The Battle for Manchuria and the Fate of China
Publication Year: 2013
In the spring of 1946, Communists and Nationalist Chinese were battled for control of Manchuria and supremacy in the civil war. The Nationalist attack on Siping ended with a Communist withdrawal, but further pursuit was halted by a cease-fire brokered by the American general, George Marshall. Within three years, Mao Zedong’s troops had captured Manchuria and would soon drive Chiang Kai-shek’s forces off the mainland. Did Marshall, as Chiang later claimed, save the Communists and determine China's fate? Putting the battle into the context of the military and political struggles fought, Harold M. Tanner casts light on all sides of this historic confrontation and shows how the outcome has been, and continues to be, interpreted to suit the needs of competing visions of China’s past and future.
Published by: Indiana University Press
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This project has taken me to Stanford University; Washington, D.C.; Lexington, Virginia; and College Park, Maryland; to Beijing, Shanhaiguan, Xingcheng, Jinzhou, Shenyang, Siping, Changchun, Dalian, and Taipei. I could not have done it without the help of numerous friends, chance acquaintances, and hard-working librarians and archivists...
A Note on Chinese Names
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In the main text, Chinese names have been written in the pinyin Romanization system. Most words are pronounced roughly the way an English-speaker would guess. T_here are a few important exceptions to this rule: “c” is pronounced as “ts,” “q” as “ch,” and “x” more or less like “s.” I have used non-pinyin spellings for the names of a few individuals and entities ...
1. Siping, 1946: Decisive Battle or Lost Opportunity?
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Siping (pronounced SUH-ping) is a small city of 3.2 million people. On a contemporary map, it lies just inside Jilin Province in China’s great Northeast, or Manchuria, on the main rail line, roughly halfway between the provincial capital cities of Changchun to the north and Shenyang to the south. The railway line itself bisects the city, dividing it into two...
2. The Manchurian Chessboard, August–September 1945
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Chinese chess, or xiangqi, like Western chess, is a game of strategy, based on war and played with pieces laid out on a board.1 But while the kings, queens, bishops, knights, castles, and pawns of Western chess move from square to square, Chinese chess is played on a grid of ten horizontal and nine vertical lines, with the vertical lines interrupted in the middle...
3. The Communist Retreat, October–December 1945
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While the Communists were staking their claim to the Northeast, they were also conducting a series of negotiations with the Nationalist Party leaders in China’s wartime capital of Chongqing. No real agreements were reached there. The negotiations are significant because they established a pattern of “talking and fighting” in which...
4. George Marshall's Mission, December 1945–March 1946
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The fight for control over the Liaoxi corridor had repercussions not only in China, but also in Washington, D.C. America’s grand strategy in the emerging Cold War with the Soviet Union called for a united, pro-American China to help secure American influence in East and Southeast Asia. A civil war between Chiang Kai-shek’s government and the Soviet- sponsored...
5. The Second Battle of Siping: Phase One—From Outer Defense to Stalemate, March–April 1946
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It was the continued presence of the Soviet Red Army, and not Marshall’s 10 January ceasefire, that prevented a renewed outbreak of civil war in Manchuria in the first two months of 1946. Just by being there, the Soviet forces had kept the two sides apart, forming a screen behind which the Communists could build their strength...
6. The Second Battle of Siping: Phase Two—From Defense to Retreat, April–May 1946
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From the beginning, the Nationalist assault on Siping had been accompanied at the same time by an attack on the Communists at Benxi, an industrial city south of Shenyang. As we noted in chapter 5, both General Du Yuming and his subordinate, General Zheng Dongguo, suggest (in their memoirs, written well after...
7. The Chase and the Ceasefire, May–June 1946
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Those who suggest that George Marshall’s June ceasefire cost Chiang the opportunity to recover the entire Northeast base their arguments on assumptions about the aftermath of the Second Battle of Siping. In order to analyze those arguments, we too need to look at what happened in the weeks after the battle, and to answer a series of questions: How...
8. Visions of the Past and Future
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The brown cement Martyrs Monument to the Four Battles of Siping stands quietly in a small park in the middle of a traffic roundabout west of the railway station. Children play happily nearby, unaware of whatever the monument might mean. Old folks play there too, endless games of cards and xiangqi on tables in the shade...
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Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 10 b&w illus., 5 maps
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Twentieth-Century Battles