|Died||1 Oct 1966|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseZhao Chengshou was born to a teacher in a village in Shanxi Province, China in 1891. In 1909, he enrolled in the Qinghe Army Academy. He participated in the 1911 Chinese revolution on the side of the revolutionaries. In 1912, he completed his studies at Qinghe and enrolled in the Baoding Army Officer School. He returned to Shanxi in 1918 and served in the provincial military, rising to become the commanding officer of the 11th Regiment of the 6th Mixed Brigade in 1924. In Jun 1927, he became the commanding officer of 2nd Division of the 2nd Corps of the National Revolutionary Army, leading troops in battles against warlords in this role. In Mar 1928, he was named the commander of the 39th Division. In Oct 1928, he became the head of the 3rd Army Cavalry School, training the cavalry units of the 3rd Army which were largely consisted of recruited conscripts and bandits; he would hold this role for the next ten years. In Nov 1928, he became the commanding officer of the 26th Route Army. In 1932, while he was leading a campaign against the Chinese Communists in Suiyuan Province, China, he had learned that one of his cavalry regiments (which had been recruited from a bandit group) was planning a mutiny; to deal with this, he took away the regiment's weapons with the reason of the disbanding of the regiment with bonus pay as the unit was no longer needed; while the 500 men traveled to their home province, they were executed en masse along the track on Zhao's orders. In the mid-1930s, he donated 60,000 to 70,000 Yuan to his home village which funded two schools (with funds set aside as monetary reward for students with good grades), the renovation of the local hospital, an opium rehabilitation program, and others. In Jan 1936, he was awarded the Order of Resplendent Banner 4th Class and a promotion to the rank of lieutenant general; in Nov 1936, he received the Order of Resplendent Banner 3rd Class. He participated in the Battle of Suiyuan in 1936, and for his contributions to this battle which resulted in Japanese-Mongolian defeat he was awarded the Order of Precious Tripod 2nd Class.
ww2dbaseWhen the Sino-Japanese conflict officially broke into a full-scale war in Jul 1937, Zhao took command of the Chinese 1st Cavalry Corps, initially advancing in Linxi County of Rehe Province, reaching the city of Hohhot, but by early 1938, he fell back toward Shanxi Province as his flanks became exposed. During these early months of the fighting, he was forced to fight alongside Communist forces in order to hold against Japanese assault, and came to respect the spirit of the Communist forces of the Chinese 8th Route Army, and the Communist leadership would take advantage of this in the subsequent years to recruit him to their cause. In Jul 1939, he became the commander of the 7th Army. In Jan 1940, he led an unsuccessful defensive campaign that resulted in a major defeat during which he lost a majority of the heavy equipment under his command; he was relieved of his duties for this loss. Knowing his displeasure with the Chinese leadership, he was approached by Chinese collaborators, leading to his secret signing of an armistice with the Japanese in Aug 1941. By Nov, however, he saw through the Japanese ploy, understanding that the Japanese was more interested in luring Chinese leaders such as himself to give up rather than cooperating with the Chinese, thus distanced himself from the Japanese.
ww2dbaseIn Aug 1945, as the Japanese surrendered, Nationalist and Communist forces began a race to take over formerly Japanese-occupied territories in China. In mid-Aug, as Nationalist forces attempted to take Shangdang in Shanxi Province, units from the Communist 8th Route Army struck them unexpectedly; Zhao received a call to reinforce the Nationalist forces in Shanxi, but Zhao, unwilling to attack his former comrades, found excuses not to send in his forces. In Oct 1945, he received the Order of Loyalty and Diligence for his tenure in the Chinese Nationalist Army. In Jul 1946, he was given corps-level command in the renewed civil war against the Communists, with orders to strike at Communist territory in Shanxi Province, capturing Xiaoyi on 17 Jan 1947 but soon became overextended and suffered heavy casualties as Communist forces counterattacked. By May 1948, the remnants of his forces had been surrounded at the city of Jinzhong, Shanxi; seeing the hopelessness of the situation, he surrendered to the communist at 1600 hours on 16 May 1948. He was convinced by his old comrades to switch his allegiance to the Communists, becoming an official with the water-electric authority with the Communist Chinese government after the end of the Chinese Civil War. Zhao passed away in Beijing, China in 1966.
ww2dbaseSource: Baidu Baike
Last Major Revision: Feb 2012
Zhao Chengshou Interactive Map
Zhao Chengshou Timeline
|25 Jan 1936||Zhao Chengshou was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.|
|12 Aug 1941||Zhao Chengshou signed a secret armistice with the Japanese.|
|1 Nov 1941||Zhao Chengshou began to distance himself from the Japanese and the Chinese collaborators.|
|16 May 1948||Zhao Chengshou surrendered to the Chinese Communist forces at Jinzhong, Shanxi, China.|
|1 Oct 1966||Zhao Chengshou passed away in Beijing, China.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945