Hu Zongnan

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
Hu Tsung-nan
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Biography in English

Hu Tsung-nan (1895-14 February 1962), Nationalist army commander who became known as the "King of the Northwest." During the Sino-Japanese war he commanded the First Army, the Seventeenth Army Group, and the Thirty-fourth Group Army. In 1943 he received command of the First War Area. He served the National Government in Taiwan as commander of the guerrilla forces on Tach'eng Island, governor of Chekiang, and commander of the Pescadores.

Hsiaofeng, Chekiang, was the birthplace of Hu Tsung-nan. After receiving a primary education in the Chinese classics, in 1911 he enrolled at the Wuhsing Middle School. After graduation, he became a primary-school teacher in his native town.

In 1924 Hu went south to enroll at the newly founded Whampoa Military Academy. Chiang Kai-shek, the commandant of the academy, and his associates had planned to select a class of 324 cadets, but they finally chose 499 young men from among 2,000 candidates. Hu was almost rejected because he was thin and short, but Wang Po-ling, the chief instructor, successfully argued for his admission. Hu was graduated K . from the academy on 30 October 1924. Soon afterwards, he was appointed a section leader in a cadre regiment which served in the first eastern expedition against Ch'en Chiung-ming (q.v.) in January 1925. The regiment then was ordered to Canton to suppress a revolt led by Yunnan and Kwangsi militarists. Hu's distinguished performance in this campaign earned him a promotion to platoon commander. During the second eastern expedition, launched in October, Hu again performed bravely and gained the notice of Chiang Kai-shek. As a result, he was promoted to deputy battalion commander. By the time the Northern Expedition began in July 1926, Hu had become the commander of the 2nd Regiment of the 1st Division of the First Army. His troops marched through Hunan, Kiangsi, and Chekiang and then participated in the occupation of Shanghai and Nanking in the spring of 1927. At the end of the year, Hu was made commander of the 22nd Division, and when the Northern Expedition forces were reorganized in 1928, he received command of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division. From 1928 to 1931 Hu fought many battles in support of Chiang Kai-shek's authority. In the spring of 1928 he led the 2nd Brigade to Hankow after defeating the Kwangsi army in that area. He marched north in May to fight Feng Yü-hsiang's army in Honan. In January 1929 he crushed the rebellion of T'ang Sheng-chih (q.v.) at Chengchow. Hu also participated in the successful 1930 campaign against the coalition of Feng Yü-hsiang and Yen Hsi-shan (qq.v.). He then received command of the 1st Division. From late 1930 until mid- 1932 Hu and his division fought Chinese Communist troops in Kiangsi, Anhwei, and Honan. In September 1932 the Communists serving under Chang Kuo-t'ao and Hsü Hsiang-ch'ien (qq.v.) were forced by the Nationalist units of Wei Li-huang to abandon their base in the Honan-Hupeh- Anhwei border area. The Communists attempted to reach northern Szechwan by marching through Shensi. To keep them from moving farther north, the 1st Division was transferred from Chenchow to T'ienshui, Kansu, where it served to contain the Communists and to ensure the loyalty of local warlords. As commander of the only Nationalist force in the northwest, Hu Tsung-nan was in a difficult position. He was cut off from his main supplies and from trustworthy allies. Accordingly, he set up the Northwest Officer Training Corps and worked to expand the 1st Division, which had become known in China as a model force. Hu's men were well-disciplined, and they established harmonious relations with the inhabitants of the area. In October 193*4 the main Communist forces in Kiangsi began the Long Alarch. They broke through Nationalist blockades in Hunan, Kweichow, Yunnan, Szechwan, and Sikang and advanced toward northern Shensi. Hu was ordered to rush his division to the barren Sungfan, Lifan, and Maohsien districts in northwest Szechwan to halt the Communist march. In the winter of 1935 the Communists bypassed Sungfan by crossing the grasslands at Mao-erh-kai. Hu moved his division to Maoerh-kai and engaged the Communists in battle. Both sides suffered heavy casualties in the bitter fighting. The Communists managed to cross the almost impassable grassland and eventually reached northern Shensi by way of Kansu. By 1936 Hu had become the commander of the First Army. In June, a good part of his army was ordered to reinforce Nationalist troops engaged in suppressing an armed revolt by Ch'en Chi-t'ang (q.v.) in Kwangtung. Hu sufTered his first serious defeat in November, when his troops in the north fought the Communists at Shan-ch'eng-pao, a small city on the Shensi-Kansu-Ninghsia border. The battle lasted for two days, and the First Army lost two brigades. Casualties in the 1st Division were particularly high, and the remaining troops were exhausted from their pursuit of the Communists through the hinterland.

After the Sian Incident of December 1936 {see Chiang Kai-shek) and the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war in July 1937, the Nationalists and the Chinese Communists united to fight the Japanese. Hu's First Army was moved to Shanghai to reinforce Chinese units in the area. Although the First Army sufTered heavy losses, it succeeded in delaying the Japanese advance for six weeks.

In 1938 Hu received command of the Seventeenth Army Group and returned to Shensi to reorganize his forces. He was assigned to establish a branch of the Central Military Academy at Wangchu, a small suburb of Sian. As commandant of the branch academy, which opened on 29 March, he was responsible for military training in northwest China. He also headed the Wartime PoHtical Cadre Training Corps, the Northwest Labor Corps, and an education guidance center for youth from occupied areas. Under his sponsorship, a primary school and two middle schools were established for the children . of his officers. Because of his widespread authority in the area, he came to be known as the "King of the Northwest." In 1939 Hu Tsung-nan received command of the Thirty-fourth Group Army. He had the dual task of resisting the Japanese in north China and containing the Communists in northern Shensi. ^lany high-ranking government officials sent their sons to serve under him. Chiang Wei-kuo (q.v.), the second son of Chiang Kai-shek, was among the young men who joined Hu's forces during this period. In 1943 Hu became the commander of the First War Area, which included Kansu, Tsinghai, Ninghsia, Sinkiang, Honan, Shantung, Hopei, and parts of Kiangsu, Anhwei, and Shansi. Hu's training organizations operated in six provinces, with headquarters at Sian. At one point, the number of cadets and political cadres in training exceeded 30,000.

In the spring of 1944 the Japanese launched an offensive in south and west Honan. After more than a month of hard fighting, Hu's troops were forced to withdraw. However, they held T'ungkwan and Hsiping on the Honan- Shensi border and prevented the Japanese from advancing into Shensi. In 1945, at the war's end, Hu went to Chengchow to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces in Honan. In the general reorganization of Nationalist armies after the war, Hu's forces were reduced by about 40 percent. Some of his units were transferred to Peiping and Shih-chia-chuang, and forces remaining under his command were deployed to Kansu, Shensi, Shansi, and Honan. The struggle between the Nationalists and the Chinese Communists for control of the mainland put an end to the National Government's plans for demobilization and rehabilitation. Skirmishes between Hu's troops and Communist units mounted in intensity. Chu Teh and Ho Lung (qq.v.) sent a telegram demanding that Hu withdraw his troops from central Shensi. In 1946 Communist forces under Li Hsien-nien broke through Nationalist barricades in the Honan-Hupeh border area and fought their way to northern Shensi. When the National Government, after American mediation efforts had failed, officially ordered the suppression of the Communists, Hu marched into northern Shensi and captured Yenan in March 1947.

As Hu's forces advanced into the Communist areas of Shensi, however, they became increasingly isolated from other Nationalist troops and supplies. The Communists split their armies into small columns and harrassed Hu's divisions one-by-one. Hu eventually was forced to retreat to central Shensi. His army was routed in 1949 when the Communists launched an attack with heavy artillery brought from Shansi. He retreated to southern Shensi and then to Szechwan. In December, most of his army was annihilated by the Communists. Hu and a small group of aides escaped to Hainan Island. He sought and received permission from Chiang Kai-shek, who had gone to Taiwan, to fly to Hsichang and attempt to regroup Nationalist troops on the Szechwan-Sikang border which had managed to break through Communist lines. After putting up a brief but desperate resistance, with fewer than 30,000 troops and no supplies, Hu escaped to Hainan in March 1950 and then went to Taiwan.

In 1951 Hu was appointed commander of the guerrilla forces on Tach'eng Island and governor of Chekiang. After Tach'eng was evacuated in 1954 he received command of the Pescadores. He held that post until the end of 1959. He died in Taipei on 14 February 1962. Hu Tsung-nan married twice. His first wife lived with and cared for his mother in Hsiaofeng. During the Sino-Japanese war his family, with the exception of his mother, was killed in an air raid. In 1947 Hu married Yeh Hsia-ti, an American-educated sociologist who was a lecturer at Nanking University. They had two sons and two daughters.

Biography in Chinese



















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