails.com/china (Click History)

Books: The Long March by Edmund Jocelyn and Andree McEwen (2006) and The Long March by Sun Shuyun, based in accounts from 40 of 500 participants that were still alive in 2005. Mao; the Untold Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday (Knopf. 2005). Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans, and her husband John Halliday, a British historian, portrays Mao as villain on the level of Hitler and Stalin. The book was read by U.S. President George Bush and embraced by the American right as a condemnation of Communism. It characterizes Mao as cruel, materialistic, self-centered and a leader who used terror with the aim of ruling the world. There is also a Mao biography by Jonathon Spence. Also check out: Mao's New World: Political Culture in the Early People's Republic by Chang-tai Hung (Cornell University Press, 2011) and The Private Life of Chairman Mao by Dr. Li Zhisui (1994). Other books: 2) The Penguin History of Modern China by Jonathan Fenby 3) . Red Star Over China by Edgar Snow; 4) China: A New History by John K. Fairbank; 5) In Search of Modern China by Jonathan D. Spence; 6) Cambridge History of China multiple volumes (Cambridge University Press). 7) Jay Taylor The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009); 9) Shark Fins and Millet is an excellent depiction of China in the 1930s by Polish-born journalist Ilona Ralf Sues, who met up with Big-Eared Du and Madame Chiang Kai-shek. You can help this site a little by ordering your Amazon books through this link: Amazon.com.

Mao Zedong on Guerilla Warfare (1927)

leftIn “What Is Guerrilla Warfare” in “On Guerilla Warfare”, Mao Zedong wrote: In a war of revolutionary character, guerrilla operations are a necessary part. This is particularly true in war waged for the emancipation of a people who inhabit a vast nation. China is such a nation, a nation whose techniques are undeveloped and whose communications are poor. She finds herself confronted with a strong and victorious Japanese imperialism. Under these circumstances, the development of the type of guerrilla warfare characterized by the quality of mass is both necessary and natural. This warfare must be developed to an unprecedented degree and it must coordinate with the operations of our regular armies. If we fail to do this, we will find it difficult to defeat the enemy. [Source: “On Guerilla Warfare” (1927) by Mao Zedong, translated by Samuel B. Griffith III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000). The full text of this book can be found online in its entirety at marxists.org ; Asia for Educators, Columbia University, Primary Sources with DBQs, afe.easia.columbia.edu <|>]

“These guerrilla operations must not be considered as an independent form of warfare. They are but one step in the total war, one aspect of the revolutionary struggle. They are the inevitable result of the clash between oppressor and oppressed when the latter reach the limits of their endurance. In our case, these hostilities began at a time when the people were unable to endure any more from the Japanese imperialists. Lenin, in “People and Revolution”,1 said: ‘A people’s insurrection and a people’s revolution are not only natural but inevitable.’ We consider guerrilla operations as but one aspect of our total or mass war because they, lacking the quality of independence, are of themselves incapable of providing a solution to the struggle. [1 A document by this name was not written by Lenin]

“Guerrilla warfare has qualities and objectives peculiar to itself. It is a weapon that a nation inferior in arms and military equipment may employ against a more powerful aggressor nation. When the invader pierces deep into the heart of the weaker country and occupies her territory in a cruel and oppressive manner, there is no doubt that conditions of terrain, climate and society in general offer obstacles to his progress and may be used to advantage by those who oppose him. In guerrilla warfare we turn these advantages to the purpose of resisting and defeating the enemy. <|>

“During the progress of hostilities, guerrillas gradually develop into orthodox forces that operate in conjunction with other units of the regular army. Thus the regularly organized troops, those guerrillas who have attained that status, and those who have not reached that level of development combine to form the military power of a national revolutionary war. There can be no doubt that the ultimate result of this will be victory. <|>

“Both in its development and in its method of application, guerrilla warfare has certain distinctive characteristics. We first will discuss the relationship of guerrilla warfare to national policy. Because ours is the resistance of a semi colonial country against an imperialism, our hostilities must have a clearly defined political goal and firmly established political responsibilities. Our basic policy is the creation of a national united anti-Japanese front. This policy we pursue in order to gain our political goal, which is the complete emancipation of the Chinese people. There are certain fundamental steps necessary in the realization of this policy to wit: 1) Arousing and organizing the people; 2) Achieving internal unification politically; 3) Establishing bases; 4) Equipping forces; 5) Recovering national strength; 6) Destroying enemy’s national strength; and 7) Regaining lost territories.

Mao on Guerrilla Warfare, National Policy and the People


Mao in Yan'an

In “On Guerilla Warfare”, Mao Zedong wrote: “There is no reason to consider guerrilla warfare separately from national policy. On the contrary, it must be organized and conducted in complete accord with national anti-Japanese policy. It is only who misinterpret guerrilla action who say, as does Jen Ch’i Shan, “The question of guerrilla hostilities is purely a military matter and not a political one.” Those who maintain this simple point of view have lost sight of the political goal and the political effects of guerrilla action. Such a simple point of view will cause the people to lose confidence and will result in our defeat. [Source: “On Guerilla Warfare” (1927) by Mao Zedong, translated by Samuel B. Griffith III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000). The full text of this book can be found online in its entirety at marxists.org ; Asia for Educators, Columbia University, Primary Sources with DBQs, afe.easia.columbia.edu <|>]

“What is the relationship of guerrilla warfare to the people? Without a political goal guerrilla warfare must fail, as it must, if its political objectives do not coincide with the aspirations of the people and their sympathy,cooperation, and assistance cannot be gained. The essence of guerrilla warfare is thus revolutionary in character. On the other hand, in a war of counter-revolutionary nature, there is no place for guerrilla hostilities. Because guerrilla warfare basically derives from the masses and is supported by them, it can neither exist nor flourish if it separates itself from their sympathies and cooperation. There are those who do not comprehend guerrilla action, and who therefore do not understand the distinguishing qualities of a people’s guerrilla war, who say: ‘Only regular troops can carry on guerrilla operations.’, There are others who, because they do not believe in the ultimate success of guerilla action mistakenly say: ‘Guerrilla warfare is an insignificant and highly specialized type of operation in which there is no place for the masses of the people’ (Jen Ch’i Shan). Then there are those who ridicule the masses and undermine resistance by wildly asserting that the people have no understanding of the war of resistance (Yeh Ch’ing, for one). The moment that this war of resistance dissociates itself from the masses of the people is the precise moment that it dissociates itself from hope of ultimate victory over the Japanese. <|>

“There are those who say: “I am a farmer,” or, “I am a student”; “ I can discuss literature but not military arts.” This is incorrect. There is no profound difference between the farmer and the soldier. You must have courage. You simply leave your farms and become soldiers. That you are farmers is of no difference, and if you have education, that is so much the better. … We can prolong this struggle and make it a protracted war only by gaining positive and lightning-like tactical decisions; by employing our manpower in proper concentrations and dispersions; and by operating on exterior lines in order to surround and destroy our enemy.” <|>

Mao on Organization for Guerrilla Warfare


Chinese guerillas depicted in the film "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo"

In “On Guerilla Warfare”, Mao Zedong wrote: “What is the organization for guerrilla warfare? Though all guerrilla bands that spring from the masses of the people suffer from lack of organization at the time of their formation they all have in common a basic quality that makes organization possible. All guerrilla units must have political and military leadership. This is true regardless of the source or size of such units. Such units may originate locally, in the masses of the people; they may be formed from an admixture of regular troops with groups of the people, or they may consist of regular army units intact. And mere quantity does not affect this matter. Such units may consist of a squad of a few men, a battalion of several hundred men, or a regiment of several thousand men. [Source: “On Guerilla Warfare” (1927) by Mao Zedong, translated by Samuel B. Griffith III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000). The full text of this book can be found online in its entirety at marxists.org ; Asia for Educators, Columbia University, Primary Sources with DBQs, afe.easia.columbia.edu <|>]

“All these must have leaders who are unyielding in their policies—resolute, loyal, sincere and robust. These men must be well.educated in revolutionary technique, self confident, able to establish severe discipline, and able to cope with counter-propaganda. In short, these leaders must be models for the people. As the war progresses, such leaders lack of discipline which at first will gradually overcome the lack of discipline which at first prevails; they will establish discipline in their forces, strengthening them and increasing their combat efficiency. Thus eventual victory will be attained. <|>


Chinese guerillas depicted in the film "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo"

“Unorganized guerrilla warfare cannot contribute to victory and those who attack the movement as a combination of banditry and anarchism do not understand the nature of guerrilla action. They say, ‘This movement is a haven for disappointed militarists, vagabonds, and bandits’ (Jen Ch’i Shan), hoping thus to bring the movement into disrepute. We do not deny that there are corrupt guerrillas, nor that there are people who under the guise of guerrillas indulge in unlawful activities. Neither do we deny that the movement has at the present time symptoms of a lack of organization, symptoms that might indeed be serious were we to judge guerrilla warfare solely by the corrupt and temporary phenomena we have mentioned. We should study the corrupt phenomena and attempt to eradicate them in order to encourage guerilla warfare, and to increase its military efficiency. ‘This is hard work, there is no help for it, and the problem cannot be solved immediately. The whole people must try to reform themselves during the course of the war. We must educate them and reform them in the light of past experience. Evil does not exist in guerrilla warfare but only in the unorganized and undisciplined activities that are anarchism,’ said Lenin, in “On Guerrilla Warfare.” 2 What is basic guerrilla strategy? Guerrilla strategy must be based primarily on alertness mobility, and attack. It must be adjusted to the enemy situation, the terrain, the existing lines of communication, the relative strengths, the weather and the situation of the people. [2 This is a misquotation. No passage resembling this is in Leninʹs “Guerrilla Warfare”]

“In guerrilla warfare, select the tactic of seeming to come from the east and attacking from the west; avoid the solid, attack the hollow; attack; withdraw; deliver a lightning blow seek a lightning decision. When guerrillas engage a stronger enemy, they withdraw when he advances; harass him when he stops; strike him when he is weary; pursue him when he withdraws. In guerilla strategy, the enemy’s rear, flanks, and other vulnerable spots are his vital points, and there he must be harassed, attacked, dispersed, exhausted and annihilated. Only in this way can guerrillas carry out their mission of independent guerrilla action and coordination with the effort of the regular armies. But, in spite of the most complete preparation, there can be no victory if mistakes are made in the matter of command. Guerilla warfare based on the principles we have mentioned and carried out over a vast extent of territory in which communications are inconvenient will contribute tremendously towards ultimate defeat of the Japanese and consequent emancipation of the Chinese people. <|>

Mao on Types of Guerrilla Warfare

In “On Guerilla Warfare”, Mao Zedong wrote: “A careful distinction must be made between two types of guerrilla warfare. The fact that revolutionary guerrilla warfare is based on the masses of the people does not in itself mean that the organization of guerrilla units is impossible in a war of counter-revolutionary character. As examples of the former type we may cite Red guerilla hostilities during the Russian Revolution; those of the Reds China; of the Abyssinians against the Italians for the past three years; those of the last seven years in Manchuria, and the vast anti-Japanese guerrilla war that is carried on in China today. All these struggles have been carried on in the interest of the whole people or the greater part of them; all had a broad basis in the national manpower and all have been in accord with the laws of historical development. They have existed and will continue to exist, flourish and develop as long as they are not contrary to national policy. [Source: “On Guerilla Warfare” (1927) by Mao Zedong, translated by Samuel B. Griffith III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000). The full text of this book can be found online in its entirety at marxists.org ; Asia for Educators, Columbia University, Primary Sources with DBQs, afe.easia.columbia.edu <|>]


barefoot revolutionaries

“The second type of guerrilla warfare directly contradicts the law of historical development. Of this type, we may cite the examples furnished by the White Russian guerrilla units organized by Denikin and Kolchak; those organized by the Japanese; those organized by the Italians in Abyssinia; those supported by the puppet governments in Manchuria and Mongolia, and those that will be organized here by Chinese traitors. All such have oppressed the masses and have been contrary to the true interests of the people. They must be firmly opposed. They are easy to destroy because they lack a broad foundation in the people. <|>

“If we fail to differentiate between the two types of guerrilla hostilities mentioned, it is likely that we will exaggerate their effect when applied by an invader. We might arrive at the conclusion that ‘the invader can organize guerrilla units from among the people’. Such a conclusion might well diminish our confidence in guerrilla warfare. As far as this matter is concerned, we have but to remember the historical experience of revolutionary struggles. <|>

“Further, we must distinguish general revolutionary wars from those of a purely ‘class’ type. In the former case, the whole people of a nation, without regard to class or party, carry on a guerrilla struggle that is an instrument of the national policy. Its basis is, therefore, much broader than is the basis of a struggle of class type. Of a general guerrilla war, it has been said: ‘When a nation is invaded, the people become sympathetic to one another and all aid in organizing guerrilla units. In civil war, no matter to what extent guerrillas are developed, they do not produce the same results as when they are formed to resist an invasion by foreigners’ (Civil War in Russia). The one strong feature of guerrilla warfare in a civil struggle is its quality of internal purity. One class may be easily united and perhaps fight with great effect, whereas in a national revolutionary war, guerrilla units are faced with the problem of internal unification of different class groups. This necessitates the use of propaganda. Both types of guerrilla war are, however, similar in that they both employ the same military methods. <|>

“National guerrilla warfare, though historically of the same consistency, has employed varying implements as times, peoples, and conditions differ. The guerrilla aspects of the Opium War, those of the fighting in Manchuria since the Mukden incident, and those employed in China today are all slightly different. The guerrilla warfare conducted by the Moroccans against the French and the Spanish was not exactly similar to that which we conduct today in China. <|>

“These differences express the characteristics of different peoples in different periods. Although there is a general similarity in the quality of all these struggles, there are dissimilarities in form. <|>


female Eight Route soldiers

“This fact we must recognize. Clausewitz wrote, in On War: ‘Wars in every period have independent forms and independent conditions, and, therefore, every period must have its independent theory of war.’ Lenin, in On Guerrilla Warfare said: ‘As regards the form of fighting it is unconditionally requisite that history be investigated in order to discover the conditions of environment, the state of economic progress and the political ideas that obtained, the national characteristics, customs, and degree of civilization.’ Again: ‘It is necessary to be completely unsympathetic to abstract formulas and rules and to study with sympathy the conditions of the actual fighting, for these will change in accordance with the political and economic situations and the realization of the people’s aspirations. These progressive changes in conditions create new methods.’ If, in today’s struggle, we fail to apply the historical truths of revolutionary guerrilla war, we will fall into the error of believing with T’ou Hsi Sheng that under the impact of Japan’s mechanized army, ‘the guerrilla unit has lost its historical function’. Jen Ch’i Shan writes: ‘In olden days guerrilla warfare was part of regular strategy but there is almost no chance that it can be applied today.’ These opinions are harmful. If we do not make an estimate of the characteristics peculiar to our anti-Japanese guerrilla war, but insist on applying to it mechanical formulas derived from past history, we are making the mistake of placing our hostilities in the same category as all other national guerrilla struggles. If we hold this view, we will simply be beating our heads against a stone wall and we will be unable to profit from guerrilla hostilities. <|>

“To summarize: What is the guerrilla war of resistance against Japan? It is one aspect of the entire war, which, although alone incapable of producing the decision, attacks the enemy in every quarter, diminishes the extent of area under his control, increases our national strength and assists our regular armies. It is one of the strategic instruments used to inflict defeat on our enemy. It is the one pure expression of anti-Japanese policy, that is to say, it is military strength organized by the active people and inseparable from them. It is a powerful special weapon with which we resist the Japanese and without which we cannot defeat them. <|>

Mao on Relation Of Guerrilla Hostilities to Regular Operations

20080218-Chinese_Communist_Flag.jpg
People's Army troops
In “On Guerilla Warfare”, Mao Zedong wrote: “2. The Relation Of Guerrilla Hostilities to Regular Operations The general features of orthodox hostilities, that is, the war of position and the war of movement, differ fundamentally from guerrilla warfare. There are other readily apparent differences such as those in organization, armament, equipment supply, tactics, command; in conception of the terms ‘front’ and ‘rear’; in the matter of military responsibilities. [Source: “On Guerilla Warfare” (1927) by Mao Zedong, translated by Samuel B. Griffith III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000). The full text of this book can be found online in its entirety at marxists.org ; Asia for Educators, Columbia University, Primary Sources with DBQs, afe.easia.columbia.edu <|>]

“When considered from the point of view of total numbers, guerrilla units are many, as individual combat units, they may vary in size from the smallest, of several score or several hundred men, to the battalion or the regiment, of several thousand. This is not the case in regularly organized units. A primary feature of guerrilla operations is their dependence upon the people themselves to organize battalions and other units. As a result of this, organization depends largely upon local circumstances. In the case of guerrilla groups, the standard of equipment is of a low order and they must depend for their sustenance primarily upon what the locality affords. <|>

“The strategy of guerrilla warfare is manifestly unlike that employed in orthodox operations, as the basic tactic of the former is constant activity and movement. There is in guerrilla warfare no such thing as a decisive battle; there is nothing comparable to the fixed passive defense that characterizes orthodox war. In guerrilla warfare, the transformation of a moving situation into a positional defensive situation never arises. The general features of reconnaissance, partial deployment, general deployment, and development of the attack that are usual in mobile warfare are not common in guerrilla war. <|>

“There are differences also in the matter of leadership and command. In guerrilla warfare, small units acting independently play the principal role and there must be no excessive interference with their activities. In orthodox warfare particularly in a moving situation, a certain degree of initiative is accorded subordinates, but in principle, command is centralized. This is done because all units and all supporting arms in all districts must coordinate to the highest degree. In the case of guerrilla warfare, this is not only undesirable but impossible. Only adjacent guerrilla units can coordinate their activities to any degree. Strategically, their activities can be roughly correlated with those of the regular forces, and tactically, they must co.operate with adjacent units of the regular army. But there are no strictures on the extent of guerrilla activity nor is it primarily characterized by the quality of cooperation of many units. <|>

“When we discuss the terms ‘front’ and ‘rear’ it must be remembered, that while guerrillas do have bases, their primary field of activity is in the enemy’s rear areas. They themselves have no rear. Because an orthodox army has rear installations (except in some special cases as during the 10,000.mile Long march of the Red Army or as in the case of certain units operating in Shansi Province), it cannot operate as guerrillas can. <|>


Chinese red Army flag

“As to the matter of military responsibilities, those of the guerrillas are to exterminate small forces of the enemy; to harass and weaken large forces; to attack enemy lines of communications; to establish bases capable of supporting independent operations in the enemy’s rear, to force the enemy to disperse his strength; and to coordinate all these activities with those of the regular armies on distant battle fronts. <|>

“From the foregoing summary of differences that exist between guerrilla warfare and orthodox warfare, it can be seen that it is improper to compare the two. Further distinction must be made in order to clarify this matter. While the Eighth Route Army is a regular army, its North China campaign is essentially guerrilla in nature, for it operates in enemy’s rear. On occasion, however, Eighth Route Army commanders have concentrated powerful forces to strike an enemy in motion and the characteristics of orthodox mobile warfare were evident in the battle at P’ing Hsing Kuan and in other engagements. <|>

“On the other hand, after the fall of Feng Ling Tu, the operations of Central Shansi, and Suiyuan, troops were more guerrilla than orthodox in nature. In this connection the precise character of Generalissimo Chiang’s instructions to the effect that independent brigades would carry out guerrilla operations should be recalled. In spite of such temporary activities these orthodox units retained their identity and after the fall of Feng Line Tu, they were not only able to fight along orthodox lines but often found it necessary to do so. This is an example of the fact that orthodox armies may, due to changes in the situation, temporarily function as guerrillas.” <|>

Mao on Similarities Between Guerrilla to Regular Operations

In “On Guerilla Warfare”, Mao Zedong wrote: “Likewise, guerrilla units formed from the people may gradually develop into regular units and when operating as such, employ the tactics of orthodox mobile war. While these units function as guerrillas, they may be compared to innumerable gnats, which, by biting a giant both in front and in rear, ultimately exhaust him. They make themselves as unendurable as a group of cruel and hateful devils, and as they grow and attain gigantic proportions, they will find that their victim is not only exhausted but practically perishing. It is for this very reason that our guerrilla activities are a source of constant mental worry to Imperial Japan. [Source: “On Guerilla Warfare” (1927) by Mao Zedong, translated by Samuel B. Griffith III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000). The full text of this book can be found online in its entirety at marxists.org ; Asia for Educators, Columbia University, Primary Sources with DBQs, afe.easia.columbia.edu <|>]

“While it is improper to confuse orthodox with guerrilla operations, it is equally improper to consider that there is a chasm between the two. While differences do exist similarities appear under certain conditions and this fact must be appreciated if we wish to establish clearly the relationship between the two. If we consider both types of warfare as a single subject, or if we confuse guerrilla warfare with the mobile operations of orthodox war we fall into this error : We exaggerate the function of guerrillas and minimize that of the regular armies. If we agree with Chang Tso Hua, who says. ‘Guerrilla warfare is the primary war strategy of a people seeking to emancipate itself,’ or with Kao Kang, who believes that ‘Guerrilla strategy is the only strategy possible for oppressed people’, we are exaggerating the importance of guerrilla hostilities. What these zealous friends I have just quoted do not realize is this: If we do not fit guerrilla operations into their proper niche, we cannot promote them realistically. Then, not only would those who oppose take advantage of our varying opinions to turn them to the own uses to undermine us, but guerrillas would be led assume responsibilities they could not successfully discharge and that should properly be carried out by orthodox force. In the meantime, the important guerrilla function of co-ordinating activities with the regular forces would be neglected. <|>


People's Army in 1949


“Furthermore, if the theory that guerrilla warfare is our only strategy were actually applied, the regular forces would be weakened, we would be divided in purpose, and guerrilla hostilities would decline. If we say, ‘ Let us transform the regular forces into guerrillas’, and do not place our first reliance on a victory to be gained by the regular armies over the enemy, we may certainly expect to see as a result the failure of the anti-Japanese war of resistance. The concept that guerrilla warfare is an end in itself and that guerrilla activities can be divorced from those of the regular forces is incorrect. If we assume that guerrilla warfare does not progress from beginning to end beyond its elementary forms, we have failed to recognize the fact that guerrilla hostilities can, under specific conditions, develop and assume orthodox characteristics. An opinion that admits the existence of guerrilla war, but isolates it, is one that does not properly estimate the potentialities of such war. <|>

“Equally dangerous is the concept that condemns guerrilla war on the ground that war has no other aspects than the purely orthodox. This opinion is often expressed by those who have seen the corrupt phenomena of some guerrilla regimes, observed their lack of discipline and have seen them used as a screen behind which certain persons have indulged in bribery and other corrupt practices. These people will not admit the fundamental necessity for guerrilla bands that spring from the armed people. They say, ‘Only the regular forces are capable of conducting guerrilla operations.’ This theory is a mistaken one and would lead to the abolition of the people’s guerrilla war. <|>

“A proper conception of the relationship that exists between guerrilla effort and that of the regular forces is essential. We believe it can be stated this way: ‘Guerrilla operations during the anti-Japanese war may for certain time and temporarily become its paramount feature particularly insofar as the enemy’s rear is concerned. However, if we view the war as a whole there can be no doubt that our regular forces are of primary importance, because it is they who are alone capable of producing the decision. Guerrilla warfare assists them in producing this favorable decision. Orthodox forces may under certain conditions operate as guerrillas, and the latter may, under certain conditions, develop to the status of the former. However, both guerrilla forces and regular forces have their own respective development and their proper combinations.’ To clarify the relationship between the mobile aspect of orthodox war and guerrilla war we may say that general agreement exists that the principal element of our strategy must be mobility. With the war of movement, we may at times combine the war of position. Both of these are assisted by general guerrilla hostilities. It is true that on the battlefield mobile war often becomes positional; it is true that this situation may be reversed; it is equally true that each form may combine with the other. The possibility of such combination will become more evident after the prevailing standards of equipment have been raised. For example, in a general strategical counter-attack to recapture key cities and lines of communication, it would be normal to use both mobile and positional methods. However, the point must again be made that our fundamental strategical form must be the war of movement. If we deny this, we cannot arrive at the victorious solution of the war. In sum, while we must promote guerrilla warfare as a necessary strategical auxiliary to orthodox operations, we must neither assign it the primary position in our war strategy nor substitute it for mobile and positional warfare as conducted by orthodox forces. <|>

Image Sources:Wikimedia Commons,

Text Sources: Asia for Educators, Columbia University afe.easia.columbia.edu <|>; University of Washington’s Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, depts.washington.edu/chinaciv /=\; National Palace Museum, Taipei npm.gov.tw \=/ Library of Congress; New York Times; Washington Post; Los Angeles Times; China National Tourist Office (CNTO); Xinhua; China.org; China Daily; Japan News; Times of London; National Geographic; The New Yorker; Time; Newsweek; Reuters; Associated Press; Lonely Planet Guides; Compton’s Encyclopedia; Smithsonian magazine; The Guardian; Yomiuri Shimbun; AFP; Wikipedia; BBC. Many sources are cited at the end of the facts for which they are used.

Last updated September 2016

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of country or topic discussed in the article. This constitutes 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you are the copyright owner and would like this content removed from factsanddetails.com, please contact me.