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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


June 30, 1939

Ever since the Chinese nation was confronted with the Japanese aggression, the first and foremost question has been to fight or not to fight. This question aroused serious controversy in the period from the Incident of September 18, 1931 to the Lukouchiao Incident of July 7, 1937. The conclusion reached by all patriotic political parties and groups and by all our patriotic fellow-countrymen was: "To fight is to survive, not to fight is to perish." The conclusion reached by all the capitulationists was: "To fight is to perish, not to fight is to survive." For a time, the roaring guns of the resistance at Lukouchiao decided the issue. They proclaimed the first conclusion right and the second wrong. But why was the question settled only temporarily and not once and for all? Because the Japanese imperialists adopted the policy of inducing China to capitulate, the international capitulationists [1] tried to bring about a compromise, and certain people within our anti-Japanese front wavered. Now the issue has been raised again, worded in a slightly different way as a question of "peace or war". Thus a controversy has arisen inside China between those who favour continuing the war and those who favour making peace. Their respective positions remain the same: the conclusion of the war group is "to fight is to survive, to make peace is to perish"; the conclusion of the peace group is "to make peace is to survive, to fight is to perish". The former comprises all patriotic parties and all patriots and they make up the great majority of the nation, while the latter, i.e., the capitulationists, constitutes only a small wavering minority within the anti-Japanese front. Consequently, the peace group has to resort to lying propaganda, and, above all, to anti-Communist propaganda. For example, it has fabricated and released a spate of false news, false reports, false documents and false resolutions, such as: "the Communist Party engages in disruptive activities", "the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army are merely moving about without fighting and refuse to obey orders", "a separatist regime has been formed in the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region and is expanding beyond its confines", "the Communist Party is plotting to overthrow the government", and even, "the Soviet Union is plotting aggression against China". Its purpose is to make peace, or in other words to capitulate, by covering up the real facts and confusing public opinion. The peace group, the group of capitulationists, is doing all this because it cannot wreck Kuomintang-Communist co-operation, split the Anti-Japanese National United Front and surrender to Japan unless it combats the Communist Party, which is the initiator and champion of the united front. Second, it hopes that Japanese imperialism will make concessions. It believes that Japan is well-nigh exhausted and will change her basic policy, voluntarily withdrawing from central, southern and even northern China, and that China can thus win without doing any more fighting. Third, it pins its hopes on international pressure. Many people in the peace group bank on the exertion of pressure by the big powers not only on Japan, so that she will make some concessions and thereby facilitate a peace settlement, but also on the Chinese government, so that they can say to the war group: "Look! In the present international climate, we have to make peace!" and "A Pacific international conference [2] would be to China's advantage. It would not be another Munich, [3] but a step towards China's rejuvenation!" This forms the sum total of the views, tactics and schemes of the peace group, the Chinese capitulationists. The drama is being acted out not only by Wang Ching-wei himself, but, what is more serious, by many others like him who are concealed within the anti-Japanese front and are collaborating with him in a kind of duet [4] or joint performance, with some wearing the white make-up of the stage villain and others the red make-up of the hero.

We Communists openly proclaim that, at all times, we stand with those who favour continuing the war and resolutely oppose those who favour making peace. We have but one desire, that is, together with all other patriotic parties and all other patriots, to strengthen unity and strengthen the national united front and Kuomintang-Communist co-operation, put the Three People's Principles into effect, carry the War of Resistance through to the end, fight all the way to the Yalu River and recover all our lost territories.[5] We firmly denounce the Wang Ching-weis, both overt and covert, who are creating an anti-Communist climate, engineering "friction" [6] between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party, and even trying to provoke another civil war between the two parties. We say to them: In essence, your divisive schemes are nothing but preparations for capitulation, and your divisive and capitulationist policy simply reveals your general plan of selling out the interests of the nation for the selfish interests of a few individuals. People have eyes and will see through your scheming. We categorically repudiate the absurd view that a Pacific conference would not be an Eastern Munich. Of course, the so-called Pacific conference would be an Eastern Munich, a preparation for turning China into another Czechoslovakia. We firmly denounce the groundless assertion that Japanese imperialism may come to its senses and make concessions. Japanese imperialism will never change its basic policy of subjugating China. Japan's honeyed words after the fall of Wuhan--for instance, the suggestion that she would abandon the policy of "not accepting the National Government as the opposite party in negotiations" [7] and would instead recognize it as such, or that she would withdraw her troops from central and southern China on certain conditions--are nothing but cunning bait to hook the fish, so that whoever swallows the bait must expect to be well and truly cooked. The international capitulationists are likewise pursuing a cunning policy to induce China to surrender. They have countenanced Japanese aggression against China, while they themselves "sit on top of the mountain to watch the tigers fight", waiting for the opportune moment to engineer a so-called Pacific conference for mediation in order to profit at others' expense. Anyone who pins his hopes on such schemers will likewise find that he has been badly duped.

What was once a question of whether or not to fight has now become a question of whether to continue the war or to make peace, but essentially it is the same question, the most important and fundamental of all questions. In the last six months, with Japan pressing on with her policy of inducing China to capitulate, with the international capitulationists intensifying their activities and, above all, with some people in our anti-Japanese front wavering more than every a great clamour has arisen around the question of peace or war, so that capitulation has become the main danger in the present political situation. And the first and most important move the capitulationists are making to prepare for it is to fight communism, that is, to break up Kuomintang-Communist co-operation and the unity of the anti-Japanese front. In these circumstances, all patriotic parties and all patriots must keep a close watch over the capitulationists' activities and must understand the main characteristics of the present situation namely, that capitulation is the chief danger and that anti-communism is the preparatory step to capitulation, and they must do their utmost to oppose capitulation and a split. No group of people must ever be allowed to undermine or betray the war against Japanese imperialism, a war which has cost the whole nation two full years of bloodshed. No group of people must ever be allowed to disrupt or split the Anti-Japanese National United Front which has been forged by the common effort of the whole nation.

Fight on and persist in unity, and China will survive.

Make peace and persist in splitting, and China will perish.

Which to reject and which to accept? Our countrymen must quickly make their choice.

We Communists will definitely fight on and persist in unity.

All patriotic parties and all patriots will fight on and persist in unity.

Even if the capitulationists who are plotting surrender and a split should get the upper hand for a while, they will eventually be unmasked and punished by the people. The historical task of the Chinese nation is to achieve liberation through united resistance. What the capitulationists desire is the exact opposite, but however much they may have the upper hand, however jubilant they may be, fancying that nobody dare harm them, they cannot escape punishment by the whole people.

Oppose capitulation and a split--this is the urgent task now confronting all the patriotic political parties and groups and all our patriotic fellow-countrymen.

People of the whole country, unite! Persist in resistance and unity, and suppress all plots for capitulation and a split!


1. "The international capitulationists" were the British and U.S. imperialists who were plotting to compromise with Japan by sacrificing China.

2. The projected Pacific international conference was dubbed a Far Eastern Munich because the British, U.S. and French imperialists, in collaboration with the Chinese group which favoured making peace, were plotting to reach a compromise with Japan by selling out China. It was Chiang Kai-shek who used the absurd argument, which Comrade Mao Tse-tung refutes in this article, that such a conference would not constitute an Eastern Munich.

3. In September 1938, the heads of the British, French, German and Italian governments met in Munich, Germany, and concluded the Munich Agreement under which Britain and France betrayed Czechoslovakia to Germany in exchange for a German attack on the Soviet Union. In 1938 and 1939, British and U.S. imperialism made several moves to reach a compromise with Japanese imperialism by sacrificing China. At the time when Comrade Mao Tse-tung wrote this article in June 1939, talks were being held between Britain and Japan in another attempt to carry out this scheme. It was called an "Eastern Munich" because of its similarity to the Munich conspiracy of Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

4. The duet was being acted by Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei. While Wang Ching-wei was the ringleader of the open capitulationists, Chiang was the ringleader of those hiding in the anti-Japanese front.

5. At the Fifth Plenary Session of the Kuomintang's Fifth Central Executive Committee in January 1939, Chiang Kai-shek openly declared that what he meant by "to the very end" in the slogan "Carry the War of Resistance through to the very end" was merely "to restore the status quo before the Lukouchiao Incident", an interpretation that would have meant abandoning vast areas of northern and northeastern China to Japanese occupation. Therefore, to counter Chiang Kai-shek's capitulationist policy, Comrade Mao Tse-tung specially stressed that "to the very end" meant "to fight all the way to the Yalu River and recover all our lost territories".

6. The term "friction" was widely used at the time to refer to the various kinds of reactionary political and military actions of the Kuomintang reactionaries undertaken to wreck the Anti-Japanese National United Front and to oppose the Communist Party and the progressive forces, such as massacres and large-scale attacks on the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies.

7. Subsequent to the Japanese occupation of Nanking on December 13, 1937, the Japanese government issued a statement on January 16, 1938, saying that Japan would "not accept the National Government as the opposite party in negotiations, and expects a new government to be established". After Japanese troops occupied Canton and Wuhan in October 1938, the Japanese government, taking advantage of Chiang Kai-shek's vacillation, changed its policy in order to induce him to capitulate. It issued another statement on November 3, which read in part: "As for the National Government, provided it abandons its hitherto erroneous policy and gets new men to carry out rehabilitation and to maintain peace and order, the Empire will not decline to negotiate with it."

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung