chineseposters.net
home | gallery | themes | "too many books" | artists | resources | reprints | about | contact

People's Militia

Training crack troops in the coldest time of the year, 1975

Training crack troops in the coldest time of the year, 1975

In the late 1950s, the strategy of 'people's war' was revived by Mao, who insisted at the time that men rather than weapons decide wars. Mao's strategy, strongly supported by Lin Biao, was in opposition of the desire for further professionalization as proposed by various other military men, including Peng Dehuai. The goal of this "everyone-a-soldier"-movement was to maintain control over a vast territory with only thin resources, to protect the national borders, and if necessary, to retreat to the interior to fight a protracted war. In case of attack, space was to be traded for time.

Heighten our vigilance, defend the mother country! Be ready at all times to destroy enemy intruders!, 1970

Heighten our vigilance, defend the mother country! Be ready at all times to destroy enemy intruders!, 1970

To do this, it was necessary to "lure the enemy deep" and to mobilize popular resistance. As a consequence, the principle of guerilla warfare against potential invaders was revived, leading to the interpenetration of military and civilian life. Soldiers lived among civilians as "fish in the water", and trained them in waging resistance.

Miraculous soldiers on the shallow lake, 1966

Miraculous soldiers on the shallow lake, 1966


In the 1960s, the Chinese peasantry was organized through the commune system into a vast people's militia. In all, about a quarter of the population was involved. The militia was given simple training, often with wooden rifles, by militia departments which were staffed by PLA officers. An important part of the training process was ideological work: learning from the various model soldiers which were held up for emulation, such as Lei Feng, Wang Jie, Dong Cunrui, Ouyang Hai and many others. By the same token, many of these model soldiers attained martyr status as a result of accidents with life ammunition while training the militias.

Organize contingents of the people's militia on a big scale, ca 1969

Organize contingents of the people's militia on a big scale, ca 1969


For all intents and purposes, the militia was trained to resist foreign invasion. In reality, they were more often used to maintain internal security, in particular during such chaotic periods as the Cultural Revolution.

The people's militia is the root of victory, 1970

The people's militia is the root of victory, 1970


Sources:

Flemming Christiansen & Shirin Rai, Chinese Politics and Society - An Introduction (London etc.: Prentice Hall 1996)

Ellis Joffe, Party and Army - Professionalism and Political Control in the Chinese Officer Corps, 1949-1964 (Cambridge: Harvard East Asian Monograph 19, 1967)

Andrew J. Nathan & Robert S. Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress - China's Search for Security (New York etc.: W.W. Norton & Company 1997)


Search website:
Search for Chinese posters in the IISH/Landsberger collections:
>> on people's militia external link


Reprints:
You can order high quality reprints of most posters featured on this website at chinesepostershop.com. Just follow the link in the right sidebar of each individual poster page.



Share: