General Ma Zhanshan was a native of Laoning Province, Manchuria. In his youth he joined the army and exhibited impressive valor and prowess on the battlefield. Step-by-step he ascended the ranks.
On September 19, 1931, the Japanese Army invaded the three provinces of Manchuria. The provincial authorities had to accord with the Central Government's decision not to resist the enemy, but to relinquish Manchuria. It happened that Governor Wan Fulin of Heilongjiang (Black Dragon River) Province was ill and convalescing in Beiping (now called Beijing) at that time, and General Ma was appointed as the acting governor. The General won the Battle at Nen-Jiang Bridge and greatly demoralized the Japanese troops. His reputation rocked all of China and the world. Even women and children knew his name. His countrymen lauded him as their national hero. General Li Yanwu wrote a poem in praise of him that says:
The battle at Jiang Bridge forged his name of honor
His vast and proper energy soared to the skies and startled the whole world.
A spirit of loyalty and righteousness forever abides
in heaven and earth
To aid the people in changing the fate of China.
However, ammunition eventually ran out, and aid was not forthcoming, so the General had to withdraw from Manchuria. He escaped into Russian territory and from Moscow went to Germany, and eventually made his way back to Nanjing. In the fall of 1945, when the Japanese unconditionally surrendered, the General was able to return to his homeland. He was overwhelmed with the many changes that had transpired. It was as if the fields had turned into the ocean, and the ocean had turned into fields.
General Ma Zhanshan was a native of Laoning Province, Manchuria. The General was from Huaide county of Laoning Province of northeast China. In his youth he joined the army. When he was young, he gave up academics and joined the army, and exhibited impressive valor and prowess on the battlefield. By nature he was very brave and valiant, with a knack for the art of war. He was also very intelligent and had a sense of strategy. Step-by step he ascended the ranks. His official position was promoted each year.
On September 18, 1931, the Japanese Army invaded the three provinces of Manchuria, in the northeastern region of China. The provincial authorities had to accord with the Central Government's decision not to resist the enemy, but to relinquish Manchuria. At that time, the Nationalist Government made a secret pact with the Japanese, intending to give all three provinces of the Northeast Region (Manchuria) to Japan. The Japanese were about to come and take over Manchuria, and the Nationalist Government announced that China should not resist the enemy. Since the Central Government had given Manchuria away as a gift, it would not be right for the local governments to repel the Japanese.
It happened that Governor Wan Fulin of Heilongjiang Province was ill and convalescing in Beiping (now called Beijing) at that time, and General Ma was appointed as the acting governor. The Governor was recuperating in Beiping, and so General Ma acted as governor on his behalf and was managing official affairs.
Governor Wan Fulin was nicknamed "Half-a-job Wan." He had been a farmer before coming to office. For each furrow of weeds that the typical Manchurian farmer was able to dig, Wan Fulin could only dig half a furrow. He didn't do his work very well. Because he could get only half of his job done, he was called "Half-a-job Wan." He followed the warlord Zhang Zuolin. When Zhang Zuolin occupied Manchuria, he was made Governor of Heilongjiang Province.
The General won the battle at Nenjiang Bridge and greatly demoralized the Japanese troops. His reputation rocked all of China and the world, to the point that even women and children knew his name. His countrymen lauded him as their national hero. When the general was acting governor, he asked his staff if they should stand against the Japanese. Some of them said that the Central Government had given orders not to resist the enemy and had already taken the matter to the League of Nations (forerunner of the United Nations). The truth of the matter was that the Central Government used the excuse of "seeking a solution through a diplomatic course," hoping to drag the matter to the League of Nations, to drop it and put an end to it there. Outsiders were not aware of this arrangement. A person surnamed Qi signed the secret agreement with the Japanese, under the order of the Central Government. This person still lives in Taiwan right now—there are a lot of skeletons in the closet.
When General Ma discussed this with his staff, they said that by fighting the Japanese, they would be disobeying the Central Government's orders. And so it was decided that they would not resist the enemy. However, there was General Ma's military advisor, General Li Yanwu, who was only twenty-three or four at the time. He was young and promising, and the cream of the upcoming generation. He insisted on doing battle. He took the stand that they could not fail to resist the Japanese, and that they should fight. So the staff had another meeting to discuss whether or not they should fight. The staff again rejected the idea. This time General Man Zhanshan pulled out his pistol and set it on the table and said, "Whoever says again that we should not fight will be shot." Thereupon they decided to fight the Japanese. They opened fire on the enemy when the Japanese were halfway across Nenjiang Bridge. As a result, the Japanese troops were beaten so badly they were like "fallen blossoms on flowing water"; the soldiers were scattered and totally disorganized.
General Li Yanwu wrote a poem in praise of him that says: The battle of Jiang Bridge forged his name of honor. The battle at Nenjiang Bridge won great fame for General Ma. He had the wisdom of being able to appear and vanish suddenly, like the spirits and ghosts. That was how he won every battle. He also had the wisdom of "manipulating the troops with spirit-like energy." General Ma's troops defeated the Japanese army very badly. And so he is known a hero of war in resisting the Japanese. He was recognized both in China and abroad, by both adults and children.
His vast and proper energy soared to the skies and startled the whole world. A spirit of loyalty and righteousness forever abides in heaven and earth to aid the people in changing the fate of China. General Ma's spirit reached to the heavens. Not only the Chinese, but everyone in the world was shaken by his daring to fight the Japanese and defeating them. After this battle, there were other battles with the Japanese. The Japanese tanks were devastating. General Ma had his men cover the ground with hemp and then spread glue on top of it. When the Japanese tanks rolled over the hemp it stuck to the caterpillar treads and gummed up the works so that the tanks could not move and were rendered useless.
However, ammunition eventually ran out, and aid was not forthcoming, so the General had to withdraw from Manchuria. Because ammunition ran out and no military aid was coming he left Manchuria. He escaped into Russian territory, and from Moscow went to Germany, and eventually made his way back to Nanjing. After leaving Manchuria, he went to Russia and on to Moscow. From Moscow, he came back to Nanjing, China.
In the fall of 1945, when the Japanese unconditionally surrendered,the General was able to return to his homeland. He was overwhelmedwith the many changes that had transpired. It was as if the mulberry Fields had turned into the ocean, and the ocean had turned backinto the mulberry fields. General Ma returned to his homeland, Manchuria, after the Japanese surrendered and was overwhelmed bythe uncertainty of the affairs in the world.
To be continued