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Peng Dehuai during the Long March

Peng Dehuai is an excellent proletarian revolutionary, military strategist, and political Home is one of the founders and leaders of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. When he wears the marshal’s gown, the majesty is him; but when he wears a cloth uniform, fastens the style buttons, binds his leggings, and looks at people with big, kind eyes, he is also vivid and lively.

What does Peng Dehuai look like in the eyes of foreign journalists? After 1936, many foreign journalists overcame difficulties and came to the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Area and various base areas to observe and interview the true situation of the Communist Party of China that was unknown to foreign countries. There, famous American journalists Edgar Snow, Harrison Foreman and others recorded the other side of Peng Dehuai with their pens and eyes.

“big guy who loves to laugh”

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Peng Dehuai

Health and laughter are the first impressions of many foreign journalists when they see Peng Dehuai. He is different from most senior generals who are serious, silent, and indecent. In the works of these foreign reporters, Peng Dehuai is a man with thick lips, a”big mouth”, a large body, and a cheerful and talkative personality.

From June to October 1936, the famous American journalist Edgar Snow broke through the blockade and came to the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region to conduct interviews. In four months, he observed and recorded many Communist Party cadres, among them Peng Dehuai, the leader of the First Red Army.

At that time, Peng Dehuaigang led the Red Army to complete the 25,000-mile Long March and was under tremendous military pressure from the Kuomintang.”I thought he (Peng Dehuai) was a tired, straight-faced fanatical leader. His body may have broken down. As a result, I found that Peng Dehuai is a happy and laughable person, with extremely healthy body but a bad stomach. This is on the long march. For a week, he bit his scalp and ate unboiled wheat grains and weeds. He also ate toxic foods and several days of not getting in the particles. He had suffered all kinds of battles and only suffered one injury, and it was only superficial.” Peng Dehuai The healthy physique and open-minded character overturned Snow’s previous assumptions about him.

He is hearty and loves to laugh,”I must admit that Peng Dehuai impressed me very deeply. There is a straightforward, straightforward, non-circumstantial style in his conversation that I like very much, which is not among the Chinese. He has a lot of quality. He is quick to move and speak, likes to talk and laugh, is very intelligent, good at galloping, can bear hardships and stand hard work, is a very lively person. This may be half because he does not smoke or drink. Because of it.”

At the same time, his vividness and fun are also impressive. In 1937, Edgar Snow’s wife, Helen Foster, a well-known American journalist, came to Yan’an and met Peng Dehuai.”I think this Hunanese, as the No. 1 general of the Red Army, is the most interesting and moving one among all the Communists.”

One day, the Second Red Division conducted an exercise. At that time Edgar · Snow happened to be with him, about to climb a very steep mountain.”Rush to the top of the mountain!” Peng Dehuai suddenly yelled from his breathless subordinates and Edgar Snow. After shouting, he jumped out like a rabbit and rushed to the top of the mountain before everyone else. On another occasion, when Edgar Snow was riding a horse with him, Peng Dehuai shouted again, challenging them.

Smedley recalled the scene when she first met Peng Dehuai in her collection.”There is only one person in the entire Eighth Route Army with a big mouth. If he smiles, the corners of his mouth can reach the roots of his ears. This person is Peng Dehuai, who I just said will become the greatest military leader in Asia in the future.” /p>

“Peng Dehuai is undoubtedly a strong fighter, but underneath his hard appearance, there is a warm heart. You can feel that he sincerely loves him in a unique and moving way His soldier.” He would compete with his subordinates to climb mountains, and compete with the staff doctors to eat melons. He would often be surrounded by children in twos and threes, and he would talk to the children about political issues and their personal issues. When watching the show, he would put his cotton jacket on the trumpeter next to him to avoid letting the trumpeter catch cold.

“The First General of the Red Army”

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Peng Dehuai’s speech at the “Seventh National Congress” of the Communist Party of China introduced the anti-Japanese situation in North China behind enemy lines and the experience and lessons of North China’s base area construction

Even if he did not meet Peng Dehuai himself, in the land revolution and The excellent record in the Long March also made many foreign reporters know this”No. 1 general in the Red Army.”

He is good at using guerrilla tactics to create fighters to annihilate the enemy and has his own”red guerrilla tactics principle.” He believes that”the success of guerrilla warfare requires these basic conditions:fearlessness, swiftness, well-planned, mobile, confidential, unobtrusive action, and resolute determination. Without one item, the guerrillas cannot win. If at the beginning of the battle, they do not decide, fight They have to delay the day. They must be fast, otherwise the enemy can get reinforcements. They must be mobile and flexible, otherwise they will lose the advantageous conditions of movement.”

“There are few people who can use this old commander Pulling to his side, he is very knowledgeable and shrewd about politics and military affairs.” Helen Foster affirmed after understanding Peng Dehuai’s military and political thought.

In the eyes of foreign journalists, when Peng Dehuai was the deputy commander of the Eighth Route Army, he not only had the military capability to fight and win against the Japanese army, but also the commanding power to ensure the economic stability of the base area and support the front lines.

In order to maintain the supply of the Eighth Route Army and the economic stability of the base area, Peng Dehuai took measures from two aspects of increasing income and reducing expenditure. On the one hand, he implemented streamlining and streamlining administration. In 1938, he formulated a unified supply standard for the whole army; on the other hand, he advocated strict enforcement. Save, lead by example, practice frugality and simplicity. He established the Jinan Bank, established the base area tariff system, implemented the base area’s foreign controlled trade and free internal trade and other trade war methods, so that the base area’s economic conditions remained stable for a long time.

In 1944, British journalist Gunther Stein came to Yan’an. During a five-month interview and investigation, he saw Peng Dehuai’s efforts and felt:“He is not only considered the best The commander of Yan’an, and a pioneer in establishing a strong economic system of guerrilla warfare…The economic, financial, and trade policies he assisted in the formulation of the North China Theater have had a considerable impact on the current policies for the promotion and development of the Yan’an mainland border area.”

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In September 1949, Peng Dehuai hosted a meeting of senior officials in the northwest region in Lanzhou, calling on all cadres and soldiers to carry forward hard work Spirit, make persistent efforts, in order to

Through tempered combat, Peng Dehuai condensed the military thinking with people’s war as the core,”In our struggle to solve the problem, we should rely on the huge potential of the people. We should organize them, educate them, arm them, and lead them in guerrilla warfare.” He emphasized, “Tactics are very important, but if the majority of the people do not support us, we cannot survive. We are just the people’s fist against the oppressors. !”

High revolutionary fighting spirit and firm revolutionary belief have become Peng Dehuai’s charm. He has unshakable confidence in the victory of the revolution, which makes the morale of the troops led by him high.

Harrison Foreman realized:”This kind of knowledge and belief is a crystallization of experience dating back to the early civil war era, when he and his very unbearable revolutionary faith They joined the hands of Mao Zedong, Zhu De, He Long and other leaders. These people had stood on their heels for ten years and opposed the Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang. It’s political beliefs and the party’s educational work to support them in making that amazing Long March.”

“Leave Peng Dehuai’s headquarters. At that time, I expressed my concern about the future of the Red Army. General Peng hit the table with his hand and said like a slogan:”You don’t have to worry about the Red Army, the Red Army is invincible!”” Before Helen Foster left Yan’an, Peng Dehuai See her off. They talked about the tactics and strategic issues of the War of Resistance Against Japan. Helen Foster recalled:”Commander Peng has already made up his mind about combat.”

“Whoever dares to go straight ahead, I am the only one, General Peng.”This is not only Mao Zedong’s evaluation of him, but also shows his glorious life written with loyalty.

In April 1928, Peng Dehuai joined the Communist Party of China and embarked on a revolutionary road. Adhere to the Jinggang Mountains, open up the border areas of Hunan, Hubei, and Jiangxi, hit Changsha, five times against”encirclement and suppression”, the Long March opened the way, Shaanxi and Gansu, the Hundred Regiments, the northwest, the fight against the United States and Korea. The pride and lofty ambition in this has infected everyone who has met Peng Dehuai.”Peng Dehuai will surely become one of the greatest national leaders in China.” This is Helen Foster’s admiration for Peng Dehuai, as well as his admiration for his ability and personality. .


1 (United States) Forman’s work. Northbound Comics M. Beijing:Xinhua Publishing House, 1988.02.

2 (United States) Snow. Westbound Comics M. Sanlian Bookstore, 1979.

3 (English) Bertrand. North China Frontline M. Beijing:Xinhua Publishing House, 1986.07.

4 (U.S.) Gunther Stein. Challenges of Red China M. Shanghai:Shanghai Translation Publishing House, 1999.12.

5 (U.S.) Wells. On the inside scene of Red China M. Jinan:Published in Jinan Society, 2006.12.

6 Chen Wenbing, Miao Suqun, Meng Shengde translation. Smedley Collection 4 China’s counterattack against the fate of the Chinese M. Beijing:Xinhua Publishing House, 1985.

source:People’s Daily

author:Cai Bin, Nankai University Modern History professional

Editor:Song Ying

Web Editor:Hou Jieying

Producer:Fang Danmin