Monday, February 14, 2011

History is a bitch

On the early morning of October 25, 1949, about nine thousand troops of Chinese Communist People’s Liberation Army landed on Guningtou of Jinmen, a tiny island just few miles from Mainland China. After a fierce 3-day fight, the entire Communist landing force was either killed or captured by the Republic of China (ruled by the Kuomingtang, KMT) defenders. The Battle of Guningtou, the first victory after a series of long defeats the KMT suffered during the four-year civil war, was considered having laid down the foundation for the stability of Taiwan for more than sixty years.

According to a news report today, former Imperial Japanese military officers were hired as advisors to assist KMT commanding generals in winning this battle. Ironically, those Japanese were of the belligerent that China had been fighting for eight bloody years. Following their surrender in 1945, more than eight hundred Japanese soldiers and civilians were repatriated in a year; however, some officers and technicians were left to serve as military advisors or help run factories. When the civil war in China broke out right after Japanese surrender, Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of KMT, asked his former enemy for help. History turned tide as KMT and the Communist, former “comrades” in the fight against Japanese invasion, turned against each other, and Japanese now became friends.

Communist China never quit the idea to “liberate” Taiwan, but the reality that Jinmen and Mazu, two strongholds still in KMT’s hands, and the difficulty for them to launch amphibian assault, forced them do nothing but bombard these two islands by artillery shells. When I served in the military in the late 70s, the mess hall of my former outfit in Mazu was once destroyed by communist artillery. Fortunately, no one got hurt. The bombardment had long ceased following the ease of conflict between two sides since the early 90s of the last century.

History is indeed a real bitch. We should make sure the tragic rift between last generations should not repeat in the next generations.

Please refer to http://udn.com/NEWS/NATIONAL/NAT2/6150336.shtml for the report about the Battle of Guningtou.

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