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The Escalation of Hostilities in Manchuria, 1945-47: A Study of Strategic Realities and Normative Guidelines in Military Conflict in the Context of the Chinese Civil War

Cheng, Shiu Chiang LU (2002)
Abstract
This dissertation is a revisionist study of the early stages of the Chinese Civil War with a focus on the conflict in the Manchurian theatre. The military operations in Manchuria during the late 1940s were pivotal to the outcome of the Chinese Civil War, which in turn determined the political landscape of contemporary China. Clarifying the strategies employed by both sides, this study advances beyond a history of the Civil War as milestone or watershed in Chinese political history, explaining the war from the perspective of theories of conflict. Reviewing the debate between realists and cultural theorists in the international security studies, the dissertation shows that existing interpretations of the war are haunted by tacit realist... (More)
This dissertation is a revisionist study of the early stages of the Chinese Civil War with a focus on the conflict in the Manchurian theatre. The military operations in Manchuria during the late 1940s were pivotal to the outcome of the Chinese Civil War, which in turn determined the political landscape of contemporary China. Clarifying the strategies employed by both sides, this study advances beyond a history of the Civil War as milestone or watershed in Chinese political history, explaining the war from the perspective of theories of conflict. Reviewing the debate between realists and cultural theorists in the international security studies, the dissertation shows that existing interpretations of the war are haunted by tacit realist assumptions on the part of authors, combined with a relative neglect of the actual strategic practices of Chinese military leaders.

Based on newly released Civil War documents from both PRC and Taiwan, supplemented by major English sources, this empirical study provides an analysis of the link between the strategic preferences and behavioral norms of political actors. Tracing the ebb and flow of war and peace during the early stages of the Civil War and the inadvertent escalation of hostilities in Manchurian theatre, the thesis demonstrates the interaction between realist position and value-driven considerations in the decision-making processes of leaders in the conflict, notably Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek. The key finding is that the military decision-making of modern Chinese leaders was not founded on a simple Realpolitik approach, as Alastair Johnston might argue. Rather, their strategic culture was hybrid and heterogeneous, presenting mixed features of realist and value-driven considerations. Their perceptions of war, including preferences for guerrilla or mobile warfare, and a belief in swift and decisive victory, were influential in their techniques of crisis management. Of almost equal importance were ethical, historical and emotional factors such as nationalist sentiment, and feelings of moral responsibility or hatred for the enemy, which powerfully informed the behaviour of these leaders during military conflict. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • Professor Goodman, David Stephen Gordon, University of Technology Sydney
  • Professor Levine, Steven, University of Montana
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Chinese Civil War, military decision making, Manchurian Civil War
pages
363 pages
publisher
University of Melbourne
defense location
University of Melbourne
defense date
2002-02-08 10:00
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
00e023f3-4595-455a-93d1-09216a173de5 (old id 950267)
date added to LUP
2008-01-26 17:16:12
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:05
@misc{00e023f3-4595-455a-93d1-09216a173de5,
  abstract     = {This dissertation is a revisionist study of the early stages of the Chinese Civil War with a focus on the conflict in the Manchurian theatre. The military operations in Manchuria during the late 1940s were pivotal to the outcome of the Chinese Civil War, which in turn determined the political landscape of contemporary China. Clarifying the strategies employed by both sides, this study advances beyond a history of the Civil War as milestone or watershed in Chinese political history, explaining the war from the perspective of theories of conflict. Reviewing the debate between realists and cultural theorists in the international security studies, the dissertation shows that existing interpretations of the war are haunted by tacit realist assumptions on the part of authors, combined with a relative neglect of the actual strategic practices of Chinese military leaders.<br/><br>
Based on newly released Civil War documents from both PRC and Taiwan, supplemented by major English sources, this empirical study provides an analysis of the link between the strategic preferences and behavioral norms of political actors. Tracing the ebb and flow of war and peace during the early stages of the Civil War and the inadvertent escalation of hostilities in Manchurian theatre, the thesis demonstrates the interaction between realist position and value-driven considerations in the decision-making processes of leaders in the conflict, notably Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek. The key finding is that the military decision-making of modern Chinese leaders was not founded on a simple Realpolitik approach, as Alastair Johnston might argue. Rather, their strategic culture was hybrid and heterogeneous, presenting mixed features of realist and value-driven considerations. Their perceptions of war, including preferences for guerrilla or mobile warfare, and a belief in swift and decisive victory, were influential in their techniques of crisis management. Of almost equal importance were ethical, historical and emotional factors such as nationalist sentiment, and feelings of moral responsibility or hatred for the enemy, which powerfully informed the behaviour of these leaders during military conflict.},
  author       = {Cheng, Shiu Chiang},
  keyword      = {Chinese Civil War,military decision making,Manchurian Civil War},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {363},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xad83040)},
  title        = {The Escalation of Hostilities in Manchuria, 1945-47: A Study of Strategic Realities and Normative Guidelines in Military Conflict in the Context of the Chinese Civil War},
  year         = {2002},
}