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PLA History - Civil War

In the civil war following Japan's defeat in World War II, the Red Army, newly renamed the People's Liberation Army, again used the principles of people's war in following a policy of strategic withdrawal, waging a war of attrition, and abandoning cities and communication lines to the well-armed, numerically superior Guomindang forces. In 1947 the PLA launched a counteroffensive during a brief strategic stalemate. By the next summer, the PLA had entered the strategic offensive stage, using conventional warfare as the Guomindang forces went on the defensive and then collapsed rapidly on the mainland in 1949. By 1950 the PLA had seized Hainan Island and Xizang (Tibet).

On January 14, 1946, the Northeast People's Autonomous Army was renamed the Northeast Democratic United Forces. On June 26, 1946, the Kuomintang army launched an attack with superior forces at the Central Plain Liberation Area, marking the outset of the Liberation War. Confronted with the Kuomintang army's bullying offense, the PLA fought bravely in various battlefields and demolished the Kuomintang army's full-scale offensive in a period of 8 months from June 1946 to February 1947.

On January 21, 1947, the New Fourth Army concurrently the Shandong Military Area Command and the Central China Military Area Command merged into the East China Military Area Command. At the same time, the field armies under the two military area commands combined to form the East China Field Army. In March 1947, the field group army of the PLA stationed in the Shaanxi-Gansu--Ningxia Border Area engaged in a battle against the Kuomintang troops' offensive to Yan'an. In July 1947, the PLA advanced towards the Central Plain of China, symbolizing the transition of its military guideline from strategic defensive to strategic offensive. On July 31, 1947, the field corps of the PLA in northwest China was denominated the Northwest Field Army of the PLA.

On October 10, 1947, the Manifesto of the Chinese People's Liberation Army drafted by Mao Zedong for the General Headquarters of the Chinese People's Liberation Army was published. The manifesto put forward a slogan "overthrow Chiang Kai-shek and liberate all China". On December 25, 1947, Mao Zedong put forward the famous "10 principles of military operation" in his report The Present Situation and Our Tasks to a meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China held on December 25-28, 1947.

On January 1, 1948, the Northeast Democratic United Forces was renamed Northeast People's Liberation Army. On May 9, 1948, the Central Plain Military Area Command of the PLA was reestablished. On May 9, 1948, the Shanxi-Chahaer-Hebei Military Area Command and the Shanxi-Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Area Command merged to form the North China Military Area Command. On September 12, 1948, the Northeast Field Army launched the Liaoning-Shenyang Campaign, which ended on November 2 the same year. This campaign is the first of the three campaigns launched by the PLA to put to the end the Kuomintang dominance in north and northeast China.

From October 5, 1948 to April 24, 1949, the main forces of the North China Military Area Command were engaged in the Taiyuan Campaign. The victory of the campaign marked the end of Kuomintang reign in Shanxi Province. On November 1, 1948, the Central Military Commission issued a provision on the unification of organizations and designations of units of the PLA.

On November 21, 1948, the Central Military Commission started to use the name "Chinese People's Revolutionary Military Commission" as its official name on public occasions. On November 6, 1948, the East China Field Army and the Central Plain Field Army jointly launched the Huaihai Campaign against Kuomintang troops, which ended on January 10, 1949 with the total victory of the PLA. On November 29, 1948, the Northeast Field Army and the main forces of the North China Military Area Command jointly launched the Pingjin (Beiping-Tianjin) Campaign against Kuomintang troops. The campaign, ending on January 31, 1949, was one the three campaigns (the other two being Liaoshen Campaign and Huaihai Campaign) launched by the PLA during the Liberation War.

On January 15, 1949, the Central Military Commission issued an instruction on ranging the designations of troop units of field armies of the PLA in ordinal numbers. In January and February of 1949, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Corps of the North China Military Area Command were given new designations in order as the 18th, the 19th and the 20th Corps of the PLA. On February 1, 1949, the joint defense military area command covering the Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Shanxi and Suiyuan provinces was renamed the Northwest Military Area Command and the Northwest Field Army was renamed the First Field Army of the PLA. On February 5, 1949, the Central Plain Field Army was renamed the Second Field Army of the PLA. On February 9, 1949, the East China Field Army was renamed the Third Field Army of the PLA. On March 11, 1949, the Northeast Field Army was renamed the Fourth Field Army of the PLA. On March 25, 1949, the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission moved from the Xibaipo Village of the Pingshan County, Hebei Province, into Beijing.

On April 20, 1949, the Kuomintang government refused to sign the Agreement on Internal Peace (final amendment), and the peace negotiation between the Kuomintang and the CPC broke down. On April 21, 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong and Commander-in-Chief Zhu De issued the Order to the Army for the Country-Wide Advance. From the night of 20th to the night of 21st of April, 1949, the Second Field Army, the Third Field Army and part of the Fourth Field Army of the PLA launched the Crossing the Yangtze River Campaign by forcing the Yangtze River on a front extending more than five hundred kilometers from Hukou in the west to Jiangyin in the east and completely destroyed the Kuomintang troops' defense line along the Yangtze River.

On April 23, 1949, the PLA troops liberated Nanjing, the center of the Kuomintang reactionary regime, declaring the end of the 22-year-long Kuomintang governance of China. On April 23, 1949, the leading organ of the navy of the East China Military Area Command was set up at the Baima (white horse) Town, Gaogang District, Taizhou City of Jiangsu Province. In March 1989, the Central Military Commission ratified the April 23, 1949 to be the founding day of the PLA Navy. In late April, 1949, the 3rd Field Army of the PLA launched the campaign to liberate Shanghai, which ended in late May, 1949.

On June 15, 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong of the Chinese People's Revolutionary Military Commission and Vice Chairmen Zhu De, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai and Peng Dehuai issued an order on the design of the banner and emblem of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. From July to September 1949, a combat unit of the main force of the 3rd Field Army advanced to Fujian Province where it launched a series of campaigns and liberated Zhangzhou, Xiamen and Fuzhou.

From July to September 1949, the 1st Field Army pressed onto the northwest China, where it was engaged in battles to liberate Lanzhou and Ningxia from the occupation of the Kuomintang troops. At the same time, the 4th Field Army advanced into central and south China to liberate the Hunan, Guangdong and Guangxi Provinces from the control of the Kuomintang troops. On September 19, 1949, the troops of the North China Military Area Command peacefully liberated the Suiyuan Province (merged into the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in 1954.

At 3 pm on the afternoon of Oct. 1, 1949, the grand founding ceremony of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and a military parade attended by 3 hundred thousand soldiers and local people were held at the Tian'anmen Square in Beijing. Chairman of the Central People's Government Mao Zedong declared to the world that the People's Republic of China was founded on Oct 1, 1949. On November 11, 1949, the leading organ of the PLA Air Force was set up in Beijing on the basis of the commanding headquarters of the 14th Army Corps of the PLA. In November and December of 1949, the 2nd Field Army of the PLA advanced towards the southwest China, where it launched battles to wipe out the Kuomintang troops in Chengdu, southern Yunnan and Xichang.



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