The Common Program of the People's Republic of China 1949-1954

The war against the Japanese troops and the civil war resulted in 4 different armies of the PLA: the Northwest Field Army, the Central Field Army, the East Field Army and the Northeast Field Army. Each army had his own control and commando system, his own values and norms of discipline, and his own way of fighting.For example
Su Yu
Su Yu (1907-1984)
, the commander of the East army, used guerrilla tactics.
Liu Bocheng
Liu Bocheng(1892-1986)
, the commander of the Central army, used his experience from SU training.
Mao Zedong had introduced this decentralized command during the campaigns against the Japanese invaders. "The more extensive the area, the more complex the situation and the greater the distance between the higher and the lower levels, the more advisable it becomes to allow greater independence to the lower levels in their actual operations and thus give those operations a character conforming more closely to the local requirements, so that the lower levels and the local personnel may develop the ability to work independently, cope with complicated situations, and successfully expand guerrilla warfare."
In the decisive period of the Civil War, Mao Zedong remarks "Carrying out a large- scale war requires implementing commands with a high degree of unity, which requires construction of a unified command structure to coordinate and command every unit’s war operations, as well as to take responsibility for the CCP Central Committee and the Central Military Commission.’" Fravel (2019) notices "When the PRC was founded in 1949, the PLA included more than five million soldiers, almost all of which were light infantry. The PLA lacked services such as a navy and air force and only a small percentage of the ground forces were in combat arms such as artillery or armored units. The ground forces had no tradition of combined arms operations that required coordinating action among different combat arms."

In November 1948, the leaders of the PLA reorganized the army to get better control and to unify the PLA. It was the first time the PLA had numerical superiority over the GMD army. "Even then, however, they still lacked superiority in equipment, especially artillery, armor, air power, and transportation." On January 15, 1949 the armies are renamed in the First, Second, Third and Fourth Field Army. The reorganization makes it possible to incorporate old GMD soldiers in the PLA. The First Field Army has 9 armies (1-9) of which 6 are original PLA personnel and 2 have recruits of 'defected' GMD troops. The Second Field Army has 10 armies (10-19), all stemming from their own ranks. The Third Field Army has 18 armies (20-37). 4 of them are recruits from GMD troops. The Fourth Field Army has 21 armies (38-58). From the 50th, all are recruited from GMD militaries, sympathizers, and militias. See Chart 4 .
The leadership decides not only to reorganize the PLA into field armies, which have the task for national defense, but also established the Chinese People’s Public Security Forces (CPPSF) for maintaining domestic order. Zhou Enlai explains the function of the latter "...maintain local public order, deter the activities of the enemy and ensure the country’s border defense."
On March 5, 1954 , the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Railway Corps was formally established. Its predecessor was the PLA’s Railway Corps which on May 16, 1949, was placed under the leadership of the Ministry of Railways. "These moves marked the transition of a regionally focused railway military unit to a national one, with an important mission to ensure the smooth transportation of military supplies and the mobilization of troops across the country. "
December 24, 1949,
Kovalev, Mikhail Prokofevich (1896-1967)
(Stalin's personal representative in China) reports to Stalin on the situation in China and he warns "The number of the Guomindang-ists, for example, in some military units of generals Chen Yi and Liu Bocheng reaches 70-80%, at the same time former Guomindang-ists are not dispersed among the tried cadre units of the People’s Liberation Army, but are kept in their ranks almost in the same shape, in which they were captured. A small number of command political workers from the cadres of the People’s Liberation Army were appointed to these former Guomindang units. A situation like this conceals a serious danger from the point of view of stability and commitment of the military forces to the cause of the revolution."
Overall about 30 percent of the PLA soldiers have a GMD background. “…(b) former Nationalists, who tend to be apolitical and will fully accept their present, political masters so long as they can continue their military careers; (c) former Nationalists who take a more or less dim view of communism but see (and have) no realistic alternative to continued military service; (d) former Nationalists who are more or less willing to go along with the Communists politically; and, (e) professional soldiers, who have never had any strong political feelings and look to the army only for satisfaction of certain personal goals."
From 1946 onwards, the PLA starts "...Anti-Civil War Speaking-Bitterness Meetings () to transform the thought of Nationalist captives.72 During the massive New Style Army Reorganization campaign () of 1948, the method of "troops and civilians speaking together ()" was also used."
During the Korean war, many ex-GMD soldiers are sent to the front. See Article 54.
"The Fiftieth Army is the old Nationalist Sixtieth Army, with its original high-ranking officers, except that political officers have been added to it. This Army has been called upon to do much of the heaviest fighting for the Chinese Communist regime, and it is estimated that less than 20 percent of its original number have survived. The Communists apparently set out, to begin with, to test its loyalty, and seem to have regarded it, all along, as expendable." The North China Field Army is under direct control of the Headquarters of the PLA in Beijing and is stationed in and around the capital. It is often referred to as the Fifth Field army.
One of the consequences of the reorganization of the PLA is the lack of opportunities for women to join or to make careers in the army.

Almost 50% of the PLA soldiers are recruited in the Northeast, the East, and North. These areas are for some time under the control of the PLA. The Southwest, Northwest and Central South have less recruited (18%) because these regions came later under the control of the PLA. Under these recruited are women who are active in a wide range of combat and noncombat military roles
Joffe (1964) states "In sum, the professional officers may be grouped in two broad categories. First, young men who joined the army, or became officers, after 1949 and who were trained and became professionals as the army was being modernised; these officers presumably occupy the lower levels of the command structure. Secondly, veteran guerrilla officers who were assigned to specialised military duties in the early fifties and who have since been intimately involved in the complex problems of the modernised army; these officers hold positions on the General Staff and occupy important command posts."
U (2019) describes the recruitment "Soon after the takeover of Shanghai had started, the East China Military and Political University.. sought to enroll at its Suzhou and Nanjing campuses 30,000 people aged between 18 and 28 with at least a junior high education.27 The PLA also wanted 3,000 “intellectual youths” from Shanghai, individuals between 18 and 30 years of age with that same education, to join the Southward-bound Service Corps and assist in propaganda, mobilization, and other tasks vital to the takeover of other cities or regions.28 Many other opportunities for intellectual youths to join the PLA followed, with age restrictions varying across recruiting organizations." Recruitment during the Korea War is done by mass campaigns. At mass meetings, people are asked to volunteer. A committee visits the parents of those who refused to volunteer, to persuade them to send their sons to Korea. When this pressure failed, a struggle meeting is sometimes held to put even more pressure on the reluctants. Enrolment in 1950, and later, is especially aimed at recruiting students, especially technicians and medical students, and other medical personnel.

In October 1949, the CCP changed the
Revolutionary Military Council
October 20, 1949 People's Revolutionary Military Commission of the Central People's Government Front row from left: Su Yu, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, Mao, Cheng Qian, Liu Shaoqi, Chen Yi; middle row from left: Nie Rongzhen, Gao Gang, Zhang Zhizhong, Deng Xiaoping, Zhang Yunyi, Liu Fei; back row from left: Lo Ruiqing, He Long, Cai Tingkai, Fu Zuoyi, Liu Bocheng
(RMC) from a party body to an organ within the CPGC, which controls the PLA. See Chart 3 General organization of the PLA and Table Background RMC members. In 1954, it is reformed to the National Defense Council.
The CPGC convenes 6 times a year and cannot control the RMC, neither can the Government Administration Council (GAC), because it is at the same level within the hierarchy. It sets military policy and strategy, it is also involved in budgeting, training, military technology, command of forces, militia work, approving promotions of officers at division level and above, and political indoctrination. Mao Zedong heads the RMC and he is assisted by 7 vice chairmen, of whom 6 have a CCP background and
Cheng Qian
Cheng Qian (1882-1968)
, a former GMD general who was once on the ‘most wanted’ list of the PLA. The members of the RMC are from the PLA and Rev. GMD, in this way, the United Front policy is guaranteed. The non-CCP members are all members of a subcommittee, which is founded on October 21, 1949, and has the assignment to study the national defense plans. This subcommittee was never heard from again. During the draft of the first Five Year plan ( Outline of the Five-Year Plan for Military Development) in mid-1952, Peng Dehuai became responsible for the daily military affairs on behalf of the CCP on July 19, 1952. Effectively, Peng Dehuai oversees all aspects of military concerns. Su Yu, the deputy chief of the General Staff, proposes that the RMC first has to determine China’s strategic guideline before drafting any development plans for the first Five Year plan.
However, the role of Mao Zedong stays important. "Since the PRC was founded in 1949, Mao wanted to ensure the absolute loyalty of the PLA, particularly the security forces and army units that guarded the capital. Mao’s control over the PLA relied on his unilateral decision making for army officers’ appointments. In the early 1950s, all PLA officer appointments at the level of army corps commander (zheng jun) and above had to be approved by Mao."
Article 20 of the Common Program also states that the security troops and the regular troops will be under one command. The above-mentioned reorganization has to effectuate this aim. In reality the “…strong informal bonds of shared victories and defeats which would remain active among former comrades, especially if deactivation did not actually remove leaders from the geographic locale which their old Army had occupied.” Even after the end of the Korean War “…unit by unit, to China, most of them were reassigned to the regions from which they had left for the war and where they had ended the Civil War.”
Mao Zedong undermines article 20 when in June 9, 1953, he decides to disconnect the Central Garrison Regiment of the security troops (originally named the Chinese Peoples' Public Security Center Column). This new corps is responsible for the security of the party elite.
"…was nominally a PLA unit and was later named by the PLA General Staff Department as the PLA 8341 Unit. Despite its formal authority, the PLA was only responsible for providing logistical support and assisting with recruitment. It had no authority in commanding the 8341 Unit, nor was it intended to be involved in the detailed operations and decision making of the 8341 Unit. The creation of the 8341 Unit enabled Mao to have direct control of the security force guarding the top leaders through Wang Dongxing.”
Long live the People's Liberation Army

See for difference in strategy Martin Kenneth Andrew, “Tuo Mao: the operational history of the people’s liberation army” Bond University 2008 p. 164 and next. Schwarz (1969) notices. "During the war, the Communists had established several outer base areas behind Japanese lines (...). 1 The leaders of each base area formed small cohesive groups which changed little in membership during a long period of time (eight years), and shared extraordinary hardships. The cohesiveness and the length of time, if not the degree of hardship, were unprecedented in the history of Chinese Communism. They were the ingredients of clusters of friendship, trust, and loyalty that were to persist long after the war." Schwarz (1969). Page 1. [↩] [Cite]
Cited in Zhong (2015). Page 27 [↩] [Cite]
Fravel (2019). Page 61 [↩] [Cite]
Fravel (2019). Page 72 [↩] [Cite]
Cited in Guo (2012). Page 148 [↩] [Cite]
Yan (2020). Pages 48-49 [↩] [Cite]
Fig. 20.1: Public security
Source: Guo (2012). Page 150
CPPSF: Chinese People’s Public Security Forces
Hsia (1953). Page 147 [↩] [Cite]
Wu (2014). Page 14. Speaking bitterness—(is) an activity of "articulating one’s history of being oppressed and exploited by class enemies and thus stimulating others" class hatred, and in the meantime consolidating one’s own class standpoint." Wu (2014). Page 1.[↩] [Cite]
Hsia (1953). Page 140. [Cite] Ex GMD commanders Dong Qiwu, Liu Fei and Zeng Zesheng [↩]
Mulvenon (1997). Page XIII. Chinese women soldiers did go to war during the Korean War as cultural workers, nurses, doctors, and telephone operators. [↩] [Cite]
Joffe (1964). Page 124 [↩] [Cite]
U (2019). Page 74 [↩] [Cite]
Gittings (1966). Page 85 [↩] [Cite]
Guo (2012). Page 388 [↩] [Cite]
Whitson (1971). Page 15 [↩] [Cite]
Whitson (1969). Page 7 [↩] [Cite]
Guo (2005). Page 7 [↩] [Cite]

Chapter 3 of Common Program