Lin Biao

Long Live the Victory of People’s War!

Adhere to the Policy of Self-Reliance

The Chinese people’s War of Resistance Against Japan was an important part of the Anti-Fascist World War. The victory of the Anti-Fascist War as a whole was the result of the common struggle of the people of the world. By its participation in the war against Japan at the final stage, the Soviet army under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union headed by Stalin played a significant part in bringing about the defeat of Japanese imperialism. Great contributions were made by the peoples of Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Burma, India, Pakistan, Malaya, the Philippines, Thailand and certain other Asian countries. The people of the Americas, Oceania, Europe and Africa also made their contribution.

Under extremely difficult circumstances, the Communist Party of Japan and the revolutionary forces of the Japanese people kept up their valiant and staunch struggle, and played their part in the defeat of Japanese fascism.

The common victory was won by all the peoples, who gave one another support and encouragement. Yet each country was, above all, liberated as a result of its own people’s efforts.

The Chinese people enjoyed the support of other peoples in winning both the War of Resistance Against Japan and the People’s Liberation War, and yet victory was mainly the result of the Chinese people’s own efforts. Certain people assert that China’s victory in the War of Resistance was due entirely to foreign assistance. This absurd assertion is in tune with that of the Japanese militarists.

The liberation of the masses is accomplished by the masses themselves — this is a basic principle of Marxism-Leninism. Revolution or people’s war in any country is the business of the masses in that country and should be carried out primarily by their own efforts; there is no other way.

During the War of Resistance Against Japan, our Party maintained that China should rely mainly on her own strength while at the same time trying to get as much foreign assistance as possible. We firmly opposed the Kuomintang ruling clique’s policy of exclusive reliance on foreign aid. In the eyes of the Kuomintang and Chiang Kai-shek, China’s industry and agriculture were no good, her weapons and equipment were no good, nothing in China was any good, so that if she wanted to defeat Japan, she had to depend on other countries, and particularly on the U.S.-British imperialists. This was completely slavish thinking. Our policy was diametrically opposed to that of the Kuomintang. Our Party held that it was possible to exploit the contradictions between U.S.-British imperialism and Japanese imperialism, but that no reliance could be placed on the former. In fact, the U.S-British imperialists repeatedly plotted to bring about a “Far Eastern Munich” in order to arrive at a compromise with Japanese imperialism at China’s expense, and for a considerable period of time they provided the Japanese aggressors with war materiél. In helping China during that period, the U.S. imperialists harboured the sinister design of turning China into a colony of their own.

Comrade Mao Tse-tung said: “China has to rely mainly on her own efforts in the War of Resistance. ” 1 He added, “We hope for foreign aid but cannot be dependent on it; we depend on our own efforts, on the creative power of the whole army and the entire people.” 2

Self-reliance was especially important for the people’s armed forces and the Liberated Areas led by our Party.

The Kuomintang government gave the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies some small allowances in the initial stage of the anti-Japanese war, but gave them not a single penny later. The Liberated Areas faced great difficulties as a result of the Japanese imperialists’ savage attacks and brutal “mopping-up” campaigns, of the Kuomintang’s military encirclement and economic blockade and of natural calamities. The difficulties were particularly great in the years 1941 and 1942, when we were very short of food and clothing.

What were we to do? Comrade Mao Tse-tung asked: How has mankind managed to keep alive from time immemorial? Has it not been by men using their hands to provide for themselves? Why should we, their latter-day descendants, be devoid of this tiny bit of wisdom? Why can’t we use our own hands?

The Central Committee of the Party and Comrade Mao Tse-tung put forward the policies of “ample food and clothing through self-reliance” and “develop the economy and ensure supplies”, and he army and the people of the Liberated Areas accordingly launched an extensive production campaign, with the main emphasis on agriculture.

Difficulties are not invincible monsters. If everyone co-operates and fights them, they will be overcome. The Kuomintang reactionaries thought that it could starve us to death by cutting off allowances and imposing an economic blockade, but in fact it helped us by stimulating us to rely on our own efforts to surmount our difficulties. While launching the great campaign for production, we applied the policy of “better troops and simpler administration” and economized in the use of manpower and material resources; thus we not only surmounted the severe material difficulties and successfully met the crisis, but lightened the people’s burden, improved their livelihood and laid the material foundations for victory in the anti-Japanese war.

The problem of military equipment was solved mainly by relying on the capture of arms from the enemy, though we did turn out some weapons too. Chiang Kai-shek, the Japanese imperialists and the U.S. imperialists have all been our “chiefs of transportation corps”. The arsenals of the imperialists always provide the oppressed peoples and nations with arms.

The peoples armed forces led by our Party independently waged people’s war on a large scale and won great victories without any material aid from outside, both during the more than eight years of the anti-Japanese war and during the more than three years of the People’s War of Liberation.

Comrade Mao Tse-tung has said that our fundamental policy should rest on the foundation of our own strength. Only by relying on our own efforts can we in all circumstances remain invincible.

The peoples of the world invariably support each other in their struggles against imperialism and its lackeys. Those countries which have won victory are duty bound to support and aid the peoples who have not yet done so. Nevertheless, foreign aid can only play a supplementary role.

In order to fight a revolution and to fight a people’s war and be victorious, it is imperative to adhere to the policy of self-reliance, rely on the strength of the masses in one’s won country and prepare to carry on the fight independently even when all material aid from outside is cut off. If one does not operate by one’s own efforts, does not independently ponder and solve the problems of the revolution in one’s own country and does not rely on the strength of the masses, but leans wholly on foreign aid — even though this be aid from socialist countries which persist in revolution — no victory can be won, or be consolidated even if it is won.

1. Mao Tse-tung, “Interview with Three Correspondents from the Central News Agency, the Sao Tang Pao and the Hsin Min Pao ”, Selected Works, Eng. ed., FLP, Peking, 1965, Vol. II, p. 270.

2. Mao Tse-tung, “We Must Learn to do Economic Work”, Selected Works, Eng. ed., FLP, Peking, 1965, Vol. III, p. 241.

Next: The International Significance of Comrade Mao-Tse Tung’s Theory of People’s War