Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung



November 1946 and April 1947

[The first of these two documents was drafted by Comrade Mao Tse-tung in Yenan in the winter of 1946 when Kuomintang troops were preparing to attack that city, and the second at Chingyangcha, Hengshan County, northern Shensi, twenty days after Kuomintang troops occupied Yenan on March 19, 1947. After the bankruptcy of Chiang Kai-shek's plan for an all-out offensive against the Liberated Areas, he adopted frantic measures to save his dying regime, convened a bogus National Assembly, expelled the representatives of the Communist Party of China from the Kuomintang areas and launched an attack on Yenan, the seat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. As these documents pointed out, the outcome of Chiang Kai-shek's measures was his complete self-destruction politically. Militarily he concentrated his forces on the eastern and western flanks of the Liberated Areas that is, the Shantung Liberated Area and the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Liberated Area in an attempt to carry out "attacks against key sectors"; and again the outcome was complete failure. The Kuomintang troops attacking the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region were more than 230,000 strong, while the Northwest People's Liberation Army had only some 20,000 in that region. Therefore the enemy forces were able to occupy Yenan and all the region's county towns, which we abandoned on our own initiative. The enemy, however, failed to achieve his objective of destroying the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Northwest People's Liberation Army or of driving them east of the Yellow River. On the contrary, he suffered many heavy blows from our army, lost about 100,000 men and finally had to flee in confusion from the Border Region, while our army triumphantly went over to the offensive for the liberation of the Great Northwest. Moreover, our army in the Northwest theatre, employing a very small force, pinned down and destroyed large numbers of the enemy's main force, and thereby strongly supported the operations of our troops in other theatres, particularly in the Shansi-Hopei-Shantung-Honan theatre, and helped them go over more quickly to the offensive. Comrade Mao Tse-tung, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Headquarters of the People's Liberation Army remained in the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region the whole time from March 1947, when our army withdrew from Yenan, to a year later when we went over to the offensive in the Northwest theatre. This fact was of great political significance. It greatly inspired and strengthened the will to fight and the confidence in victory of the army and the people in the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region and in other Liberated Areas throughout the country. While in the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region, Comrade Mao Tse-tung not only continued to direct the People's War of Liberation on all fronts throughout the country but also took personal command in the Northwest theatre and successfully achieved the aim set forth in the present document, "defend and expand the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region and the Liberated Areas in the Northwest with a firm fighting spirit". Concerning the operations in the Northwest theatre see "The Concept of Operations for the Northwest War Theatre", pp. 133-34 and "On the Great Victory in the Northwest and on the New Type of Ideological Education Movement in the Liberation Army", pp. 211-17, of this volume.]


Chiang Kai-shek is at the end of his rope. He wants to strike at our Party and strengthen himself by two methods, by convening the "National Assembly" and by attacking Yenan. Actually, he will accomplish the very opposite. The Chinese people resolutely oppose the "National Assembly" stage-managed by Chiang Kai-shek to split the nation; the opening day of that assembly marked the beginning of the self-destruction of the Chiang Kai-shek clique. Now that we have wiped out thirty-five brigades[1] of Chiang Kai-shek's troops and their offensive power is nearly exhausted, even if his troops should occupy Yenan by means of a sudden thrust, it would not damage the general prospect of victory in the People's War of Liberation, nor could it save Chiang Kai-shek from the doom awaiting him. In short, Chiang Kai-shek has taken the road to ruin; as soon as he makes these two moves of convening the "National Assembly" and attacking Yenan, all his trickery will be exposed, this will help the progress of the People's War of Liberation. In every area we should fully explain to people inside and outside the Party these two actions of Chiang Kai-shek, the convening of the "National Assembly" and the attack on Yenan, and unite the whole Party, the whole army and the whole people in the fight to smash Chiang Kai-shek's offensive and build a democratic China.


In order to save its moribund regime, the Kuomintang, besides taking such steps as convening the bogus National Assembly, drawing up the bogus constitution, driving out the representative agencies of our Party from Nanking, Shanghai and Chungking and proclaiming a break between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party,[2] has taken the further step of attacking Yenan, the seat of our Party's Central Committee and the General Headquarters of the People's Liberation Army, and of attacking the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region.

The fact that the Kuomintang has taken these steps does not in the least indicate that its regime is strong but rather that the crisis of the Kuomintang regime has become extremely deep. Its attack on Yenan and the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region is moreover a vain attempt to settle the Northwest question first, cut off our Party's right arm, drive our Party's Central Committee and the General Headquarters of the People's Liberation Army from the Northwest, then move its troops to attack northern China and so achieve the objective of defeating our forces one by one.

In these circumstances, the Central Committee has decided as follows:

1. We must defend and expand the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region and the Liberated Areas in the Northwest with a firm fighting spirit; it is entirely possible to achieve this objective.

2. The Central Committee of our Party and the General Headquarters of the People's Liberation Army must remain in the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region. It is an area where we have a favourable mountainous terrain, a good mass base, plenty of room for manoeuvre, and full guarantee for security

3. At the same time, to facilitate our work, we have set up a Working Committee of the Central Committee to proceed to north western Shansi or some other suitable place to carry out the tasks entrusted to it by the Central Committee.

These three decisions were made last month and have already been put into effect. You are hereby notified.


1. The statistics were for the period from early July to November 13, 1946.

2. On February 27-28, 1947, the representatives and personnel of the Chinese Communist Party stationed in Nanking, Shanghai and Chungking for negotiations and liaison were forced by the Kuomintang government to leave within a stated time. On March 15, 1947, the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang convened its third plenary session, at which Chiang Kai-shek proclaimed the Kuomintang's break with the Communist Party and his determination to fight the civil war to the finish.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung