Mao's Army Goes to Sea: The Island Campaigns and the Founding of China's Navy
New details about the founding of China’s Navy reveals critical historical context and insight into future strategy
From 1949 to 1950, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) made crucial decisions to establish a navy and secure China’s periphery. The civil war had been fought with a peasant army, yet in order to capture key offshore islands from the Nationalist rival, Mao Zedong needed to develop maritime capabilities. Mao’s Army Goes to Sea is a ground-breaking history of the founding of the Chinese navy and Communist China’s earliest island-seizing campaigns.
In this definitive account of a little-known yet critical moment in China’s naval history, Toshi Yoshihara shows that Chinese leaders refashioned the stratagems and tactics honed over decades of revolutionary struggle on land for nautical purposes. Despite significant challenges, the PLA ultimately scored important victories over its Nationalist foes as it captured offshore islands to secure its position.Drawing extensively from newly available Chinese-language sources, this book reveals how the navy-building process, sea battles, and contested offshore landings had a lasting influence on the PLA. Even today, the institution’s identity, strategy, doctrine, and structure are conditioned by these early experiences and myths. Mao’s Army Goes to Sea will help US policymakers and scholars place China’s recent maritime achievements in proper historical context—and provide insight into how its navy may act in the future.
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