Most discussion of China's military development and modernization tends to focus on traditional Chinese strategic thought, such as the applicability of Sunzi to modern conditions, or on the specifics and hardware of China's military modernization and the degree of danger this modernization might present. Both are interesting and essential to the understanding of China and the People's Liberation Army (PLA), but they are disconnected from the concrete details of the modern PLA warfighting experience.
This book is a systematic study of modern China's military campaigns and the actual warfighting conducted by the PLA since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. It provides a general overview of the evolution of PLA military doctrine and focuses on major combat episodes since the civil war with the Nationalists in the 1930s and 1940s to the last significant combat episode in Vietnam in 1979, and it also includes navy and air operations through 1999. Other topics discussed are military planning, command, and control; fighting and politics; combat tactics and performance; technological catch-up and doctrinal flexibility; the role of Mao Zedong; scale and typologies of fighting; and deterrence. The chapters are well grounded in fresh archival sources, and the contributors—a mix of scholars from mainland China, Taiwan, and the United State—have generated new insights and perspective.
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