When a good hand is played so poorly, what is it that fascinates the Kuomintang?

Translated from the Headlines (Toutiao 头条新闻)

Author: History (史论)

The history of China’s new democratic revolution is also a history of symbiosis, cooperation, and opposition between the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Kuomintang. During the First Revolutionary Civil War, the Kuomintang and the Communist Party together broke down the rule of the feudal warlords in China through the Northern Expedition and accelerated the historical process of the Chinese revolution.

After that, the Kuomintang took control of the state power. Politically, the Kuomintang controls more than three-quarters of the country’s territory. Diplomatically, with the support of the United States, the Kuomintang monopolizes the international discourse power. Recognized by a major country;

Economically, the Kuomintang-controlled area contains all the key city resources and has a population of more than 330 million. The lifeline of the country’s industry, commerce, and economy is all under the control of the Kuomintang; the military, the Kuomintang has a total force of 4.3 million, is equipped with a large number of American ordnance, and also received the surrender day. Puppet army 1.09 million military equipment.

At that time, the Chinese Communist Party lacked the support of the international community and was politically marginalized;

There are only 19 liberated areas in Shaan-Gan-Ning, Jin-Cha-He, etc., with a total area of ​​less than 1 million square kilometers, and most of them are rural poverty-stricken areas. Not only lacking economic foundations, they are also surrounded by national control areas; the total military strength is only 1.27 million. In terms of equipment, the main weapons were captured by the Japanese army during the War of Resistance and self-made weapons in the liberated areas.

From the comparison of the strength of the two parties, the KMT has absolute advantages in politics, diplomacy, economy, and military affairs. It can be described as all kinds of “good cards” on one hand, but why did the KMT be defeated in the civil war between the KMT and the Communist Party, and finally ended up in a hasty escape. What will happen to the sidelines?

Let us conduct an in-depth analysis of the Kuomintang in terms of the characteristics of the regime, governing the party and the army, military strategy, and popular sentiment.

Chaebol politics

The Kuomintang ruling regime has a distinctive feature, that is, the core of the regime has an obvious tendency to familial and group.

Chiang Kai-shek, Song Ziwen, and Kong Xiangxi, three people with close nepotism, control the political and economic power of the KMT. Together with the brothers Chen Guofu and Chen Lifu who specialize in the KMT party affairs and the “Zhongtong” spy organization, they jointly formed the “Four Big Families of the Kuomintang” “.

On the one hand, the “Four Big Families” control political rights, and on the other hand, they are involved in the economic field. They use their political privileges to monopolize the country’s core economy, forming state capitalism dominated by plutocrats and oligarchs. This is doomed to the Kuomintang rule. It will have the greedy nature of chaebol politics.

The financial industry directly involves people’s livelihood and wealth. Therefore, the central bank, Bank of China, Bank of Communications, and Farmers Bank are all controlled by the “four major families”. The chairman of the meeting will take the financial power into his hand.

Later, the national currency issuance rights were transferred to the central bank, which further strengthened the dominant position of the chaebol’s monopoly capital in the financial industry.

While strengthening the financial monopoly, the “Four Big Families” can’t wait to play the money-gathering “game”.

First of all, they abolished the silver dollar that was commonly used during the Republic of China. The original silver dollar could only be exchanged for a uniformly issued “fiat currency” at a ratio of 1:0.7. 30% of the value of the silver dollar in the hands of the people evaporated out of thin air. After the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese War, the Kuomintang launched a large number of money printing machines. The issuance of additional legal currency has increased the market circulation of legal currency by nearly 400 times in a short period of time.

The direct consequence of currency issuance is inflation. In 1937, 100 French currency could buy two cows. By 1948, its value was only a few grains of rice.

In the face of the outrageous devaluation of legal currency, the Kuomintang launched another “Sao” operation: in 1948, the reform of golden round coupons was implemented. 1 yuan of golden round coupons was exchanged for 3 million yuan of legal currency, and privately held precious metals, U.S. dollars, and other foreign currencies must be exchanged into golden round coupons within a time limit, otherwise, they would all be confiscated.

This wave of operations not only raised inflation to a new level but also directly turned the precious metals and foreign currencies used by the people to keep their value into banknotes that could be slaughtered. With this trick alone, the Kuomintang made 1.67 million taels of gold, 8.88 million taels of silver, 49.85 million U.S. dollars… the total value of the searched wealth reached 200 million U.S. dollars.

Subsequently, the insatiable Kuomintang chaebols repeated their tricks and issued a large number of gold yuan coupons. The original total circulation of 2 billion yuan was increased to 130 trillion yuan in just one year, and the number of votes was increased from the maximum of 100 yuan at the beginning of the issue. Up to 1 million.

The issuance of golden round coupons followed the old road of legal currency. By May 1949, the price of one stone of rice in Shanghai had risen to 440 million golden round coupons, which is more than 130 yuan for one grain of rice.

Through continuous adjustments to financial and monetary policies, the Kuomintang chaebols harvested ordinary people and other small and medium-sized bourgeois assets one after another, and a large amount of social wealth was virtually looted by them.

The monopoly manipulation of the financial industry is only one aspect of the political governance of the Kuomintang chaebol. In the mining, agriculture, dyeing, and weaving industries…you can see the monopoly of the “four big families” everywhere; in tax management, foreign exchange control, In foreign trade, and other policies, the KMT’s chaebols are ubiquitous.

Power desires to smoke the heart, upside down and downside effect

Chiang Kai-shek himself was keen to play with power and was good at creating and using contradictions within the Kuomintang to achieve personal political goals. This has been apparent since the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925.

After the death of Sun Yat-sen, the only influential patriarchs within the Kuomintang were Chiang Kai-shek, Hu Hanmin, and Wang Jingwei. In order to seize political rights, Chiang Kai-shek took advantage of the contradiction between Hu Hanmin and Wang Jingwei. Military and political power became the final winner of the power game.

After gaining control within the party, Chiang Kai-shek set up checks and balances within the Kuomintang in order to strengthen his own rule.

In 1932, Chen Lifu, with the support of Chiang Kai-shek, established the CC-based spy agency “The National Government Military Commission Investigation and Statistics Bureau”. In 1938, Chiang Kai-shek split the “National Government Military Commission Investigation and Statistics Bureau” into “National Government Military Commission Investigation and Statistics Bureau” 1938. The two spy organizations, the Central Unification Bureau and the Military Unification Bureau, each have great powers of investigation and disposal.

The two departments have been arguing with each other for their own interests for a long time, and Chiang Kai-shek seeks the balance of power from the struggle between the two departments.

In terms of army management, Chiang Kai-shek has always had a tradition of favoring one and the other. Because he served as the principal of the Whampoa Military Academy, Chiang Kai-shek usually regards the troops led by the Whampoa generals as a direct line and gives special care in terms of military equipment, personnel establishment, and defense arrangements.

Regarding the original local warlords, Chiang Kai-shek used a combination of wooing and suppressing to buy people’s hearts while excluding dissidents. This made some local warlords dissatisfied with Chiang Kai-shek and directly led to the outbreak of the Central Plains war in 1930.

Although Chiang Kai-shek consolidated his leadership position in the party through his own tactics, his actions also directly caused the factions in the party and the army, striving for mutual benefit, and serious internal friction, so that he was on the battlefield. , Many armies put their own interests as the most important thing, wisely protecting themselves, regardless of the overall situation of the battlefield and the life and death of friendly forces.

In addition to factional disputes that affected the internal cohesion of the Kuomintang, it was also related to Chiang Kai-shek’s thought of “emphasizing the army and despising the party”. Chiang Kai-shek, who was born in the military, paid attention to military power building and was willing to spend huge sums of money to introduce American equipment, but he was reluctant to invest in party building. The salary of Kuomintang party officials was much lower than that of administrative staff.

This has led to the loss of party personnel, party-building work in government departments has become a mere formality, and ideological and political work within the military is even more out of the question.

Without the spiritual cohesion of party building and the support of a unified belief, interests have become the only glue for the KMT. This led to the disorganization of the KMT’s internal organization, and the person seeking profit only, which in turn led to the overall situation of political corruption and military weakness.

Two blades cut, sharpness and dullness know

During the Spring and Autumn Period, Sun Tzu, a well-known military strategist in my country, once summarized the highest level of war between the two armies in four words-“scheming to fight against each other”, stating the importance of military strategy to war. The ultimate victory of the Communist Party army in the Kuomintang-Communist Civil War is directly related to our party’s superiority in strategy and tactics compared with the Kuomintang.

In June 1946, Chiang Kai-shek tore up the “Double Ten” armistice agreement signed by the Kuomintang and the Communist Party and launched a full-scale attack on our liberated areas. The Kuomintang and Communist Civil War officially started. The Kuomintang relied on its significant advantages in military strength and equipment and did not take the Communist Party and the People’s Army under its leadership into consideration.

Chen Cheng, Chief of Staff of the Kuomintang Military Commission, once threatened: “Perhaps three months, but at most five months, the whole solution can be solved” for the CCP army. But reality gave the Kuomintang a slap in the face. The civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party was fought for more than three years, and the final outcome was that the Kuomintang fell on Taiwan Island.

The Communist Party has always attached great importance to the study of strategy and tactics. Before the Kuomintang-Communist Civil War, our party’s main tactical strategy was guerrilla warfare. In the book “Strategic Issues in the Chinese Revolutionary War”, Mao Zedong mentioned the sixteen-character formula of “the enemy advances and we retreat, the enemy is stationed and harassed, the enemy is exhausted and we fight, and the enemy retreats and we chase”, which sums up the essence of guerrilla warfare just right.

With this sixteen-character policy, we not only escaped the frenzied strangulation of the enemy in the Second Revolutionary Civil War and the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression but also created many battles in which the weak defeated the strong.

In the period of the Kuomintang and Communist Civil War, the situation between the enemy and ours is different from the past. The overall strength of our army has increased compared with the past, while the Kuomintang army is relatively weaker than the Japanese army. In this case, we need a tactic that is more effective than “guerrilla warfare” to accelerate our victory process, and the theory of “movement warfare” came into being.

Although the Kuomintang has a large number of troops, its emphasis on the defense of cities and important areas objectively results in insufficient mobile force. We take advantage of this weakness of the enemy and cooperate with multiple units to form an encirclement against the enemy in the movement. We can attack them with the advantage of the number of assembled forces, and we can make use of our strengths and circumvent our weaknesses and annihilate each one.

In 1947, Mao Zedong put forward the theory of “movement warfare” in the “Ten Military Principles”: focusing on mobile warfare, regardless of the gains and losses of one city and one place, with the goal of destroying the enemy’s vital forces. The maturity of the theory of “mobile warfare” has provided an effective method for our army to defeat the Kuomintang army under the condition of relatively weak personnel and weapons.

In the battle of Menglianggu in Linyi, Shandong, the “movement war” showed great power. In 1947, the Kuomintang assembled an army of 450,000 to invade the East China Field Army led by Chen Yi and Su Yu. The East China Field Army evaded its main force and looked for fighters in the movement.

In mid-May, the East China Field Army proved that the 74th Division of the main reorganization of the Kuomintang trump card was advancing towards Tanbu, and the gap with the left and right coordinated forces was a rare opportunity to wipe out the enemy, so it decided to take the movement encirclement tactics to win the reorganization of the 74th division.

On the evening of May 13, the East China Field Army used part of its strength to block the front of the 74th Division of the Kuomintang reorganization. The main force deployed control from its two wings, cutting off the correspondence between the 74th Division and the cooperating forces, and at the same time blocked the 74th Division’s back road, forming it. The trend of full encirclement.

On May 15th, the East China Field Army launched a general offensive. All troops attacked at the same time and reorganized the 74th division to start a fierce battle. By the morning of the 16th, all the main positions of the 74th division were lost. Zhang Lingfu was shot to death, the latent division was wiped out, and the Menglianggu battle was won.

Xinhua News Agency issued an article evaluating the Meng Lianggu campaign: “Strike against Chiang Kai-shek’s most powerful offensive direction”; “Strike against Chiang Kai-shek’s most elite troops”, which is of great strategic significance.

At the same time, this battle was also a successful test of the effectiveness of our army’s “movement war” theory. In the subsequent “three major battles” of Liaoshen, Huaihai, and Pingjin that decided the victory of the War of Liberation, the movement tactics were more widely used, which served as the basis for the liberation of the whole nation. China has played an important role.

Moral support from many, scant support

Corruption in ruling the country, disputes in ruling the party, and incompetence in ruling the army, are all causes of the Kuomintang’s ultimate defeat, but the most fundamental reason is that the Kuomintang has lost the will of the people.

After Chiang Kai-shek launched a full-scale civil war, he did not make quick decisions on the battlefield as he wanted but failed one after another. As a result, the financial gap in the rear was getting bigger and bigger. In order to raise the people, money, and materials needed for the war, Chiang Kai-shek took advantage of the special status of bureaucratic monopoly capital to intensify the exploitation of the people. The dissatisfaction of the people began to surge and accumulate like underground magma.

In December 1946, a US soldier raped a Chinese female college student in Peking. This incident ignited the anger of the people like a fuse.

First, students in Peking launched anti-American demonstrations, then the activities spread to the entire Peking, and then developed into a nationwide demonstration. The people’s slogan gradually evolved from “anti-American brutality” to “anti-Chiang Paiguo”. The activities continued until January 1947. More than 500,000 people participated in demonstrations in more than ten large and medium-sized cities.

This wave of resistance has just subsided. In May, the students of Nanjing Central University issued an “anti-hunger” declaration, condemning the Kuomintang authorities for continuously reducing education funding for the civil war, which caused the students to lose food.

The student declaration of Nanjing Central University quickly received a national response. On May 20th, students from Shanghai and Beiping held large-scale “anti-hunger” and “anti-civil war” demonstrations at the same time. Afterward, workers and citizens also participated in the resistance activities. About 1.2 million workers in more than 60 cities began to strike, and 170,000 poor people in 38 cities started a wave of rice grabbing.

In the rural areas, the Kuomintang’s unscrupulous levy of grain, taxation, and grasping of young men have also caused peasants to complain for a long time.

Beginning in the second half of 1946, the peasants in the Kuomintang-ruled areas started a huge-scale popular uprising in order to survive, against the Kuomintang’s frenzied oppression of peasants. The movement spread to more than ten provinces including Sichuan, Henan, Jiangsu, and more than 800,000 peasants participated. Many popular riots were later transformed into communist forces.

Students, workers, citizens, farmers…all social strata expressed their dissatisfaction and resistance to the Kuomintang’s reactionary rule in their own way. Although the Kuomintang suppressed it everywhere, it was overwhelmed by popular grievances. The Kuomintang finally tasted the bitter fruit of deviating from the people.

On the other hand, the Communist Party has represented the interests of the proletariat since the day it was born, and it has done everything for the happiness of the working people, and naturally, it has won the support of the people.

Take the land reform initiated by the Communist Party as an example. In 1947, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China passed the “Outline of China’s Land Law” at the National Land Conference held in Xibaipo, which clearly required that the land and agricultural materials were owned by the original landlord should be equally distributed to all farmers.

This completely broke the feudal landlord class’s monopoly on land resources, and enabled the laboring masses who had been struggling with food and clothing for a long time to truly “turn over and become masters”, and realized that “farmers have their own land.”

The land reform enabled the peasant class, which constituted the majority of the population, to firmly stand on the side of the Communist Party and provided continuous support for the revolutionary cause of our party.

Take the Battle of Menglianggu as an example. When the Kuomintang army launched an offensive against our East China Field Army, the people in central Shandong carried out empty shelters and cleared the fields.

When the East China Field Army began to counterattack the enemy, the common people returned to the village one after another to cook food and water for our soldiers. They also organized 200,000 migrant workers to support the front line, using a living example to interpret what is meant by “getting more help than others.”

Concluding remarks

After the Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan, Chiang Kai-shek continued to reflect on the reasons for the failure. He summarized this at the Seventh National Congress of the Kuomintang, including: “Improper belief in the Three People’s Principles”, “failure in international diplomacy”, “political and economic “Failure”, “failure in the military”, etc.

However, Chiang Kai-shek is deeply concerned about internal party corruption, factional fighting, and changes in people’s minds caused by his own dictatorship and manipulation of power.