Communist Chinese Military: "Red” or "Expert" Dispute 1950-1965

Gross, Karl
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
In the period 1950 to 1965, there was a developing dispute between the Chinese military and the Communist Party. The dispute was over the increasing professionalization of the military. It became characterized as the “red or expert" dispute. Prior to the Korean War the Chinese Communist military was characterized as a military with a highly developed sense of political consciousness. The role of political commissar and military commander was well coordinated, and in many cases, both positions were held by the same man concurrently. The informality and egalitarian nature of the military inspired its soldiers with dedication and enthusiasm for the Revolution. Guerilla warfare and the primitive technological base of the military did not give rise to the specialization that came with the Korean War. It was with the increasing technological supply from the Soviet Union, needed in order to meet the challenge of the American forces, that the demand for specialization and professionalism made itself felt. There seemed to be two immediate reasons for this. First, the complexity of the equipment, artillery, armor, etc., demanded greater professionalism. Second, the Chinese followed the Russian advice in the use of the equipment, and the Russian system was based on professionalism.
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