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The National Day military parade of 1958: A collective appearance of cadets from military colleges

2009-06-17 15:35 BJT

Peng Dehuai, Minister of National Defense and General Yang Chengwu remained parade commander and director respectively at the 10th National Day military parade.

At the National Day military parade of 1958, the most striking division was the one formed by the cadets from military colleges. It is a law for army construction that military colleges should be established first so as to run the armed forces. After New China was founded, the development of PLA military colleges entered a golden age. In June of 1950, based on the military colleges built during the war years, the Central Military Commission decided to construct and renovate a batch of military colleges to meet the needs of training talents for modern wars. In the 1950s, the PLA established a complete military college system including commanding colleges, political colleges, logistical colleges and other colleges specializing in certain technologies. This greatly improved the all-round military and political quality of commanders at all levels, and vigorously promoted the revolutionization, modernization and regularization of the PLA. In 1958, the number of cadets studying at military colleges increased 16 fold compared to that in 1949. The divisions formed by the cadets added glory to this parade, and their high spirits, gallant appearance and strong, vigorous strides and excellent qualification won commendation from the Chinese people.

Just like in the previous parades, the militia division also gave a splendid performance in this parade. The division was formed by representatives of workers, farmers, cadres and students from all over China. Among them, many were military heroes who had won many battles in the old revolutionary bases such as those in the Taihang Mountains and Baiyangdian Lake. They had defeated enemies with guns, cannons and landmines they made themselves with indigenous methods during China's War of Resistance against the Japanese Aggression and China's War of Liberation. Equipped with new types of rifles, they marched across Tiananmen Square in high spirits, with neat, valiant strides. Though they had only received a short period of training, their lineup and marching were as good as that of regular troops, and they attracted people’s attention immediately when they crossed Tiananmen Square. When General Yang Chengwu, who was on the Tiananmen Rostrum, told the leaders including Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai and Zhu De that they were militia representatives from Hebei Province, Shanxi Province and Beijing suburban areas and had been trained for just over 20 days, the leaders including Mao praised them repeatedly. Volko Chervenkov, one Soviet Union leader, said to Mao, “A nation at arms is really great.” Mao said, “This is the great power of the masses.” Mao told Volko Chervenkov proudly, “There are already 50 militia divisions in Beijing, and the militiamen across the country were organized within a very short time. They took military training, and soon will become strong. After the training, the workers and farmers can produce better, the students can study better and the cadres can work better,” Mao added, “the military is not only a military organization, but also a working organization, an education organization and a sports organization.” Liu Shaoqi told Volko Chervenkov, “There are soldiers everywhere in China so the invaders have nowhere to go.” Volko Chervenkov asked, “How long has they been organized?” “Less than one month,” Mao replied, smiling.

Translated by LOTO

Editor: Liu Anqi | Source: CCTV.com