IN THE following pages I propose to study Stalin's grand strategy of world conquest as it can be discerned in China--its stages of experimentation and modification, of successes and failures, and its victories after long failures. The story covers 25 years, from 1924 to 1949, and culminates in the recent and, I trust, temporary conquest of continental China by the overwhelming military power of world Communism. I propose to use the history of the long and bitter struggle between Nationalist China and world Communism, between Chiang Kai-shek and Stalin, as source material for a new examination of that almost unbelievably successful strategy which has enabled world Communism to place under its domination immense areas of the earth and 800,000,000 of its population.

Nearly two years ago, there was published in Foreign Affairs a learned and very remarkable essay entitled "Stalin on Revolution," by an author who signed himself "Historicus."[i] It is a study of Stalin's theory, program, strategy and tactics of "world revolution," and is evidently based on careful research and documentation.

The author's method is literary and documentary, relying mainly on the published works of Stalin. This method has serious limitations which the author himself fully admits:

As generals are not accustomed to publish their operational directives, so it is unreasonable to expect Stalin to publish his. From his writings it is possible to reconstruct certain main lines of strategy and tactics, but the writings also contain definite acknowledgment that "illegal" or underground activities play a major rôle in Communist operations. . . . Therefore it must remain a question to what extent Stalin's published views on Communist strategy and tactics are supplemented or modified by doctrine reserved for the Communist high command.

I believe, therefore, that the documentary method needs to be supplemented by the historical approach. Although "generals are not accustomed to publish their operational directives," an historian can reconstruct their strategy and tactics by following the details of their field operations and studying how these succeeded or failed.

How did Stalin annex the Baltic States? How did he twice conquer Poland? How did Vyshinsky take over Rumania in February 1945? How did Communism take over Jugoslavia, Bulgaria and Hungary? What were the steps leading to the coup d'état in Czechoslovakia in February 1948? What was Stalin's strategy in his conquest of Manchuria? And how did Stalin direct the campaign for the conquest of China and how did he finally succeed after 25 years of stubborn resistance by Nationalist China? Can we discern some similarity in the pattern of conquest? Can we reconstruct the strategical lines of the great Stalin from the fruits of these successful campaigns of conquest?

Toward the end of his essay, "Historicus" makes reference to "the technique of 'cold revolution' . . . illustrated recently in Eastern Europe." He seems to regard Stalin's conquest of Eastern Europe as "an exception to the general rule that revolutionary violence is necessary . . . in that it also dispenses with the need of overt violence." Does he really believe that "the technique of 'cold revolution' illustrated recently in Eastern Europe" is an "exception" to the Stalin strategy of conquest? I believe that from the historical standpoint, what has happened in Eastern Europe from 1945 to this day, just as what has happened in China from 1924 to this day, gives us the authentic subject matter for studying the real strategy and tactics of Stalinist Communism for the conquest of the world. "The technique of cold revolution" in Eastern Europe is no exception to the rule: it is the rule itself; it is the strategy in its more finished form.

All the strategical elements mentioned in the "Historicus" study are present in the Eastern European conquests just as they are present in the Asiatic conquests. There is always the Communist Party in full strength; there is always the maximum aid including armed force from the "base of Socialist revolution;" and there is, above all, the objective condition of revolution, namely, the greatest war in human history.

But there seem to be other equally important elements not revealed in a documentary research which can be clearly seen in a comparative study of the many Communist conquests extending from the Baltic Sea to China and Korea. First, it is not enough to have the conscious leadership of the Communist Party. To be an effective instrumentality of conquest, the Party must be fully armed: it must have a strong army of its own. Second, it is not enough to use Soviet Russia as a base for revolution. It is necessary first to make Soviet Russia the greatest military Power in the entire world, and then to achieve "revolutionary" conquests of adjacent and contiguous territories by sheer overwhelming superiority of military strength. Third, to avoid the appearance of "overt violence" or "revolutionary violence," it is necessary to bring about a "coalition government" with all the "democratic" and "anti-Fascist" parties or groups in a country. And lastly--and above all--there is the strategy of deceit which has been best expressed by the great Lenin: "We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, lawbreaking, withholding and concealing truth."[ii]

But there are also negative results that may be just as valuable as the positive findings. Such an historical study will show what is not present in this strategy. For instance, such a study will show that this strategy has nothing to do with such Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist economic theories as that of "Productive Forces vs. Productive Relations" which, according to "Historicus," is "an integral part of the bedrock of Marxist 'scientific' certainty about the future course of history on which Stalin evidently bases his entire life work."

Let us read such authentic historical records as the secret documents from the archives of the German Foreign Office, captured by the American and British armies in 1945, and published by the U.S. Department of State in 1948 under the title, "Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939-1941." Let us note, for example, how in a nine-day secret negotiation, August 14-23, 1939, the whole relationship between Germany and Soviet Russia was reversed, they became allies, and the western democracies became enemies of both Germany and the U.S.S.R. As a result of these rapid negotiations, Soviet Russia acquired a free hand to annex the Baltic States and got the lion's share in the new partitioning of Poland. The record of the secret negotiations covers scores of pages, but there is no reference whatever to such economic theories as the contradictions of international capitalism or the interplay of Productive Forces vs. Productive Relations!

The same is true of that portion of the secret documents which deal with the German attempt to induce the Soviet Union to join the Three Power Pact of September 1940. Stalin and Molotov were tempted. They frankly indicated Soviet Russia's interest in Turkey, Bulgaria, Rumania and Hungary, and her willingness to participate in the division of spoils in the imminent breakup of the British Empire, and in particular her desire to designate "the area south of Batum and Baku in the general direction of the Persian Gulf . . . as the center of the aspirations of the Soviet Union." Neither Stalin, nor Molotov, in these protracted secret negotiations, ever makes reference to any of the "fundamental" economic causes such as the Productive Forces vs. Productive Relations.

In short, the whole strategy is no more and no less than a strategy of naked militarism aided from time to time by the most unscrupulous use of all possible forms of trickery and deceit. Such a strategy could never have succeeded in a world of peace and orderly international life. Its success has depended upon "the objective condition" of an unprecedented world war--a condition which the author of the strategy has sought by all available means to prolong and perpetuate.


There is one historical fact which differentiates the Chinese Communist Party from the Communist movements in any other country outside of Soviet Russia--a fact which is essential to a clear understanding of what has been happening in China during the last quarter of a century. It is that the Chinese Communist Party, partly by design and partly by extraordinary historical circumstances, has possessed a formidable army of its own almost from the very early years of its founding. Mr. Edgar Snow, sizing up the Chinese Communist Party at the end of 1937, said: "It is the strongest Communist Party in the world, outside Russia, and the only one, with the same exception, that can boast a mighty army of its own."[iii] This unique feature of the Chinese Communist Party has been the most important source of its strength, which Stalin, the masterful strategist of world Communism, has been able to nurture, support, and in the course of 25 years develop into a most powerful instrumentality for subjugating China and thereby dominating the whole Asiatic continent.

Last year, on August 1, a special commemorative postage stamp was issued to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Red Army. Chinese Communist leaders proudly announced to the world that the Red Army, now renamed the "People's Liberation Army," had a regular strength of 4,000,000 men. A year later, August 1, 1950, the newspapers report that Communist China is celebrating the 23rd anniversary of the founding of the Red Army in China. A New York Times dispatch from Hong Kong says: "Preparing to mark their Red Army Day tomorrow, the Chinese Communists today described their 5,000,000-men force as 'one yet destined to play a significant rôle in defending the peace of East Asia and the world.'" This Red Army of 5,000,000 men, supported by a Russian-trained and Russian-supplied Air Force, is the ever-growing Asiatic arm of the militaristic power of world Communism today.

There seems no doubt that the organization of a Communist armed force in every country occupies a very important place in the grand strategy of Stalin and the Comintern for the ultimate success of the world proletarian dictatorship. In the program of the Communist International adopted by the Sixth World Congress on September 1, 1928, one of the eight most important special tasks that the Communist Party in every country must seek to accomplish is specified as "the organization of revolutionary workers' and peasants' armies."[iv] In the same program, there is a section devoted to "The Fundamental Tasks of Communist Strategy and Tactics." One of these "fundamental tasks" is for the Communist Party to lead the masses to a direct attack upon the bourgeois state whenever the time is considered ripe for this final step of revolution. "This it does by organizing mass action. . . . This mass action includes: a combination of strikes and demonstrations, a combination of strikes and armed demonstrations, and finally the general strike conjointly with armed insurrection against the State power of the bourgeoisie. The latter form of struggle, which is the supreme form . . . presupposes a plan of campaign, offensive fighting operations and unbounded devotion and heroism on the part of the proletariat. An absolutely essential condition precedent for this form of action is the organization of the broad masses into militant units . . . and intensified revolutionary work in the army and the navy."

Among the 21 "Conditions of Admission to the Communist International," adopted at the Second World Congress of the Comintern, July-August 1920, the fourth condition reads: "Persistent and systematic propaganda and agitation must be carried on in the army, where Communist groups should be formed in every military organization. Wherever, owing to repressive legislation, agitation becomes impossible, it is necessary to carry on such agitation illegally. But refusal to carry on or participate in such work should be considered equal to treason to the revolutionary cause, and incompatible with affiliation to the Third International."[v]

Since no country under normal conditions will permit either revolutionary propaganda and agitation in its army or the organization of an armed force by a revolutionary party, it was a most extraordinary opportunity for the Third International to be requested in 1923-1924 by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, leader of a revolutionary party and many times head of an independent regional government, to send political and military experts to China, not only to help reorganize his own party, but actually to organize a new army for a new revolution. It was equally extraordinary for Dr. Sun Yat-sen, in his sincere desire to "bolster the strength of revolutionary elements in the country," to admit Communists as regular members of his own Nationalist Party, thereby making it possible for Communists to influence the policy of the Nationalist Party and even to carry on revolutionary propaganda and agitation in the new army.

The Chinese Communist Party, founded in 1921, had already affiliated itself with the Communist International. The three years of collaboration between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party (1924-1927) formed the period when the Comintern was making full use of a most unusual opportunity to try out its strategy of world revolution on a large scale in one of the most important strategical areas of the world--China.

This was the time when Stalin was formulating his thesis of the consolidation of Soviet Russia as the base for world revolution, a thesis which never meant abandonment of the cause of world revolution in favor of "Socialism in one country" but only emphasized the importance of effective aid that could come from a strong base. A political struggle for power was then going on in Russia between Stalin and Trotsky, but Stalin was already in full control of the policies of the Comintern. There is little doubt that Stalin was directing the Comintern's China adventure throughout those years of Nationalist-Communist collaboration.

The basis of this collaboration had been clearly defined in a joint statement issued by Dr. Sun Yat-sen and A. Joffe, a representative of Soviet Russia and the Comintern:

Dr. Sun Yat-sen holds that the Communist order or even the Soviet system cannot actually be introduced into China because there do not exist here the conditions for the successful establishment of either Communism or Sovietism. This view is entirely shared by Mr. Joffe, who is further of the opinion that China's paramount and most pressing problem is to achieve national unification and attain full national independence, and regarding this task, he has assured Dr. Sun Yat-sen that China has the warmest sympathy of the Russian people and can count on the support of Russia.

Dr. Sun, the father of the Chinese Revolution which in 1911-1912 overthrew the Manchu Dynasty, abolished the monarchy and established the first republic in Asia, had long advocated a threefold platform: nationalism, political democracy and the people's livelihood. He was here, however, reminded by his Russian adviser that nationalism--especially the struggle "to achieve national unification and attain full national independence"--was still the most pressing issue. This joint statement practically defined the issue of the Nationalist Revolution: it was to achieve national unification by destroying the military power of the separatist war lords, and to attain "full national independence" by abolishing the special privileges enjoyed by the foreigner in China, by abolishing the "unequal treaties" which the foreign Powers had imposed upon the Chinese people. It was clear from the very beginning that this latter phase of the Nationalist movement had to be essentially an anti-foreign movement, a revolution against the imperialist Powers. Unwittingly, Dr. Sun's Party was being thus guided toward a possible international war.

The Communist International went all-out in giving aid to the Nationalist-Communist collaboration. Aid came largely in the form of matériel and expert advisers. The Comintern was able to send to China a remarkable group of political and military advisers, headed by Mikhail Borodin, one of the most brilliant and astute revolutionary organizers, and General Galen, who years later came to be better known as Marshal Blucher. Borodin soon became the dictator of the Chinese Communist Party and at the same time the most influential man in the new government, directing the policy and the strategy of the Revolution. The Whampoa Military Academy was established in Canton in June 1924, with General Chiang Kai-shek as its Director. The Russian military mission under Blucher was helping Chiang to train large numbers of new officers who were to be the nucleus of a new revolutionary army.

Chiang Kai-shek's future Army of Nationalist Revolution was organized on the model of the Russian Red Army and was under the political discipline and indoctrination of the political commissars, many of whom were trained Communists. In that way, Communists and Communism were able to exert much influence over the officers and men of the Nationalist Army. Important Communist leaders of the future, such as Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai, Lin Tsu-han (Lin Po-ch'u), etc., played important rôles in the government and in the army. These Communists helped to organize the masses, conduct propaganda and indoctrinate the officers and men of the army. The training centers in Moscow--the Lenin University, the University of the Toilers of the East, and, later, the Sun Yat-sen University--were sending back well-trained young men for work in the Party and in the Army.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen died in March 1925. In June 1926, the Army of National Revolution, led by Chiang Kai-shek as Commander-in Chief, launched the Northward Expedition from Canton. The progress of the revolutionary armies was almost an uninterrupted series of victories. The northern armies were incapable of effectively resisting an inspired army supported by powerful propaganda and organized masses. Changsha was taken in July, Hankow in October, Kiukiang and Nanchang in November. Early in 1927, the Revolutionary forces had reached the Yangtze Delta. The Chinese city of Shanghai was taken in March, and only strong forces of foreign marines protected the foreign settlement from the Nationalists.

Then came the great crisis of the revolution. On March 24, 1927, Nationalist troops entered the city of Nanking after the flight of the northern forces, savagely attacked foreigners in the city, looted and defiled foreign dwellings and consulates, and killed a few of the foreign residents, including the vice-president of the American missionary University of Nanking. Foreign gunboats stationed in the river were forced to fire a barrage to warn against further violence and to guide the fleeing foreigners to escape to the boats.

"The (Nanking) incident," says Professor Latourette, "so aroused the ire of foreigners that for a time extensive intervention seemed imminent."[vi]

On the day of the Nanking incident, I was travelling from New York to Chicago, and I could sense that American public opinion which had up to that time been sympathetic toward the Nationalist Revolution had changed overnight and turned against the revolutionary cause. But I never fully realized how dangerously close this "extensive (foreign) intervention" was until nearly a month later, when I was in Tokyo and a Japanese friend in the Foreign Office was guiding me on a sightseeing tour. The Tokyo Asahi was holding an "Exhibition of Modern Journalism" in its new building. My Japanese friend said to me: "Dr. Hu Shih, I just want you to see one little room." The three walls of this small room were covered by the original cablegrams sent from Nanking and Shanghai to the Tokyo Asahi office on the looting of the Japanese Consulate in Nanking, the defiling of the portrait of the Japanese Emperor, the attempt of the Japanese captain of the Consulate Guards to commit hara-kiri because he was ordered not to resist, etc. There were over 400 urgent cablegrams in a single day, March 24, 1927. "You can even now feel how Japan must have felt on that fateful day," said my friend. He then told me that the Powers held serious consultations on the question of intervention in China, and that Japan, according to his information, was among those governments opposing intervention.

As we now look back, the Nanking incident seems to be the last of a series of deliberate anti-foreign moves designed to force the foreign Powers to resort to armed intervention and thereby to create a situation of a real "imperialist war"--which, we must remember, Stalin and the Comintern regard as the necessary "objective condition" for the victory of the revolution. The commanding general of the offending army in the Nanking incident was General Ch'en Ch'ien who is now with the Chinese Communist régime. And the man who was considered by the United States Government as being responsible for the whole affair was Mr. Lin Tsu-han, the chief political commissar of the Army. Mr. Lin is one of the most prominent Communist leaders today.

During this period of collaboration, the Chinese Communist Party was functioning efficiently, and the work of infiltration into the Government and especially into the Army was going on smoothly and successfully. What was lacking was a real war, a great imperialist war, without which, according to the Stalinist line of thinking, it was difficult to capture the whole of the Russian-influenced Nationalist Army and convert the Nationalist Revolution into another glorious "October Revolution." All the gigantic anti-British strikes and boycotts throughout 1925-1926 had been directed toward breaking British power in China and forcing Britain to armed intervention. But Britain chose not to fight back. Even after the British Concession at Hankow had been seized by force on January 4, 1927, the British Government persisted in its policy, and ordered its Peking Legation to send a mission to Hankow to negotiate a settlement with the Hankow régime which was under the domination of the Communists. The British Concessions at Hankow and Kiukiang were officially returned to China as a result of these negotiations. But this nonresistant attitude of the British defeated the Communist strategy, which was to start an international conflagration in China by pushing the British to the wall. It is quite probable that the Nanking affair of March 24 was a deliberate strategical move to involve many foreign Powers in armed intervention, which, as I have shown, almost became a reality.

This danger of foreign intervention and a Communist Revolution was averted by the decision of Chiang Kai-shek and the moderate leaders of the Kuomintang to "split" with the Communists, end the collaboration, and "purge" the Nationalist Party of the Communists and their sympathizers. The "purge" began on April 12, 1927, in Shanghai and later in Canton. On April 18, Chiang, with the support of the Elder Statesmen of the Party, set up the National Government in Nanking.


Mr. Edgar Snow reports that as early as 1926 Trotsky began urging the formation of Chinese soviets and an independent Chinese Red Army.[vii] Such advice from Stalin's opposition at least indicated a line of thought fairly current in Communist circles at that time.

After the moderate wing of the Kuomintang had brought about the "split" and the "purge" in the lower Yangtze Valley, and had set up the National Government at Nanking, the Kremlin sent a secret message to Borodin in Hankow ordering the Chinese Communists to demand majority control of the Kuomintang, confiscation of land of the landowners and the formation of a separate Workers' and Peasants' Army. Borodin did not want to present these demands, but Roy, the Indian representative of the Comintern, gave the message to Wang Ching-wei, chairman of the Left Wing Kuomintang Government at Hankow. Even the Left Wing Kuomintang could not tolerate such open violation of the terms of the collaboration. Borodin and the other Russian advisers were expelled from the Party and ordered to leave China. Eventually the Hankow régime collapsed and was merged with the Government at Nanking.

It is significant that the organization of a Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army was actually ordered by the Kremlin and therefore constituted a part of the strategy of Stalin. And the order was carried out by those Communist leaders and army commanders--Chu Teh, Ho Lung, Yeh T'ing, Mao Tse-tung, Li Lisan and others--who wanted to carry on the Chinese Communist Party but who realized that, after the 1927 coup d'état, the Party must have an armed force of its own. It was these men who started the Nanchang Uprising on August 1, 1927, and the Autumn Crop Uprising in Hunan in September, and who after their defeat and retreat into the mountains, pooled their remnant forces to form the first Red Army.

The Red Army probably began with less than 10,000 men. In the course of a few years, it grew in numerical strength and in fighting experience. Its mobile units carried on insurrections mainly in the provinces of Hunan, Hupeh, Kiangsi, Kwangtung, and the border areas of Fukien. By 1930, the Red Army was said to number about 60,000 men.

Toward the end of 1927, the first "soviet" was set up in Chaling, in Hunan. The soviet form was extended to larger areas and early in 1930 a Provisional Soviet Government of Southern Kiangsi was proclaimed. In August 1931, the Executive Committee of the Communist International advised the Chinese Communist Party to establish in some secure region a full-fledged "central Soviet Government" and to carry out a "Bolshevik national policy."[viii] Such a "Central Soviet Government of the Soviet Republic of China" was set up in December 1931, with its capital at Juichin, Kiangsi, near the border of Fukien. Mao Tse-tung was elected Chairman of the Central Soviet Government, and Chu Teh, Commander of the Red Army.

There is no authentic record regarding the highest numerical strength attained by the Red Army in those years of the Kiangsi Soviets. At the 13th Plenary Session of the Executive Committee of the Comintern held in December 1933, Wang Ming (Ch'en Shao-yu), the Chinese delegate, reported that in the territory of the Chinese Soviet Republic, "the regular formations of the Red Army numbered 350,000 men; the irregular forces, 600,000."[ix]

At the Seventeenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, held in Moscow in 1934, Dmitri Manuilsky, reporting on the progress of Communism in China, paid this tribute to the Chinese Party and its Army: "The young Communist Party of China is becoming one of the best sections of the Communist International, also because both they and the Red Army have passed through the years-long school of civil war."[x]

This Red Army was essentially a guerrilla force, having terroristic control of the rural area which is the source of food supply and manpower. It was a fighting force of great mobility. Snow[xi] has made famous these slogans of Red Army tactics:

1.~ When the enemy advances, we retreat!

2.~ When the enemy halts and encamps, we trouble them!

3.~ When the enemy seeks to avoid a battle, we attack!

4.~ When the enemy retreats, we pursue!

The declared object of the Army at that time was "to overthrow the Kuomintang régime and destroy its military power." Even the outbreak of Japanese aggression in Manchuria in September 1931 and its rapid expansion into North China and Shanghai did not stop or even diminish this fierce anti-ationalist insurrection. The National Government issued an appeal for unity against Japan. But the Communists responded with the manifesto of September 30, 1931, in which they vehemently condemned the talk about "a united front against the external enemy" as "ridiculous, absurd, and lying inventions." They declared: "The Communist Party of China is and remains the irreconcilable enemy of the imperialists and the Kuomintang."[xii] And in Moscow the Executive Committee of the Comintern adopted a resolution in September 1932, emphasizing that "the Communist Party of China must fight for the overthrow of the Kuomintang, the agent of imperialism."[xiii]

The Communists in the Red areas of Kiangsi did in February 1932 send out a circular telegram "declaring war" against Japan in the name of the Provisional Central Government of the Soviet Republic of China. Yet in the same month, when a part of the Fifth Army of the Nationalist Government was ordered from Kiangsi to fight the Japanese in the "First War of Shanghai," the withdrawing troops were attacked at Kan Hsien, Kiangsi, by the Communist armies from the rear and suffered heavy losses.

In 1933, the Communists issued a proclamation which, while still attacking Chiang Kai-shek and the imperialist Powers, announced that the Chinese Communists were ready to "coöperate with any White army on three conditions: (1) cessation of civil war and of attacks on the Chinese Soviet area, (2) guarantee of civil liberties and democratic rights to the people, and (3) arming the masses for an anti-Japanese war." Note that the offer was made only to any White army--that is, any government army that was blockading or attacking the Red area.[xiv]

From 1930 to 1934, the National Government forces under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek carried out a number of military expeditions against the Communist armies. By the fall of 1933 the Red districts were being narrowed down to a relatively small area in the border regions between Kiangsi and Fukien. To counteract the mobility of the partisan warfare, the 1933-34 campaign (which is often termed the Fifth or Last Campaign) relied mainly on a combination of military encirclement and economic blockade. This campaign lasted over a year and is said to have involved the mobilization of nearly 1,000,000 men. By means of a network of military roads and thousands of small fortifications, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's strategy was designed to build around the Soviet districts a kind of Great Wall "which gradually moved inward. Its ultimate aim was to encompass and crush the Red Army in a stone vise."[xv]

The encirclement and the economic blockade proved so effective that the Red Army and Government were forced to adopt the bold strategy of retreat--to escape annihilation by retreating westward, then southwestward, then northward, and then northeastward, finally reaching their destination in northern Shensi. This retreat has been called "the Long March," which lasted for a whole year and covered about 6,000 miles.

The Long March, in Mao Tse-tung's own words, "was begun in October 1934. . . . By January 1935, the main force of the Red Army reached Tsunyi in Kweichow. For the next four months the army was almost constantly moving and the most energetic combat and fighting took place. Through many, many difficulties, across the longest and deepest and most dangerous rivers of China, across some of its highest and most hazardous mountain passes, through the country of fierce aborigines, through the empty grasslands, through cold and through intense heat, through wind and snow and rainstorm, pursued by half the White armies of China, through all these natural barriers, and fighting its way past the local troops of Kwangtung, Hunan, Kwangsi, Kweichow, Yunnan, Sikong, Szechuan, Kansu and Shensi, the Red Army at last reached northern Shensi in October 1935, and enlarged the present base in China's great Northwest."[xvi]

How great were the casualties suffered by the Red Army in the battles and in the Long March? Mr. Snow tells us that Chou Enlai admits that "the Red Army itself suffered over 60,000 casualties in this one siege" (i.e., the long blockade of 1933-34). Mr. Snow also records that "the main forces of the Red Army" at the start of the retreat from Kiangsi, October 1934, were "estimated at about 90,000 men," and that in October 1935, at the end of the trek, they numbered "less than 20,000 survivors."[xvii]

But the most significant fact is that the Red Army had survived the great extermination campaign of 1933-34, had survived the one-year-long heroic march, and was now joined by the Communist forces that had already established a small Soviet base in Shensi in 1933. Here, in northern Shensi, just below the Great Wall, the survivors of the Red Army and the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party now settled down to build up their new base as close as possible to the borders of Soviet Russia--the base of revolution.

No record is preserved of the discussions at the Red Army Conferences at Juichin in 1934, which finally made the decision to withdraw from the Kiangsi-Fukien border-region and to transfer the nucleus of the living forces of the Red Army to some new base in the west or the northwest. But in later years when Chinese Communists could freely associate and converse with their non-Communist friends it was reliably reported that leading Communists attributed the success of the Long March to what Stalin had taught as "the strategy of retreat." For it was Stalin who, in his best known work, "Problems of Leninism," had laid down the strategical line of "a manœuvring of reserves designed for a correct retreat when the enemy is strong and when retreat is inevitable, when we are beforehand aware of the disadvantages of engaging in battle which the enemy imposes on us, when, given the ratio of forces, retreat is the only means of preventing a blow on the vanguard and of maintaining the reserves behind it." Here Stalin quoted Lenin for support: "The revolutionary parties must complete their education. They have learned how to attack. Now they must understand that it is necessary to supplement this by a knowledge of how best to retreat. They must understand (and the revolutionary class learns to understand by its bitter experience) that victory is impossible without learning both how to attack and how to retreat properly." "The object of this strategy," concludes Stalin, "is to gain time, to decompose the enemy, and to assemble forces so as to take the offensive later."[xviii]

So, according to my source of information, it was this Lenin-Stalin doctrine of "correct retreat" that had influenced the military thinking at Juichin in 1934 and had resulted in the Long March and the survival of the Red Army.


But the remnant Red Army settling in northern Shensi--one of the poorest areas in the whole of China--was still facing the danger of being once more surrounded and destroyed by the superior military power of the National Government, which had become increasingly strong in the years 1934-36. One of the unexpected results of the Long March of the Communists was the fact that the National Government, in following the trail of the Red Army, was able to consolidate its political control over such southwestern provinces as Kweichow, Yunnan and Szechuan, which had previously succeeded in maintaining a degree of regional autonomy. The rich and economically self-sufficient inland province of Szechuan, for example, when it was invaded by the Red Army in 1935, sent a representative delegation to Nanking to request the Government for adequate military aid to help the provincial armies combat the Red forces. It was, therefore, the Red Army's Long March which enabled Chiang Kai-shek to consolidate the great southwest as the future base in the long war against Japan. And the Generalissimo was determined to exterminate the military power of Chinese Communism before he had to face the greater war of resistance to Japan.

Stalin and the Communist International were then to play another and even more important rôle in protecting and preserving the Red Army strength and providing it with ample opportunities for growth and expansion. The new strategical line was to be the "united front."

Even when the Red Army was fighting its way to the northwest, the policy of the Communist International underwent an important change. The Seventh World Congress, held in Moscow from July to August 1935, officially proclaimed the policy of a "united front" against the rising dangers of aggression by the "Fascist" Powers. The Congress called upon Communist Parties in all countries to coöperate or seek coalition with bourgeois governments and political parties willing to fight Fascism. Special attention was paid to China and the Chinese Communist Party. It elected Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai, Chang Kuo-t'ao and Wang Ming to the Executive Committee of the Comintern; and Wang Ming, who was stationed in Moscow as the Party's resident delegate, was also made a member of the International Presidium. The Party was, however, censured for having "not yet succeeded in carrying out these tactics [of the united front] really consistently and without mistakes."[xix] One of the great mistakes specifically singled out was the failure of the Chinese Communists to unite with the leaders of the Nineteenth Route Army who had rebelled against the Nationalist Government and set up a People's Government in Fukien in 1933. The quick collapse of the Fukien rebellion enabled the Nationalist Government to enforce a more effective blockade against the Communist area in the following year.

The Comintern policy of the "United Front in China" was intended as a scheme to protect the greatly weakened Red Army from renewed attacks by Nationalist forces. But the Chinese Communist Party which had fiercely fought Chiang Kai-shek over eight long years could not yet bring itself to a public retraction of its avowed objective of "overthrowing the Kuomintang and destroying its military power." It was proclaiming such slogans as "Chinese don't fight Chinese!" "Stop all civil war!" "Unite all parties, all groups, all armies, in our common fight against Japan!" and "Down with all Traitors!" Nevertheless it was still demanding the downfall of the "arch-traitor," Chiang Kai-shek, and his régime. In Communist literature of the time, the "United Front" was described as one of "resistance to Japan and opposition to Chiang."

Under this new party line, the Chinese Communist Party was organizing all kinds of front organizations such as "The Association for National Salvation and Resistance to Japan," "The People's United Association against Japan," and so on. These associations were carrying on antigovernmental agitation under the cloak of anti-Japanism. They demanded immediate war against Japan and immediate cessation of the civil war against the Communists. In the summer and autumn of 1936, seven well-known leaders of the National Salvation Societies were arrested, and that, of course, gave cause for more agitation against the Government. Throughout the winter of 1935-36, student strikes and student demonstrations broke out in Peiping and other metropolitan centers of education. Hundreds and even thousands of young students, boys and girls, would often block railway transportation by lying down on railroad tracks and demanding free passage to Nanking to petition the Government to fight Japan.[xx]

These anti-Japanese demonstrations and the popular demands for a united front against Japan could not fail to affect the psychology of the Government troops who were sent to Shensi to fight the remnant Red Army. This was particularly true of the Tungpei (Northeast) Armies, which had retreated from Manchuria after the Japanese invasion and were now under the command of their former leader, the "Young Marshal" Chang Hsueh-liang, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the campaign against the Red Army in Shensi, with his headquarters at Sian, the capital of Shensi Province. The propaganda slogans against these armies were especially effective: "Go back to Your Old Home and Fight the Japanese Devils!"

Before long, the "Bandit-Suppression Army Officers" were beginning to fraternize with the "bandits." By the summer of 1936, some kind of secret understanding was reached between the Communist leaders in Northern Shensi and Chang Hsueh-liang and his Sian colleague, General Yang Hu-ch'eng, Pacification Commissioner of Shensi Province. The war against the Reds was slowing down, thereby giving the Red Army a much-needed opportunity to rest and recuperate.

Chang Hsueh-liang, the Young Marshal, then in his middle thirties, was a spoiled child who never matured intellectually. Born to wealth and power, he was ambitious and vainglorious. Being patriotic and intensely anti-Japanese, he was easily persuaded to lend his support to the work of anti-Japanese agitation and demonstration by the National Salvation Societies and student bodies. The Nanking Government began to hear reports that the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Bandit-Suppression Campaign, second only to Chiang Kai-shek in command, was financing the antigovernment front organizations. He was drifting into a position where he could imagine himself at the head of the anti-Japan and anti-Chiang "United Front."

It was against such a background that the "arrest" of Chiang Kai-shek by Chang Hsueh-liang took place in Sian on the morning of December 12, 1936. Because of the almost complete absence of authentic records, the story of the Sian affair has never been, and may never be, fully told. But the following facts seem to be of importance.

First, Chiang Kai-shek went to Sian with the full knowledge that he was going into the territory of the conspirators. Dr. Wong Wen-hao, my geologist friend who was serving as Secretary-General of the Executive Yuan, told me in Nanking at least five days before the coup that the Generalissimo was fully aware that the Young Marshal was plotting a revolt against the Government. Then why did Chiang go? The answer has to be a conjecture. Chiang was a prodigal son turned Puritan Christian at a mature age, and the world must try to understand him in that light. He probably wanted to win back his wayward "younger brother," Chang Hsueh-liang, by convincing him that he still had complete trust in him. He not only went to Sian practically unguarded; he actually called a military conference to meet at Sian to which all his highest ranking generals were summoned. The conference began on December 7. So what actually happened on the morning of December 12 was the arrest of Chiang Kai-shek and of practically all the best-known generals of Nationalist China, the only notable exceptions being Ho Ying-ch'in and Ku Chu-t'ung.

Why did he call the military conference? Chiang probably wanted to convince the conspirators how futile it would be for them to attempt any revolt in face of the overwhelmingly strong position of Government forces in Loyang and along the Lunghai railway. He probably also wanted them to see how the Government could carry on the anti-Red campaign even without their help. In short, it was possible that the military conference was called at Sian for the purpose of convincing the conspirators that the Government had nothing to hide from them.

Second, Chang Hsueh-liang must have planned the whole affair by himself. He was fully capable of quick decision and coldblooded murder, as he had shown in his killing of two of his father's ablest and most trusted generals--Generals Yang Yut'ing and Ch'ang Yin-huai, when the victims were dinner guests in his own home. And he must have planned it as a part of a rebellion under the banner of "the Anti-Japan and Anti-Chiang United Front." This is shown by the announcement on December 14 of the formation of the United Anti-Japanese Army, to consist of the armed forces of the Red Army, the Northwest Army of Yang Huch'eng and the Northeast Army of Chang Hsueh-liang. And the Young Marshal was "elected" chairman of the United Anti-Japanese Military Council.

Third, for a time, Chiang Kai-shek's life was in real danger. He could have been killed in his residence when Chang's troops opened fire before daybreak and 30 of his bodyguard were killed. During the fortnight of his captivity, there were persistent demands for his execution or for his public trial. All the finely mimeographed news-sheets of Communist or "National Salvation" underground that I could obtain in Peiping during those days were unanimous in demanding Chiang's death.

Fourth, the many reports about the "intrigue for capture of the hegemony of power" in Nanking are not true. The Kuomintang, the National Government and the Military Commission held an all-day conference on December 12. Every Elder Statesman who knew his history pointed to the historical parallel of the Sixth Emperor of the Ming Dynasty who was captured in battle by a Mongol tribe in the year 1449. The statesman Yu Ch'ien proposed that, in order to forestall the Emperor's being held as hostage for impossible terms of peace, the Heir Apparent should be proclaimed Emperor and the Government should carry on as before. His proposal was adopted and the captive Emperor was returned in a year. So on December 12, 1936, Nanking decided that the manifold duties of the Generalissimo should be temporarily taken over by his colleagues in the Government, the Party and the Military Commission, so that all these organs could go on in the absence of the Generalissimo.

Fifth, the Government's decision to move a number of divisions of troops to the Honan-Shensi border quickly and to send squadrons of airplanes daily over Sian was the result of careful consideration and was clearly motivated by the desire to hasten Chiang's safe return and to make the conspirators realize the gravity of their own situation. Chiang Kai-shek fully understood this: he wrote in his diary that he was very glad when he heard the airplanes over the city.

And, lastly, the all-important question: Why was Chiang Kaishek able to fly back to Nanking on Christmas Day? What had happened to make that possible? Miss Agnes Smedley, who was in Sian at the time, reported that after Chiang's party had left Sian a group of young Northeast officers and National Salvation leaders said to her: "We have been betrayed! The Red Army induced the Young Marshal to release Chiang."[xxi] Edgar Snow believes that the Communist delegates (Chou En-lai, Yeh Chienying and Po Ku) whom Marshal Chang summoned to Sian were "most effective" in bringing about Chiang's release.[xxii]

The United States Department of State and David J. Dallin seem to agree that the release of the Generalissimo was apparently ordered by Moscow. "The Chinese Communist Party . . ." says the Department of State, "at first favored the execution of the Generalissimo, but, apparently on orders from Moscow, shifted to a policy of saving his life. The Chinese Communist concept, inspired from Moscow, became one of promoting a 'united front' with the Generalissimo and the National Government against the Japanese; this concept seems to have played a considerable rôle in saving the life of the Generalissimo."[xxiii]

Mr. Dallin, however, points out that, before the Sian incident, Moscow and Nanking had already made progress in negotiating "a new nonaggression pact of momentous importance." This new pact (not signed until August 1937) was to serve as the basis for future Russian aid to China in the early years of the Sino-Japanese war. So Dallin believes that "Moscow . . . valued a pact with Chiang more highly than one with the irregular forces of the insurrectionists," and that this probably explains why Moscow "adopted an unequivocally hostile attitude toward the Sian rebellion."[xxiv] As evidence of this "hostile attitude," Dallin quotes the editorial from Izvestia of December 14, the very first day that the news of the Sian rebellion was published in Moscow. "Under whatever slogans and program the Sian insurrection be conducted," says the Izvestia editorial, "this move . . . represents a danger not only to the Nanking government, but to all of China. It is clear that despite Chang Hsueh-liang's anti-Japanese banner, his move can benefit only Japanese imperialism. So long as the Nanking government conducts a policy of resistance to the Japanese aggressors, the united popular front against Japan is understood by all its participants to mean not a front against Nanking, but a front together with Nanking."[xxv] Mr. Dallin's conclusion, therefore, is that "there is no doubt that the position taken in Moscow had a decisive influence on the course of events in Sian and perhaps did save Chiang's life." But, Dallin adds, "in the last analysis Chiang owed his rescue to Japan's vigorous offensive on the Asiatic continent, and to the reality of the Japanese menace to both Russia and China." In other words, the Kremlin was worried about the Japanese menace and was convinced that Chiang Kai-shek was capable of offering greater resistance to Japan than any of the insurrectionist groups who talked loudly about "immediate armed resistance to Japan." For reasons of her own security, Russia wanted China to be in a position to fight Japan. Hence the secret negotiations for a nonaggression pact between China and Soviet Russia. Hence the hostile attitude of Moscow toward the Sian rebellion.

While the above conclusions may be correct in general, I am inclined to think that, in the light of the future trend of events, Stalin's strategy was probably greatly influenced by his solicitude for the future of the Chinese Red Army, which, we must remember, was one of his own creations. My friend, the late Agnes Smedley, may be more revealing than she meant to be when she quoted a young Army officer as saying, one hour after Chiang Kai-shek and Chang Hsueh-liang had left Sian by air: "The Red Army induced the young Marshal to release Chiang." The Reds knew that the newly-formed "United Anti-Japanese Army" could not stand the furious attacks of the advancing Nationalist armies that were already surrounding Shensi on all sides. And they knew what opportunities for expansion there would be if their Army were to become a part of the National Army.

From one of the secret pamphlets issued by the Chinese Communist Party after the Sian affair we can learn that there was so much criticism and dissatisfaction after December 1936 that explanation "lectures" had to be prepared in order that the Party and the Army might fully understand the action at Sian. In these secret explanations, it is interesting to note that the central argument was that the Party must obey the directives of the Comintern which were motivated by considerations for the "larger benefits" and "greater victories" in store for the Communist Party. The following passage is most revealing:

When the December [1935] Resolution was issued, the policy was "Fight Chiang and Resist Japan." Now it is "Ally with Chiang, and Resist Japan." If we want to resist Japan, we must unite with Chiang. If the Communist Party wants to secure greater victories, it must fight Japan.

In the Sian Affair, Chang Hseuh-liang and Yang Hu-ch'eng and the other militarists were really more interested in opposition to Chiang than in resistance to Japan. The Communist Party saw this clearly and used all its power to advocate a peaceful settlement, for internal fighting would only benefit Japan, and would injure our Party. Moreover, if the Sian Affair should arouse the wrath and dissatisfaction of the other militarists against the Communist Party, a war would be disastrous [for us]. Therefore our tactical line was: "Peaceful settlement of the Sian Affair!" and "End all civil wars!"

Because the Chinese Communist Party is an International Party and the directives we received from the Third International also said that a peaceful settlement would be right and profitable, it was decided that for the greater benefits of the future, we must have peace.[xxvi]

So once more it was Stalin's strategy which brought about a peaceful settlement of the Sian Affair and saved the lives of Chiang Kai-shek and practically all his highest ranking generals.

The Generalissimo returned to Nanking amidst the really spontaneous rejoicings of the Chinese people. He left Sian without having to sign any terms. But this Puritan Christian was won over, probably for the first time in his life, by a masterful stroke of strategy. Of all the things Stalin has ever done, that act came closest to statesmanship. The Generalissimo felt reassured that he could take in the Chinese Communists as partners in the common fight against the Japanese aggressor. The war for the extermination of the Red Army was ended. The Red Army was saved.

Seven months later, in July and August 1937, China took up the fight against Japan. The Second World War, which had actually started on September 18, 1931, in Manchuria, and which Chiang Kai-shek had for six years tried to avoid, often under most humiliating circumstances, was now in full swing.

Another month later, in September 1937, the Red Army was incorporated as the Eighth Route Army of the National Army. It was now sent to the war front in Shansi, where it looked forward to a future of unlimited growth and expansion.


When the Red Army was first incorporated in the National Army in September 1937, its numerical strength was officially estimated at 25,000 men. Seven years later, in September 1944, Lin Tsu-han, a member of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, reported to the People's Political Council that "In the course of more than seven years of war, the Communist military force has developed along the right tracks and consists now of an army of 475,000 men and a people's militia force of 2,200,000 men."[xxvii] And a few months later, in April 1945, Mao Tsetung presented a 50,000-word report to the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party, held at Yenan, in which he said: "As I am preparing this report, our regular army has already expanded to 910,000 men and our people's militia force has increased beyond 2,200,000 men."

So, in the course of eight years' war against Japan, the Communist armies, instead of suffering heavy losses, were able to achieve a 3,540 percent increase! And should we include the 2,200,000 "people's militia force," the increase would be 12,340 percent. That, said Mr. Lin Tsu-han, is because "the Communist military force has developed along the right track."

From 1935 to 1937, the Communists on the Shensi-Kansu border area occupied only 21 or 22 counties. According to their own estimate, the population was about 1,500,000. But in April 1945, Mao Tse-tung claimed that "the Liberated Area now extends from Inner Mongolia in the north to the Hainan Island in the south, extending into 19 provinces and containing 95,500,000 people." "In most of the territories occupied by the Japanese enemy," said Mao, "there will be found the Eighth Route Army, or the New Fourth Army, or some other people's armies carrying on partisan activities." The 19 provinces mentioned by Mao include Liaoning, Jehol, Chahar, Suiyuan, Shensi, Kansu, Ninghsia, Shansi, Hopei, Honan, Shantung, Kiangsu, Chekiang, Anhui, Kiangsi, Hupei, Hunan, Kwantung and Fukien.

The Chinese Government has expressed doubts about the figures of Red Army strength. According to its estimate, Communist forces of 25,000 in 1937 were increased at the end of the war to 310,000.[xxviii] Mr. Dallin also considers Mao Tse-tung's figure of 910,000 men as much exaggerated. Dallin thinks that the real strength of the Chinese Communist armies in 1945 probably amounted to from 300,000 to 350,000.[xxix]

That was a small army scattered over 19 provinces. And it was poorly armed and poorly supplied. After 1941 it had practically ceased to receive monetary subsidy or allotment of ammunition from the National Government. Soviet Russia tried to act properly during the years of the war: the military supplies under the Sino-Soviet barter arrangement were delivered to the Central Government. The amount of ammunition that could come through from Soviet territory to the Communist area in the northwest must have been very small.

American aid and arms for the Communists in China never materialized. Even President Roosevelt's attempt in 1944 to place General Joseph W. Stilwell in command, under Chiang Kai-shek, of all Chinese forces, "including the Communist forces," did not succeed. The President had said to Chiang Kai-shek: "When the enemy is pressing us toward possible disaster, it appears unsound to reject the aid of anyone who will kill Japanese." But Chiang Kai-shek was opposed to it. His position was supported by the American Ambassador, Patrick J. Hurley. So General Stilwell was recalled. The Chinese Red Army remained poorly armed and ill-equipped. It remained a guerrilla force of great mobility and skill, but as late as the last year of the war, it had not attained the stature of an established army that could face the Japanese enemy or the Government forces in open battles.

Then came the sudden end of the Pacific war in August 1945. On August 9, Soviet Russia declared war on Japan. On the same day, the Soviet Army began to move into Manchuria. On August 14, Japan surrendered. Air landings of Soviet troops were made at Mukden, at Kirin, and at Changchun. Before the end of August, Soviet Russian troops were in complete control of Manchuria--of its railroads, of the great naval base of Port Arthur, of the great port of Dairen, and of all the other ports and cities.

On August 11, General Chu Teh, commander-in-chief of all Communist forces, issued an order to four Communist Army Groups to march on to the northeast into the provinces of Chahar, Jehol, Liaoning and Kirin.

Within two or three months large numbers of Chinese Communist troops were in control of many important sections of Manchuria. Many of these Communist soldiers came into Manchuria camouflaged as unarmed "civilians" and uniformed "Nationalists," who upon their arrival inside Manchuria, were quickly and fully armed and equipped from the huge military stocks left over by the surrendered Japanese Kwantung army.

With the invading Soviet armies there also came the Chinese Army that had been organized on Soviet soil out of different Chinese detachments which had left Manchuria in the 1930's. "A considerable number of Chinese Communists who had spent years in Russia came with them. This force . . . brought with it technical and administrative skill, discipline, and loyalty to Russia; it was to play a primary rôle in the future of Manchuria."[xxx]

The Soviet Army did not withdraw until the end of April 1946. During the nine months of occupation in Manchuria, every facility was given to the Chinese Communists, while serious obstacles were placed in the way of Nationalist troops that were being slowly transported into Manchuria with the logistical support of the United States Government.

In October 1945, Vice-Admiral Daniel E. Barbey's fleet was ordered to escort Chinese Government troops to Manchuria. But all the seaports on the Manchuria coast were closed to them. At Hulutao, Communists on shore fired upon a launch from Admiral Barbey's flagship. The American task force and transports turned away. On October 29, Marshal Malinovsky, the Commander-in-Chief of Soviet forces in Manchuria, agreed that Chinese Nationalist troops could land at the port of Yingkow, and that Soviet troops would leave the port by November 10. But on November 6, Admiral Barbey learned that the Russians had deliberately evacuated five days ahead of schedule and left the port in the hands of the Chinese Communists who threatened to open fire on the American convoy. Once more Admiral Barbey's flotilla turned away. The Chinese Government troops were eventually landed at the port of Chinwangtao, inside the Great Wall--from which point they commenced the long march overland into Manchuria, which the outside world considered already lost to world Communism.[xxxi]

In June 1946, the Chinese Communist broadcast announced to the world that the People's Liberation Army now numbered 1,200,000, in its regular formations. In a speech broadcast on December 25, 1947, Mao Tse-tung said that "from 1937 to 1947, in 11 years, the Chinese Communist Party has developed a Party membership of 2,700,000 and a People's Liberation Army of 2,000,000 men." A Communist broadcast dated October 14, 1948, placed the Red Army's strength at 3,000,000. On August 1, 1949, it was 4,000,000. On August 1, 1950, it was 5,000,000.

In December 1947, Mao Tse-tung presented a report to the Central Committee of the Party under the title, "The Present Situation and Our Duties." In this lengthy report, he painted a glowing picture of the military successes of the Red Army:

The Chinese People's Revolutionary War has now come to a turning point. The People's Liberation Army has smashed the offensive war of Chiang Kaishek's reactionary armies, and has now started its own offensives. In the first year (July 1946-June 1947), our Armies defeated Chiang's offensive attacks on several fronts, and forced him to take a defensive position. In the first quarter of the second year (July-September 1947) our Armies have turned to offensive attacks on a nation-wide scale.

Out of Manchuria, Communist armies, newly equipped and reconditioned, were pouring into Shantung across the sea, and into North China by land. By September 1948 Shantung was lost. By November, Manchuria was lost. By early 1949, North China was lost. Through a most astute and wicked stroke of strategy, Stalin had taken Manchuria and made it the contiguous base for the new military strength of Chinese Communism, behind which lay the unlimited support of Soviet Russia, now the mightiest military Power in the whole world.

A conference of the Big Three had been held at Yalta in February 1945. The conference lasted seven days. At one of the very last sessions, Prime Minister Churchill was not present, and President Roosevelt, according to Harry Hopkins' record, "was tired and anxious to avoid further argument." At this meeting, Stalin proposed the conditions for Soviet Russia's entry into the Pacific war. The resulting agreement was kept secret from China until June 14 when Ambassador Hurley informed Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in Chungking that on February 11, 1945, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, on behalf of their Governments, signed at Yalta a secret agreement. The following is the text:

The leaders of the three Great Powers--the Soviet Union, the United States of America and Great Britain--have agreed that in two or three months after Germany has surrendered and the war in Europe has terminated, the Soviet Union shall enter into the war against Japan on the side of the Allies on condition that:

(1) The status quo in Outer-Mongolia (the Mongolian People's Republic) shall be preserved.

(2) The former rights of Russia violated by the treacherous attack of Japan in 1904 shall be restored, viz.:

(a) The southern part of Sakhalin as well as all the islands adjacent to it shall be returned to the Soviet Union.

(b) The commercial port of Dairen shall be internationalized, the preeminent interests of the Soviet Union in the port being safeguarded and the lease of Port Arthur as a naval base of the U.S.S.R. restored.

(c) The Chinese Eastern Railroad and the South-Manchurian Railroad which provides an outlet to Dairen shall be jointly operated by the establishment of a joint Soviet-Chinese Company, it being understood that the preëminent interests of the Soviet Union shall be safeguarded and that China shall retain full sovereignty in Manchuria.

(3) The Kurile Islands shall be handed over to the Soviet Union.

It is understood that the agreement concerning Outer-Mongolia and the ports and railroads referred to above will require concurrence of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. The President will take measures in order to obtain this concurrence on advice from Marshal Stalin.

The Heads of the three Great Powers have agreed that these claims of the Soviet Union shall be unquestionably fulfilled after Japan has been defeated.

For its part the Soviet Union expresses its readiness to conclude with the National Government of China a pact of friendship and alliance between the U.S.S.R. and China in order to render assistance to China with its armed forces for the purpose of liberating China from the Japanese yoke.

By these very loosely worded articles, the fate of Manchuria, and of China as a whole, and of Korea (although she is not mentioned here) and very possibly of the whole continent of Asia, was sealed and history was set back 40 years. Of the three signatories, apparently Stalin alone had remembered his history well. For on Japan's surrender, Stalin issued a proclamation in which he depicted his four-day war with Japan as Russia's revenge for her defeat in 1904-05 at the hands of Japan. "The defeat of Russian troops in 1904, . . ." said the proclamation, "left bitter memories in the minds of the people. It lay like a black spot on our country. Our people believed and hoped that a day would come when Japan would be smashed and that blot effaced. Forty years have we, the people of the old generation, waited for this day."[xxxii]

That is the historical meaning of the principal clause in the secret agreement that "the former rights of Russia violated by the treacherous attack of Japan in 1904 shall be restored." It was in this historical light of Russia's revenge that Stalin appealed for the support of Roosevelt. According to Hopkins' record, "Stalin said to Roosevelt that if his conditions were not met, it would be very difficult to explain to the Russian people why they must go to war against Japan. . . . However, Stalin said, if the required political conditions were met, then it would not be difficult for him to explain to the Supreme Soviet and the people just what was their stake in the Far Eastern war."[xxxiii]

The whole affair was a strategy of deceit. China was not a participant, but the President was to take measures in order to obtain China's concurrence. Even this undertaking by the President was not enough. Stalin insisted that this agreement must be put in writing and must contain the statement: "The Heads of the three Great Powers have agreed that these claims of the Soviet Union shall be unquestionably fulfilled after Japan has been defeated."[xxxiv] That is to say, Soviet Russia must have these claims fulfilled even if China refuses to give the concurrence!

That Stalin was deliberately deceiving and blackmailing Roosevelt, I have not the slightest doubt. For years past, Stalin and Molotov had taken every occasion to impress on the American leaders that Soviet Russia had no interest in supporting Chinese Communists, because they were not Communists at all. The Soviet leaders had insisted that Chiang Kai-shek was a great man and deserved support, and that the United States must take a leading part in giving aid to China. Molotov in August 1944 even told Ambassador Hurley and Mr. Donald Nelson the "inside" story about the Generalissimo's imprisonment at Sian in December 1936, and assured them that it was "the political and moral support of the Soviet Government" that saved Chiang's life and returned him to the seat of his government.[xxxv]

Henry Wallace, Hurley and Hopkins had all told President Roosevelt of this friendly concern and political and moral support which Soviet Russia and Stalin had for Chiang Kai-shek. In the Department of State version of the Yalta Agreement on the Far East, there is a very revealing footnote which quotes Ambassador Harriman's comment on the clause relating to the "lease of Port Arthur as a naval base of the U.S.S.R." Mr. Harriman says: "I believe President Roosevelt looked upon the lease of Port Arthur for a naval base as an arrangement similar to privileges which the United States has negotiated with other countries for the mutual security of two friendly nations."[xxxvi]

Mr. Harriman's comment brings my memory back to a September day in 1939, when I was calling on President Roosevelt in my official capacity as Chinese Ambassador. The war had broken out in Europe, and the President was worried. He said to me: "I have been thinking about mediating for a peace between China and Japan. The most difficult question, of course, is Manchuria. I have a new formula: I can settle this question of Manchuria on the same basis as the new agreement we have just signed with Britain regarding the joint interest and control over the two islands in the Pacific: the Canton and Enderbury Islands. Some such arrangement can be made with regard to Manchuria for the benefit and security of both China and Japan."

When I left him, I tried to find out more about these two coral islands. I subsequently found that Canton Island was nine miles long and 500 yards at the widest. Its population was 40. Enderbury Island was three miles long and one mile wide, and had a population of four persons! Manchuria, of course, has a population of 33,000,000, and an area of about 413,000 square miles.

I am sure that at Yalta in 1945 President Roosevelt had in mind his favorite case of the Canton and Enderbury Islands which were placed under a United States-British condominium for a period of 50 years by an agreement between the two Governments concluded on April 6, 1939.

History will not forgive the man who played such deliberate tricks on the generous idealism of a great humanitarian.


Such, in brief, is the story of the unfolding of Stalin's strategy of conquest in China. The heart of this strategy has been the creation, preservation and nurturing to full strength of the Chinese Red Army. It has taken nearly a quarter of a century for the Red Army to achieve sufficient power for the conquest of continental China. This Red Army was many times defeated, broken up and nearly annihilated by Chiang Kai-shek's armies; and Stalin and world Communism might never have succeeded in China if the greatest war in human history had not intervened.

Stalin himself has summed up the China situation in one sentence: "The special characteristic of the Chinese revolution lies in the fact that it is an armed people fighting an armed counter-revolution."[xxxvii] In plain language, this formulation meant that the Communist conquest of China by armed force had up to then been successfully resisted by the armed force of Nationalist China. Because of this successful resistance by the Government, the whole Chinese Communist movement came to be conceived by Mao Tse-tung and his fellow militarists as essentially an armed struggle for power. "In China," said Mao in a 1939 speech, "there is no place for the proletariat without armed struggle; there is no place for the people without armed struggle; there is no place for the Communist Party without armed struggle; and there is no victory of the revolution without armed struggle."

The pattern of conquest is therefore the same in China as in Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, Jugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. It is the pattern of conquest by force and violence projected from the contiguous Russian base. What seems to differentiate China from the seemingly much easier conquests in Central and Eastern Europe has been the much greater complexity and difficulty of the conquest, which made it necessary for Stalin to resort to the most cunning forms of secret diplomacy in order to overcome the resistance that Nationalist China had been able to summon for over two decades.

[i]Foreign Affairs, January 1949.

[ii] Lenin, "The Infantile Disease of Leftism." The translation here used is from Sir Norman Angell, "The Steep Places." New York: Harper, 1948, p. 73.

[iii] Edgar Snow, "Red Star Over China." New York: Random House, 1938, p. 140.

[iv] "Blueprint for World Conquest." Chicago: Human Events, Inc., 1946, p. 121.

[v]Ibid., p. 67. Italics inserted.

[vi] Kenneth S. Latourette, "The Development of China." Boston: Houghton, 1946, 6th revised ed., p. 260.

[vii] Snow, op. cit., p. 377.

[viii] David J. Dallin, "Soviet Russia and the Far East." New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948, p. 109.

[ix] Dallin, op. cit., p. 111. Cf. Snow, op. cit., p. 290, quoting a Red squad leader: "In our Kiangsi Soviets we had a population of only 3,000,000, yet we recruited volunteer partisan armies of 500,000 men!"

[x] Dallin, op. cit., p. 111-112.

[xi] Snow, op. cit., p. 159.

[xii] Dallin, op. cit., p. 126, quoting Mif et al., "Okkupatsiya Manchzhurii," p. 153.

[xiii] Dallin, op. cit., p. 126.

[xiv] Mao Tse-tung, "On Coalition Government," April 1945, p. 23; Snow, op. cit., p. 166; Dallin, op. cit., p. 127.

[xv] Snow, op. cit., p. 173.

[xvi] Snow, op. cit., p. 167.

[xvii] Snow, op. cit., p. 174, 175, 194. Cf. Dallin, p. 112: "Of the approximately 100,000 men who left the former Soviet area, less than half reached the final destination; the rest were killed or left behind."

[xviii] Stalin, "Problems of Leninism." This translation is taken from William C. Bullitt, "The Great Globe Itself." New York, Scribners, 1946, Appendix III, p. 299. This passage was quoted in toto in Chang Hao (Lin Yü-ying), "The Tactical Line of the Chinese Communist Party," p. 28.

[xix] Department of State, "United States Relations with China, 1944-1949." Washington: Government Printing Office, 1949, p. 46, quoting Wang Ming, "The Revolutionary Movement in the Colonial Countries, Report to the VII World Congress of the Communist International, August 7, 1935" (New York, 1935). Dallin, op. cit., p. 128-129.

[xx] Years later, Communist leaders like Mao Tse-tung openly claimed that the Chinese Communist Party was responsible for organizing this mass action of the students. December 9, the date of the first big demonstration in Peiping in 1935, is now named "Students' Day" in Communist China.

[xxi] Agnes Smedley, "Battle Hymn of China." New York: Knopf, 1943, p. 149.

[xxii] Snow, op. cit., p. 420.

[xxiii] Department of State, op. cit., p. 47.

[xxiv] Dallin, op. cit., p. 67-69.

[xxv]Izvestia, Moscow, December 14, 1946. Quoted by Dallin, op. cit., p. 69. Italics inserted.

[xxvi] Chang Hao (Lin Yü-ying), "The Tactical Line of the Chinese Communist Party" (probably 1937), p. 48. Italics inserted.

[xxvii] Department of State, op. cit., p. 545.

[xxviii] "China Handbook: 1950." New York: Rockport Press, 1950, p. 262.

[xxix] Dallin, op. cit., p. 223.

[xxx] Dallin, op. cit., p. 250.

[xxxi] George Moorad, "Lost Peace in China." New York: Dutton, 1949, p. 91-92. Dallin, op. cit., p. 252.

[xxxii]Bolshevik, No. 16, Moscow, August 1945, quoted in Isaac Deutscher, "Stalin, A Political Biography." New York: Oxford, 1949, p. 528.

[xxxiii] Robert E. Sherwood, "Roosevelt and Hopkins." New York: Harper, 1948, p. 867.

[xxxiv] Sherwood, op. cit., p. 867.

[xxxv] Department of State, op. cit., p. 71-72.

[xxxvi] Department of State, op. cit., p. 114. Italics inserted.

[xxxvii] Quoted with enthusiastic approval by Mao Tse-tung in his article, "The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party," November 1939, p. 19.

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  • HU SHIH, Chinese Ambassador to the United States, 1938-1942; Chancellor of the National Peking University; author of "The Development of the Logical Method in Ancient China," "The Outline of Chinese Philosophy" and many works in the Chinese language
  • More By Hu Shih