10 Maréchaux de Chine

8. Xu Xiangqian

    Xu Xiangqian(November 8, 1901 - September 21, 1990) was a prominent Communist military leader in the People's Republic of China.
    He was born in Wutai county, Shanxi province, China. Xu was admitted to the Whampoa Academy in 1924. He held various officer ranks in the National Revolutionary Army between 1925 and 1927. Xu joined the Communist Party of China in 1927 and later became a commander in the 4th Army of the Red Army, led by Zhang Guotao. He served as Zhang's principle commander with Ye Jianying as Chief of Staff.
    During the second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Xu fought against the Japanese invaders. After the Communist takeover of China in 1949, Xu served as the General Chief of Staff of the People's Liberation Army, as vice chairman of the CMC in 1954, and was awarded the rank of marshal in 1955. He served as vice premier in 1965. Xu protected Deng Xiaoping when Deng was purged from the government in 1976. He was one of the military supporters of Hua Guofeng's coup against the Gang of Four. He later served as Defense Minister from 1978 to 1981.
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