Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


October 5, 1943

[This editorial was written by Comrade Mao Tse-tung for the Liberation Daily, Yenan.]

The Kuomintang held the Eleventh Plenary Session of its Central Executive Committee from September 6 to 13, and the Kuomintang government held the Second Session of the Third People's Political Council from September 18 to 27. Now that all the documents of both these meetings are at hand, we can make a general comment.

The international situation is on the threshold of a great change, whose imminence is sensed on all sides. The European Axis Powers have sensed it, and Hitler is adopting a desperate last-ditch policy. In the main, it is the Soviet Union that is bringing this change about. The Soviet Union is now taking advantage of it--the Red Army has already fought its way to the Dnieper, sweeping all before it, and another winter offensive will bring it to the old, if not to the new, Soviet boundaries. Britain and the United States, too, are taking advantage of the change; Roosevelt and Churchill are waiting for the first sign of Hitler's downfall to thrust into France. In short, the German fascist war machine will soon fall apart, the problem of the anti-fascist war in Europe is on the eve of total solution, and the Soviet Union is the main force in annihilating fascism. As the world anti-fascist war has its pivot in Europe, once the problem there is solved, the fate of the two great world camps, the fascist and the anti-fascist camps, will be decided. The Japanese imperialists feel themselves cornered, and their policy, too, can only be to muster all possible strength for a desperate last-ditch struggle. In China, they will try to "mop up" the Communists and entice the Kuomintang to capitulate.

The Kuomintang has also sensed the change. Faced with this situation it feels both joy and fear. Joy, because it imagines that with the war in Europe over, Britain and the United States will be left free to fight Japan on its behalf, and that it will be able to return to Nanking without any effort. Fear, because with the downfall of all three fascist powers the world will enter a great and unprecedented age of liberation, and the Kuomintang's comprador-feudal fascist dictatorship will become a small island in a vast ocean of freedom and democracy; it fears that its own brand of fascism with its "one party, one doctrine, one leader" will be buried beneath the waves.

Originally the Kuomintang hoped to have the Soviet Union fighting it out with Hitler single-handed and to instigate the Japanese to attack the Soviet Union, so that the land of socialism would be destroyed or at least badly mauled; it also hoped that Britain and the United States would shift all their forces to the East and first smash Japan and then wipe out the Chinese Communist Party, before bothering about any second or third front in Europe. It was for this ulterior purpose that the Kuomintang first clamoured for a strategy of "Asia before Europe" and then for "equal attention to Europe and Asia". In August this year, towards the end of the Quebec conference, when Roosevelt and Churchill summoned T. V. Soong, the foreign minister of the Kuomintang government, to Quebec and spoke a few words to him, the Kuomintang started shouting that "Roosevelt and Churchill are turning to the East", that "the 'Europe before Asia' plan is changed", that "Quebec is a conference of the three great powers, Britain, the United States and China", etc., and joyfully indulged in self-glorification. But this was the Kuomintang's last occasion to rejoice. Since then its mood has changed somewhat; "Asia before Europe" and "equal attention to Europe and Asia" have been consigned to the museum of history, and now the Kuomintang is probably cooking up new schemes. Perhaps the Eleventh Plenary Session of the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee and the Second Session of the Kuomintang-controlled People's Political Council mark the beginning of these new schemes.

The Eleventh Plenary Session of the Kuomintang CEC slanderously accused the Communist Party of "sabotaging the War of Resistance and endangering the state", and at the same time declared itself in favour of a "political solution" and of "preparations for constitutional government". Controlled and manipulated by its Kuomintang majority, the Second Session of the Third PPC passed resolutions against the Communist Party to roughly the same effect. In addition, the Eleventh Plenary Session of the Kuomintang CEC "elected" Chiang Kai-shek president of the Kuomintang government in order to strengthen its dictatorial machine.

What can the Kuomintang be planning to do now, following the Eleventh Plenary Session? There are only three possibilities:

(1) capitulation to Japanese imperialism;
(2) dragging along on the old road; and
(3) a change in its political line.

Serving the Japanese imperialists' purpose of "hitting the Communists and courting the Kuomintang", the defeatists and capitulationists within the Kuomintang have all along advocated surrender. They have constantly endeavoured to unleash an anti-Communist civil war which, once started, would naturally make resistance to Japan impossible, leaving capitulation as the only alternative. The Kuomintang has concentrated 400,000 to 500,000 troops in northwestern China and is stealthily diverting still more forces there from other fronts. It is said that the generals are in good fettle and are proclaiming, "Taking Yenan is no problem." This is how they have been talking since Mr. Chiang Kai-shek's speech at the Eleventh Plenary Session in which he described the Communist problem as "a political one and should be solved politically" and since the Session's resolutions to roughly the same effect. Similar resolutions were adapted last year at the Tenth Plenary Session of the Kuomintang CEC, and the ink was hardly dry before the generals were ordered to draw up military plans for liquidating the Border Region; in June and July this year forces were deployed in preparation for a blitz against the Border Region, and the scheme was temporarily shelved only because public opinion at home and abroad was against it. Now once again, no sooner have the resolutions of the Eleventh Plenary Session been put down in black and white than there are reports of the generals' braggadocio and of troop movements. "Taking Yenan is no problem"--what does this signify? It signifies a decision to capitulate to Japanese imperialism. Not all the Kuomintang members who favour "taking Yenan" are necessarily conscious and determined capitulationists. Some of them may think, "We shall still resist the Japanese while fighting the Communists." This is probably what many officers of the Whampoa clique [1] are thinking.

To these gentlemen we Communists would like to put the following questions. Have you forgotten the lessons of the ten years of civil war? Once another civil war starts, will the determined capitulationists allow you to continue the war against Japan? Will the Japanese and Wang Ching-wei allow you to continue the war against Japan? Are you really so strong that you can fight a civil war and a war against the foreign foe at the same time? You claim to have three million men, but your armies are so demoralized that people have compared them to two baskets of eggs on the ends of a carrying pole--one collision and they are finished. This is what has happened in all the campaigns in the Chungtiao Mountains, the Taihang Mountains, Chekiang and Kiangsi, western Hupeh and the Tapieh Mountains. The simple reason is that you have followed the fatal policy of being "active against the Communists" and "passive against the Japanese". A national enemy has penetrated deep into our country, and the more actively you fight the Communists and the more passively you resist the Japanese, the lower will be the morale of your troops. If you make such a poor show in fighting the foreign aggressor, can you expect your troops suddenly to become tough in fighting the Communists and the people? It is out of the question. Once you start civil war, you will have to give it your undivided attention and inevitably abandon all thought of "simultaneous resistance"; in the end you will inevitably find yourselves signing a treaty of unconditional surrender to Japanese imperialism, with capitulation as the only policy left to you. Those of you in the Kuomintang who do not really wish to capitulate will inevitably end up as capitulationists if you take an active part in instigating or prosecuting civil war. This will surely happen if you lend yourselves to the manoeuvres of the capitulationist clique and use the resolutions of the Eleventh Plenary Session and the People's Political Council as an instrument for mobilizing public opinion and preparing for anti-Communist civil war. Even if you do not want to capitulate in the first place, you will end up by surrendering in the wake of the capitulationist clique if you lend yourselves to their manoeuvres and take a wrong step. That is the first possibility concerning the direction the Kuomintang may take after the Eleventh Plenary Session, and there is an extremely serious danger that it may materialize. From the standpoint of the capitulationist clique, talk about a "political solution" and "preparations for constitutional government" is the best means of camouflaging its preparations for civil war, i.e., for surrender; all Communists, all patriotic members of the Kuomintang, all anti-Japanese parties, and all our follow-countrymen who are opposed to Japan should be sharply on the alert against this extremely grave danger and should not be fooled by the camouflage. It must be recognized that the danger of civil war has never been so great as it is now after the Kuomintang's Eleventh Plenary Session.

There is another direction in which these resolutions may lead, that of "stalling for a while and starting the civil war later". This course, which differs somewhat from that of the capitulationist clique, may be taken by those people who still want to keep up the appearance of resistance to Japan while absolutely refusing to abandon anti-communism and dictatorial rule. They may move in this direction since they see that great changes in the international situation are inevitable and Japanese imperialism is doomed; that civil war would mean capitulation and the people throughout the country are for resistance and against civil war; that the Kuomintang is in a state of serious crisis, having alienated itself from the masses, lost popular support and become more isolated than ever; and that the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union are all opposed to the launching of civil war by the Chinese government. All this may force them to postpone their civil-war schemes and play for time with empty talk about a "political solution" and "preparations for constitutional government". These people are past masters in the tactics of deception and stalling. Even in their dreams they do not forget their desire to "take Yenan" and "liquidate the Communist Party". On this point they are entirely at one with the capitulationist clique. Nevertheless they do wish to keep up the pretence of resistance to Japan, they do not wish the Kuomintang to forfeit its international standing, and they sometimes fear the censure of domestic and foreign public opinion; therefore they may stall behind the smokescreen of a "political solution" and "preparations for constitutional government" while waiting for more favourable conditions. They have no sincere desire for a "political solution" or "constitutional government", at least certainly not at the moment. Last year, about the time of the Tenth Plenary Session of the Kuomintang CEC, Comrade Lin Piao was sent to Chungking by the Central Committee of the Communist Party to confer with Mr. Chiang Kai-shek. He waited in Chungking for ten long months, but Mr. Chiang Kai-shek and the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang had no desire to discuss a single concrete problem with him. In March this year, Mr. Chiang Kai-shek published his book China's Destiny in which he emphasizes his opposition to communism and liberal id