He Yingqin
He Yingqin also spelled Ho Ying-chin, was one of the most senior generals of the Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (KMT) during Republican China
History of the Republic of China
The History of the Republic of China begins after the Qing Dynasty in 1912, when the formation of the Republic of China put an end to over two thousand years of Imperial rule. The Qing Dynasty, also known as the Manchu Dynasty, ruled from 1644 to 1912...

, and a close ally of Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....


Early years

A native of Guizhou
' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the southwestern part of the country. Its provincial capital city is Guiyang.- History :...

, He was healthy and bookish in his childhood. In 1907 he was enrolled by the Guiyang
Guiyang is the capital of Guizhou province of Southwest China. It is located in the centre of the province, situated on the east of the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau, and on the north bank of the Nanming River, a branch of the Wu River. The city has an elevation of about 1,100 meters...

 Military Elementary School, and transferred to the more famous Wuchang Third Army Middle School in the following year. In the same year, he was chosen by the Defense Department of Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 to study in Imperial Japanese Army Academy for his excellent performance.

When studying in the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, he became acquainted with fellow student Chiang Kai-shek. He learned military skills and was influenced by the anti-Qing Dynasty theories of the Tongmenghui
The Tongmenghui, also known as the Chinese United League, United League, Chinese Revolutionary Alliance, Chinese Alliance and United Allegiance Society, was a secret society and underground resistance movement formed when merging many Chinese revolutionary groups together by Sun Yat-sen, Song...

. He soon joined this secret organization. In 1911 after the outbreak of Wuchang Uprising
Wuchang Uprising
The Wuchang Uprising began with the dissatisfaction of the handling of a railway crisis. The crisis then escalated to an uprising where the revolutionaries went up against Qing government officials. The uprising was then assisted by the New Army in a coup against their own authorities in the city...

, He came back to China with other members of Tongmenghui, to work for Chen Qimei
Chen Qimei
Chen Qimei was a Chinese revolutionary activist, close political ally of Sun Yat-sen, and early mentor of Chiang Kai-shek. He was as one of the founders of the Republic of China, and the uncle of Chen Guofu and Chen Lifu....

, who was governor of Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

 and also known as Chiang's mentor. When the war waged by the Tongmenghui against Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai was an important Chinese general and politician famous for his influence during the late Qing Dynasty, his role in the events leading up to the abdication of the last Qing Emperor of China, his autocratic rule as the second President of the Republic of China , and his short-lived...

 failed, He had to take refuge in Japan and proceed his military training.

After He's graduation in 1916, Liu Xianshi, the governor of Guizhou, planned to set up a military academy in Guizhou to train troops for himself. Liu asked his son, who also had studied in Japan, to enroll some talents for this job. With the recommendation of Liu's son and Wang Wenhua
Wang Wenhua
Wang Wenhua , also known as Tom Wang is a contemporary Taiwanese novelist and columnist. He graduated from the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Taiwan University, and obtained an MBA from Stanford University. He is the author of Protein Girls and 61 vs 57...

, the commander of the Guizhou army, He was appointed as colonel of 4th Regiment of Guizhou army.

He won Wang's trust quickly and married Wang's sister later. In the power struggle between Liu and Wang, He supported Wang and Liu lost power in 1920. As a reward, He was appointed as president of academy, head of police, brigadier of the 5th Brigade of Guizhou army. When Wang was assassinated by his rivals in 1921, the troops of Wang fell into chaos and civil strife. He was expelled from Guizhou by other generals and went to Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

 to work for a local warlord.

Rise and fall in the Kuomintang

In 1924, Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

 made preparation for the establishment of Whampoa Military Academy
Whampoa Military Academy
The Nationalist Party of China Army Officer Academy , commonly known as the Whampoa Military Academy , was a military academy in the Republic of China that produced many prestigious commanders who fought in many of China's conflicts in the 20th century, notably the Northern Expedition, the Second...

 under the authorization of Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

. Chiang knew He's talent and recommend him to Sun. Sun sent a telegraph asking He to Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 for the job. He accepted the offer and was appointed as the General Instructor of the academy.

In the course of the academy's establishment, He supported Chiang and won Chiang's appreciation. In the war against the local warlord Chen Jiongming
Chen Jiongming
Chen Jiongming was a revolutionary figure in the early periods of the Republic of China. Chen Jiongming was born in 1878 at Haifeng, Guangdong, China....

, students training in the academy were grouped into two regiments. He was appointed as a colonel of one regiment. In the war, He proved his courage and military talent by winning several battles although he had just recovered from an illness, his performance made a deep impression on both Chiang and the Soviet Union's military advisor Vasily Blyukher
Vasily Blyukher
Vasily Konstantinovich Blyukher Vasily Konstantinovich Blyukher Vasily Konstantinovich Blyukher (also spelled Bliukher, Blücher, etc., , Soviet military commander, was among the prominent victims of Joseph Stalin's Great Purge of the late 1930s....

 (General Galen). Galen sent his sword to He as a gift after this war.

In July of the same year, the National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
The National Revolutionary Army , pre-1928 sometimes shortened to 革命軍 or Revolutionary Army and between 1928-1947 as 國軍 or National Army was the Military Arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947, as well as the national army of the Republic of China during the KMT's period of party rule...

 was set up. The students of the academy were grouped into the 1st Army Corps, Chiang as the commander, He Yingqin as commander of one division, Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 as the party representative of He's division. In September, Chen masterminded another commotion. Chiang led the war to put down this revolt, in which He demonstrated his military talent again.

During the Northern Expedition in 1926, He Yingqin succeeded Chiang as commander of the 1st Army Corps and led his army marching into Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 and Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

 provinces. After He controlled the whole area of Fujian, he conquered Zhejiang
Zhejiang is an eastern coastal province of the People's Republic of China. The word Zhejiang was the old name of the Qiantang River, which passes through Hangzhou, the provincial capital...

 as well. When Chiang began to confront the Communists
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 He supported Chiang as well. In 1927 He's army and Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi , , also spelled Pai Chung-hsi, was a Chinese general in the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China and a prominent Chinese Nationalist Muslim leader. He was of Hui ethnicity and of the Muslim faith...

's army launched a massacre on CCP members in Shanghai, which announced the end of first alliance of KMT-CCP.

When Chiang took power, the tension between him and Wang Jingwei
Wang Jingwei
Wang Jingwei , alternate name Wang Zhaoming, was a Chinese politician. He was initially known as a member of the left wing of the Kuomintang , but later became increasingly anti-Communist after his efforts to collaborate with the CCP ended in political failure...

, the New Guangxi Clique
New Guangxi clique
After the founding of the Republic of China, Guangxi served as the base for one of the most powerful warlord cliques of China: the Old Guangxi clique. Led by Lu Rongting and others, the clique was able to take control of neighbouring Hunan and Guangdong provinces as well...

 led by Li Zongren
Li Zongren
Li Zongren or Li Tsung-jen , courtesy name Delin , was a prominent Guangxi warlord and Kuomintang military commander during the Northern Expedition, Second Sino-Japanese War and Chinese Civil War...

 and Bai Chongxi rose day by day. Wang sent a statement to ask Chiang to resign, with the support from Li and Bai. Under these circumstances, He thought Chiang had made himself a public enemy and was destined to fail, so he supported Chiang's opponents activities secretly. In the meeting to decide Chiang's future, when Bai asked Chiang to resign, Chiang turned to He for support. He said nothing, which hurt Chiang's heart deeply and then Chiang left the meeting and announced his resignation in sorrow. Later when Chiang recalled this event, he said "Had He given me one word of support, I would not have been forced to resign."

Chiang soon regained his power due to the incompetence of Wang and his allies in controlling the situation. After Chiang's restoration, he took over He's military command and made himself commander. After He was sacked by Chiang, he went to Hangzhou
Hangzhou , formerly transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. Governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2010, its entire administrative division or prefecture had a registered population of 8.7 million people...

 for relieving his discontent. Chiang knew He's protest and came to meet with He. Chiang told He, "Without you, I can still take power, but without me, you will be nothing." After careful consideration, He had to reconcile with Chiang.

He was appointed as chief of staff of the National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
The National Revolutionary Army , pre-1928 sometimes shortened to 革命軍 or Revolutionary Army and between 1928-1947 as 國軍 or National Army was the Military Arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947, as well as the national army of the Republic of China during the KMT's period of party rule...

 (NRA), and training supervisor for the NRA. During his term, He spared no effort to train armies for Chiang and crack down on warlords by regrouping their armies into Chiang's own armies. When the war between Chiang and alliance of the New Guangxi Clique, Yan Xishan
Yan Xishan
Yan Xishan, was a Chinese warlord who served in the government of the Republic of China. Yan effectively controlled the province of Shanxi from the 1911 Xinhai Revolution to the 1949 Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War...

, Feng Yuxiang
Feng Yuxiang
Feng Yuxiang was a warlord and leader in Republican China. He was also known as the Christian General for his zeal to convert his troops and the Betrayal General for his penchant to break with the establishment. In 1911, he was an officer in the ranks of Yuan Shikai's Beiyang Army but joined...

, He commanded the army even when his father was dead. Chiang sent his condolence, which deeply impressed He.

In 1930, He was appointed as Minister of Military Administration Department of the Nationalist (KMT) government, of which he held for over a decade. During his term, He made great contributions to military service, logistics, defense construction of KMT, and his probity and cleanness won him great reputation.

In 1931, He was appointed as commander to lead Second Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet
Second Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet
The Second Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet was a series of battles launched by the Chinese Nationalist Government in the hope of encircling and destroying the Jiangxi Soviet after the previous campaign had failed...

, but his troops suffered great losses, which was the beginning of the end of his reputation as a skillful commander.

In the same year, the Mukden Incident
Mukden Incident
The Mukden Incident, also known as the Manchurian Incident, was a staged event that was engineered by Japanese military personnel as a pretext for invading the northern part of China known as Manchuria in 1931....

 took place in Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

. Chiang regarded the CCP as his archrival and placed priority on the suppression of CCP forces, the Japanese should be dealt with by compromises instead of war. Thus, He was sent to Northern China to handle these tough issues because of his friendly way to the Japanese. In 1933, Japanese armies invaded Rehe and broke through the KMT defense along the Great Wall. He Yingqin replaced Zhang Xueliang
Zhang Xueliang
Zhang Xueliang or Chang Hsüeh-liang , occasionally called Peter Hsueh Liang Chang in English, nicknamed the Young Marshal , was the effective ruler of Manchuria and much of North China after the assassination of his father, Zhang Zuolin, by the Japanese on 4 June 1928...

 as chairman of the Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 Military Committee, which was the supreme organ in charge of the military forces of Northern China. He advocated no direct confrontation with the Japanese troops, and signed the Tanggu Cease-Fire Accord with Okamura Yasuji (岡村寧次), who was deputy chief of staff of Kantogun
The , also known in China as the Guandong Army , was an army group of the Imperial Japanese Army in the first half of the twentieth century. It became the largest and most prestigious command in the IJA...

 at that time.

After that, He Yingqin opposed campaigns and efforts against the Japanese, and disarmed Feng Yuxiang's anti-Japanese army. In 1935, Japanese troops started several incidents. When the Blue Shirts Society
Blue Shirts Society
The Blue Shirts Society also known as the Society of Practice of the Three Principles of the People , the Spirit Encouragement Society and the China Reconstruction Society , was a secret clique in the...

, the secret organization of the Whampoa Clique of the KMT, and a firm anti-Japanese group fought back with assassination and other violent activities, the Japanese argued that it was violation of the Tanggu Accord signed between China and Japan which was to keep the status quo of Northern China. Under the name of Yoshijirō Umezu, who was commander of Japanese troops in Northern China at that time, the Japanese spy agency under the direction of Kenji Doihara
Kenji Doihara
was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. He was instrumental in the Japanese invasion of Manchuria for which he earned fame taking the nickname 'Lawrence of Manchuria', a reference to the Lawrence of Arabia....

 provided an investigation of the BSS as appendix of a memo. He agreed with all issues proposed by Japanese in this memo, which later was called He-Umezu Agreement
He-Umezu Agreement
The was a secret agreement between the Empire of Japan and the Republic of China concluded on 10 June 1935 immediately prior to the outbreak of general hostilities in the Second Sino-Japanese War.- Background and history :...

. According to this accord, all forces having relations with the BSS inclusive of military police, regular forces such as 2nd Division and 25th Division should be evacuated from Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 and out of Hebei
' is a province of the People's Republic of China in the North China region. Its one-character abbreviation is "" , named after Ji Province, a Han Dynasty province that included what is now southern Hebei...

 province. The BSS had to retreat from Beijing in humiliation.

With KMT forces out of Northern China, He Yingqin had little room for maneuver. Then, he returned to Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

 to do his job as minister. In Dec 1936, the Xian Incident broke out, Chiang was taken into custody by Zhang Xueliang's army. There were disagreements among the KMT leaders on how to handle this incident. Chiang's wife Soong May-ling
Soong May-ling
Soong May-ling or Soong Mei-ling, also known as Madame Chiang Kai-shek or Madame Chiang was a First Lady of the Republic of China , the wife of Generalissimo and President Chiang Kai-shek. She was a politician and painter...

 was afraid of Chiang being killed and urged peace negotiations. He's role was quite controversial. He was voted as acting commander to lead the KMT armies to the rescue of Chiang. Historians used to say that He strongly supported the need to solve this incident by force, for which reason He contacted Wang Jingwei and asked him back to China to take charge of the KMT, and sent two armies marching to Xian to fight against Zhang's army. There was a saying when Soong May-ling came to He and asking for peaceful solution, He refuted her as a woman knowing little of politics should leave state issues alone. However, new evidence showed that actually it was the Whampoa clique especially those young and extremist officers of the Blue Shirts Society that launched the military attack against Zhang, and He even rejected their request for a supporting army.

Soong came to Xian for peace talks and did succeed in rescuing Chiang. When Chiang came back, he distrusted He again. Nonetheless, He still held his position of minister but with little real power.

When the Chinese anti-Japanese war turned into a general war after the occurrence of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident
Marco Polo Bridge Incident
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident was a battle between the Republic of China's National Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army, often used as the marker for the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War .The eleven-arch granite bridge, Lugouqiao, is an architecturally significant structure,...

 in 1937, He Yingqin was appointed as chief of staff and worked with Chiang for drafting military plans. In 1944, when his title of Minister of War was taken over by Chiang's favorite, Chen Cheng
Chen Cheng
Chen Cheng , was a Chinese political and military leader, and one of the main National Revolutionary Army commanders during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. After moving to Taiwan at the end of the Civil War, he served as the Governor of Taiwan Province, Vice President and...

, He was appointed as General Commander of the Chinese Military Area, which was an honorable title instead of real power, and was sent to Yunnan to train the Chinese Expeditionary Army, which was set up under the proposal of Joseph Stilwell
Joseph Stilwell
General Joseph Warren Stilwell was a United States Army four-star General known for service in the China Burma India Theater. His caustic personality was reflected in the nickname "Vinegar Joe"...

, for assisting in the ally force's operation in Southeast Asia.
In August 1945, when Japan announced its unconditional surrender
Japanese Instrument of Surrender
The Japanese Instrument of Surrender was the written agreement that enabled the Surrender of Japan, marking the end of World War II. It was signed by representatives from the Empire of Japan, the United States of America, the Republic of China, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist...

, He was appointed as representative of both the Chinese Government and the Southeast Asia Ally Forces to host the surrender of Japanese troops in China. On Sept 9th, He accepted the statement of surrender submitted by Yasuji Okamura
Yasuji Okamura
- Notes :...

, who was General Commander of Japanese troops in China at that time. This historic moment put He under the spotlight of the world, and was the peak of his career.

In 1946, the KMT government set up the Defense Department to take charge of the military attack against CCP forces in the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

, but He lost the race with Chen Cheng and Bai, who were appointed as Chief of Staff and Defense Minister respectively. He was sent to the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 as director of the Chinese military delegation. One year later, He was called back to be a senior military advisor, and regained the position of Defense Minister in 1948 witnessing the collapse of KMT power.

In 1949, Chiang had to resign for the third time, when Li Zongren
Li Zongren
Li Zongren or Li Tsung-jen , courtesy name Delin , was a prominent Guangxi warlord and Kuomintang military commander during the Northern Expedition, Second Sino-Japanese War and Chinese Civil War...

 was voted as acting president. In order to contain Li's power and influence, Chiang asked He to take the job of speaker and later the head of the Executive Yuan
Executive Yuan
The Executive Yuan is the executive branch of the government of the Republic of China , commonly known as "Taiwan".-Organization and structure:...

 of Li's cabinet, and was also named as acting Defense Minister. He took the job and proposed the plan of cease-fire first and peace negotiation later, for KMT to win time for its governance in China. The Communists exploited the military victory and crossed the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

 conquering Nanjing, the capital of KMT government. Although the nationalists still had huge number of troops and there were good possibilities of turning the tide on paper, the United States refused to supply any more military aid and thus the troops were poorly armed and equipped and thus no longer had the combat power to turn the tide. Song Xilian
Song Xilian
Song Xilian was a KMT general from Hunan.He was last in charge to moving KMT remaining troops to Xichang, Sichuan.He was captured and being tried as a enemy of people and was finally released in the 1980s....

, deputy commander-in-chief of Central China, had a heated argument with He over the telephone when He shouted that as the defense minister commanding all the forces, Song must obey his order, but Song arrogantly replied that he did not even know what was the defense minister and the head of Executive Yuan
Executive Yuan
The Executive Yuan is the executive branch of the government of the Republic of China , commonly known as "Taiwan".-Organization and structure:...

, and then simply hung up. He Yingqin consequently went to Li Zongren to complain, and claimed that he had never been humiliated like this in his life but Li was unable to help. In May, He resigned with his cabinet members in Guangzhou.

Later years

When He came to Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, he said he would leave politics for introspection of the failure of the KMT. When Chiang was reelected as president of the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 in 1950, he lost his election as member of the central committee of the KMT, and only gained the honorary title of senior advisor.

He took charge of several clubs and associations working for the KMT, and spent most of his time playing sports, bridge, and planting. In 1986 He suffered from apoplexy
Apoplexy is a medical term, which can be used to describe 'bleeding' in a stroke . Without further specification, it is rather outdated in use. Today it is used only for specific conditions, such as pituitary apoplexy and ovarian apoplexy. In common speech, it is used non-medically to mean a state...

 and was sent to a hospital, where, after several months treatment, he died on October 21, 1987. With the nickname of Lucky General, he survived battles and campaigns, and lived longer than most of the patriarchs of KMT inclusive of Chiang. His remains are interred at Wuchih Mountain Military Cemetery
Wuchih Mountain Military Cemetery
The Wuzhi Mountain Military Cemetery is Taiwan's most prominent military cemetery. The cemetery is located on Wuzhi Mountain in Xizhi, New Taipei City and borders Taipei City's Neihu District and Yangmingshan National Park...

 in Taiwan.

See also

  • New 6th Army
    New 6th Army
    New 6th Army was a Chinese combat command involved in the Burma Campaign of World War II, and later, the Chinese Civil War.They operated in the Shan States and the Karen State of eastern Burma...

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