Brief History: The Deception of the Century: 1931~1935 (Five Encirclement and Suppression, “Long March” and Zunyi Conference)

  • Editor: 文顺
  • Author: 一颗星星
  • Translator: 小玉

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According to the history of the Chinese Communist Party:

From 1931 to 1935, the CCP convened many landmark meetings, established the Soviet Republic, and passed the “Outline of the Constitution of the Chinese Soviet Republic” … In these five years, the CCP successfully smashed several enemy “encirclement and suppression” campaigns. And began the long march with epic significance in its development history…

These are just the propaganda of the CCP. Because there are too many meetings recorded in party history, this article will not make too many narrative descriptions. Interested readers can refer to the “Memorabilia of the History of the Chinese Communist Party”.

A lot has happened in these five years. The outbreak of the “9.18” Incident, Chiang Kai-shek’s “non-resistance” command, the so-called “Long March” described by the CCP as “betrayal to the revolution”, the so-called “Long March” that fled in embarrassment, and the CCP portrayed as an epic “strategic transfer” … Why “pacify the interior before resisting foreign aggression”?Why does the Zunyi Conference have such an important historical position? What about the real history?

The Kuomintang in five years:

In 1928, Zhang Xueliang’s change of flags allowed Chiang Kai-shek to unite the country after 13 years of civil strife in 1929. Although the whole country was unified in form, the situation that Chiang faced was internal and external. In 1931-1935, during the five years or so, Chiang not only had to accept the challenges of different factions and the “new warlords” in the Kuomintang, but also had two biggest challenges for him. “CCP confrontation in the Southeast as it continues to grow” and “Japan’s increasing aggression in Northeast and North China.”

Chiang’s “internal worries”: (worries within the party, worries outside the party)

Worries within the party:

After returning to China, Wang Jingwei established the “Extraordinary Meeting of the Central Executive Supervisory Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang” in Guangzhou in May 1931 to split the leadership of the Kuomintang Central Committee. After mediation, Chiang and Wang expressed “reconciliation”. (History scholars believe that Chiang and Wang were able to reconcile in the end because of differences between Chiang and Hu Hanmin.)

Anxious to achieve national reunification, Chiang Kai-shek negotiated with some warlords and reached an agreement to grant and confirm the commission of the warlords’ local semi-independent status in exchange for their recognition of the Nanjing regime as the central government of China. Out of consideration for their own interests, these warlords can cooperate with Nanjing for a long time as long as there is no conflict of interest with the Nanjing government. In the event of a conflict of interest, they would act on their own and secretly compete with the Nanjing government. (These warlords are mainly: 1. The Guangxi clique headed by Li Zongren; 2. Feng Yuxiang and his “National Army”; 3. The “Fengtian Clique” controlled by Zhang Xueliang; 4. The Shanxi “base” of Yan Xishan.)

Warlords everywhere protected their own interests and suffered from the CCP’s secretly creating civil strife, which greatly consumed the energy and resources of the Kuomintang in rebuilding the country during this period.

Worries outside the party:

After the split of the KMT and the CCP, the CCP did not stop its efforts to disintegrate the KMT and seek political power. On the one hand, relying on propaganda and other means to win over KMT members, on the other hand, they organized and planned strikes and riots in the “underground” of big cities.

In 1933, the general of the 19th Route Army in Guangdong (Cai Tingkai) was influenced by the propaganda of the CCP and the South China politician (Li Jishen), and launched the “Fujian Incident.” The generals of the 19th Route Army established a “People’s Revolutionary Government” in Fuzhou and cooperated with the Chinese Communist Party and the Soviet Union to resist the National Government. The coup was suppressed in 1934, and the 19th Route Army was reorganized into the 7th Route Army of the National Revolutionary Army. Mao Zedong, Liu Zhidan and others also developed armed forces in remote rural areas to establish “Soviet Areas” during this period.

From December 1930 to April 1933, Chiang Kai-shek launched four “encirclement and suppression” campaigns, all of which ended in failure.

Chiang’s “Foreign Troubles”: (Japan invaded China)

Japan’s ambitions for China have a long history. After annexing North Korea in 1910, Japan has instigated the “Manchurian-Mongolian Autonomy Movement” three times (1912, 1916, 1928). As the Japanese military forces continue to grow stronger in the cabinet, Japan planned and launched the “9.18 Incident” in Northeast China on September 18, 1931. In order to divert international attention from the Northeast, Japan also launched the “1.28” Incident in the following year January (also known as the “Songhu War”). After dealing with Japan for more than a month, Chiang’s defenses collapsed. Under the mediation of the League of Nations at that time, the war in Shanghai ceased, but the world allowed Japan to invade and occupy the Northeast. In March 1932, Japan established the “Manchukuo” in the Northeast. The “Tanggu Agreement” signed in 1933 designated East Hebei as a demilitarized zone. Since then, the defenses of Peking and Tianjin have lost their barriers.

The CCP in five years:

During the five years of the Kuomintang (Chiang Kai-shek) internal and external troubles, what has the CCP been doing?

In short, it is: internal struggle within the party, trouble with the Kuomintang, development in the countryside, and run away.

After the split of the KMT and the CCP, the CCP essentially split into two entities of different nature:

  1. The Politburo, which was trained by the Communist International (Moscow), shifted to underground activities in Shanghai, and constantly planned and launched strikes and slowdowns in various cities. Riots and other activities;
  2. Mao Zedong organized peasant forces and developed Soviet areas (Soviet areas) in the rural areas of Hunan and Jiangxi far from the control of the Kuomintang.

As mentioned in the previous article, in April 1927, after Chiang started the “Qing Party” movement, in August of the same year, the CCP launched the Nanchang Uprising. The Communists only controlled Nanchang for three days before being surrounded by the Kuomintang army… After breaking through the blockade, they fled to the border of Guangdong, Fujian and Jiangxi. Subsequently, Chen Duxiu was removed from the party’s leadership by the Communist International, and Stalin’s disciple Qu Qiubai took over power as secretary of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee.

During this period, Mao Zedong entered Hunan on his own and eventually bred the “autumn harvest riot” by inciting local people’s dissatisfaction. The “Autumn Harvest Riot” was quickly suppressed by the government forces, and Mao then fled to Jinggangshan at the junction of Hunan and Jiangxi to reorganize his team. The failure of the autumn harvest riots caused Mao to lose his position as a member of the Politburo. In 1928, after Zhu and Mao “converged” in Jinggangshan, he moved the headquarters to Ruijin, where the Soviet regime was established. During the same period, Liu Zhidan and Gao Gang also established the CCP base in Shanxi. The centers of these two base areas are completely outside the jurisdiction of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee. (The reason why these events that occurred before 1930 are described here will help readers to use these backgrounds to understand why the destination of the “Long March” is Zunyi in northern Shanxi.)

The urban riots were suppressed by the National Government one after another, causing the Communist International’s “urban route” to fail. In the various CCP meetings held during this period, the power holders of the Politburo of the Central Committee were also changed like a revolving lantern. Qu Qiubai’s power fell into the hands of Xiang Zhongfa and Li Lisan after the Sixth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. In 1931, this right finally fell into the hands of Wang Ming (Chen Shaoyu) and Bo Gu (Qin Bangxian). Wang Ming and Bo Gu were the representatives of the Communist International of Moscow students who were also called the “twenty-eight Bolsheviks.”

(Every important meeting of the CCP since its founding has been a power struggle, and this kind of internal struggle is also the CCP’s innate nature.)

The First National Congress of the Chinese Soviets was held in Ruijin in 1931, and the “twenty-eight Bolsheviks” received Mao’s invitation to visit Ruijin. These Bolsheviks, who had received direct education from the Communist International in Moscow, looked down upon Mao in their hearts. At the meeting, they abandoned Mao’s method in an attempt to replace the mechanism Mao established. The Maoists completely controlled the situation at the conference, and Mao won a major victory (without losing power) in the conference.

In early 1933, Bo Gu arrived in Ruijin with Li De, the military adviser of the Communist International. At the Second National Congress of the Chinese Soviets in 1934, although Mao had reserved his position, his power was emptied and he almost lost his control over the Chinese communist movement.

From December 1930 to April 1933, Chiang Kai-shek launched four “encirclement and suppression” campaigns, and Mao Zedong’s guerrilla warfare with “splitting into parts” caused Chiang’s four “encirclement and suppression” campaigns to fail. In 1934, under the advice of a German military adviser, Chiang adopted the strategy of “strategic offensive and strategic defense”, relying on blockades and stepping forward. Mao had already lost his military power at this time. Instead, Li De adopted the strategy of positional warfare, but the Red Army was defeated before long. In October 1934, the Long March officially began.

During the Long March, some military and political leaders of the Chinese Communist Party were downcast at the failure of the fifth anti-encirclement and suppression campaign, and were extremely disappointed with the incompetent leadership of Li De and Bo Gu. In January 1935, the CCP occupied Zunyi and held an enlarged Politburo meeting in the mansion of the warlord (Bai Huizhang). At the meeting, Zhang Wentian, Wang Jiaxiang, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, etc. all stood by Mao Zedong’s side. In the end, Mao Zedong regained the real power at this meeting. Soon with the help of Zhang Wentian, Mao Zedong gained absolute control over the military, which became the basis of Mao’s power, and he never gave up this control since. This is the historic “Zunyi Conference” in the propaganda of the CCP. The “Zunyi Conference” did not give Mao a complete victory, but it was a great leap forward for Mao on the road to the highest power. (The Seventh National Congress of the CCP in 1945 was the sign of Mao’s complete victory on the road to power, which will be mentioned in future articles.)

In October 1935, the troops led by Mao arrived at Wuqi Town, Baoan County. The Long March ended and only 8,000 troops were left under Mao Zedong. In April 1936, Liu Zhidan, the founder of the northern Shanxi base area and a broad mass base in rural northern Shanxi, was killed in battle. (The death of Liu Zhidan is quite strange. Interested readers can find relevant information to read. This article will not describe it.) In December of the same year, all the heads of the CCP moved to Yan’an…

Looking back on the past five years, for the Kuomintang can be described as “internal and external troubles”, Mr. Chiang Kai-shek must be very busy. After the country was unified, the “internal worries” brought about by warlords in various regions were only internal disputes over interests. And the Chinese Communist Party, which has been harboring evil intentions and has not been cleaned up, may bring about “life” disputes. The author fully agrees with Mr. Chiang’s view that “pacify the interior before resisting foreign aggression”. It’s like a bomb was planted in the backyard of the house before the army was dispatched. If the bomb is not removed, all efforts will fall short at any time. After all, the government of the Republic of China at that time was already a legitimate government recognized by the international community, and the CCP at that time was like a terrorist organization in China that was making waves everywhere. Since its founding of the party, it has infiltrated,provoked and conspired to seize power within the Kuomintang. After the conspiracy was seen through and cleared from the party, they turned to “underground” work, fanning fires and instigating riots in big cities, developing armed forces in rural and remote areas, and establishing Soviet areas… Facing this situation, the power of any country in the world will choose the path of “pacify the interior before …”

Looking back on these five years, for the CCP, it can be described as “struggle”, “troubleshooting” and “guaranteeing life.” The CCP’s meeting is an internal power struggle every time. The “underground party” in every city is always planning strikes and riots. The guerrilla tactics that “can’t be beaten and run” have effectively defeated four “encirclement and suppression” campaigns. After the failure of the fifth “anti-encirclement and suppression” campaign, another “Great Escape” of 25,000 miles came.

Little did they know at that time, whether the CCP would also have a “3F” plan to “weak the KMT”, “disrupt the KMT”, and “kill the KMT”…

Next issue: 1936~1940: Xi’an Incident

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