Peng Dehuai

Png Dhui (T. Chinese: 彭德懷, S. Chinese: 彭德怀, Wade-Giles: P'eng Te-huai) (October 24, 1898 - November 29 1974) was a prominent Chinese Communist military leader.

Peng was exiled from his family home in Xiangtan County, Hunan province at the age of nine. Before joining the army at sixteen, he had worked in coal mines at the age of thirteen and at dams of the Lake Dongting at the age of fifteen. He attended the Hunan Military Academy and served as a Nationalist Officer. By the age of twenty-eight he was a brigade-commander in the Kuomintang Army and had begun a flirtation with radical politics. Peng was forced to flee Chiang Kai-shek's purge in 1927 and joined the Communist Party of China, participating in the Long March. His contributions to the CCP were highly praised and earned him the nickname "Great General Peng" (彭大将军). As a literary work by Mao Zedong in remembrance of Peng's contributions in the Long March put it, "

[In] High mountains, dangerous roads, deep pits,
Cavalry rides lengthwise and crosswise [freely] in your command,
Who dares to [put the] spear crosswise and draw the horse to a stop?
Only our Great General Peng!"

During World War II Peng served as deputy commander-in-chief of the Communist forces and coordinated the Hundred Regiments Campaign. Peng went on to serve with distinction behind Japanese lines in North China, and during the late stages of the Chinese Civil War he led the 1st Field Army in its conquest of Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, and Qinghai provinces.

He was the supreme commander of Chinese volunteers during the Korean War, the Defense Minister, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, and was made a marshal of the People's Liberation Army in 1955. He was disgraced in 1959 because he criticized Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward. As a consequence, he was removed from all posts and placed under constant supervision and house arrest in Chengdu, Sichuan; Lin Biao took over the post of Minister of Defense.

At the onset of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, he was escorted to Beijing by the Red Guards under Jiang Qing. His humiliations and disgrace at the hands of the Red Guards continued until he died due to a liver disorder in 1974.

He was posthumously rehabilitated in 1978.

Further reading

zh-cn:彭德怀 pl:Peng Dehuai


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