Imagining China’s Madrid in Manchuria: The Communist Military Strategy at the Onset of the Chinese Civil War, 1945-46

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article is an interdisciplinary study of CCP military decision making at the outset of the Civil War. The historical phenomenon of the Communists’ invocation of “Madrid” is studied in the context of the Chinese civil war in Manchuria, particularly the battle of Sipingjie. The strategic culture of the Communist leaders is discussed thematically in terms of their desire for a decisive battle, their expectation of a short war, and their propensity for preemptive strikes. Analyzing newly released primary documents, I argue that norms, beliefs, and material conditions work in tandem in the making of strategy in a way that the realist premise fails to explain. I conclude that the interaction of normative and material factors, symbolized by the Madrid concept, heightened the CCP policy makers’ acceptance of risk in 1946, which foreshadowed the open general war in China over the following three years.


  • Victor Cheng
External organisations
  • External Organization - Unknown
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering


  • military decision making, Chinese Civil War, strategic culture, Manchurian Civil War, battle of Sipingjie
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-114
JournalModern China
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes