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A Poet with the Northern Expedition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2011

Kuo Mo-jo
Washington, D. C.
Josiah W. Bennett
Washington, D. C.
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The night of the fifth had been decided on for another large-scale attempt to climb the wall. On account of the previous attempt at scaling the wall, the ladders of the peasant families in the vicinity of Nan-hu had already been requisitioned to the point where none was left; and an even greater number would be required for this attempt. Moreover, from our experience on the previous occasion, when because of going late we had incurred defeat, this time it was imperative that we commence operations sooner. Consequently, as early as the afternoon of the fourth we sent men to the vicinity of Hsien-ning to requisition ladders. Management of this business was as before in the hands of the General Political Department. Already on the morning of the fifth ladders were streaming in and being heaped up in the south drill ground, and again everyone gave himself over to tying them together. The tied ones were then carried outside the college gate and piled up.

Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 1944

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* The first two installments of this translation appeared in the two preceding issues.

1 Huang Ch'i-hsiang was born in Kwangtung in 1894. He studied economics and political science in Germany. After his return from abroad he joined the army and, as stated by Kuo, served under Chang Fa-k'uei during the first phase of the Northern Expedition in 1926. In 1927 he became commander of the Fourth Army of the Wuhan Army. Later in the same year he assisted Chang Fa-k'uei in ousting the Kwangsi generals Li Chi-shen and Huang Shao-hsiung from Canton but left Canton at the time of the Canton Commune. He was on close terms with Teng Yen-ta and was, along with Teng and others, one of the founders of the Third Party. In 1933 he participated in the Fukien independence movement led by Ch'en Ming-shu and Ts'ai T'ing-k'ai being named Chief of the General Staff of the military forces of the new “government.” After the outbreak of war between China and Japan, he became Vice-Director under Ch'en Ch'eng of the Political Department of the Military Affairs Commission. Tokio, HashigawaChūkoku bunka-kai jimbutsu sōkan [Biographical dictionary of Chinese literary figures] (Peking: Chung-hua Fa-ling Pien-yin-kuan, 1940), p. 555Google Scholar; Gendai chūka minkoku Manshūkoku jimmeikan [Modern biographical dictionary of China and Manchoukuo] (Tokyo: Gaimu-shō Jōhō-bu, 1932), p. 127; The China year book 1928 (Tientsin: The Tientsin Press, 1928), pp. 1274 and 1294; Tong, Hollington K., Chiang Kai-shek, soldier and statesman (Shanghai: The China Publishing Company, 1937), vol. 2, p. 347Google Scholar; “Democracy vs. one-party rule in Kuomintang China,” Amerasia, 7 (April 25, 1943), 115.

2 The Nationalists' military forces were organized in the following manner. Chiang Kai-shek was Commander-in-Chief of the Kuo-min Ko-ming Chün (People's Revolutionary Army), as the Nationalist Armies were designated. Li Chi-shen, who was Chief of Staff of the Military Affairs Commission, was made his chief of staff. Assuming his command June 9, 1926, Chiang Kai-shek ordered Li Chi-shen to remain in Canton, and Pai Ch'ung-hsi became Chief of Staff of Field Headquarters. Thus Chiang was supreme over-all commander, Li was chief of staff at base headquarters in Canton, and Pai was chief of staff of forward headquarters, from which the actual operations were directed. At the time of its original organization prior to the opening of the northern expedition, the Kuo-min Ko-ming Chün consisted of seven armies. The First Army was commanded by Ho Ying-ch'in now Minister of Military Affairs in the Chinese government and Chief of Staff of the Chinese Army; the Second Army by T'an Yen-k'ai the Third Army by Chu P'ei-te the Fourth Army by Li Chi-shen; the Fifth Army by Li Fu-lin the Sixth Army by Ch'eng Ch'ien and the Seventh Army, the Kwangsi army, by Li Tsung-jen now commander of the Fifth War Zone. Also, T'ang Sheng-chih's Hunanese troops, which were acquired by the Kuo-min Ko-ming Chün just before the opening of the campaign, were organized into the Eighth Army with T'ang as commander. Of these units, the one mentioned most frequently in Kuo's account is the Fourth Army. Two of its divisions, one under Chang Fa-k'uei and one under Ch'en Ming-shu, and its independent regiment under Yeh T'ing were sent to the front. T'ang Leang-li states that each army consisted normally of three divisions and each division of three regiments with a strength of 1,620 rifles apiece. But George E. Sokolsky assigns the following number of divisions to each army. First Army, five divisions; Second Army, three divisions; Third Army, two divisions; Fourth Army, four divisions; Fifth Army, two divisions; Sixth Army, three divisions. However, without further and more satisfactory evidence, it would be quite impossible to make an accurate estimate of the strength or detailed study of the or-ganization of the Kuo-min Ko-ming Chün. As for equipment, it is reasonably evident from Kuo Mo-jo's account that the Nationalist troops were almost entirely infantry equipped with small arms and that they had very little artillery and almost no aviation. Of course, by no means all of the above forces were available at the front, for considerable forces were required for garrison duty in base areas and to protect the right flank of the expedition against the threat posed by the hostile, though as yet not belligerent, Sun Ch'uan-fang in Kiangsi. On August IS a force designated as the “Central Army” was organized for the attack on Wuhan. It was to be under the general command of T'ang Sheng-chih and was to consist of the Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth Armies, while the First and Sixth Armies were to follow as general reserves. Kung-chih, WenTsui-chin san-shih vim Chung-kuo chün-shih shih [History of military affairs in China during the last thirty years] (Shanghai: T'ai-p'ing-yang Shu-tien, 1932), vol. 2, pp. 256261Google Scholar; Leang-li, T'ang, The inner history of the Chinese revolution (London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1930), pp. 249252Google Scholar; Sokolsky, George F., “The Kuomintang” in The China year book 1928, p. 1340.Google Scholar

3 Ch'en Kung-po was born in Kwangtung in 1890. He studied at Canton Law College, at the National University of Peking, and in America. He joined the Communist Party in 1921 but resigned from it in 1922. He was for a time Director of the Political Department, a post in which he was replaced by Teng Yen-ta prior to the opening of the Northern Expedition. After the capture of Wuhan he served in the Wuhan government. Late in 1927 he is said to have been the civilian head of Chang Fa-k'uei's regime in Canton. Following the Canton Commune at the end of the same year, he went to Shanghai where he founded the Revolutionary critic, which was suppressed in 1928. Together with Wang Ching-wei, he participated in the Yen Hsi-shan-Feng Yü-hsiang coalition government at Pei-p'ing in 1930. From 1932 to 1938 he served in various capacities under the Central Government. Long an adherent of Wang Ching-wei, he joined the latter after his flight from Chungking in December, 1938, and participated in the Japanese-sponsored puppet government at Nanking as member of the Central Executive Committee of the “Orthodox Kuomintang” and “Mayor” of Shanghai. Leang-li, T'ang, op. cit., pp. 340341Google Scholar; Who's who in China, supplement to the 5th edition (Shanghai: China weekly, review, 1940), p. 70; Linebarger, Paul M. A., The China of Chiang K'ai-shek (Boston: World Peace Foundation, 1941), p. 198.Google Scholar

4 lao-tsung, an informal way of referring to one's commanding officer, very similar in use to the expression “Old Man” in American army slang.

5 A native of Kiangsu, Hua Lin is an author and teacher. In 1940 he was professor at Hsin-hua College of Fine Arts. Tokio, Hashigawa, op. cit., p. 560.Google Scholar

6 A stratagem attributed to Chu-Ko Liang renowned hero of the Three Kingdoms period and celebrated in story as the greatest military tactician in Chinese history. On one occasion when Chu-Ko Liang was stationed with a small force in Yang-p'ing, he learned that his enemy Ssu-Ma I was approaching the city with a greatly superior force. The situation was desperate and there was no chance of escape. He then ordered his men to take down the flags, to stop beating the drums, and to keep to their quarters. He opened the four gates of the city and in every way made the city appear as if it were unoccupied. When Ssu-Ma I arrived, although he knew Chu-Ko Liang to be inside with his troops, the appearance of the “empty” city caused him to suspect an ambush, and he withdrew without attacking.

7 Ssu-Ma I (178–251 A.D.), another famed hero of the Three Kingdoms period, commanded the armies of Wei. It was against him that Chu-Ko Liang was supposed to have used the “empty city” stratagem. A short biography of him will be found in Giles, Herbert A., A Chinese biographical dictionary (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1898 and Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh, Limited, 1898), p. 669.Google Scholar

8 Sun Ch'uan-fang was a native of Shantung. He studied at Peiyang Military Academy in Tientsin and later in Japan. After an extended military career he had by 1926 risen to the position of military overlord of the five eastern provinces of Kiangsu, Chekiang, Fukien, Anhwei and Kiangsi. Although at the outset unmolested by the Nationalists, the latter after the fall of Wuhan turned their attention in his direction. Sun resisted their attacks without success, Shanghai being captured in March, 1927. In December 1926, Chang Tso-lin had proclaimed himself commander of the An-kuo Chün appointing Sun and Chang Tsung-ch'ang Shantung warlord, vice-commanders. After suffering several defeats at the hands of the Nationalists, Sun finally retired from the arena and went to Dairen. In 1930 he participated in the brief Yen Hsi-shan-Feng Yü-hsiang revolt against the Central Government. On November 13, 1935, he was assassinated in Tientsin. Min-kuo ming-jen t'u-chien [Biographical dictionary of famous people of the republic] (Nanking: Tz'u-tien kuan, 1937), vol. 1, pp. 6–33 to 6–34; Who's who in China (4th ed. Shanghai: China Weekly review, preface dated 1931), pp. 353–354; Leang-Ii, T'ang, op. cit., pp. 255256Google Scholar; Tong, Holling-ton K., op. cit., vol. 1, p. 120.Google Scholar