Marshal Xu Xiangqian
Communist Military Leaders of the Korean War 8. Marshal Xu Xiangqian

Background and History Xu Xiangqian (pronounced Shu Shee-ang-Chee-an) was born in Wutai County Shanxi Province. He was a fine general with Zhang Guotao's Fourth front Army. He was Zhang's principle commander with Ye Jianying as Chief of Staff. A split developed between Zhang's forces and Chairman Mao's First Front Army. The Fourth Front Army numbered about 80,000 combat troops and about 80,000 noncombatant personnel. Mao's forces numbered about 10,000 at that time. It was a very dangerous moment in the history of the Party. One Red Army was about to attack another. After Mao's Red Army slipped away to avoid the trouble after being warned by General Ye Jianying, Xu was told, "That a strange thing has happened. The First Army has pulled out. Shall we attack and go after them?" Xu replied, "Have you ever seen the Red Army attacking the Red Army?" That was it. There was to be no attack. Both Xu and Ye Jianying got credit for stopping a serious conflict. Xu eventually left Zhang's Army and joined Mao in Yan'an. He was named one of China's Ten Marshals in 1955.

Proclamation of the People's Republic of China After the founding of the Peoples' Republic of China, he became the Chief of the PLA General Staff, vice chairman of the CMC in 1954, vice chairman of the Chinese Peoples' Revolutionary Military Committee, vice premier in 1965, and defense minister.

Activities in Korean War Xu Xiangqian was the chief of the PLA General Staff and Vice Chairman of the CCP Central Military Commission during the Korea War. In 1951, after a two-year sick leave. He made a trip to the Soviet Union to purchase weapons and equipment to arm the Chinese Peoples' Volunteers Forces in Korea. In 1995 he became a marshal. He died in 1990.

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