The Battle for Manchuria and the Fate of China: Siping, 1946

The Battle for Manchuria and the Fate of China: Siping, 1946

The Battle for Manchuria and the Fate of China: Siping, 1946

The Battle for Manchuria and the Fate of China: Siping, 1946

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

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 districts, Tiexi (west of the railway, pronounced “tia-see”) and Tiedong (east of the railway, pronounced “tia-doong”). In the economic development zones on the outskirts of town are the construction companies, warehouses, factories, and a state-of-the art brewery that make the backbone of Siping’s modern industrial economy. At night, the city’s main shopping district comes alive with stalls and vendors selling clothing, fruit, vegetables, snacks, household goods, electronics, and more. Along the boulevard running west from the railway station, elderly men offer to tell your fortune (always good) for a moderate fee. Around the corner, down a nondescript street, a restaurant serves up the city’s local culinary specialty: Li Liangui’s Big Marinated Pork Buns, praised by Communist Party leaders including Deng Xiaoping (“economical, simple, and tasty!”) and former premier Li Peng (“Comrade Xiaoping likes them. I like them too.”).

In the spring of 1946, this city, home of the delicious (and economical) big pork buns, was the scene of a bitter month-long siege. In the summer of 1945, in the last weeks of the Second World War, Soviet troops . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.