Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


October 1, 1946

[This inner-Party directive was drafted by Comrade Mao Tse-tung for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It summed up in detail the series of experiences in the three months of fighting beginning with the outbreak of the country-wide civil war in July 1946, set forth the strategy and fighting tasks of the People's Liberation Army from then on and pointed out that after overcoming a period of difficulties we were certain to win victory in the People's War of Liberation. The directive also explained in principle the problems which needed to be solved for the support of and in co-ordination with the People's War of Liberation, such as land reform, the development of production in the Liberated Areas, the strengthening of leadership in the mass struggles in the Kuomintang areas and other relevant problems. ]

1. The Central Committee's directive of situation [1] stated: "We can defeat Chiang Kai-shek. The whole Party should be fully confident of this." The fighting in July, August and September has proved this judgement to be correct.

2. Apart from the fundamental political and economic contradictions which Chiang Kai-shek cannot resolve and which are the basic cause rendering our victory certain and Chiang's defeat inevitable, a sharp contradiction has arisen in the military sphere between Chiang's over-extended battle lines and his shortage of troops. That contradiction is bound to be the direct cause of our victory and Chiang Kai-shek's defeat.

3. The total of Chiang Kai-shek's regular troops attacking the Liberated Areas, not counting the puppet troops, the peace preservation corps and communications police corps, is more than 190 brigades. Besides this total, the most he can do is again to move part of his troops from the south to the north as reinforcements; but after that it will be hard for him to send any more reinforcements. Of the 190 odd brigades, 25 have been wiped out by our army in the past three months. This does not include the forces we wiped out in the Northeast from February to June this year.

4. Of Chiang Kai-shek's more than 190 brigades, nearly half must perform garrison duties; only a little more than half can be put into the field. And when these field forces advance to certain regions, part or even a majority will have to switch over to garrison duty. The enemy's field forces are bound to dwindle as the fighting goes on because, first, they will be continually wiped out by us and, second, many will have to perform garrison duties.

5. Of the 25 brigades we destroyed in the past three months, 7 were under the command of Tang En-po (previously under Li Mo-an), 2 under Hsueh Yueh, 7 under Ku Chu-tung (previously under Liu Chih), 2 under Hu Tsung-nan, 4 under Yen Hsi-shan, 2 under Wang Yao-wu and 1 under Tu Yu-ming. Only the 4 groups under Li Tsung-jen, Fu Tso-yi, Ma Hung-kuei and Cheng Chien have not yet received crushing blows from our army; all the remaining 7 groups have received serious blows or initial blows. Those who have received serious blows are Tu Yu-ming (taking into account the fighting in the Northeast from February to June this year), Tang En-po, Ku Chutung and Yen Hsi-shan. Those who have received initial blows are Hsueh Yueh, Hu Tsung-nan and Wang Yao-wu. All this proves that our army can defeat Chiang Kai-shek.

6. In the coming period our task is to wipe out some 25 more enemy brigades. The completion of this task will make it possible to halt Chiang Kai-shek's offensive and recover part of our lost territory. It can be predicted that after wiping out this second batch of 25 brigades our army will certainly be able to seize the strategic initiative and go over from the defensive to the offensive. Our task then will be to destroy a third batch of 25 enemy brigades. If we achieve that, we can recover most or even all of the lost territory and expand the Liberated Areas. By that time a tremendous change will surely have taken place in the relative military strength of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. To attain this we must follow up our great achievement of wiping out 25 brigades in the past three months and destroy about 25 more in the coming three months or so. This is the key to changing the situation as between the enemy and ourselves.[2]

7. In the past three months we have lost a few dozen medium and small towns, such as Huaiyin, Hotse, Chengteh and Chining. The abandonment of most of these towns was unavoidable and it was right to abandon them temporarily on our own initiative. Some others we were forced to abandon because we did not fight well. In any case, we shall be able to recover our lost territory, provided we fight well from now on. In the future there may still be places we cannot prevent the enemy from taking, but we shall be able to recover all of them later. All areas should critically review their past experience in fighting in order to draw lessons and avoid repeating mistakes.

8. In the past three months our Central Plains Liberation Army has shown matchless stamina in overcoming difficulties and hardships and, aside from that part of the army which has moved into the old Liberated Areas, its main force has established two guerrilla bases in southern Shensi and western Hupeh.[3] Moreover, in both eastern and central Hupeh our troops are persisting in guerrilla warfare. All this has greatly helped, and is still helping, the fighting in the old Liberated Areas, and it will play a greater role in the long war ahead.

9. In the past three months of war we have pinned down south of the Great Wall several of Chiang Kai-shek's crack forces, which he had originally planned to send to the Northeast, and have thus gained time for resting and consolidating our troops and for arousing the masses in the Northeast. This, too, is of great significance for our future struggles.

10. To concentrate a superior force to wipe out the enemy forces one by one is the only correct method of fighting, the method we have used in the past three months to destroy 25 enemy brigades. Only by concentrating a force six, five, four or at least three times as strong as the enemy's force can we be effective in wiping it out. This must be done both in campaigns and in battles. This method of fighting must be mastered not only by all high-ranking commanders but also by all middle and lower-ranking cadres.

11. In the past three months, in addition to 25 regular brigades of the enemy, our army has destroyed considerable numbers of reactionary forces, such as puppet troops, peace preservation corps and communications police corps; this also is a great achievement. We should continue to annihilate such troops in large numbers.

12. The experience of the past three months has proved that in order to wipe out 10,000 enemy troops we have to pay a price of 2,000 to 3,000 casualties of our own. This is unavoidable. To cope with a long war (and everything, everywhere should be considered with such a war in mind) we must expand our army in a planned way, ensure that our main forces are always kept at full strength and train large numbers of military cadres. We must develop production and regulate finances according to plan and firmly put into effect the principles of developing our economy and ensuring supply, of unified leadership and decentralized management and of giving consideration to both the army and the people and to both public and private interests.

13. The experience of these three months has proved that higher fighting efficiency was shown by all troops who, during the period of the truce from January to June, intensified their military training according to the directives of the Central Committee (which has repeatedly instructed the various areas to regard troop training, production and land reform as their three central tasks). It has also proved that all troops not so trained showed much lower fighting efficiency. From now on, all areas must utilize the intervals between battles for intensified military training. All army units must strengthen their political work.

14. The experience of these three months has proved that the peasants stood with our Party and our army against the attacks of Chiang Kai-shek's troops wherever the Central Committee's directive of May 4 [4] was carried out firmly and speedily and the land problem was solved radically and thoroughly. The peasants took a wait-and-see attitude wherever the "May 4th Directive" was not carried out firmly or the arrangements were made too late, or wherever this work was mechanically divided into stages or land reform was neglected on the excuse of preoccupation with the war. In the coming few months all areas, no matter how busy they are with the war, must resolutely lead the peasant masses to solve the land problem and, on the basis of the land reform, make arrangements for large-scale production work next year.

15. The experience of these three months has proved that wherever the regional armed forces, including the people's militia, the guerrillas and the armed working teams,[5] are well organized, we can control vast rural areas even though many points and lines are temporarily occupied by the enemy. But wherever the regional armed forces are weak and the leadership is poor, the enemy is given a much easier time. From now on, in areas temporarily occupied by the enemy, we must strengthen the Party's leadership, develop the regional armed forces, persevere in guerrilla warfare, safeguard the interests of the masses and strike blows at the activities of the reactionaries.

16. Three months of war have almost exhausted the reserve forces of the Kuomintang and seriously weakened its military strength in its own areas. At the same time, the Kuomintang's resumption of conscription and grain levies[6] has aroused popular discontent and created a situation favourable for the development of mass struggles. The whole Party must strengthen its leadership of the mass struggles in the Kuomintang areas and intensify the work of disintegrating the Kuomintang army.

17. The Kuomintang reactionaries, under the direction of the United States, have violated the truce agreement and the resolutions of the Political Consultative Conference of January this year and are determined to wage the civil war in their attempt to destroy the people's democratic forces. All their fine words are nothing but humbug; we must expose all the plots of the United States and Chiang Kai-shek.

18. In these three months the broadest strata of the people in the Kuomintang areas, including the national bourgeoisie,[7] have quickly arrived at a better understanding of the fact that the Kuomintang and the United States government are working in collusion, have started the civil war and are oppressing the people. More and more people now realize the truth that Marshall's mediation is a fraud and that the Kuomintang is the arch-criminal of the civil war. The broad masses, disillusioned with the United States and the Kuomintang, now place their hopes on the victory of our Party. This domestic political situation is extremely favourable. The reactionary policy of U.S. imperialism is rousing increasing discontent among the broad masses of the people in all countries. The level of political consciousness of the people in all countries is rising every day. The people's democratic struggle is mounting in all capitalist countries, the strength of the Communist Parties in many countries has greatly increased, and it will be impossible for the reactionaries to reduce them to submission. The might of the Soviet Union and its prestige among the peoples are growing daily. The U.S. reactionaries and the reactionaries whom they support in other countries are bound to become more and more isolated. This international political situation is extremely favourable. The situation both at home and abroad differs greatly from that after World War I. The revolutionary forces have grown tremendously since World War II. We can defeat the Chinese and foreign reactionaries, no matter how rampant they are (this rampancy is historically inevitable and not at all strange). Leading comrades in all areas should explain this fully to those comrades in the Party who are gloomy about the future of the struggle owing to their inadequate understanding of the favourable situation at home and abroad. It must be made clear that the enemy still has strength, that we ourselves still have some weaknesses and that the struggle is still a long and cruel one. But we can certainly win victory. This understanding and conviction must be firmly established throughout the Party.

19. The coming few months will be an important and difficult period. We must strenuously mobilize the whole Party, undertake meticulously planned military operations and radically change the military situation. All areas must resolutely carry out the above policies and strive for a radical change in the military situation.


1. See "Smash Chiang Kai-shek's Offensive by a War of Self-Defence", pp. 89-95 of this volume.

2. Later developments showed that the situation between the enemy and ourselves began to change in July 1947, when the Shansi-Hopei-Shantung-Honan People's Liberation Army forced the Yellow River and marched towards the Tapieh Mountains. By then the People's Liberation Army had fought for twelve months and wiped out about a hundred enemy brigades, averaging eight a month. This exceeded the estimate made in this article because, with the support of U.S. imperialism, Chiang Kai-shek had used all his available forces in the offensive.

3. At the end of June 1946 the Central Plains Liberation Army led by Li Hsien-nien, Cheng Wei-san and other comrades initiated a strategic shift of its forces and victoriously broke through an encirclement by 300,000 Kuomintang troops. The units mentioned by Comrade Mao Tse-tung as having moved into the old Liberated Areas were those led by Wang Chen and other comrades; they entered the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region after breaking through the encirclement. The guerrilla base in southern Shensi was founded by a part of the main force of the Central Plains Liberation Army and included Lushih and Hsichuan in western Honan and Lonan and Shanyang in southern Shensi. The guerrilla base in western Hupeh was set up by another part of the same army with the Wutang Mountains in northwestern Hupeh as its centre.

4. This refers to the "Directive on the Land Question" issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on May 4, 1946. After Japan's surrender, in view of the peasants' eager demand for land, the Central Committee decided to change the land policy of the period of the War of Resistance, that is, to change from the reduction of rent and interest to confiscation of the land of the landlords and its distribution among the peasants. The "May 4th Directive" marked this change.

5. The armed working teams were small working teams which went deep into the enemy-occupied areas to organize the masses and strike blows at the enemy. Such a team consisted of cadres drawn from various organizations -- the Communist Party, the governments in the Liberated Areas, the people's army and mass organizations -- and was equipped with some weapons. This was a convenient form of organization for carrying out activities in the enemy-occupied areas.

6. This refers to land taxes in kind.

7. The national bourgeoisie is the section of the bourgeoisie which has little or no connection with imperialism, as distinguished from that section of the bourgeoisie which is closely dependent on imperialism and is comprador in character, that is, the big bourgeoisie or bureaucrat-capitalists.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung