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Zhu De

(1886—1976)


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(b. 30 Nov. 1886, d. 6 July 1976).

Commander‐in‐Chief of the Chinese Communist army Born in Yilong, Sichuan Province, Zhu was commissioned into the imperial army and attended the Yunnan military academy. He joined the revolutionary movement, however, and in 1911 participated in the Wuchang Revolution. He became an officer in the republican Yunnan army, which he left in 1922 to study in Germany. There, he met Zhou Enlai, joined the Communist Party, and studied political science at Göttingen University. Expelled for his political activities, he went to Moscow in 1925, and returned to China in 1926. Zhu became commander of an officer's training regiment in the National Revolutionary Army until the Communist‐Nationalist split in 1927. On 1 August 1927, he led the Communist Nanchang uprising, and in 1928, with Mao Zedong, he founded the 4th Red Army. A loyal supporter of Mao, he was a skilful military leader in defence of the Jianxi Soviet. After supporting Mao in the Long March, which took them to Yan'an, he became overall military commander of the Communist forces in 1936, a position which he retained until the army's final victory in the Chinese Civil War.

After the foundation of the People's Republic, his practical influence declined. He deputized for Zhou Enlai as vice‐chairman of the Central People's Government Council until 1954, and as vice‐chairman of the Republic until 1959. Having been made a Marshall in 1955, his practical influence ended altogether in 1959, when he gave up the formal leadership of the People's Liberation Army. Instead, he was made chairperson of the harmless National People's Congress (1959–76), but he did emerge from the Cultural Revolution unharmed.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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