finalchinesePLA

finalchinesePLA - The Evolution of the Peoples Liberation...

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The Evolution of the People’s Liberation Army
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Approaching the Issue Former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Mao Zedong once said that “politics grows out of the barrel of a gun. (Rejai, 1976)” This statement could not be any more true for the People’s Republic of China, as it is a state which was gained through warfare. It is said that warfare is what occurs when politics can go no further. When keeping this in mind it is apparent that throughout history major world changes have occurred not as a result of politics but instead warfare. It is for this reason that nations have realized the necessity of strong and competent militaries. If one power wishes to overwhelm an opponent, the use of a powerful army is a means to reach the desired end. On that token it is also necessary to have a powerful army to deter foreign aggression and guarantee prosperity. Ever since the early days of the CCP the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been the fighting force responsible for protecting the party and enforcing its will. In recent years, China has become a global powerhouse both economically and militarily. There are some who naively say that in the near future a clash between China and the United States is inevitable, therefore making analysis of China’s military capabilities of extreme importance. While war may not happen in the near future it is certainly important to analyze the PLA – namely its evolution from a guerilla force into a modern military. By tracking the sets of goals and improvements the PLA has striven to
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achieve we can better understand the PLA and come to the realization that it is not yet ready to make war with fully-modern forces. What it Takes to Make War Warfare is an art which has evolved throughout the history of time. It is due to the ever-changing nature of warfare that armies must adapt along with technology. In many ways technology is always the catalyst for a revolution in military planning. This can be tracked to modern day, where the recent utilization of information systems as become as important as actual use of the machines of war. Nevertheless, the fundamentals of what it takes to make war are still existent. First, it is the state or party (CCP in China’s case) which must form the army and sustain it with resources and manpower. Second, it is the state which must dictate who leads the military and what doctrine the military follows. Third, it is once again the state which ensures the military does not fall into obsolescence by providing it with new technologies and weaponry of warfare. It is through these fundamental necessities that the CCP has attempted to sustain the PLA. In an effort to outline this attempt, three stages in the history of the PLA can be recognized. The first covers the early stages of the PLA, from inception to victory over Chinese Nationalist forces in Chinese Civil War. The second phase occurs during the
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Cold War, when China received vast Soviet military and economic aid. The third phase
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2008 for the course IR 403 taught by Professor Fewsmith during the Spring '08 term at BU.

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finalchinesePLA - The Evolution of the Peoples Liberation...

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