The Battle for Manchuria and the Fate of China

The Battle for Manchuria and the Fate of China

Siping, 1946
Harold M. Tanner
Distribution: World
Publication date: 2/25/2013
ISBN: 978-0-253-00734-6
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In the spring of 1946, Communists and Nationalist Chinese were battled for control of Manchuria and supremacy in the civil war. The Nationalist attack on Siping ended with a Communist withdrawal, but further pursuit was halted by a cease-fire brokered by the American general, George Marshall. Within three years, Mao Zedong’s troops had captured Manchuria and would soon drive Chiang Kai-shek’s forces off the mainland. Did Marshall, as Chiang later claimed, save the Communists and determine China's fate? Putting the battle into the context of the military and political struggles fought, Harold M. Tanner casts light on all sides of this historic confrontation and shows how the outcome has been, and continues to be, interpreted to suit the needs of competing visions of China’s past and future.

Author Bio

Harold Tanner is Professor of History and Fellow of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas. A specialist in twentieth-century and contemporary China, he is the author of Strike Hard! Anti-Crime Campaigns and Chinese Criminal Justice, 1979-1985 and China: A History.


"Tanner, a professor at the University of North Texas, provides a well-organized and excellently researched work on one of the civil war’s crucial battles at the city of Siping in 1946. This case study of decisive battles is important not only for students of Chinese society and history but also for general military history scholars." —H-War

"Steeping himself in the extensive Chinese-language literature on the battle for Manchuria that has become available over the past quarter century, Tanner makes a notable and accessible contribution to understanding of the struggle for control of what both sides correctly viewed as perhaps the key region in the complicated chessboard of conflict. . . . This fine book belongs in both libraries and history classrooms." —The China Quarterly

"In short, Tanner’s book raises the military and political history of the crucial battles fought in Manchuria in 1946 to a new level. For understanding the military complexities of the civil war and the swings back and forth on and off the battlefield, it is strongly recommended." —American Historical Review

"A genuine addition to our knowledge about this battle and the Chinese civil war in general." —Mark Wilkinson, Virginia Military Institute

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Table of Contents

A Note on Chinese Names
1. Siping, 1946: Decisive Battle or Lost Opportunity?
2. The Manchurian Chessboard, August-September 1945
3. The Communist Retreat, October-December 1945
4. George Marshall’s Mission, December 1945-March 1946
5. The Second Battle of Siping: Phase One—From Outer Defense to Stalemate, March-April 1946
6. The Second Battle of Siping: Phase Two—From Defense to Retreat, April-May 1946
7. The Chase and the Cease-Fire, May-June 1946
8. Visions of the Past and Future