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Ancient fortifications, modern firepower, and warlord politics : subtitle a study on the Siege of Xi’an.. Tsang, Kingsley 2002

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/Ancient F o r t i f i c a t i o n s , Modern Firepower, and W a r l o r d Politics A Study on t h e Siege o f X i ' a n and i t s H i s t o r i c a l Significance  by K i n g s l e y Tsang |fJP=!(Zeng Qingzhang) B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 2000 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Master o f A r t s . in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department  of History)  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to t h e r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 2 002 © K i n g s l e y Tsang, 2002  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and study. I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by h i s or her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d without my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n .  Department of  History  The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  August 28,  2002  Abstract  T h e W a r l o r d period (1916-28) is a much-neglected era in modern C h i n e s e scholarship. S c h o l a r s tend to ignore it b e c a u s e the events were complicated a n d the warlords acted without a n ideological commitment. T h e y are s e e n a s violent but unsophisticated thugs with minimum affects on the history of C h i n e s e military. T h e S i e g e of Xi'an (April to N o v e m b e r 1926) demonstrated the fallacy of this assumption a n d the u n i q u e n e s s of the warlord military system. T h e warlords m a n a g e d to fuse the C h i n e s e a n d W e s t e r n military experience in a hybrid warring style. T h i s ad hoc system was utilized with great effectiveness under the circumstances of the time. O n e cannot transplant general military assumptions to this period since they fail to take into account the characteristics of the warlords. T h i s study will ascertain the historical significance of the S i e g e of Xi'an during the W a r l o r d period. T h e s i e g e was the climax of the 1926 anti-Guominjun c a m p a i g n between the Northern warlords F e n g Y u x i a n g a n d the alliance of Z h a n g Zuolin a n d W u Peifu. T h i s w a s the last major c a m p a i g n of the W a r l o r d period with the three main players e n g a g e d in ferocious battles all over North C h i n a . T h e Guominjun prevailed in the e n d b e c a u s e a small detachment of its soldiers m a n a g e d to hold the strategic city of Xi'an in an eight months siege. It s h o w e d the hybrid nature of the warlord military system a s well a s relevant regional a n d local issues. T h i s study is divided into three parts: Part O n e d i s c u s s e s the historical a n d geopolitical importance of Xi'an; Part T w o briefly s u m m a r i z e s the antiGuominjun c a m p a i g n , the military dispositions of the warlords a n d their strength a n d w e a k n e s s ; Part T h r e e details the eight months' siege. T h e s i e g e a n d the circumstance that g a v e rise to it are reconstructed b a s e d on s o u r c e s from C h i n e s e a n d W e s t e r n s e c o n d a r y analyses, newspapers, S h a a n x i gazetteer, the biographies of F e n g Y u x i a n g a n d Y a n X i s h a n .  ii  Table of Contents Abstract  "  Table of Contents  iii  List of Tables  v  List of Figures  vi  1. Introduction  1  2. Summary of the Xi'an Siege  3  3. History of Xi'an  5  4. Background to the Anti-Guominjun Campaign  7  4.1. Realignment of Power Structure  8  4.2. Rise of Zhang Zuolin  8  4.3. Feng Yuxiang and the Expansion of Guominjun's Territories....9 4.4. Weaknesses of the Guominjun  11  4.5. Feng Yuxiang and Conspiracies  12  4.6. Anti-Guominjun Campaign  13  5. The Siege of Xi'an  15  5.1. The Defense of Xi'an  19  5.2. Tactics of the Siege  22  5.3. Feng Yuxiang's Rescue and the End of the Siege  23  5.4. Casualties and the Affects on Local Society  24  5.5. The Guominjun Motive in the Siege  25  5.6. The Allies' Motives in the Siege..  26  6. The Nature of the Hybrid Military System  27  6.1. Regional Issues Concerning the Siege  28  7. Conclusion  29  8. Biblography  32  Appendix I Tables  38  Appendix II Maps and Figures  44  iv  List of Tables  Appendix I Table 1. Character List  38  Table 2. A Chronology of Events in China, 1911-1928  40  Table 3. A list of Guominjun's Territory and its Commanders in Late 1924 Table 4. The Guominjun and its Comanders, 1925-26  42 42  Table 5. Guominjun's Commanders and Units in Xi'an, April-November 1926 Table 6. Clarification on the Chinese Term "guan"  43 43  List of Figures  Appendix II Figure 1. Map of Shaanxi, 1920s  44  Figure 2. Warlord China, 1925  45  Figure 3. The City of Xi'an, 1930  46  Figure 4. Modern Xi'an: City Wall and Moat  47  Figure 5. Towers on top of Xi'an City Wall  48  vi  1. Introduction [In a celebrated episode from the historical fiction Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the master strategist K o n g m i n g ( Z h u g e Liang) u s e d a n i n g e n u o u s stratagem to d i s c o u r a g e his o p p o n e n t from attacking his skeleton force held up in a small-fortified town. Directing a complex retreat after the Jieting military disaster, he soon learned of the imminent arrival of a massive force led by his archrival Sima Y i . W i t h only a handful of troops a n d officers with him, the situation s e e m e d hopeless.] T h e r e w a s panic a m o n g the cadre as K o n g m i n g climbed the wall to scout the horizon. Dust w a s billowing up to the skies. T w o columns of n o r t h m e n w e r e bearing murderously d o w n on Hsi. K o n g m i n g ordered all flags a n d banners put away. T h e c o m m a n d e r s of the watchtowers w e r e cautioned, on their lives, against any unauthorized m o v e m e n t s or audible conversation. T h e n K o n g m i n g h a d the m a i n gates thrown o p e n a n d twenty m e n stationed at e a c h to s w e e p a n d d a m p d o w n the roadway, T h e y w e r e to appear oblivious w h e n the northerners arrived. K o n g m i n g d e c k e d himself in crane feathers, w o u n d a white w r a p on his h e a d a n d , followed by two lads a n d carrying a zither, braced himself u p o n the city wall. Incense burned as he struck up the instrument. W h e n Sima Yi's forward units c a m e with sight of the s c e n e that K o n g m i n g had contrived, they w e r e afraid to advance. Incredulous, Sima Yi ordered a halt a n d raced to the front. T h e r e indeed w a s Kongming, seated on the upper wall, a p p e a r i n g palpably a m u s e d a s h e s t r u m m e d his zither a m i d the incense. T h e lad to the left held his s w o r d the lad to the right the yak-tail. In and around the gates, twenty-odd villagers concentrated on their s w e e p i n g as if no o n e w e r e near. 1  Romance of the Three Kingdoms  In the fictional account, Sima Yi hastily withdrew his force, fearing that K o n g m i n g h a d s p r u n g a gigantic trap. In reality, n o general w o u l d d a r e e m p l o y his celebrated stratagem of reverse psychology to defuse a siege. A siege is c o n s i d e r e d a very risky affair b e c a u s e it pitches two sides into a prolonged attrition c a m p a i g n . T o breach a fortified city with motivated defenders, the besiegers n e e d to a m a s s overwhelming m a n p o w e r a n d resources. Still there can be no guarantee of victory as the besiegers may exhaust themselves trying to o v e r c o m e the fortifications. T h e introduction of g u n p o w d e r radically altered traditional siege craft. O n c e the symbol of feudal power a n d omnipotence, fortifications s u c h a s city walls a n d castles b e c a m e obsolete in the face of heavy caliber artillery. Yet the 1926 Siege of Xi'an in 1926 s h o w e d that W e s t e r n military  Kuan-chung, Lo. Books, 1976), 288. 1  Three Kingdoms: China's Epic Drama Translated & ed. Moss Roberts. (New York: Panth  1  experience on s i e g e warfare d o e s not necessarily fit the circumstances of the W a r l o r d period (1916-28 C E ) . T h e S i e g e of Xi'an w a s part of a n anti-Guominjun c a m p a i g n between F e n g Y u x i a n g a n d the alliance of Z h a n g Zuolin, W u Peifu a n d Y a n X i s h a n . Lasting from late 1925 to early 1927, the c a m p a i g n raged a c r o s s North C h i n a . T h e star of this period, F e n g , w a s c h a s e d out of his e n c l a v e in Zhili (Hebei province) a n d his forces p u s h e d to the brink of collapse. T h e war culminated in the dramatic Xi'an s i e g e from April to N o v e m b e r 1926. Isolated in the ancient fortress of Xi'an, a small Guominjun garrison h e a d e d by Li Y u n l o n g a n d Y a n g H u c h e n g fought against a m a s s i v e force led by allied general Liu Z h e n h u a . W h e n the garrison f a c e d imminent defeat in November, F e n g 2  Y u x i a n g brought the Guominjun b a c k to life. T o g e t h e r with the National Revolutionary Army of the G u o m i n d a n g ( G M D ) , the Guominjun lifted the s i e g e a n d broke the strongholds of the allies in North C h i n a . Subsequently, the G M D established a national government in Nanjing in 1928 a n d the W a r l o r d period e n d e d . Despite of the fact that this major c a m p a i g n drained the resources of the Northern warlords a n d h e l p e d to expedite the G M D ' s Northern Expedition, it has received no c o v e r a g e in either popular or a c a d e m i c circles. P e r h a p s this is d u e to the fact that it neither involved the dramatic political struggles between the G u o m i n d a n g a n d the C h i n e s e C o m m u n i s t Party ( C C P ) nor c o m m a n d e d the s a m e pivotal military impacts a s the Northern Expedition or the Xi'an Incident ( D e c e m b e r 1936). T h e S i e g e of Xi'an contradicted W e s t e r n military experience on s i e g e craft. T h e primitive fortifications in Xi'an should preclude the defenders any c h a n c e of s u c c e s s against a n invading army a r m e d with modern w e a p o n s . T h o u g h mighty city walls a n d elaborate networks of moats were known to crumble in the face of artillery, this s i e g e s h o w e d the fallacy of this a s s u m p t i o n . T h e battle demonstrated the transitional nature 3  of the C h i n e s e military system. It was characterized by a hybrid warring style where contemporary W e s t e r n e x p e r i e n c e s in military organization a n d weaponry were fused  In fact, the name Guominjun was disused by 1926. For the sake of clarity, I will continue to designate units associated with Feng as the Guominjun. One of the most dramatic examples of the power of artillery over ancient fortification was Charles VIFs whirlwind campaign in Northern Italy in the spring of 1494. Even at this early stage, the forty artillery pieces Charles brought with him destroyed scores of medieval fortifications that used to take years to subjugate in a matter of months. John Keegan. A History of Warfare. (New York: Vintage Books, 1993), 321. 2  3  2  with the traditional C h i n e s e wisdom in tactics a n d politics. T h e s i e g e s h o w e d the immature status of the C h i n e s e military evolution where the "old ways" of C h i n e s e warfare retained their influence despite two d e c a d e s of w h o l e s a l e military reorganization along W e s t e r n line. T h e s i e g e also brought out salient regional issues. Regional feuding was primarily a result of traditional animosity a n d the "guest army"  (kejun)  p h e n o m e n o n between S h a a n x i a n d H e n a n . T h e y played a n important role in  deciding the mindset of the actors involved in the siege. S i e g e s in  Three Kingdoms tend  Romance of the  to conjure up romantic images where ingenuous stratagem a n d  surreal heroism o v e r s h a d o w e d the reality of suffering. In the context of C h i n e s e Warlordism, the feats of the valiant generals were exaggerated to the extend that the m u n d a n e suffering of the people were completely ignored. T h u s , it is very difficult to ascertain the social impact of the siege. T h e s e factors must be c o n s i d e r e d in a n a l y z i n g the historical significance of this struggle. T h i s study s e e k s to ascertain the historical significance of the Xi'an s i e g e during the W a r l o r d period. T h e s i e g e represented the e n d point of a m u c h - n e g l e c t e d e r a in modern C h i n e s e scholarship. It demonstrats the adaptive nature of the warlord military system a n d the circumstances that brought it about. T o try to understand the result of the s i e g e with a m o n o c a u s a l explanation will inevitably lead to a misinterpretation, for neither traditional C h i n e s e politic nor W e s t e r n military theory c a n adequately a d d r e s s the hybrid nature of the warlords a s military a n d political entities. T h i s study is divided into three parts: Part O n e d i s c u s s e s the historical a n d geopolitical importance of Xi'an; Part T w o briefly s u m m a r i z e s the anti-Guominjun c a m p a i g n , the warlords' military dispositions a n d their strength a n d w e a k n e s s ; Part T h r e e details the eight months' siege. W h i l e numerous C h i n e s e a n d W e s t e r n s o u r c e s has a n a l y z e d the c a m p a i g n , very give details on the actual siege. Part T h r e e is reconstructed from limited information derived from foreign news c o r r e s p o n d e n c e , s e c o n d a r y sources, the biography of F e n g Y u x i a n g a n d Y a n X i s h a n .  2. Summary of the Xi'an Siege T h e Xi'an s i e g e w a s the result of the anti-Guominjun c a m p a i g n instigated by Z h a n g Zuolin a n d W u Peifu in late 1925. T h e Guominjun w a s in its zenith of both  3  military a n d political power at this time. Its army w a s a s large a s 4 0 , 0 0 0 a n d its territory stretched from G a n s u to Z h i l i . Y e t it w a s overwhelmed w h e n the two most powerful 4  Northern warlords joined force. With the provinces of Zhili a n d H e n a n fallen to the allies, scattered contingents of Guominjun fled towards their remaining strongholds in S h a a n x i and Ningxia. A s the most heavily fortified position in Guominjun's remaining s p h e r e of control, Xi'an was the last citadel of the b e l e a g u e r e d army. If it were to fall, the Guominjun would be cut in half a n d easily destroyed by the allies. F a c i n g a m a s s i v e allies assault force of 100,000 were less than about 10,000 Guominjun soldiers in Xi'an. Completely isolated a n d lacking in all essential supplies, the garrison m a n a g e d the astounding feat of holding the city for eight months. Unlike other great s i e g e s of the 2 0  th  century, where mobile armor battles p l a y e d a n important role, it w a s characterized by artillery bombardment a n d assaults along the elaborate fortifications e n c a s i n g Xi'an. T h e surreal juxtaposition of modern firepower a n d ancient d e f e n s e structures e n d e d w h e n F e n g e m e r g e d from his retirement a n d lifted the s i e g e with the reconstituted Guominjun in N o v e m b e r 1 9 2 6 . E v o k i n g the most dramatic moment in 5  three Kingdoms,  Romance of the  the "knights in shining armors" relieved the garrison w h e n failure w a s  imminent. S o u r c e s estimate at least 2 0 , 0 0 0 civilian a n d military casualties inside the cities. T h e r e were no reliable estimates on the casualties of the b e s i e g e r s or the population. T h e s i e g e presented its own set of unique characteristics. T h e city of Xi'an, with its ancient fortifications, e n a b l e d the defenders to rely u p o n "defense in height" in addition to "defense in depth". T h e concept of "defense in depth" h a d s h o w e d its merit in modern s i e g e s s u c h a s Leningrad a n d Stalingrad. T r a d i n g s p a c e for time, the defenders would heavily fortify the surrounding countryside of a strategically important city. T h e p u r p o s e is to drain the b e s i e g e r s of r e s o u r c e s a n d manpower long before they are in a position to attack the city. T h o u g h the technique h a s b e e n u s e d for a long time, the  4  Li M a o s h e n g & L u o C h u n p u & Y a n g j i a n z h o n g  |i|_H¥»  •  $t#i3  ' If  YanXishan Quanchu IWiWi  ( B i o g r a p h y o f Y a n X i s h a n ) . ( B e i j i n g : D a n g d a i Z h o n g g u o C h u b a n s h e , 1997),322-324.  Soon after the Beijing coup in late 1925, Feng announced his retirement. Ostensibly to study Buddhism in Ningxia, Feng later traveled to the Soviet Union to "observe" the progress of the socialist regime. Scholars have variously interpreted his real intension as to negotiate foreign aids or remove himself as a target of the Wu-Zhang alliance. James Sheridan. Chinese Warlord: the Career of Feng Yu-hsiang, (California: Stanford University Press, 19 5  185.  4  advent of artillery gives the defenders tremendous a d v a n t a g e s in holding territory a n d deterring the e n e m y from storming the city. In the s i e g e of Xi'an, "defense in depth" w a s further supplemented by a s u p p o s e d l y obsolete technique—"defense  in height". By 6  1926, the city was fortified by a series of elaborate fortification. E x p e r i e n c e in E u r o p e a n s i e g e warfare after the "Gunpowder Revolution" (1300-1500 C E ) h a d demonstrated that high walls could not deter a n e n e m y e q u i p p e d with artillery. Yet, the ancient city wall 7  a n d moat proved to be a decisive factor during the siege.  3. History of Xi'an Xi'an is the capital of the province S h a a n x i (Shenxi). Historically known a s C h a n g ' a n (long tranquility), the city was o n c e the capital of twelve dynasties (from 1 1 century B C E to 9  th  century C E ) .  8  th  It is also known as the terminus of the f a m e d Silk R o a d  that linked H a n C h i n a to Imperial R o m e . Situated o n the south s h o r e of the W e i River, the city is the central point of the W e i River valley. Better known as the "Area within the Pass"  (guanzhong),  this region is surrounded on all s i d e s by mountain r a n g e s .  9  Its land  was highly productive d u e to the loess soil deposited by the W e i River a n d the mountains formed a natural barrier that protected the region from outside incursions. In the traditional period where military a n d political power s t e m m e d from strong agriculture, whoever controlled this region w a s in a position to rule C h i n a .  1 0  Agriculture in this region  d e m a n d e d effective water control for the loess soil h a d a t e n d e n c y to c l o g the rivers. A s the seat of numerous dynasties, the valley w a s highly coveted a n d was the site of  Though by no means a new technique, "defense in depth" was used to great effect in both mobile armor and siege warfare in the 20 century (i.e.: the Germans adapted this technique in the Western front by 1916-17. It was adapted in response to the increase sophistication of modern weaponry (primarily machine guns and quick fire bolt-action rifles). Instead of relying on one defensive line (it can be the city wall or a series of heavily fortified positions, such as the Maginot line), the defenders will draw the assailants into the batUefield litters with mutually supportive strong points. The goal is to exhaust the assailants before they reach the target. Geoffrey Parker ed. Cambridge Illustrated History ofWarfare. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 6  th  Ibid, 92-119. The twelve dynasties were Western Zhou, Qin, Western Han, Xin, Western Jin, Former Zhao, Former Qin, Western Wei, Northern Zhou, Sui, and Tang. Shaanxi Shifan Daxue Dilixi ed. W&ffl&eJZ^i&W&M- Xi 'ansi Dilizhi S ^ f ) 5 % S ^ (Records of Xi'an's Geography). (Shaanxi: Shaanxi Renmin Chubanshe, 1988), 6. Refer to Table 6. The Han historian Sima Qian described this region as "protected on all four sides by barrier of mountains and rivers, and the land is rich and fertile. This is the place to make your capital and rule as a dictator." Qian, Sima. Records of the Grand Historian. Han Dynasty 1. Translated by Burton Watson. Revised ed. (New York: Co University Press, 1993), 33. 7  8  9  1 0  5  repeated battles. T h e destruction wrought by repeated disasters a n d war m a d e the inhabitants recalcitrant, belligerent to outsiders a n d highly i n d e p e n d e n t - m i n d e d .  In the  11  a b s e n c e of modern transportation, population inside the valley relied on the W e i River a n d the imperial highway through the treacherous mountains to carry g o o d s a n d people. H e n c e the mountain p a s s e s a n d the city formed strategic checkpoints, controlling a c c e s s to the central plain. Historically, the city s y m b o l i z e d the division between the C h i n e s e conception of civilization a n d barbarity. T h e region borders diverse environments. T o the west are the desert regions of G a n s u a n d Ningxia. Until they were brought under the M a n c h u control, these regions were c o n s i d e r e d a s d e  facto  barbarian territory. It was also where the Silk  R o a d linked "civilized" C h i n a proper to the rest of the world. T o the north is the Central A s i a n steppe. T o the east a n d south is the flood plain of C h i n a proper. C o n s i d e r e d as the core of C h i n e s e civilization, this is where Xi'an a n d its bureaucratic machinery g o v e r n e d for a millennium. T o the southwest is the province of S i c h u a n . K n o w n a s  tiangu ziguo ( h e a v e n  country), the province h a s abundant natural r e s o u r c e a n d is o n e  of the richest parts of the country. By 1926, Shaanxi was part of the Guominjun's territory. T h e complex g e o g r a p h y m a d e the province the hotbed of bandit g a n g s a n d petty w a r l o r d s .  12  Despite its best  effort, the Guominjun only retained nominal control over part of Shaanxi. T h e a b s e n c e of industries a n d the dire poverty of the population m a d e the province a poor candidate for a warlord's b a s e of operation. A s the capital of Shaanxi, Xi'an was the hub of the province's transportation network a n d e c o n o m i c activities. S i n c e the Longhai railway h a d not yet b e e n completed, Xi'an relied on the indirect Beijing-Suiyuan railway linking the Beijing Metropolitan region, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, a n d G a n s u t o g e t h e r .  13  The  linkage between Xi'an a n d North C h i n a is contingent upon its link through Shanxi. T h i s  Elizabeth J. Perry. Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China. 1845-1945. (California: Stanford univer 1980), 11. The White Wolf (Bai Lang) bandit gang used Shaanxi as a staging group to raid surrounding province in 1910s. Ma Liqian, Wang Kaiji, Lu Yizhi, ed. H J H ^ 3£pSPf P—jits^, & Zhongguo Tielu Jianzhu Biannian Jianshi: 1991-1981 i^WW^M.WtWs^^'k-- 1881-1981)) (Brief History of China's Railway Construction: 1881-1981). (Beijing: Xinghua Shudian, 1983), 186. 11  1 2  1 3  %  6  d e p e n d e n c e b e c a m e almost fatal when the tide of the war turned against the Guominjun in 1 9 2 6 .  14  4. Background to the Anti-Guominjun Campaign T h e war between F e n g Yuxiang's Guominjin a n d the alliance of Z h a n g Zuolin a n d W u Peifu was a result of the 2  n d  Zhili-Fengtian war (1924 C E ) .  1 5  T h o u g h the war  eliminated W u a s a power player in North C h i n a a n d led to the rapid e x p a n s i o n of Z h a n g ' s sphere of influence inside C h i n a proper, it was also inconclusive. F a r from deciding the fate of the North, it brought about a new period of instability a s F e n g c l a s h e d with Z h a n g for control of the Beijing Metropolitan region a n d Zhili province. Despite of W u ' s early s u c c e s s in holding off Fengtian assaults, a combination of treachery, b a d luck, a n d warlord politic c o n s p i r e d against h i m .  1 6  T h e most pivotal factor  contributing to W u ' s defeat was Feng's s u d d e n about face a n d occupation of Beijing. T h e Beijing coup  (Beijing Zhengbian)  in October 23 1924 derailed W u ' s entire campaign,  cut off his main force in S h a n h a i g u a n , a n d invited Z h a n g Zuolin to exploit his w e a k e n e d left f l a n k .  17  H e was routed a n d h a d to beat a hasty retreat to H a n k o u . T h e o n c e powerful  Zhili C l i q u e disintegrated into competing factions a n d lost much of its military muscle. After the disaster in Northeastern C h i n a in 1924, W u eventually m a n a g e d to put together a new domain in Hubei.  Refer to Figure 2. Known also as the "Old Marshall" or the "Manchuria warlord", Zhang headed the Fengtian clique. He took control of Manchuria in 1910s and gradually turned it into his personal kingdom. He maintained one of the largest armies during the warlord era and had the resources and industries of "Fortress Manchuria" at his disposal. Many scholars considered him as a puppet of Imperial Japan. Zhang was forced out of Beijing in May by the GMD's Northern Expedition He was assassinated by Japanese agent on June 4. Ronald Suleski. Civil Government in Warlord China. (New York: Peter Lang, 2002), 1-31. Fengtian is the traditional term that describes the regions of northwestern Inner Mongolia, western and southeastern Jilian and a large portion of Liaoning. Zhongguo Lishi Diming Cidian. (Nianchang: Jiangxi jiaoyu Chubanshe, 1998), 463. After the coup d'etat, Feng declared his intention to seek peace. He imprisoned Cao Kun and ostentatiously invited Sun Yatsen to the capital to discuss an end to the political disunity. According to Sheridan, the mutual tension between Feng and Wu grew out of a series of clashes and disagreement as early as 1922. Feng did not expect to gain anything from Wu's victory. Instead he accepted a huge bribe from Zhang (provided by the Japanese and amounted to approximately 1,500,000 yen), took over the capital and soundly handed a humiliating defeat to his old master. Sheridan, 136-147; Arthur Waldron.Frow War to Nationalism: China's Turning Point, 1924-25. York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 182-184. 1 4  1 5  1 6  1 7  7  4.1. Realignment of Power Structure A s Lucian P y e points out in his study of warlord politic, the structure of warlord relations existed in an u n e a s y b a l a n c e of temporary alliance a n d deal m a k i n g . T h e 18  rapid e x p a n s i o n of power a n d territory by one warlord would inevitable lead to reactions from others, often violently in order to forestall the e m e r g e n c e of a h e g e m o n . By the c o n c l u s i o n of the 2  n d  Zhili-Fengtian war, Z h a n g was on his way of claiming this honor.  4.2. Rise of Zhang Zuolin Z h a n g ' s domain p o s s e s s e d three attributes which e n a b l e d him to p u s h outward aggressively: security, resources, a n d proximity to the patron. M a n c h u r i a bordered the Soviet F a r E a s t a n d Korea, neither of which was in a position to invade Z h a n g ' s territory. Strategic security e n a b l e d him to concentrate his force towards C h i n a proper. S e c o n d l y , M a n c h u r i a h a d abundant resources. T h i s provided Z h a n g with a huge r e s o u r c e b a s e to develop. B y the time Z h a n g consolidate his control over the provinces in 1910s, M a n c h u r i a already h a d an agricultural b a s e a n d industries. It also h a d well-developed infrastructure (railway, ports). T h e combination of industries (particularly the arsenals) a n d transport networks allowed Z h a n g to w a g e war with a s e c u r e supply b a s e .  1 9  Thirdly,  Z h a n g Zuolin h a d the patronage of Imperial J a p a n . With their burgeoning industrialized economy, the J a p a n e s e h a d e y e d M a n c h u r i a longingly for its agricultural a n d industrial r e s o u r c e s since the Meiji period. B y the time Z h a n g rose to power, the J a p a n e s e h a d invested significant financial a n d political r e s o u r c e s in M a n c h u r i a .  20  A b o v e all, the J a p a n e s e sought stability in order to exploit the  resource. T o protect its interest during the W a r l o r d period, J a p a n provided aids to placate the "Old Marshall". Militarily, Z h a n g benefited greatly from his proximity to  Pye, Lucian W. Warlord Politics: Conflict and Coalition in the Modernization of Republican Praeger Publisher, 1971), 9-11. This is especially important given the embryonic nature of Feng's defense industry. Soviet observers pointed out that Feng had very limited access to heavy industry and resources. His so-called arsenals were in fact improvised workshops. They could not manufacture gunpowder and hardly manage to keep up with basic maintenance of equipment. Julie Lien-ying How, ed. "Soviet Advisers with the Kuominchun, 1925-1926: A Document Study." 1 8  1 9  Chinese Studies in History XIX, no. 1-2, (Fall-Winter 1985-1986), 125-127. The Japanese invested both money and blood in Manchuria. It wrestled control of southern Manchuria from Czarist Russia after several bloody battles in the Russo-Japanese war (1904-5). It founded the Southern Manchuria Railway Company that alone worth 200 million yen. Suleski, 27. 2 0  8  Ch  Japan.  2 1  In so far as J a p a n e s e interest w a s c o n c e r n e d , Z h a n g h a d leverage- he  m a n a g e d to link his own political survival to the interests of J a p a n . In the n a m e of maintaining stability over Manchuria, Z h a n g extracted a great deal of material a n d financial aids from the J a p a n e s e .  2 2  W h e n c o m b i n e d with M a n c h u r i a intrinsic g e o g r a p h i c  a n d industrial advantage, Z h a n g was in a position to dominate C h i n a in late 1924.  4.3. Feng Yuxiang and the Expansion of Guominjun's Territories T h e biggest beneficiary of the war w a s the "Christian general" F e n g Y u x i a n g . O n c e a subordinate of W u Peifu, F e n g h a d by late 1924 c a r v e d out his d o m a i n s a n d was a star a m o n g the Northern warlords. Unlike W u a n d Z h a n g , F e n g ' s Christian heritage g a v e him an e d g e w h e n dealing with foreigners (particularly Christian countries).  23  His d e m a n d for strict military discipline g a v e his forces a reputation that  few warlord m a n a g e d to achieve—an efficient a r m e d force that looked after the welfare of the c o m m o n people  (laobaixing) In the aftermath of the Beijing coup, F e n g quickly 24  e x p a n d e d his army a n d territory. T h e National People's Army of C h i n a  (Zhonghua  Minguo Guominjun) was created on O c t o b e r 25 1924 a n d its numbers quickly swelled to around 400,000. Feng's sphere of control rapidly e x p a n d e d from his b a s e in the Beijing  In his study of the armament trade during the Warlord period, Anthony Chan points out that geography, regional infrastructure, and patron-client relationship all played a role in the warlords' ability to acquire weapons. Manchuria had developed industries. It was physically close to its major patron, and the ability to rapidly move the weapons from the ports to the army. This increased the combat effectiveness of Zhang's army and could potentially give him a deciding advantage over others, especially Feng Yuxiang. Anthony, Chan. Arming the Chinese: the Western Armaments Trade in Warlord China, 1920-1928. (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1982). One of the most dramatic examples of Japanese aid was the huge bribe provide for Zhang during the 2 ZhiliFengtian war. Had Zhang Zuolin lost the war, Wu would control of Manchuria and possibly take over all of Japan's interests. This, coupled with Zhang's willingness to deal with them, gave the Japanese a powerful reason to get involved. Japan would again interfere on Zhang's behalf when it intercepted Feng's supply in Dagu in 1925. Given his religious belief, Feng established very positive relationship with the foreign missionaries during his tenure as governors of various provinces and later as the commander of the Northwest Defense District. Foreign powers also judged him in more favourable light because of his Christian heritage and reputation as a "people's general". See Broomhall for a foreign missionary account and Stremski for the British reaction to Feng. The US Department of State also published a very short biographical sketch on Feng in 1948. It provides some insight on the Americans' perspective. Marshall Broomhall. General Feng: A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus. (London: China Inland Mission, 1923); Richard Stremski. "Britain and Warlordism in China: Relations with Feng Yu-Hsiang, 19211928". Journal of Oriental Studies (Hong Kong). 1973 11(1):91-106; US Department of State. Division of Biographic Information. "Biography of Feng Yu-Hsiang". (Washington, DC: Department of State, 1948). According to missionary reports, Feng had made a positive impression to the local population while he was the military governor of Henan. He was well known for stressing the soldiers' role as the protectors of the people. NCH 143 (May22 1922), 661. Also see Sheridan, 122-123; "Document A, the Frist Kuominchun Army," Julie Lien-ying How, 107-108. 21  2 2  nd  2 3  2 4  9  Metropolitan region to several provinces in North C h i n a .  215  W h i l e vast in s c o p e , his  territory w a s neither d e v e l o p e d nor s e c u r e from rival incursions. F e n g w a s in a perilous position in 1926. With his disciplined force a n d his control over Beijing, F e n g stood h e a d a n d shoulders a b o v e his p e e r s in terms of combat power a n d political authority. T h e vast stretch of his domain put him in a position to strike a n d annex the rich regions of M a n c h u r i a , J i a n g s u , a n d S i c h u a n .  2 6  But just a s he could gain  e a s y a c c e s s to the rest of C h i n a , Feng's e n e m i e s could overwhelm his control over s u c h a vast domain. His territory w a s fragmented into numerous s p h e r e s scattered in several provinces a n d regions, none of which F e n g controlled completely. S i n c e the transport infrastructure was underdeveloped, F e n g relied on o n e railway link—the Beijing-Suiyuan l i n e - to maintain the flow of supplies a n d connecting the various s p h e r e s . Unfortunately, the strategic province of Shanxi bisected the vital link. W h e n its capricious overlord, Y a n X i s h a n , turned against the Guominjun in 1925, he crippled its ability to maintain an uninterrupted line of communication during crucial months in 1926. In spite of the fact that F e n g h a d significantly e x p a n d e d the Guominjun s i n c e the coup, the forces were largely uncoordinated a n d poorly e q u i p p e d . Except for the 1  st  Guominjun, which F e n g trained a n d c o m m a n d e d personally, his armies were c o m p o s e d of soldiers of very diverse backgrounds, many of whom were bandits or soldiers incorporated from the defeated w a r l o r d s .  27  Indiscriminate recruitment e n a b l e d the  Guominjun to rapidly expand its ranks, but at the sacrifice of military discipline, training a n d combat e f f e c t i v e n e s s .  28  M a n y of t h e s e soldiers never underwent the training  stipulated by F e n g a n d h a d little respect for the ideal of the Guominjun. In fact, their  Feng's sphere of control included Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Henan, and the Beijing Metropolitan region. The term Manchuria denotes the Northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning At this time, the 2 army was under Wu Jingyin and the 3 army under Sun Yue. These two armies were never known for its tight discipline or military effectiveness. This got worst after the collapse of the Zhili-Shandong theatre. Most of the troops eventually ended up in Loyang. Along the way it picked up remnant of different forces (including bandits). The lack of discipline and disruption to local communities caused uproars from both civilians and the Red Spear society. Zhang Baifeng & Li Zongyi ed. Beiyang Junfa: 1912-1928 { 4 WWM » (Northern Warlords). Vol. 2 (Hubei: Wuhan Chubanshe), 1990. Also see chapters 2 & 3 of Billingsley's Bandits to under the origin of Henan and Shaanxi animosity during the Warlord period. While they were conducting "anti-banditry" activities, the Shaanxi warlords would purposely warned off local bandits so as to justify their continual existence in Henan. They would go as far as to attack the Henan Red Spear society and prevent them from terminating the bandits. Phil Billingsley. Bandits in Republican China. (California: Stanford University Press, 1988), 15-69. Julie Lien-ying How, 184-198.  2 5  2 6  2 7  nd  rd  |lf@i$  ±£§.  2 8  10  behaviors r e s e m b l e d more closely the e n e m i e s they sought to destroy.^ With no time to 9  impress upon them the  espirit de corps the  soldiers held little loyalty to the Guominjun.  4.4. Weaknesses of the Guominjun W h i l e vast in s c o p e , F e n g ' s territory w a s neither d e v e l o p e d nor s e c u r e from rival incursions. In fact, his territory lacked all the elements that created "Fortress Manchuria": vulnerable to attack, dire poverty, a n d lack of outlet to foreign assistance. F e n g ' s territory included s o m e of C h i n a ' s most poverty-stricken regions. T h e four regions that m a d e up the bulk of Guominjun's territory were scarcely populated a n d h a d no established financial or industrial base. Except for Shaanxi, Ningxia, Inner M o n g o l i a a n d G a n s u were desert regions known for their pastoral life style. W h i l e S h a a n x i benefited from the alluvial soil of the Yellow River, it also suffered from poverty induced by deforestation a n d the shifting of e c o n o m i c activities. Periodic flooding a n d the remoteness of the region d i s c o u r a g e d foreign investment. Despite F e n g ' s efforts to industrialize the regions, there were not e n o u g h infrastructures to support the Guominjun. Without a s e c u r e rear a r e a or d e v e l o p e d industrial b a s e to replenish supplies a n d troops, the Guominjun lacked the resources with which to compete against the M a n c h u r i a n warlord. S i n c e there were no industries in which to extract revenue, the Guominjun relied heavily on taxation from the merchants a n d peasants. It forced local p e a s a n t s to grow c a s h crops (such as opium) a n d disrupted local food p r o d u c t i o n .  30  The  One foreign correspond wearily commented Sun Yue let lose his soldiers in Shaanxi. He "allowed the district to be bled white by his unpaid men. All the officers below the rank of colonel used to sally forth at night to collect their pay, as one man put it. Now they are commended to celebrate the 'virtues' of the man who openly connived at the highway robbery committee in his name. Strange times, when such men should control the destinies of the country." NCH, (Jan., 24, 1925), 137. Regional food production was thrown into chaos when warlords imposed cash crops farming, such as opium and cotton, on the peasants in Shaanxi. With the already chaotic transport network and the limited rolling stock, food (if available) was unable to reach the people in need. Many regions experienced severe famine in 1924-25. Wang Min U0 Jinxiang j E ^ l f - "Er, Sanshi Niandai Yapia Wenti" • H+^f^SJn fajgi" S Dangan 2 9  3 0  no.2 (1992): 71-76. Missionaries also reported that there was a man-made famine in Central China. Even though there were plenty of grain in Gansu and Suiyuan (Ningxia), no one could afford the exorbitant price to transport it. Warlords of the regions squeezed the population of revenue by setting up special tax and transport levies for intra-regional trade. The poor were suffering from warlord politics as they ate "leaves of the trees in lieu of food, and men [sold] their wives and children to save them from starvation". Missionaries pointed out that local cash crops and opium cultivation imposed by the warlords was a major cause of the famine. NCH 138 (Jan 15, 1921), 66 &141; 152 (July 26, 1924), 133. 11  transport network a n d the landlocked nature of Feng's territory nullified his effort to court foreign support. W h e n his foothold in Tianjin w a s taken by Fengtian troops in 1926, F e n g lost his only seaport a n d a c c e s s to the majority of the foreign powers. Without a n outlet to the coast, he h a d no choice but to court support from the Soviet Union. But flirting with the "Reds" also created problems of its own. In addition to the difficulties of transporting the aid to Guominjun headquarters in Zhangjiakou, F e n g also h a d to content with increasing Soviet interference in the military (on issues of political indoctrination a n d training) a n d foreign hostility. In spite of his Christian heritage, the c l o s e association with "Red" R u s s i a a r o u s e d fear a m o n g the W e s t e r n powers that the "Christian" general was turning "Red".  31  H e f a c e d the difficulties of a p p e a s i n g his Soviet  patron while minimizing their ideological encroachment a n d the danger of active foreign.  32  Furthermore, Feng's involvement in the G u o Songling rebellion destroyed  what little c h a n c e he might have in peaceful consolidation. T h i s o p e n e d the prospect of a two-front war against both W u Peifu a n d Z h a n g Zuolin.  4.5. Feng Yuxiang and Conspiracies T h e tension a n d competing interests would likely draw the two s i d e s into o p e n conflict, but F e n g involvement in G u o ' s rebellion hastened the inevitable.  33  Apparently  negotiated in secret between F e n g a n d o n e of Z h a n g ' s crack generals, G u o Songling, the conspirators planned to take control of M a n c h u r i a a n d forced the "Old Marshall" to retire. T a k i n g the designation 4  th  Guominjun, G u o launched a surprise attack against  Z h a n g in N o v e m b e r 1925. By D e c e m b e r , G u o was in striking distance of S h e n y a n g (Mukden), the capital of Z h a n g ' s warlord empire. After the s h o c k subsided, Z h a n g rallied support a m o n g loyal troops a n d m a n a g e d to stall G u o ' s assault outside of S h e n y a n g . W h e n casualties b e g a n to mount, many of the rebel soldiers a b a n d o n e d G u o ' s quest a n d returned to the Fengtian clique. G u o fled towards Zhili but w a s  The British in particular was fearful. See Richard Stremski's "Britain and Warlordism in China" In spite of Feng's best effort to insulate the Guominjun from the image of a "Red army", foreign powers did intervene on behalf of his enemies. For instance, Japan interception of weapons shipment in Dagu bounded to Feng's territory. According, Zhang had indicated to foreign diplomats as early as March 1925 that he planned to attack the Guominjun very soon. In May, he sent troops to Beijing, overtly to protect the capital. But Feng pulled out the Guominjun from the capital and avoided a confrontation at the time. Sheridan, 179; Jian Youwen W^5L~!>C-Feng Yuxiangchuan OJ§3Eiji¥'PS)) (Biography of Feng Yuxiang). Vol. l&2(Taipei: Chuanji Wenxue Zazhishe, 1982). 3 2  3 3  12  captured a n d executed. F e n g belatedly launched attacks against Fengtian positions in Zhili. H e subsequently wrestled control of Tianjin from Fengtian's general Li J i n g l i n . F e n g then brought the war to Fengtian controlled S h a n d o n g .  3 5  34  After s o m e initial  s u c c e s s , F e n g found himself facing a determined Fengtian resistance in early 1926. His action also provoked the cooperation of two former archrivals: W u Peifu a n d Z h a n g Zuolin. In spite of his intention of retiring from politic a n d avoiding a cataclysmic conflict between the Guominjun a n d the emerging alliance, W u a n d Z h a n g a g r e e d that F e n g ' s elimination overrode their long time mutual a n i m o s i t y .  36  4.6. Anti-Guominjun Campaign T h e Guominjun f a c e d the nightmare of defending several frontiers with scattered, under-equipped, a n d under-trained forces. Internally, it also h a d to deal with a fragmented c o m m a n d structure as a result of F e n g ' s retirement. T h o u g h the Guominjun w a s usually a s s o c i a t e d with the charismatic F e n g Y u x i a n g , in fact it w a s c o m p o s e d of three armies. C o m m a n d e d by his subordinates W u Jingyin a n d S u n Y u e , F e n g h a d no direct authority over the operation of the 2  n d  and 3  rd  armies. T h e lack of a unified  c o m m a n d b e c a m e a serious obstacle to the operation of the Guominjun by 1926. At the onset of the war in early 1926 the Guominjun was scattered into six different  spheres.  37  With Z h a n g Zhijiang in c o m m a n d in Zhangjiakou (Kalgan), the Guominjun set out defensive preparations around several key strategic cities: D u o l u n in Inner Mongolia, Z h a n g j i a k o u - N a n k o u in Zhili, L o y a n g in H e n a n , Xi'an in S h a a n x i , a n d L a n z h o u in Gansu.  3 8  Despite the lack of supplies a n d coordination, the Guominjun m a n a g e d to hold  on to the fortress cities. T h e W u - Z h a n g alliance l a u n c h e d a three-prong offensive against various sectors of Guominjun territories: Li Jinglin a n d Z h a n g Z o n g c h a n g attacked Guominjun's  Incidentally, one of the original conspirators against Zhang was Li Jinglin. According to Sheridan, Li sudden about face was due to fear that Zhang might harm his mother. Li fled his domain in Zhili and joined Zhang Zongchuan in Shandong. Sheridan, 182 &184; Li Maosheng & Luo Chunpu & Yang jianzhong, 321. The second Guominjun launched its Shandong offensive in mid-November 1925. Sheridan 185; Wilbur, Martin C. & How, Julie Lien-ying, ed. Document on Communism, Nationalism, Advisers in China: 1918-1927. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1956), 333. They were the Beijing Metropolitan area, Shandong, Henan, Zhangjiakuo-Inner Mongolia (Rehe and Charhar), Shaanxi-Ningxia (Suiyuan), and Gansu. Refer to Figure 2. 3 4  3 5  3 6  3 7  3 8  13  and  positions in S h a n d o n g a n d Southern Z h i l i . Z h a n g Zuolin entered C h i n a proper a n d 39  attacked Guominjun's strongholds in Z h a n g j i a k o u - N a n k o u . M o v i n g from his b a s e in H a n k o u along the Beijing-Hankou railway, W u Peifu r e n d e z v o u s e d with Fengtian troops in Zhili a n d launched a general o f f e n s i v e .  40  T o further disrupt the internal operation of  the Guominjun, the allies sought support from the Shanxi warlord Y a n X i s h a n . H e entered the war in M a r c h a n d launched a  blitzkrieg  '  along the Beijing-Hankou railway.  Quickly occupying Shijiazhuang, Y a n p r o c e e d e d to o c c u p y key strategic cities along the length of the railway a n d o p e n e d the path for W u Peifu's invading f o r c e .  41  By April, Y a n  had m a s s e d a n assault force around Datong in Northern Shanxi. R e s p o n d i n g to Z h a n g ' s call for support, he sought to launch a flanking attack against Zhangjiakou a n d clear Guominjun's positions along the way. T h e Guominjun strategy in the early 1926 was twofold: It maintained a defensive posture in both Inner M o n g o l i a a n d Zhili while aggressively pushing into Northern Shanxi. Perceiving the danger of being permanently cut off, it sought to counter Y a n ' s threat by o c c u p y i n g Shanxi a n d reopening the Beijing-Suiyuan railway. Difficulty of the terrain as well as internal dissention within the allies h a m p e r e d their efforts to subjugate the 1  st  Guominjun in the Z h a n g j i a k o u - N a n k o u region  4 2  Nevertheless, the allied general  offensive forced the Guominjun to pull out from Beijing by April 15. F i v e d a y s later, Fengtian took control of B e i j i n g .  43  Wu Peifu made himself the commander of a fourteen provinces anti-banditry alliance on October 21 1925. Soon after he responded to Zhang's overture and agreed to a Wu-Zhang alliance against Feng Yuxiang. Before Lin joined Zhang Zuolin, he actually formed a tripartite alliance with Feng Yuxiang and Guo Songling in late December 1925. When Guo rebelled, Feng attacked Rene and Tianjin, Li decided to flee Zhili and joined stay with Zhang. Subsequently, he withdrew to Shandong and joined Zhang Zongchang. L i Maosheng & Luo Chunpu & Yang Jianzhong, 321. Zhang Zuolin used the excuse of pursuing the remnants of Guo Songling's rebels and entered China proper., Yan proceeded as far north as Baoding. According to his biography, Yan was at odd with the Guominjun over the control of key strategic cities along the two railway arteries. Yan suspected Feng's duplicity and felt the Guominjun garrisons around his domain constituted a direct threat to his power. Hence, he decided to heave Wu's call and preempted the Guominjun. Refer to Figure 2 for the location of Shijiazhuang. Ibid, 326. Due to disagreement over the appointment of the Beijing leadership, Zhang Zuolin stalled the Zhangjiakou offensive during March and April and hoped to use the Guominjun to restrain Wu Peifu. The 1 Guominjun took this opportunity and shifted the bulk of its force to Ningxia in preparation of their Northern Shanxi offensive. Nankou was garrisoned by the 6 division under Liu Ruming and Zhang Wanqing with 16,000 men. In contrast, the combined strength of Yan and the Shandong-Hubei assault force numbered 500,000. Jian Youwen, 248. Throughout the campaign, the allies used their small air force to harass the Guominjun. While their military effective was very limited, the bombing caused profound psychological shock to the population. New York Times (Apr. 13, 1926), 6. Also see Anthony Chan's article on the warlords' air force. Anthony Chan. "The Chinese Air Force During the Warlord Era, 1916-1928"^4rmy Quarterly and Defense journal (Great Britain). 1983 113(1): 81-89. 3 9  4 0 41  4 2  st  th  4 3  14  U n d e r S o n g Z h e y u a n c o m m a n d , the Guominjun assault force was initially successful in pushing back the Shanxi army to Datong. But renewed efforts by the allied steadily e r o d e d the d e f e n s e of Zhangjiakou a n d forced the Guominjun to a b a n d o n its Shanxi operation. By August, Z h a n g Zhijiang ordered the evacuation of Guominjun from Zhili a n d Inner M o n g o l i a to W u y u a n in Ningxia. Elements of the 2  n d  Guominjun under  Y u e Weijun retreated south to L o y a n g along the Beijing-Hankou r a i l w a y .  44  Unfortunately,  the undisciplined troops wrecked h a v o c along their path of retreat a n d led to popular uproar. T h o u g h he m a n a g e d to hold out in L o y a n g , a c o m b i n e d force of the allied troops a n d the H e n a n R e d S p e a r Society later captured Y u e a n d his t r o o p s .  45  5. The Siege of Xi'an With the E a s t e r n fronts collapsing a n d the Guominjun fleeing in disarray, the W e s t e r n s p h e r e s of the Guominjun's territory b e c a m e the last citadel against the allies. Throughout the campaign, S h a a n x i held the key in anchoring the scattered Guominjun's positions. S h a a n x i w a s the strategic high ground s i n c e it provided the vital link to the Soviet Union a s well as for the Guominjun throughout North C h i n a . In July 1925, the 1  st  mixed division under X u Y o n g c h a n g g a i n e d partial control of S h a a n x i a n d p r o c e e d e d to systematically eradicate units a s s o c i a t e d with W u P e i f u .  46  W h e n the E a s t e r n theater  w a s collapsing, the local garrison f a c e d the impossible task of defending the province a n d safeguarding a path for the retreating units. T h e opposing force centered on the former Shaanxi civil governor Liu Z h e n h u a . His assault force numbered around 100,000 a n d w a s lavishly e q u i p p e d by both Z h a n g a n d W u . His force broke through Guominjun defense in T o n g g u a n by m i d - A p r i l .  47  At this  time, Liu was highly optimistic that he would finish off the Guominjun quickly. Xi'an w a s  Wu Jingyi died of illness on April 13 , 1925. Yue Weijun, his subordinate, took over the leadership. However, Yue did not possess nearly enough authority to lead the 3 army. The Red Spear Society was a local self-help organization originally created to resist pressure of government bureaucrats and local gentry for taxation. By this time, it had evolved into a quasi-militia resisting the warlords. 1 mixed division of the 2 Guominjun was sent to re-conquer Shaanxi in July 1925. Under the leadership of Xu and Li Yunlong, the unit managed to impose Guominjun control over the southern part of the strategic cities of Shaanxi and took Xi'an by July 16 1925. In addition to the Zhenguojun and reinforcement from Wu Peifu's army, Liu also recruited scattered group of warlord units in Shaanxi not associated with the Guominjun. (Such as Ma Zhenwu & Gou Baojie). Mi Zanchen Yang Hucheng Jiangjunchuan i%^MMW-W^ (Biography of General Yang Hucheng). (Beijing: Zhongguo wenshi Chubanshe, 1986), 20. 4 4  th  rd  4 5  4 6  st  nd  th  4 7  15  d e f e n d e d merely by about 5000 under-equipped Guominjun soldiers. Furthermore, a number of gentry inside the city created a "Hope for P e a c e Society"  (Heping Qichenhui)  a n d were openly calling for the Guominjun to leave the city. With the Guominjun garrison vacillating between war or peace, Liu h a d r e a s o n to believe that his c a m p a i g n would be short a n d decisive. D e s c r i b e d by numerous C h i n e s e s o u r c e s as a "running dog" of W a r l o r d i s m a n d a corrupt warlord who s u c k e d the province dry, he w a s the h e a d of a small warlord army that h a d b e e n active in Shaanxi before the 1911 R e v o l u t i o n . degree  [Shengyuan)  regime c o l l a p s e d  48  A holder of first-level  before the Revolution, Liu b e c a m e a bandit w h e n the  ancien  in 1911. B a s e d in the Mount S o n g region of H e n a n , his army,  Zhenguojun, recruited a m o n g the destitute peasants, like-minded d e s p e r a d o s a n d e v e n remnants of the famed "White W o l f bandits. Liu was the civil governor of S h a a n x i in the early 1920s a n d h a d acquired a b a d reputation a m o n g the population. H e w a s s e e n a s a n opportunist a n d was unscrupulous in his a c t i o n s .  49  T h e Z h e n g u o j u n blurred the  distinction between outlaws a n d soldiers a s it b e h a v e d no differently from a rampaging bandit g a n g .  5 0  Before the outbreak of the anti-Guominjun war, Liu w a s recruited by W u  Peifu to h e a d the Shaanxi c a m p a i g n . T o strengthen the Z h e n h u a j u n , Liu also recruited m e m b e r s of the H e n a n R e d S p e a r Society, many of whom w e l c o m e d the c h a n c e to extract vigilante justice to past S h a a n x i transgressions of the G u o m i n j u n .  51  O n e of their  The portrayal of various warlords in the literature is an interesting topic. Chinese have a long history of framing military figures in accordance with different historical and literary motifs. Even to the unschooled, these stereotypes instantly convey special messages and meaning. The "Jade Marshall" Wu Peifu, for example, fitted the motif of a capable, cultured scholar general. Following the examples of a long line of tragic heroes (both real or semifictionalized), he was betrayed and fell from grace. Liu, on the other hand, represented the worst type of villains populated in Chinese history and literature. Though educated and cultured in the Confucian order, he chose the outlaw profession and indulged in vices and corruption. In reality, both were selfish militarists worked for personal gains and benefits. Before he was transferred out of the province, there were indications that Liu had amassed a huge personal fortune. It was alleged that he took with him $12,000,000 when he left Shaanxi in March 1925. His Henan soldiers were known to ransack the people. This contributed to the long running animosity between Henan and Shaanxi. NCH (March 30, 1925), 86. The incompetence of the Zhenguojun could be seen in an earlier skirmish in Henan between one's of Liu subordinate and the Guominjun under Wu Jingyiu. Mi Zanchen, 20. When Feng Yuxiang was made governor of Henan, he had brought with him detachment of Shaanxi units. Many of the Shaanxiness made it a sport to publicly humiliate and even execute the Henan residents for amazement. In addition, there was also the issue of taxation imposed by the "Christian" warlord. Many Henanese saw the siege as a chance to draw Shaanxi blood. Zhang Yungjia 3H|!f HC. Yu Youfen Zhuan { ^f-tiUM ) (Biography of Yu Youren). (Taibei: Zhongwai Tongxunshe, 1958), 90-91; Sheridan, 207. 4 8  4 9  5 0  51  16  leaders went a s far a s to declare "he will not allow a person a b o v e 10 years old [within the city] to e s c a p e alive".  52  S u p p l i e d by its Soviet patron a n d from a variety of foreign arms merchants, the garrison in Xi'an had in its p o s s e s s i o n a great variety of E u r o p e a n manufactured a r m s .  5 3  In additional to small arms of different types, the defenders p o s s e s s e d artilleries a n d trench mortars of different calibers. T h e o p p o s i n g force's main advantage w a s in supplies. Despite the overwhelming number Liu Z h e n h u a m a n a g e d to put together, a great many of his troops were militia a n d bandits in origin. His own private army w a s not known to be disciplined or militarily effective. Liu also had a c c e s s e d to a limited number of airplanes from W u ' s force a s well a s a wild assortment of small arms, artillery a n d cavalry.  54  In sharp contrast to Liu, the defenders of Xi'an were uniformly hailed by C h i n e s e s o u r c e s as saviors a n d h e r o e s overcoming insurmountable o d d s from a ruthless enemy.  55  G i v e n the fact that Y a n g H u c h e n g w a s involved in the defense, the  historiography tends to heavily e m p h a s i z e his integrity, loyalty to the people, a n d nationalism.  56  In s o m e ways similar to Liu Z h e n h u a , Y a n g also h a d a special affinity with  the province. Born in a small village in 1893, Y a n g fought for the "Han Revival Militia of Shaanxi"  (Qinlong FuHanjun,  part of the elder brother society) during the 1911  Revolution. By the summer of 1925, he w a s the c o m m a n d e r of the 3  rd  division of the 3  rd  Guominjun a n d w a s tasked to exterminate the petty warlord W u Xingtian. W h e n h e learned of Liu's victory in T o n g g u a n , Y a n g a b a n d o n e d his mission in W e s t e r n S h a a n x i (around Baoji) a n d fell back to Xi'an to reinforce the garrison.  NCH, (Oct. 23, 1926), 155.  y2  Anthony Chan points out that Warlord China became the "dumping ground" of European surplus munitions, "[reports] that the warlords possessed inferior and outdated arms did not consider which munitions were available to them. Because China needed arms, it became a dumping ground for the Western surplus.... Disposing of munitions that were anachronistic by Western standard, but modern in China therefore sometimes give rise to dishonesty and chicanery on the part of the sellers". Anthony Chan, 78; Julie Lien-ying How, 122-123, 186-187191-192. By the middle of 1926, Wu had to contend with the growing GMD threat from the south and could not spare any troops. See the Biography of Yu Youren for an example. Chinese sources tend to give stock portray of the warlords. One was either a hero of the people (Feng Yuxiang or Yang Hucheng) or a puppet of foreign power (Zhang Zuolin). Yang was best known for his direct involvement in the Xi'an Incident in 1936. Together with fellow conspirator Zhang Xueliang, they imprisoned Jiang Jieshi and facilitated the 2 United Front. Tragically, he was burnt to death with his family aboard a ship in the post-war period. The tragic ending further perpetuates his legacy as a hero. 5 3  5 4  5 5  5 6  nd  17  Y a n g brought with him the 3  rd  division (with 5000 soldiers) a n d hastily entered  Xi'an in April 18 . W h e n Liu learned that Y a n g H u c h e n g h a d withdrawn to the city, he th  immediately q u i c k e n e d the p a c e of the Zhenguojun. At this time, the Z h e n g u o j u n h a d penetrated T o n g g u a n a n d o c c u p i e d keys cities east of Xi'an. Liu ordered the forward elements in the vicinity of Northeastern Xi'an to launch a series of vicious assaults, aiming to b r e a c h the defense before Y a n g could catch his breath. Outlying d e f e n s e were forced to pull back to the city a n d Y a n g ' s relief force h a d to join the fight before they h a d a c h a n c e to rest. W h e n the Guominjun finally repulsed the assaults, Liu resolved on a long attrition c a m p a i g n to starve the garrison into submission. Breastworks were d u g a r o u n d the city a n d he h a r a s s e d the Guominjun with incessant bombardment a n d weekly assault sorties along the w a l l .  57  In the first few w e e k s of the  siege, the city's W e s t G a t e remained o p e n a n d supplies were brought in daily. F o r e i g n missionaries stationed in Xi'an acted a s p e a c e e n v o y s a n d sought (with limited s u c c e s s ) to e v a c u a t e the civilian population. By J u n e , Liu h a d isolated the defenders by occupying strategic towns around X i ' a n .  5 8  V i c i o u s bombardment by "guns of very  considerable caliber" rattled the population a n d assault along fixed defensive fortifications characterized the early phrase of the siege. W h e n the telegraph service w a s severed, the city was completely cut off. city n u m b e r e d a r o u n d 7 0 , 0 0 0 .  59  At this time, the b e s i e g e r s a r o u n d the  60  By July, the momentum of the s i e g e faltered a n d Liu c o n c o c t e d daring tactics to finish the Guominjun. Specially created "dare to die" c o m m a n d o units  (gansiduF) would  c r o s s the moat at night a n d tried to s c a l e the city walls with "cloud ladders".  61  Those  who m a n a g e d to c r o s s the moat f a c e d murderous defensive fire (machine gun, mortar,  5 7  More than 70 /;' of trenches and breastwork were dug. Jia Pingwa JPP [HI. Lao Xi 'an: Feidu Xieyang { ^ H ^ c :  Jgtfl?4E§>> (Old Xi'an). (Nanjing Shi: Jiangsu Meishu Chubanshe, 1999), 96. By May 15 , Liu's forces occupied the key town of San Qiaozhen between Xi'an and Xianyang. Xi'an was completely cut off. By the end of May, the besiegers controlled an area that stretched from Lantian south of Xi'an to Xianyang and Wugong to the west, Sanyuan to the north, and Tongguan and Lintong to the east. Mi Zanchen, 22. According to eyewitness accounts, the besiegers would intermittently allowed peasants and foreigners to commute in and out of the city during the early days of the siege. As the casualties mounted and the siege dragged into the summer, the besiegers tightened their grip and not even foreigners were spared the hardship. NCH (Aug. 7, 1926), 247. Mi Zanchen, 21-22. Jian Youwen, 21. 5 8  th  5 9  6 0 61  18  artillery, a n d grenade). R e w a r d s were promised to those who s c a l e d the wall. " Other 1  traditional s i e g e tactics s u c h a s tunneling were a l s o attempted near the E a s t G a t e . With the proximity of the two sides around the city, it was not u n c o m m o n for close-quarter, hand-to-hand battles to break o u t .  63  Liu also e m p l o y e d more subtle methods to  destabilize the unity of the defenders. W h i l e the allied air force c o n d u c t e d b o m b i n g sorties against the garrison, p r o p a g a n d a leaflets were also dropped, urging the population to turn against the defenders. A price was put on Y a n g a n d Li's h e a d s . surrounding countryside of Xi'an w a s burnt a n d plundered by Liu's f o r c e .  6 4  The  65  5.1. The Defense of Xi'an T h e defenders of Xi'an faced several problems. Until May, there was no established c o m m a n d structure a m o n g the various units. Before Y a n g H u c h e n g ' s reinforcement arrive in April, the 5000 Xi'an garrison fell under the c o m m a n d of Li Yunlong and W e i D i n g .  6 6  W h e n Y a n g arrived, the three of them d e c i d e d to cooperate in  the face of imminent danger. T h e city was divided into three different d e f e n s e zones: Y a n g was responsible for the north a n d eastern sectors (where Liu concentrated most of his attacks), Li for the south, a n d W e i for the west. T h e designation "Guominjun" was a b a n d o n e d in favour of the more generic "Shaanxi army". T h i s rallied the population to the defenders' c a u s e against the H e n a n invaders. It a l s o h e l p e d to reaffirm the c o m m o n regional identity s h a r e d by the Guominjun a n d the population. At the outbreak of the siege, the population of Xi'an was around 5 0 0 , 0 0 0 .  67  W h e n it b e c a m e apparent that the  city would b e the next battleground between the allies a n d the Guominjun, people rushed to the safety of Xi'an. T h i s a d d e d more burdens to the city's supply system a s it  Ibid, 22. He put up rewards for: 1000 dollars for the first to scale the wall, 800 for the second, 500 for the third. Such tactics reminiscence the stratagems in Romance. Some of the most ferocious battles were the assaults near Xiaoyanta in the northeast corner of the city and Liu's attempts to breakout in northwestern part of the city. Mi Zanchen, 23. 100,000 and 50,000 dollars respectively for Yang and Li's heads. Chinese sources indicate that Liu had burnt tens of thousand of acres of cultivated land surrounding the city. Though it was not uncommon for the defenders to burn down the countryside and deny the enemy of shelter or supply. Jia Pingwa, 97. 2 army 10 division was under Li Yunlong commanded; 4 division under Wei Ding. According to the Xi'an record, there was no reliable census until 1938. Estimate of the city's population (permanent and transient) fluctuation from 20,000 to 650,000. Xi'anshi Difangzhi Bianzuan Waiyuanhui H^Tff i f t J S f i l t l t (Editorial Board for the Gazetteer of the City of Xian). Xian Shizhi Mf^rrJiS (Gazette of Xian) Vol.1 (Xi'an: Xi'an Chubanshe, 1996), 445.  6 2  6 3  6 4  6 5  6 6  nd  th  th  6 7  19  relied on the surrounding counties for food supply. H u n g e r b e c a m e more acute a s the city's supplies dwindled. In desperation, the people ate anything that would fill their stomach, including bark a n d fertilizers. T h e military instituted rationing a n d c o m m a n d e e r e d the civilians' store of food. F o r e i g n missionaries contributed to the defense with their supplies, medical expertise, a n d willingness to shelter the population. W h i l e the s i e g e raged, the defenders also h a d to contend with the potential for internal dissent—gentry of the "Hope for P e a c e Society" continued to call for the Guominjun to leave the c i t y .  68  Y a n g eventually reined in the movement by rounding up a n d executing  their most prominent m e m b e r s .  69  T o reaffirm the Guominjun's commitment to defend  the city, Y a n g a n d Li m a d e the theatrical gesture of proclaiming their intentions to commit suicide in the bell tower should the b e s i e g e r s breach the city's defense. By a n d large, the Guominjun m a n a g e d to weather the assaults during the first few months of the siege. However, the reality of the s i e g e s n a p p e d the early optimism of the defenders. Starvation, exhaustion from combat, lack of supplies a n d mounting casualties all took their tolls. U n a b l e to communicate with the relief force, the p a s s i v e defenders increasingly relied on the fortifications.  70  W h e n their early optimism evaporated, the fear  a m o n g the people was almost palpable. With the prodigious u s a g e of ammunition, the defenders ran the risk of running out of supplies. T h e situation b e c a m e s o d e s p e r a t e that the defenders utilized any a n d all m e a n s to forestall an imminent collapse, "when the ammunition is gone, we continue to u s e machetes, stones, our flesh a n d blood a s weapons; w h e n our food is gone, we ate dogs, horses, oil, a n d grass".  71  Two  eyewitness accounts told of the suffering of the population:  C o r p s e s were everywhere in the city. D o g s ate many of the bodies as we could not clear them off the street fast e n o u g h . S o m e that have b e e n starved for d a y s simply lay b e s i d e the road. T h e y too b e c a m e the targets of dogs. N e a r the gate of Duanlu, I o n c e saw a stricken old w o m a n  Mi Zanchen, 24. Ibid, 25. Guominjun also recruited local Red Spear members to booster its ranks. Foreign accounts testified that they used the same bag of tricks as the Boxers once did in the face of overwhelming firepower—they claimed special rituals had rendered them invulnerable to firearms. NCH, (Aug. 28, 1926), 391. Wu Changyi %^kM. Qiangu Gongchen Yang Hucheng { "6" JTJEfi (Yang Hucheng: Heroic Genera of a Thousand Generations). (Beijing: Zhongguo Wenshi Chubanshe, 1993), 24. 6 8  6 9  7 0  71  20  attacked by a pack of hungry d o g s e v e n w h e n s h e wasn't d e a d yet! T h e old w o m a n tried to fend them off but w a s too w e a k to e v e n lift her arms. I helped to fend the pack away, but o n e of her arms a n d legs were already torn off. N o v e m b e r 12 , blizzard a n d heavy snow. T h e r e were few if any people o n e c a n s e e outside. 2000 died in that d a y alone. Next day, I walked around a n d saw more d e a d bodies than I c a n count, many of them lying beside the houses. I also saw a great many families wearing funeral clothes a n d conducting funeral p r o c e s s i o n s in the main road. S o m e wore the prescribed white cotton garment but most wore their ragtag clothes, carrying away their filial duty. H a d it not b e e n the siege, o n e would frown upon the inappropriateness of their clothing. A m o n g the d e a d , s o m e still h a d not swallow their last month full of food; s o m e looked a s if they just fell down a n d were trying to get up; s o m e were tangled together a s if they were trying to keep e a c h other warm in a n e m b r a c e . M a n y were curled up in fetal position laying a m o n g the grass field, looked a s if they were h o m e l e s s people trying to h a v e a g o o d night sleep. Apparently there were a great many looks when o n e died. O f the d e a d , many were m e n a n d very few women; many were the elders a n d few children; many were labours a n d few of other occupations. It s e e m s that g e n d e r s a n d occupations were a l s o determinants of one's c h a n c e of dying..After s e e i n g s o m u c h death, I a m starting to feel a s if I a m already in hell with the hungry g h o s t s . th  72  B e c a u s e the Guominjun did not e v a c u a t e the civilians before the siege, the population b e c a m e a crippling burden. Price of grain during the first few months of the s i e g e remained moderately c h e a p .  7 3  T h a n k s to foreign missionaries' efforts, a s many a s  60,000 people (including foreigners residing in Xi'an) m a n a g e d to flee the city. But conditions continued to deteriorate a s the s i e g e d r a g g e d onto the winter. T h e social c l a s s e s were radically altered:  T h e poor h a d long since d i s a p p e a r e d a n d the roads were littered with well-dressed normally prosperous m e n a n d women, w h o s e bodies were not only unclaimed for burial, but were not e v e n robbed. Theft c e a s e d to serve a purpose, b e c a u s e food w a s the only thing worth having a n d that could not be bought. W h e n relief c a m e the deaths were averaging 700 a  JiaPingwa, 101. 2 catties of grain or 4 catties of sugar cost $1; 1 tin of kerosene oil cost $6. NCH, (Oct. 23, 1926), 155. One cattie equals to 500 grams or 1.1 pounds; one picul equals to 100 catties or 133.3 pounds. From American Heritage dictionary of the English Language, www.dictionary.com. 7 2  7 3  21  day. T h o s e who e s c a p e d or survived were mummified in aspect, fleshless and black-faced.  74  By the e n d of the siege, grain r e a c h e d a price of  $1200  a picul. All animals down to  cats a n d d o g s h a d long b e e n devoured. T h e r e were indications that cannibalism w a s openly p r a c t i c e d .  75  T h e survivors often looked pale a n d sickly. T h e i r condition is  unsurprising given the s e v e r e shortage of food a n d essential supplies.  5.2. Tactics of the Siege T h e Xi'an s i e g e revolved a r o u n d the conventional definition of a siege: to prevent the assailants from breaching a setline of defensive fortifications. T h e fighting a l o n g the wall conjured up images of traditional siege: catapults hurling stones into the city with men-of-arms struggling to storm the wall with ladder; defenders raining arrows, rocks, a n d boiling water at t h e m .  76  T h e tactics e m p l o y e d by both s i d e s s h o w e d a curious  mixture of new a n d old styles. M a c h i n e guns, small arms, a n d artillery duels characterized the incorporation of W e s t e r n military technologies into the traditional art of s i e g e warfare. Breastwork, city walls, starvation, a n d storming tactics s h o w e d the persistence of the "old ways" of traditional warring style. F o r Y a n g H u c h e n g a n d his fellow c o m m a n d e r s , Xi'an was the last citadel of the Guominjun. Failure to hold on to this fortress would not only cut off the scattered Guominjun's c h a n c e of retreat b a c k to safety in Ningxia, but would very well c a u s e d the collapse of the G u o m i n j u n .  77  Xi'an  s e r v e d a s a magnet for attracting allied troops a n d resources, tying up r e s o u r c e s that would otherwise have b e e n u s e d to attack the G M D ' s Northern Expedition.  ,H  NCH, (Oct. 23, 1926), 184.  75  Ibid. Foreign corresponds attested that "human flesh was sold openly in the street". Description of the condition in city often accompanied by historical stereotypes that does not fully convey the reality of the situation. In numerous sources, the authors attest that "people began to cannibalize and exchange their sons, ate bark, leather shoes, and bean to fend off hunger. Corpses resulted from starvation lied the street. The survivors were skinny and pale, looking as if they were mortally sick". Given the prevalence of writers and historians to use stock phrases such as "chaihai yizi" causally, it is difficult to judge their validity. Jian Youwen, 258. Bruce Allen Watson. Sieges: a Comparative Study.(London. Praeger, 1993), 1. Xi'an was famous for its heavily fortification. Giving it away to Liu uncontested would not only deal a fatal blow to Guominjun morale, but would also open a avenue of attack by the alliance towards Gansu and Ningxia. 7 6 7 7  22  5.3. Feng Yuxiang's Rescue and the End of the Siege A s a result of the evacuation of Zhangjiakou in August, the Guominjun in E a s t e r n C h i n a withdrew westward towards Ningxia. O n S e p t e m b e r 16, the Guominjun b e g a n to reconstitute its force w h e n F e n g Y u x i a n g returned from the Soviet Union. Bringing with him not only support from the "Reds", but also a renewed s e n s e of mission to join the G M D a n d rid C h i n a of Warlordism. F e n g was m a d e the c o m m a n d e r of the National People's A l l i a n c e Army of C h i n a . O n M a y 17, F e n g officially re-established the Guominjun a n d issued a proclamation signaling his formal alliance with the G M D . F o c u s e d more on indoctrinating the military a n d rallying the public to the new political ideals, F e n g sought to stir up the people's p a s s i o n a s a prelude to his c a m p a i g n . T h e newly reorganized Guominjun h a d about 250-260,000 troops in the G a n s u - N i n g x i a region.  78  His new strategy was to "consolidate G a n s u a n d relieve Shaanxi, ally with  Shanxi a n d take over Henan". T w o relief columns were sent to S h a a n x i . O n e column under S u n L i a n g c h e n g m o v e d from L a n z h o u to X i a n y a n g . A s one of a new generation of c a p a b l e generals, S u n m a n a g e d to force his way into S h a a n x i despite a d v e r s e weather conditions a n d lack of s u p p l i e s .  79  O f the 10,000 under-equipped soldiers he brought with him, only  2,000 exhausted men were left w h e n he arrived at X i a n y a n g in October. His force w a s s u p p o s e d l y an elite unit but continuous fighting a n d force match h a d exhausted it. Lacking mutual support from friendly forces, he w a s p u s h e d b a c k by Liu. F e a r i n g that a tactical withdraw would very well deal a fatal blow to the morale of the Xi'an defenders and affect the Northern Expedition, S u n w a s forced to stand his ground a n d took on Liu's  counteroffensive.  80  A n o t h e r column under Liu R u m i n g a n d S u n L i a n z h o n g m o v e d through Ningxia and r e n d e z v o u s e d with S u n in late October. However, it was not until in the middle of N o v e m b e r that they gathered e n o u g h strength to launch a coordinated  offensive  81  Jian Youwen, 253 The relief forces had their own horror stories to tell. Many troops perished while force match through blizzard and terrible weather. Those who survived often had to keep on marching while enduring terrible blisters on their feet. 7 9  80  Zhang Baifeng & Li Zongyi, 517. The relief forces of Liu Yuming and Sun Lianzhong had around 8000 men. Sun moved from Baotou through Ningxia; Liu from Ningxia to Xianyuan. They were to meet each other in Xianyang. Then Liu was to attack from the left flank, Sun Lianzhong from the right. The embattled Sun Liangcheng was to attack from Xianyang from the centre. 81  23  Quarrels within the rank over distribution of supply d e l a y e d the offensive f u r t h e r .  02  By  N o v e m b e r 26, the c o m b i n e d force of the two relief columns l a u n c h e d a n all-out a t t a c k .  83  Liu Z h e n h u a a n d the Z h e n g u o j u n c o l l a p s e d under the offensive a n d were c h a s e d out of Shaanxi. T h e s i e g e was officially lifted in N o v e m b e r 27.  5.4. Casualties and the Affects on Local Society T h e city a n d the surrounding counties were devastated. A c c o r d i n g to o n e estimate, the daily casualties of the civilians during the last month of the s i e g e r a n g e d from 500 to 1,000. Overall between 15,000 to 20,000 died during the siege; unfortunately, this figure only represented soldiers a n d civilians within the city killed a s a result of direct e n e m y f i r e .  84  T h e r e is no estimate on casualties induced by starvation or  revenge killing. But considering the amount of suffering a n d destruction incurred during the eight months period, total casualties would likely e x c e s s 20,000. O b s e r v e r s s u g g e s t e d that it would take 20 years for Xi'an "to recover anything like its former prosperity".  85  "Burn, kill, rape, a n d rob; there was nothing they did not do" (Fen sha yin  lue; wu suo bu zhi) were the norm under the c i r c u m s t a n c e s .  86  But long before their  affects manifested a m o n g the people, starvation a s well a s the stress of the war would have taken their tolls. It is difficult to g a u g e the d e g r e e to which the war impacted local society, but o n e c a n still make several general assumptions: Inevitably, the physical a n d psychological stresses would s e e p into family life. Bickering a n d a b u s e s a m o n g family m e m b e r s would tear families apart long before one had to sell his s o n s a n d wives. With s o m a n y p e r s o n s d e a d or dying, the fundamental h u m a n relationships (parents-children, s p o u s e s , friends, neighbors) that formed a society would break up. T h o s e who were old e n o u g h might live with b a s i c survival strategy (every p e r s o n unto himself). T h e elderly, the sick, a n d the o r p h a n e d would die d u e to lack of care. W h i l e the city c a n be rebuilt  Sun Liangcheng arrived at Xianyang on the November 23 , but reluctant on the part of the Gansu unit (Feng Hongkui) to re-supply Sun led to a delay and invited counterattack from Liu Zhenhua . Sources indicate that the defense would fall within 3 days had Feng's relief columns not lift the siege in November 28 . Jian Youwen, 257. NCH, (Dec. 31, 1926), 617. ibid. Edward A. McCord. "Burn, Kill, Rape, and Rob: Military Atrocities, Warlordism, and Anti-Warlordism in Republican China". Diana Lary & Stephen MacKinnon ed. Scars of War: the Impact of Warfare on Modern (Vancouver: University of British Columbia, 2002), 26. 8 2  rd  th  8 3  84  8 5  86  24  a n d physical injuries cured, the psychological traumas a n d "scars" inflicted upon society would take m u c h longer to h e a l .  8 7  T h e s e sufferings were further exacerbated w h e n the  local merchants a n d population were forced to fund the Guominjun's coffer ($20,000,000).  88  Local observer h a d sarcastically s p e c u l a t e d about W u Peifu's sinister  motives in maintaining the s i e g e for s o long considering the Guominjun w a s comparatively unarmed:  S u c h a n experience is more terrible than a m a s s a c r e , b e c a u s e it lacks its thrill, a n d this w a s particularly thrilless b e c a u s e the investing army lacked the c o u r a g e or energy for a serious assault, while the defenders would not attempt a businesslike sortie. T h e troops of the 2 a n d 3 [Guominjun] m o n o p o l i z e d the food supplies of the city. G e n [Liu Zhenhua's] attacking force looted the entire countryside most thoroughly to kill s p a r e time, s o the p o p u l a c e without the wall e n d u r e d nearly a s m u c h hardship as the residents within, the armies e n g a g e d , as usual, suffered the l e a s t . n d  rd  89  5.5. The Guominjun Motive in the Siege C o m p a r e d to the c o m b i n e d forces of the W u - Z h a n g alliance a n d Y a n X i s h a n ' s Shanxi troops, the Guominjun w a s heavily outnumbered a n d widely scattered. It h a d very limited a c c e s s to industrial resources a n d h a d no s e c u r e rear supply base. It relied u p o n two precarious railway links to maintain the integrity of its force a n d territory. B y all accounts, the Guominjun was a failing military system. Y e t Li Y u n l o n g a n d Y a n g H u c h e n g m a d e it a flexible a n d effective instrument during the siege. T h e y demonstrated a n unusual d e g r e e of valor a n d initiatives in holding out Xi'an instead of fleeing from Liu. H a d it fallen to Liu Z h e n h u a , m u c h of the non-aligned warlords within the provinces might join him. S o instead of dealing with Liu's force from the east, Li a n d Y a n g would h a v e to fight a n y o n e that were hostile to the Guominjun from all sides. Heroism aside, there were practical considerations that m a d e the defenders stayed in  Ibid, the idea of a "scar of war" is from Lary and MacKinnon's study of military atrocities on Warlord China. Ibid, the saying "there is no free lunch in this world" rings truth in the Warlord era. Military campaign was an expansive affair and the warlords must recuperate their expense, particularly to one that had no stable revenue stream. Hence, the traumatized Xi'an population was squeezed of what little they had. A O / , no. 162, 184. 8 7  8 8  8 9  25  Xi'an. J u d g i n g from the rapid p a c e of Liu Z h e n h u a ' s a d v a n c e in April, it is r e a s o n a b l e to a s s u m e that the defenders would be routed had they pulled out. Beside, Xi'an w a s the heaviest fortified positions in western Guominjun territory. T h e defenders stood a better c h a n c e of surviving in Xi'an than retreating to the d e e p desert of G a n s u . F e a r of retribution was another factor in motivating the Guominjun to defend Xi'an with s u c h gusto e v e n w h e n surrender w a s the norm of warlord battles. T h e y c o u l d not h o p e for a merciful treatment from the b e s i e g e r s b e c a u s e the H e n a n R e d S p e a r militia was out for blood. H a d the city b e c o m e undefended, the H e n a n e s e would slaughter the Shaanxi population. B e y o n d the summer of 1926, the Guominjun fear of elimination by the allies was r e p l a c e d by preoccupation of defending regional strong points from regional e n e m i e s (Shaanxi a n d G a n s u ) a s well a s consolidating their scattered a n d demoralized force.  5.6. The Allies' Motives in the Siege F o r the allies, the cooperation between Z h a n g Zuolin, W u Peifu, a n d Y a n in early 1926 gradually broke down. O n c e the Guominjun pulled out of their b a s e s in E a s t e r n C h i n a , the ties that bound the Northern warlords together dissipated. Z h a n g a n d Y a n X i s h a n gained new territories a n d were too busy consolidating their gains. T h e y allowed the demoralized Guominjun to flee to G a n s u rather than launching a "hot pursue" a c r o s s the vast stretch of desert. A s for W u , the c a m p a i g n increasingly b e c a m e a s e c o n d a r y c o n c e r n o n c e the G M D l a u n c h e d the Northern Expedition. Like the Guominjun, W u f a c e d the difficulties of defending his territory. S i n c e the 2  n d  Zhili-Fengtian war, his forces h a d diminished  significantly. In supporting Liu's long siege, he further drained the limited r e s o u r c e s h e p o s s e s s e d . W u w a s caught off-balance o n c e the Northern Expedition b e g a n . By late August, he f a c e d intensive pressure south of H a n k o u a n d was desperate for supplies and r e i n f o r c e m e n t  90  S i n c e neither of his allies offered any concrete assistance, W u h a d  to redirect his limited resources to counter the National Revolutionary Army. In turn, this diminished Liu's ability to break the city's defense.  Liaoningsheng Danganguan. ed. Zhonghua Minguo Shiziliao Conggao. Vol.3 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1985), 96-99.  9 0  26  6. The Nature of the Hybrid Military System T h e fighting during the s i e g e demonstrated a hybrid military system within the warlord military structure. T h e w h o l e s a l e importation of modern military technologies form E u r o p e a n d North A m e r i c a s i n c e the first S i n o - J a p a n e s e war (1894-95 C E ) h a d in several respects radically c h a n g e d the traditional ways of warfare. N e w industries h a d to be created in manufacturing a n d maintaining the myriad of modern w e a p o n s . N e w military management technologies were introduced so that soldiers could be properly trained. Broader social, financial, a n d eventually political c h a n g e s c a m e about s o that the dynasty could k e e p up with the financial burden of military modernization. Ironically, the military successfully transformed into a modern entity while the Q i n g dynasty c o l l a p s e d in 1911. M o d e r n military technologies also heralded c h a n g e s in C h i n e s e tactic a n d strategy. F o r the most part, artillery a n d warplanes r e n d e r e d ancient fortifications obsolete; firearms forced soldiers a n d officers to adapt to new fighting techniques; logistics b e c a m e much more important than in traditional warfare s i n c e g e n e r a l s must coordinate the movement of more hardware a n d supplies if a n army was to be able to fight at all. Y e t modern technologies h a d their limit. Despite the power of artillery a n d machine guns, Liu Z h e n h u a was forced to employ more traditional tactics (such as tunneling or scaling) in order to o v e r c o m e the s u p p o s e d l y obsolete fortifications. Similarly, the defenders e n d e d up relying oh the walls a n d moat to forestall a quick allied victory. W h i l e modern technologies h a d i n c r e a s e d the power of a n army exponentially, they also m a d e warfare a complicate a n d costly affair. Without a n interlocking series of industries to supply a n d service these modern w e a p o n s , they were no better than expensive t o y s - impressive to look at but completely useless. In a n era where most warlords h a d little or no a c c e s s to these industries, traditional technologies a n d w e a p o n s (sword, bows, stone, boiling water) were far more cost effective a n d reliable. T h e warring style constituted a separate component in this hybrid military system. T h e c o m m a n d structure a s well as the personal quality of the warlords w a s often favorite topics a m o n g critics of this period. A rationally organized c o m m a n d structure b a s e d o n a n impersonal military hierarchy a n d W e s t e r n military principles a r e often c o m p a r e d to the warlord system. N o doubt the W e s t e r n system is efficient with the support of a national government. But conditions that g a v e risk to the armies of nation27  state did not exist in China in 1926. Foreign critics have consistently criticized the hybrid nature of the warlord military system as comical a n d detrimental to their overall military power. But the "old" Chinese practices offered the defenders more flexibility. T h e personal c o m m a n d structure of the warlord armies gave c o m m a n d e r s an u n p r e c e d e n t e d d e g r e e of a u t o n o m y in making tactical a n d strategic decisions. Given the isolated nature of the Xi'an garrison, a W e s t e r n bureaucratic c o m m a n d system w o u l d be paralyzed for lack of central instruction. T h o u g h the hybrid training w a s ineffective by W e s t e r n standards, it e n c o u r a g e d the soldiers to adopt alternative fighting styles. A s e c o n d point of contention is the warlords' personal abilities. T h e y a r e often seen as violent but unsophisticated thugs bickering a m o n g themselves. T h e "comic opera" analogy failed to take into account the natural ability of the warlords to learn a n d adapt. T h e y did not h a v e to attend military a c a d e m y or immense in the W e s t e r n - c e n t r i c  espirit de corps in order to fight well. Often they drew from practical experience a n d a rich tradition of military literature to better their skills. Ambition, cunningness, personal charismas supplemented the lack of formal training. Likewise, criticism of the warlords' ability to fight simply ignored the circumstance of the period. W a r l o r d s such as F e n g or W u had b e e n praised for their skills as strategist or frontline commander. Yet these merits described only part of the picture. For they w e r e frontline generals, strategists, politicians, a n d quartermasters all w o v e n into one. T h e fact that the Northern warlords m a n a g e d to a m a s s huge armies attested to their organizational as m u c h a s political o r military skill.  6.1. Regional Issues Concerning the Siege W h y invest so m u c h in a siege w h e n other tactics w e r e available? It w a s not u n c o m m o n w h e n o n e side w o u l d either a b a n d o n the field of battle o r resolved to the "silver bullet" strategy. O n e reason w h y the Guominjun c h o s e to fight instead of surrendering w a s the involvement of the H e n a n Red Spear during the siege. T h e blood feud between the two provinces originated in the early years of the W a r l o r d period. Shaanxi troops w o u l d station in Henan and vice versa. Ostensibly to exterminate marauding b a n d of bandits, these troops w e r e considered as  de facto bandits by local  population. In addition to pillage a n d r a n d o m killing, it w a s not u n c o m m o n for these 28  "guest army" to cooperate with bandits a n d turned against anti-bandit organization s u c h a s the R e d S p e a r .  91  "A rabbit d o e s not eat the g r a s s around its own burrow".  92  In the  a b s e n c e of a unifying national identity, the people could only identify with their regional identity. T h e s e "guest army" were ruthless b e c a u s e they saw their neighbors as vulnerable prey a n d not fellow C h i n e s e .  9 3  H e n c e , w h e n the H e n n a b e s i e g e r s attacked  Xi'an, they saw the Guominjun a s foreigners who h a d r a p e d their land a n d the S h a a n x i population as willing accomplices. It is unclear the d e g r e e to which regional i s s u e s influence the warlord struggles. W a s the s i e g e the result of warlord politic or a n e x p a n d e d version of regional f e u d ? G i v e n the lack of relevant information, one c a n only draw several general observations. T h e longstanding hostility between the two provinces m a d e the issue of regional relations an important determinant. R e g i o n a l self-help organization s u c h a s the R e d S p e a r Society h a d a n important role to play, but it remained to be s e e n their relationship to the warlords a n d the local gentry. T h e affluent gentry also h a d a role during the siege. But it is unknown how they would benefit from the c h a n g e of order a n d their financial ties to the warlords.  7. Conclusion In W e s t e r n historiography, the W a r l o r d period is r e g a r d e d a s a n a n o m a l y a m o n g other pivotal political movements in the 1920s (the rise of the C C P a n d G M D , 1  st  United  Front, establishment of the Nanjing national government). W h i l e the warlords did not have the s a m e impact as the rise of the two modern C h i n e s e political parties, it is problematic to cast the whole period a s a mere sideshow. T h e warlords coexisted with the rise of the G M D a n d C C P a n d their actions in many c a s e s directly influenced C h i n e s e history in the 1920s. F r o m a b r o a d perspective, the Xi'an s i e g e directly influenced the Northern Expedition a n d the re-emergence of a National government in Nanjing. It drew the attention of the Northern warlords a n d drained their resources in the critical early phrase of the Northern Expedition. T h e Northern warlords b e g a n to  Diana Lary. Region & Nation: the Kwangsi Clique in Chinese Politics, J925-37. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1974), 43; Billingsley, 154-155. Ibid, 181. As Diana Lary points out in Region and Nation, the concept of "Chinese" probably did not register among the population at the time. Lary, 1974, 1-20. 91  9 2  9 3  29  recognize the potential threat of the G M D by late 1925. With his vacillation towards S u n Yatsen's ideology a n d c l o s e relation to C o m m u n i s t R u s s i a , F e n g w a s s e e n a s a potential ally of the G M D . H e n c e , Z h a n g Zuolin a n d W u Peifu joined force to pre-empt the Guominjun. Ostensibly called the "anti-Red" war, the c a m p a i g n w a s in fact a n attempt to forestall the rise of a new political order. A s the high point of this c a m p a i g n , the s i e g e illustrated the fundamental w e a k n e s s of the warlord alliance. Without the ideological underpinning, the allies easily lapsed b a c k to e v e r y o n e unto h i m s e l f .  94  Militarily, the s i e g e reflected the hybrid nature of the C h i n e s e military system in the 1920s. T h e C h i n e s e military w a s in a transitional period during the W a r l o r d era. After the S i n o - J a p a n e s e war in 1895, it h a d a b s o r b e d a broad range of W e s t e r n military experience. Structurally, the Northern warlords imitated the modern W e s t e r n military organization. T h e creation of the officer corps, arsenals, the opening of military a c a d e m y p r o d u c e d a cadre of officers knowledgeable in the contemporary military art. Yet the impacts of this new system w a s limited vis-a-vis the "old" practice of tradition military experience. A s J e r o m e C h e n points out, C h i n a is far to complex to make a military only solution to reunification viable. T o the warlords who d e c i d e d to resolve to violence alone, they would be foolhardy to ignore the well-established a n d battle-tested practices of the "old" ways. T h e professionalization a n d bureaucratization of the military certainty had their merits, but the fragmentary nature of the warlords precluded them from being fully utilized. T h e W e s t e r n military institutions went h a n d in h a n d with the advent of the centralized nation-state system. But this system w a s significantly w e a k e n e d when the central government was powerless a n d the nation's  resources  were pawned to the regional militarists. T h e C h i n e s e institutions (such as personal b a s e d military hierarchy, indiscriminate recruitment in lieu of professional soldiers) persisted precisely b e c a u s e they were called for under the warlord system. W h a t g o o d w a s a professional army without a coherent ideology to attract a n d mobilize the  According to Diana Lary, regional militarism is a self-perpetuating movement. It could not fill the ideological gap left by the collapse of the old order, but it would not allow one to form. The only way to get rid of it was by militarism, albeit one with a "higher" ideological commitment. The GMD's National Revolutionary Army represented a new generation of "party army". Emerged in the 1920s, it was bounded by a sense of higher duty and ideological fulfillment. It is one stage of the Chinese military evolution where the fragmentary warlords gave way to the party army, with its higher ideology and national based character. Lary, 1974, 1-21. 9 4  30  population? T h e r e w a s little r e a s o n to invest heavily to convert their forces to a higher military standard a s long a s they facilitated warlords' personal advancement. In terms of the siege, the ancient fortifications offered the Guominjun e n o u g h protection to wear off the allied attack. G i v e n the lackluster performance of both sides, the Guominjun could hide behind the walls a n d weather the initial assaults of Liu's army. O n c e the momentum dissipated, Liu would have to invest dearly in manpower a n d resources to b r e a c h the defense. S i n c e he relied on his forces to hold on to power, understandably he c h o s e to starve the d e f e n s e rather than all out assaults. T h e "old ways" a n d fortification replaced W e s t e r n military experience a n d they demonstrated their effectiveness under the warlord context. T h e siege also represented a major traumatic experience to the civilians involved. T h e suffering incurred during the eight months extended b e y o n d the city a n d it residents. Without the protection of the wall, those who lived in Xi'an's vicinity suffered just a s much. Looting a n d pillaging by the invading army w a s offset by the purposeful destruction of properties by the defenders. T h e b e s i e g e r s also s h a r e d the suffering. Consistently painted a s the rampaging thugs, the b e s i e g e r s were in s u c h a berserk m o o d in part due to the past suffering inflicted by the Shaanxi "guest army". T h e regional feuding contributed to the d y n a m i c of this s i e g e a n d put the suffering in a broader context. T h i s problematizes the portrayal of the two sides. No longer were the b e s i e g e r s n a m e l e s s villains perpetuating mindless violence acts, nor were the defenders simply h e r o e s defending the h e l p l e s s population. T h e s i e g e s h o w e d the warlord army to be surprising resilient w h e n its survival was threatened. T h e memory of the s i e g e w a s manipulated or buried b e c a u s e it did not fit the traditional motif of historiography or the rhetorical framework of the political parties. In doing so, the suffering incurred was manipulated into misleading stereotypes. T h e memory of the s i e g e s h o u l d not b e cast a s i d e b e c a u s e it d o e s not fit a n arbitrary motif of heroic war memory or didactic value to history.  31  8. Bibliography  Primary Sources:  North China Herald New York Times Feng Yuxiang  Wode Shenghuo  ii3E#  « a f i ^ f £ »  (My life). V o l . 1-2  Heilongjiang: Heilongjiang R e n m i n C h u b a n s h e , 1981.  .  Feng Yuxiang Zichuan (M^-^F^M)  F e n g Yuxiang).  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Jr. & Fairbank, J o h n K.  N e w York: V i n t a g e Books, 1993. ed.  Chinese Ways in Warfare.  C a m b r i d g e : Harvard University Press, 1974.  Chinese Soldier: Basic Principles, Spirit, Science of War, an Heroes of the Chinese Armies. S h a n g h a i : Kelly a n d W a l s h Limited, 1937.  Kotenev, Anatol M .  Lary, D i a n a .  Region and Nation: the Kwangsi Clique in Chinese Politics 1925-3 N e w York: C a m b r i d g e University Press, 1974.  . Warlord Soldiers: Chinese Common Soldiers, 1911-1937. C a m b r i d g e University Press, 1985. . "Warlord Studies."  Modern China 6,  no. 4, (October 1980): 439-70.  33  New Y  Lin, Alfred, H. Y. "Building and Funding a Warlord Regime: The Experience of Chen jitang in Guangdong, 1929-1936." Modern China 28, no. 2 (April 2002), 177-212. Lo, Kuan-chung. Roberts.  Three Kingdoms: China's Epic Drama Translated & ed. Moss New York: Pantheon Books, 1976.  McCord, Edward A. 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New York: Peter Lang, 2002.  Suleski, Ronald.  Sutton, Donald S.  Provincial militarism and the Chinese Republic: the Yunnan Arm  1905-25. Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1980.  Tracy, James D. City Walls: the Urban Enceinte in Global Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Ven, Hans van de. "The Military in the Republic".  China Quarterly (1997): 352-374.  Waldron, Arthur. From War to Nationalism: China's Turning Point, 1924-25. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.  The Great Wall of China: from History to Myth. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Watson, Bruce Allen. 1993.  Sieges: a Comparative Study.  London: Praeger,  Document on Communism, Nationalism and Soviet Advisers in China: 1918-1927. New York: Columbia University  Wilbur, Martin C. & How, Julie Lien-ying, ed. Press, 1956.'  Wilkinson, Endymion. Chinese History: A Manual. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000.  Revised & Enlarged  Wou, Odoric Y. K. Militarism in Modern China: the Career of Wu P'ei-fu 1916-39 Dawson: Australian National University Press, 1978.  The Presidency of Yuan Shih-k'ai: Liberalism and Dictatorship Early Republican China. Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1977.  Young, Ernest P.  "Warlords, 1925" (map). US Military Academy, West Point. http://www.dean.usma.edu/history/dMstorymaps/ChineseCWPages/ChineseCWToC.htm  Chinese Sources: Ding, Zhongjiang T ^ t L Beiyang Junfa Shihua (itW^M^M) (History of the Beiyang Warlords). Vol.4. Beijing: Zhongguo Youyi Chuban Gongsi, 1992 Feng, Hongda & Yu Huaxin Ml&M. & T N ^ L >  Zhonghua  Feng Yuxiang Jiangjun Hunsao  (General Feng Yuxiang's Spirit Swept China). Beijing: Wenshi Ziliao Chubanshe, 1981. VM^-K^-WW-^M^W}  35  Gao, Xingya ^M^Feng Yuxiang Jiangjun (M^-ffiffi'W-} Beijing: Bejing Chubanshe, 1982.  (General Feng Yuxiang).  Jia, Pingwa M T O - Lao Xi'an: Feidu Xieyang Jliftf4G§> (Old Xi'an). Nanjing Shi: Jiangsu Meishu Chubanshe, 1999. Jian, Youwen fSf5£:&;. 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JSJirP H I I T S ^ *  ^.Zhongguo Tielu Jianzhu Biannian Jianshi: 1991-1981 ( ^ S i i ^ ^ W ^ : 1881 -1981» %  (Brief History of China's Railway Construction: 1881 -1981). Beijing: Xinghua Shudian, 1983. Mi, Zanchen ^WlKYang Hucheng Jiangjunchuan {WofjtM$&'W-\%} (Biography of General Yang Hucheng). Beijing: Zhongguo wenshi Chubanshe, 1986. Peng, Jingzhong ^ f ? ^ - Zhongguo Fangzhi Jianshi < 4^119 ^Sffiife) (A Brief History of the Gazetteer of China). Chengdu : Sichuan Daxue Chubanshe, 1990. Shaanxi Shifan Daxue Dilixi ed. ^^^WK^^M^MXi'ansi Dilizhi { g ^ c r f j i t e Mfc) (Records of Xi'an's Geography). Shaanxi: Shaanxi Renmin Chubanshe, 1988. Tao, Juyin f^WM- Beiyang Junta Tongzhi Shiqi Shihua (4fc#¥HaMtoB#^^IS) (History during the Beiyang Warlords Period) Vol. 1-3 Beijing: Sanlian Shudian, 1983.  36  Minchu Shiqide Yan Xishan <S#7Bf I T O B i l U O  <t|l|g.  T s e n g , Hua-pi  s h a n in the Early Repiblican C h i n a : 1912-1927 A D ) .  (Yen Hsi-  Taipei: T a i w a n University,  1981.  3E^#. "Er, S a n s h i Niandai Y a p i a Wenti" " ~ - = + ^ f t $ t > i f « 1 I I " Minguo Dangan ( T h e O p i u m Problem in the 1920s a n d 30s) (BM^-fe) no.2  W a n g , Jinxiang  (1992): 71-76. Wang, Wang  BEH. XinXi'an ( | j f l S $ »  (New Xi'an).  Beijing: Z h o n g h u a Shuju,  1924. Wen,  Gongji 3c£t~\M.-  lljfe)  Zuijin Sanshinian Zhongguo Junshishi (SI^H-f-^^IS^  ( C h i n e s e Military History in the Most R e c e n t Thirty Years).  V o l . 1&2  Taibei: W e n x i n g Shudian, 1962. Wu,  Changyi  i^SR.  Qiangu Gongchen Yang Hucheng  ( Y a n g Hucheng: Heroic G e n e r a l of a T h o u s a n d Generations).  { f-~&xjj&M&t :  Beijing:  Z h o n g g u o W e n s h i C h u b a n s h e , 1993. Xi'anshi Difangzhi B i a n z u a n W a i y u a n h u i ^ ^ l r j i f e ^ ' ^ | ^ ^ # M # (Editorial B o a r d for the G a z a t t e e of the City of Xian) Vol.1  Xian Shizhi  (H^rfJ^))  (Gazette of Xian)  Xi'an: Xi'an C h u b a n s h e , 1996.  ±$S  Z h a n g Baifeng & Li Zongyi e d . # ^ ^ »  (Northern Warlords)  Z h a n g , Yungjia WS^. Taibei:  V o l . 2 Hubei: W u h a n C h u b a n s h e , 1990.  Yu Youren Zhuan (T^frfifii}  (Biography of Y u Y o u r e n )  Z h o n g w a i T o n g x u n s h e , 1958.  Zhongguo Tiedao Chubanshe  Diyuji  Beiyang Junfa: 1912-1928  e d . ^MWt^tfci^iLWi-  (^'MWMr^C.M^MM)  Zhongguo Tielu Jioatong  (Railway Transportation Atlas of China). H e n a n :  Z h o n g g u o T i e d a o C h u b a n s h e , 1989.  Ciyuan (WtM) •  Beijing: C o m m e r c i a l Press, 1998.  Cihai {^M) •  Taiwan: Z h o n g h u a shuju, 1967.  Zhongguo Lishi Diming Cidian  ((^IMM^i#&if?^l>>  • Nianchang: Jiangxi jiaoyu  C h u b a n s h e , 1998.  37  Appendix I Table 1 Character List  T h i s list provides C h i n e s e characters for the C h i n e s e terms introduced in this e s s a y (including individuals' names, location, terms).  BaiLang  Etf&CfilP)  Lanzhou  Baotou  l3jg|  Li Jinglin  Beijing Z h e n g b i a n  ihtitik^  |U'|H  Li Y u n l o n g  ^«f|  chaihai yizi  ^ ^ . ^ ^  Liu Ruming  %[J^BJ  Chang'an  jl^r  Liu Z h e n h u a  H!jfi#?  Longhai  Dagu Datong  Li Mingzhong^P.IM  j^M  Liu R u m i n g  Duolun Feng Yuxiang  $f  3sJ£  LuZhonglin  Fengtian  Mount S o n g  guanzhong  ||cfp  Lintong  gansidui  WffiM  MaZhenwu  mGkfa  G u o Songling  fflft&BJ!  Liu Y u f e n  F e n g Hongkui  GouBaojie  WM  JHHK  Nankou  i^p  Ningxia  S=£J|  Guominjun  fflj^jil  Qinlong F u H a n j u n  Hankou  yj|n  San Qiaozhen  Heping Q i c h e n g h u i  Sanyuan Shanxi  Kejun Kongming  frjzp$J$ft  Jim  laobaixing  ^H^fe  Lantian  §tEH  ELM  [iiiS  Shaanxi Shanhaiguan  LUj  Table 1  Shenyuan  Zhenguojun  Shengyuan  Z h o n g h u a M i n g u o Guominjun  Shijiazhuang  Z h u g e Liang  Sun  ftlljp  Liangcheng  Sun Lianzhong  MB  Sun Y u e  Song Zheyuan Tongguan W u Peifu  MM J ^ f l ^  WuJingyin  mWU  Wugong  ^Xjj  Wuyuan  TLW>  Xianyang Xiaoyanta  /hW&  Xu Yongchang Yan Xishan  f^zkll  W\Wi\h  Yang Hucheng  Y u e Weijun  #?JTI$<  fiffiSg. HTHH  Zhang Zongchang Zhang Wanqing  MMJS.  Z h a n g Zhijiang  \2K  Z h a n g Zuolin Zhangjiakou  •  39  Table 2 A Chronology of Events in China, 1911-1928  1911  October  Establishment of the R e p u b l i c of C h i n a F e n g Y u x i a n g b e c a m e military governor of Shaanxi. 1  st  Zhili- Fengtian war. F e n g led troops to support W u  Peifu through H e n a n . 2 Zhili-Fengtian war. Jiangsu-Zhejiang war between Z h a n g Zuolin a n d S u n n d  1924 SeptemberOctober  C h u a n g f e n . Z h a n g was forced to withdawfrom S h a n g h a i d u e to vulnerable supply line. T h e brief war rekindled his desire to o c c u p y the strategic Zhili province.  October 23  Beijing  Zhengbian,  F e n g Y u x i a n g betrayed W u Peifu a n d  o c c u p i e d Zhili controlled Beijing. W u was defeated a n d fled to H a n k o u . 1925  Spring  Minor c l a s h e s between Guominjun a n d Fengtian troops in the Beijing area. F e n g a n d Z h a n g met to d i s c u s s a compromise. Both s i d e s pulled troops out of the Metropolitan area. F e n g took control of the BeijingH a n k o u railway.  July November  Guominjun took Xi'an G u o Songling rebellion. Z h a n g Zuolin r e a c h e d a n informal alliance with W u Peifu to destroyed F e n g Y u x i a n g a n d the Gouminjun.  December  Guominjun belatedly l a u n c h e d attacks against Fengtian troops in Tianjin, Southern Liaoning, a n d S h a n d o n g . F e n g a n n o u n c e d his retirement from political a n d military  1926  affairs. Briefly stayed in Ningxia before traveling to the March  Soviet Union. T h e W u - Z h a n g alliance launched m a s s i v e assaults  April  from Tianjun a n d Beijing to N a n k o u . Liu Z h e n h u a attacked Guominjun in Shaanxi. S i e g e of  against the Guominjun in E a s t e r n C h i n a . Y a n X i s h a n joined the allies a n d attacked the Guominjun along the Beijing-Hankou railway. Guominjun e v a c u a t e d  Xi'an officially b e g a n on the 15 . th  T h e alliance l a u n c h e d a s s a u l t s against N a n k o u . Y a n X i s h a n attacked Guominjun from Datong. May  Liu o c c u p i e d key towns around Xi'an. T h e city was completely isolated. Northern Expedition began.  Table 2  1926 June  Z h a n g a n d W u met in Beijing on the 2 6 a n d d e c i d e d to continue the anti-Guominjun c a m p a i g n . In reality, both were p r e o c c u p i e d with their own affairs a n d the c a m p a i g n stalled. D u e to lack of reinforcement, the Guominjun's positions in Inner M o n g o l i a crumbled. Zhangjiakou lost the protection on its flank. Guominjun soldiers from E a s t e r n C h i n a were ordered to withdraw westward. Y a n X i s h a n g a i n e d control of S u i y u a n (Inner Mongolia) from the Guominjun. F e n g returned from the Soviet Union on the 17 . D e c l a r e d his intention to join the G M D a n d rid C h i n a of W a r l o r d i s m . th  August  September  th  •th  Guominjun reconstituted. Guominjun p u s h e d Liu out of Shaanxi.  th  T h e s i e g e of Xi'an officially e n d e d .  N o v e m b e r 27 28' 1927  January 26 March  1928  June  th  F e n g arrived at Xi'an G M D took Nanjing a n d S h a n g h a i . G M D took Beijing. M a n y scholars c o n s i d e r e d this a s the e n d point of the C h i n e s e W a r l o r d period.  <  Table 3 A List of Guominjun's Territory and its Commanders in Late 1925  Guominjun's territory in Northwest C h i n a was divided into five sections: Beijing Metropolitan R e g i o n Northern H e b e i & part of Southern M o p n g o l i a Ningxia Southwestern Liaoning & part of Inner M o n g o l i a Gansu  Lu Zhonglin Z h a n g Zhijiang Li M i n g z h o n g Sung Zheyuan Liu Y u f e n  Source: Minchu Shiqide Yan Xishan  Table 4 The Guominjun and its Commanders, 1925-26  T h e Guominjun was officially created after the Beijing c o u p on O c t o b e r 25,  1925.  However, the generals listed below h a d b e e n with F e n g a n d his armies s i n c e at least 1924 . 95  1  Guominjun  F e n g Y u x i a n g ( W h e n he retired, Z h a n g Zhijiang b e c a m e the C o m m a n d e r in C h i e f of all Guominjun)  2  n d  Guominjun  W u Jingyin (Yue Weijun took over after W u died in April  3  rd  Guominjun  Sun Yue  4  th  Guominjun  Guo  The exception was Guo Songlin and his 4 attacks against Zhang Zuolin.  9 5  1925)  TH  Songlin  Guominjun. He took up the designation after his launched surprise  42  Table 5 Guominjun's Commanders and Units in Xi'an, April-November 1926  2  n d  Guominjun 1 0  2  n d  Guominjun 4  3  r d  Guominjun 3  t n  t h  r d  Division  Li Y u n l o n g  Division  W e i Ding  Division  Yang Hucheng  Total number of Guominjun soldiers in Xi'an at the ontset of the s i e g e was around 10,000.  Table 6 Clarification on the Chinese Term "guan" T h e C h i n e s e term  guan  m e a n s a pass. It c a n be part of a g e o g r a p h i c feature or  purposely built to regulate the flow of traffic in a particular locale. the term  "guanzhong" (IS 40 or "guannef  In traditional period,  (ISF*3) are both u s e d to describe the W e i  valley. T h e word "pass" denotes the numerous mountains p a s s e s in S h a a n x i (such a s T o n g g u a n ) . In m o d e m period, the term "guannei" is u s e d to describe C h i n a proper. T h e "pass" refers to S h a n h a i g u a n .  Source: Ciyuan, 1998, 3253; Cihai, 1967, 107-108  43  Appendix II Figure 1  M a p of S h a a n x i , 1920s  SHAANXI PROVINCE 0.  25 50 75 100 km.  HENQ5HAN  ,J\  _. „  V  {*J«fcBIAN i  YANCHUAN .  Ksu.  Sketch nup drawn for Oris book b* run Zkiung  Sketch Map of Shaanxi Province  SOV^-UL '•  "&?. <£  L  \<\^ I-WWJU,  Figure 2 Warlord C h i n a ,  1925  Source: "Warlords, 1925". US Military Academy, West Point. http://www.dean.usma.edu/history/dhistorvmaps/ChineseCWPages/ChineseCWToC.htm  45  Figure 3 T h e City of Xi'an,  1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.  Revolution Park Guannan Huiguan Orphanage Red Cross Guangren Hospital Telephone Exchange Gongshan University Telegraph Office Lianhu Park Workshop Post Office Educational School Office of the Provincial Government Local Court Xi'an Park  16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.  1930  Barrack Farmer's Market Ministry of Construction Ministry of Education County Office, Ministry of Civic Affairs Ministry of Finance Provincial Party Office (GMD) City's Party Office (GMD) City Hall Police Station Army Survey Office High Court Ministry of Agriculture and Mining Ministry of Industry  Figure 4  Modern Xi'an: City Wall a n d Moat  Source: Xi'ansi Dilizhi  47  Figure 5  T o w e r s on top of Xi'an City Wall  Source: Qiannian Gudu Xian There are a total of 98 towers on top of the city wall.  

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