Ho Ying-ch'in 何應欽 T. Ching-chih 敬之 Ho Ying-ch'in (1890-), one of Chiang Kai-shek's most trusted military officers. As minister of war (1930-44), he negotiated the 1935 Ho- Umezu agreement, by which China capitulated to Japanese demands in north China. He was chief of staff in 1938-44, commander in chief of the Chinese army in 1944-46, and chief Chinese delegate to the United Nations Military Advisory Committee in 1946-48. He became chairman of the Strategy Advisory Committee in Taiwan in 1950.
The ancestral home of Ho Ying-ch'in's family had been in Kiangsi, but some of his forebears had moved westward at the turn of the eighteenth century to settle in Kweichow and had made their home in Hsingyi in southwestern Kweichow. The family began as cattle dealers, prospered during the later Ch'ing period, and acquired both land and influence. Ho's father, Ho Ch'i-min, was a respected citizen who represented his village in the hsien defense corps. Following the occupation of Peking by foreign military forces after the Boxer Uprising of 1900, Ho Ying-ch'in went to the provincial capital, Kweiyang. He enrolled in the Kweichow Army Primary School in 1901. After graduation. Ho went to Wuchang, where he studied at the Third Army Middle School. He passed an examination for study abroad, and in 1908 he was sent by the ministry of war to Japan, where he enrolled at the Shimbu Gakko and later served as a student recruit in the 59th Infantry Company of the Japanese Army. A year later, he enrolled as an infantry cadet at the Shikan Gakko [military academy]. He also joined the T'ung-meng-hui.
After the Wuchang revolt broke out in October 1911, Ho Ying-ch'in returned to China, where he joined the headquarters of Ch'en Ch'i-mei (q.v.) in Shanghai. In 1913 he served as commander of an infantry battalion in the 1st Division of the Kiangsu Army. That August, after the failure of the so-called second revolution, he went to Japan to complete his studies.
After graduating from the Shikan Gakko, Ho Ying-ch'in returned to Kweichow in the autumn of 1916. On the recommendation of Liu Hsien-shih, the provincial governor, he was given command of the 4th Infantry Regiment in the 1st Division of the Kweichow Army. In July 1917 he was made dean of studies at the Kweichow Military Academy and chief of staff in the headquarters of the commander of the academy. In 1919 he received command of the 2nd Mixed Brigade of the Kweichow Army. In 1920 he held several military and police posts in Kweichow, and in 1921 he became chief of staff to the commander of the Kweichow Army. Because Ho Ying-ch'in was well aware of the relative backwardness of Kweichow province, he organized the so-called Young Kweichow Society, patterned after Mazzini's Young Italy Movement, to fight conservatism and to bring genuine republican government to his province. Many Kweichow military men and politicians became hostile to him because of his reform work, and in the summer of 1922, he was forced to flee to Yunnan. T'ang Chi-yao (q.v.) gave him protection, and Ho became dean of studies at the Yunnan Military Academy at Kunming. The Kweichow generals sent assassins after Ho. He was shot in the chest, but emergency surgery by a French doctor in Kunming saved his life. With the help of Fan Shih-sheng, a Yunnan army commander, Ho left Yunnan and went to Shanghai. Ho lived in Shanghai for more than a year before completely recovering from his wound. In January 1924 he went to Canton, where he was appointed a military staff officer in Sun Yat-sen's headquarters. In June, he was named a chief instructor in tactics at the VVhampoa Military Academy, with the rank of brigadier general. That appointment brought Ho into close association with Chiang Kai-shek. At the beginning of September, Ho was ordered to create a training regiment, and on 12 October, he was assigned to command it. The following day, Chiang Kai-shek appointed him acting director of the training department of the Whampoa Military Academy.
There were then two training regiments at Whampoa, the 1st, commanded by Ho Yingch'in, and the 2nd, commanded by Wang Po-ling, his friend and fellow graduate of the Shikan Gakko. Sun Yat-sen's headquarters at Canton assigned these two units to the expeditionary force being sent to break the power of Ch'en Chiung-ming (q.v.) in eastern Kwangtung. On 1 February 1925 they left Whampoa under the overall command of Chiang Kai-shek. In April, when they were still in the field, the two training regiments were combined to form the 1st Brigade, with Ho Ying-ch'in as brigade commander.
After the National Government was established at Canton in July 1925, the Nationalist armed forces were transformed into the National Revolutionary Army. The Whampoa cadet units became part of the First Army, With Chiang Kai-shek as its commander. The former 1st Brigade became the 1st Division of the First Army, with Ho Ying-ch'in as its commanding general. At that time, the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communists were allied, and the political representative in the 1st Division was Chou En-lai. In September 1925 the Nationalists mounted a second eastern expedition in Kwangtung. Chiang Kai-shek deployed the expeditionary force in three columns commanded, respectively, by Ho Ying-ch'in, Li Chi-shen (q.v.), and Ch'eng Ch'ien (q.v.). Ho's column distinguished itself in actions at Waichow and Haifeng. The last remnants of Ch'en Chiung-ming's military power in Kwangtung had been eliminated by late November.
In January 1926 Chiang Kai-shek was relieved of command of the First Army so that he could devote himself to the work of the Whampoa Military Academy. Ho Ying-ch'in succeeded Chiang as commander of the First Army, and Wang Po-ling became commander of its 1st Division. In April, after the Chungshan gunboat incident (see Chiang Kai-shek), Ho was named dean of the Whampoa Military Academy.
The Northern Expedition was launched in July 1926. At the end of the month, Chiang Kai-shek appointed Ho Ying-ch'in garrison commander responsible for securing the Chaochow-Meihsien sector in eastern Kwangtung. In September, after initial victories in Hunan, the National Revolutionary Army attacked the forces of Sun Ch'uan-fang (q.v.), who controlled the five lower Yangtze and coastal provinces. Ho Ying-ch'in defeated the forces of Chou Yin-jen, the Fukien governor, in a surprise attack on Yungting. Ho then drove on to capture Foochow on 2 December 1926 and to extend Nationalist control into northern Fukien. In the meantime, Nationalist forces to the west had seized Nanchang, the capital of Kiangsi. In January 1927 the National Revolutionary Army launched a campaign against Sun Ch'uan-fang's positions, with Ho Ying-ch'in driving northward into Chekiang. By the end of March 1927, both Shanghai and Nanking had been captured, and Sun Ch'uan-fang's remaining troops had retreated northward. In April 1927 Chiang Kai-shek broke with the Nationalist authorities at Wuhan and established an opposition regime at Nanking. Chiang then decided to continue the northward drive on three routes commanded, respectively, by Chiang himself, Li Tsung-jen (q.v.), and Ho Ying-ch'in. Ho was assigned to advance on the right wing. By the beginning of June, he had reached Ihsien in southern Shantung, and Li Tsung-jen had captured Hsuchow. The combined strength of Sun Ch'uan-fang and the Chihli-Shantung armies then were thrown into counterattack. Weakened by the political conflict with Wuhan and put into reverse motion by Chiang Kai-shek's order for a general retreat, the Nationalists fell back toward the Yangtze. In August, Chiang Kai-shek resigned his posts and went to Japan.
After Chiang's retirement, the headquarters of the commander-in-chief of the National Revolutionary Army was reorganized as the Military Affairs Commission, with Ho Ying-ch'in, Li Tsung-jen, and Pai Ch'ung-hsi (q.v.) constituting the standing committee. It was then rumored that Li Tsung-jen would join with T'ang Sheng-chih (q.v.), the dominant military figure in the Wuhan regime, to eliminate Ho Ying-ch'in's First Army, which was viewed as an important source of support for Chiang Kai-shek. Ho remained at Nanking, but sent his army eastward into Kiangsu and Chekiang. Taking advantage of the disarray of the Nanking forces, Sun Ch'uan-fang in August 1927 crossed the Yangtze. The armies of Ho Ying-ch'in and Li Tsung-jen united to defeat him in the battle of Lungtan and then pursued the remnants of his forces across the Yangtze. T'ang Sheng-chih took this opportunity to drive eastward against Nanking, and Li Tsung-jen moved his forces to deal with that new threat. In October 1927, as Li repulsed the attack from the west, Ho Ying-ch'in cleared the area south of the Hwai River and occupied Pengpu. T'ang Sheng-chih then retired, and members of the contending factions of the Kuomintang, including Ho Ying-ch'in, met at Chiang Kai-shek's residence at Shanghai on 24 November to discuss the problem of party unity. Early in December 1927 the forces of Sun Ch'uan-fang and Chang Tsung-ch'ang, the governor of Shantung, after administering a defeat to Feng Yü-hsiang on the Lunghai rail line, moved southward along the Tientsin- Pukow railroad. Ho Ying-ch'in led the First Army northward to counter the threat and captured Hsuchow on 16 December 1927. Four days later. Ho and other Nationalist generals in the field issued a statement that was, in effect, a proclamation of support for Chiang Kai-shek. After Chiang resumed his military and political posts in January 1928, Ho was named governor of Chekiang. In mid-February, the First Route Army was reorganized as the First Group Army, with Chiang Kai-shek as commander and Ho Ying-ch'in as chief of staff.
After the overthrow of the Peking government in June 1928, the problem of military reorganization gained new importance. Ho Ying-ch'in was named inspector general of military training in October. A month later, he was named to head a committee to prepare for a national meeting on troop disbandment. That conference, which met in January 1929, achieved no practical results, however, because the senior Nationalist generals were intent on preserving their personal and regional power.
After the formal establishment of the National Government at Nanking in October 1928, Ho Ying-ch'in became a member of the State Council. In 1929, at the Third National Congress of the Kuomintang, he was elected to the Central Executive Committee and was made a member of the Central Political Council. That year, he also was appointed chief of staff of the national army, navy, and air force headquarters. In 1929 and 1930, as the authorities at Nanking confronted a series of threats to Chiang Kai-shek's power, Ho served successively as director of Chiang's field headquarters at Kaifeng, Canton, Chengchow, and W'uhan. On 10 March 1930 he was appointed minister of war in the National Government.
One of Ho Ying-ch'in's most important tasks was the elimination of Communist power in the rural areas. He was assigned to command the Nationalist forces charged with the so-called bandit-suppression campaigns. The first attack, launched in December 1930, failed. In February 1931 Chiang Kai-shek made Ho director of his Nanchang headquarters and assigned him to direct a campaign against the Communist forces in Kiangsi and Hunan. By June, Ho's campaign against the enemy had failed, and Chiang Kai-shek personally assumed command. Ho then was given the post of field commander of the Bandit-Supression Army. There was some sharp but inconclusive fighting against the Communist forces in Kiangsi, with a northward advance by forces of the dissident Kuomintang regime at Canton providing an unwelcome distraction. After the Mukden Incident of September 1931, which marked the beginning of the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, both the bandit-suppression campaigns and the controversy with Canton were shelved. In 1932 Ho Ying-ch'in was made a member of the special affairs committee of the Central Political Council. In January 1933 the Japanese undertook the invasion of Jehol and the breaching of the Great Wall defense line. Ho Ying-ch'in was sent to Peiping to help Chang Hsueh-liang check the invaders. Chang then resigned his military and political posts, and on 12 March 1933 Ho was appointed acting chairman of the Peiping branch of the Military Affairs Commission. He collaborated with Huang Fu (q.v.) in attempting to check the Japanese advance by political negotiation. On 31 May 1933, chiefly through their efforts, the Tangku truce was signed.
There was much popular resistance to this new arrangement with the Japanese, which many believed to be tantamount to a surrender of Chinese national interests. Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.) gave expression to the popular resentment by mobilizing the Anti-Japanese Allied Army, which went into action against Japanese positions in Chahar. Huang Fu and Feng's veteran associate Sung Che-yuan negotiated with Feng, and Ho Ying-ch'in threatened Feng's forces by massing troops south of the Peiping-Suiyuan railway. In mid-August Feng turned over his military and administrative authority in Chahar to Sung Che-yuan and retired. Ho Ying-ch'in then dispersed his forces.
In November 1933 Major General Okamura, the deputy chief of staff of the Japanese Kwantung Army, presented Ho Ying-ch'in and Huang Fu with a provisional plan for what he termed the rehabilitation of north China. The subsequent negotiations led to the resumption of rail traffic and of mail and telegraph services between north China and the area which had become the puppet state of Manchoukuo. By 1935 it had become evident that Japan was working toward the establishment of autonomous status for the five northern provinces of China proper. On 10 June 1935 Ho Ying-ch'in and Lieutenant General Umezu Yoshijiro, the commander of the Japanese north China garrison, concluded the so-called Ho-Umezu agreement, by which the Chinese committed themselves to transfer Yü Hsueh-chung (q.v.) and his troops out of Hopei, to abolish Kuomintang party organs and the political training department of the Peiping branch of the Military Affairs Commission, to dissolve the Blue Shirts and other secret anti-Japanese societies, and to prohibit anti-Japanese and anti-foreign activities throughout China. On 6 July, Ho signed a document incorporating the substance of that agreement.
At Peiping, Ho Ying-ch'in, in addition to being the minister of war and chairman of the Peiping branch of the Military Affairs Commission, was the resident representative of the Executive Yuan." Accordingly, he was a prime target of the increasing resentment of the National Government's Japanese policies. The Ho-Umezu agreement was secret, but its existence inevitably became known. In the autumn of 1935 student demonstrations and popular opposition to the trend toward autonomy in northern China increased. Nevertheless, Nanking abolished the Peiping branch of the Military AfTairs Commission in November. Shortly afterward, the chief authority in north China was transferred from Ho Ying-ch'in to Sung Che-yuan, the chairman of the newly created Hopei-Chahar Political Affairs Council. Throughout this period, Ho continued to perform his duties as minister of war at Nanking. Much had been done to strengthen China's military establishment, especially in the field of aviation. Now Ho was able to give his full attention to the task of developing China's defenses.
The Sian Incident of December 1936, in which Chiang Kai-shek and other leading Nationalist military and political figures were detained by Chang Hsueh-liang (q.v.) and Yang Hu-ch'eng, who demanded that the National Government renounce civil war in favor of resisting Japan, introduced a new, critical factor into the Chinese situation. Ho Ying-ch'in was in Nanking, and by the authority of the National Government, he assumed the duties of the supreme military commander in Chiang Kai-shek's absence. Ho proposed to launch prompt punitive action, including bombing. A series of fortuitous circumstances and the strenuous efforts of Madame Chiang Kai-shek, W. H. Donald, and T. V. Soong prevented Ho from taking such action.
Ho Ying-ch'in's hard attitude may have contributed indirectly to the peace
ul solution of the Sian Incident; and, in any event, the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war in July 1937 resulted in his political rehabilitation. In August, he was appointed commanding officer of the Fourth War Area, with headquarters at Canton. In January 1938 he also was appointed chief of the general staff of the Military Affairs Commission. From that time on, the duties of wartime military administration, planning, and direction were his, although Chiang Kai-shek remained in overall command.
The National Government's contest with the Communists continued, in spite of their formal alliance against Japan. Ho Ying-ch'in reportedly was a prime mover in the Nationalist action that led to a military clash involving the Communist-led New Fourth Army in January 1941 (see Yeh Ting).
In December 1941, after the Japanese had attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, the United States entered the war. Shortly thereafter, Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell arrived in China in the dual role of commander of United States forces in the China-Burma-India theater and chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek. The official United States military history of the theater later noted that: "General Ho's actions soon suggested to Stilwell that he saw in the arrival of an American as chief of staff to the Generalissimo's joint staff the introduction of a rival center of power and influence and a direct challenge to his own position." Sharp rivalry soon developed between Ho Ying-ch'in and Stilwell. One American view of Ho, as summarized in a letter written by General George C. Marshall, then Chief of Staff of the United States Army, to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in March 1943, was that he represented a "school of thought now existing in the Chinese Army that a military 'watch and wait' policy should be followed." Stilwell pressed for the overhaul of the ineffective command structure of the Chinese army and for the training of Chinese ground forces. Many United States representatives in China believed that the Chinese Nationalists were continuing to allot a major portion of their ground forces to contain the Chinese Communists in the northwest and that they consistently refrained from aggressive action against the Japanese in China. Although Stilwell was joint (Allied) chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek, the commander of the China theater, Ho Ying-ch'in was chief of staff of the Chinese army. To Chiang Kai-shek, the latter position was the more important. In February 1943 Ho accompanied Stilwell to India to inspect Chinese troops, most of which had been sent there as a result of the disastrous first Burma campaign of 1942. After that trip, it was agreed that Chinese troops would be trained by American officers, and Stilwell's hopes for improved and expanded training of Chinese ground forces rose. On 1 September 1943 Ho Ying-ch'in presented a plan for establishing a training force of 45 divisions. A program was launched for the training and equipment of 36 Chinese divisions. In April 1944 Ho Ying-ch'in, by the authority of Chiang Kai-shek, gave formal approval for the Chinese crossing of the Salween River in the second Burma campaign.
At that point, the Japanese, who had not carried out a major military campaign in China since 1938, drove southward in central China in the so-called Operation Ichi-go, with disastrous results for the Chinese Nationalist forces. On 3 July 1944 Stilwell wrote to General Marshall in Washington to report that the desperate situation in China required desperate remedies. Stilwell requested that he be recommended for the top command post in the Chinese Nationalist Army and that Ho Ying-ch'in be asked to resign as chief of staff. In September, President Roosevelt proposed to Chiang Kai-shek that Stilwell be placed "in unrestricted command of all your forces." A few days later, Stilwell submitted detailed proposals to Chiang for supplying arms to the Chinese Communists. Stilwell was recalled from China in October.
Ho Ying-ch'in, after 14 years as minister of war in the National Government, was removed from that post in November 1944 under strong urging from the United States government. In December, Chiang Kai-shek named Ho commander in chief of the Chinese army. Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer, Stilwell's successor in China, had evolved a plan which called for the concentration and training of Chinese forces south and east of Kunming, with a command structure that would permit coordinated defense. Wedemeyer had recommended that Ch'en Ch'eng (q.v.) be assigned to carry out the plan, but Chiang Kai-shek, in an order of 11 December 1944, designated Ho Ying-ch'in.
It had been agreed that orders for field operations by the Nationalist forces would be referred to the Sino-American combined staff. On 6 May 1945, however, as the War in the Pacific was coming to an end, Chiang Kai-shek, without referring either to Wedemeyer or to the Chinese combat command, instructed Ho Ying-ch'in to occupy Hengyang, deep in Japanese-held territory. After Wedemeyer protested, Chiang said that his message to Ho had been merely an opinion, but that it had been issued in the form of an order due to a misunderstanding on the part of his staff. Nevertheless, on 8 May, Ho ordered a general attack on the western Hunan front. The offensive achieved limited success, but Ho failed to occupy Hengyang.
The Japanese surrendered on 14 August 1945, and the next day Ho Ying-ch'in transferred the army headquarters from Kunming to Chihchiang in western Hunan. He delivered to the Japanese representative a memorandum on surrender procedure, and, on 8 September, he established his advance headquarters in Nanking. On 9 September, Ho Ying-ch'in, as Chiang Kai-shek's representative, received the formal Japanese surrender from General Okamura, the commander in chief of the Japanese expeditionary force in China. Ho also worked out arrangements whereby the Japanese forces in China would temporarily maintain their stations and perform certain garrison duties pending the arrival of Chinese Nationalist forces.
Even before open civil war with the Communists erupted, the position of Ho Ying-ch'in in the top Nationalist command changed. The shifts arose primarily because Ho had powerful enemies, including such senior Nationalist generals as Ch'en Ch'eng and Hu Tsung-nan (q.v.) and such key figures in the central political apparatus of the Kuomintang as Ch'en Kuo-fu and Ch'en Li-fu (qq.v.). In May 1946 the wartime Military Affairs Commission, of which Ho Ying-ch'in had been chief of staff, was replaced by a new ministry of national defense. Pai Ch'ung-hsi was appointed the first minister of national defense, and Ch'en Ch'eng was named chief of staff. Ho Ying-ch'in was then assigned to head Chiang Kai-shek's headquarters at Chungking, but that appointment hardly compensated for his loss of the key posts of chief of staff and commander in chief of the Chinese army.
In October 1946 Ho Ying-ch'in was sent abroad to serve as chief Chinese delegate to the Military Staff Committee of the United Nations and chief of the Chinese Military Mission to the United States. The National Government issued an official statement commending his service to the nation. In March 1948 he was ordered to return to Nanking. In May, when the Nationalist situation was rapidly deteriorating as a result of the civil war with the Communists, Ho Ying-ch'in was named to succeed Pai Ch'ung-hsi as minister of national defense. In the wake of a new series of Nationalist military disasters, Chiang Kai-shek retired from the presidency on 21 January 1949, and Li Tsung-jen became acting President. In March 1949, when Sun Fo resigned as president of the Executive Yuan, Li Tsung-jen invited Ho Ying-ch'in to become premier. After privately consulting Chiang Kai-shek, Ho Ying-ch'in assumed office at Nanking on 23 March. He played an important role in bringing about the rejection of harsh Communist peace terms in April. After the Communist forces crossed the Yangtze and occupied Nanking, Ho resigned as premier on 30 May. He flew to Taiwan late in 1949.
In May 1950 Ho Ying-ch'in was named chairman of the Strategy Advisory Commission. He also became a member of the Central Advisory Committee of the Kuomintang, which was established to reorganize the central organs of the party.
In his later years, Ho Ying-ch'in became active in the Moral Rearmament Movement and, in connection with the work of that organization, made several trips to Japan, Europe, and the United States. He has been credited with authorship of the following publications: Pa-nien k'ang-chan chih ching-kuo [eight years of the War of resistance], Jih-pen fang-wen chiang-yen hsuan-chi [selected speeches during a visit to Japan], and Tao-te ch'ung-cheng yun-tung yen-chiang chi [collected speeches on the moral rearmament movement].